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Editing With Fresh Eyes

I was asked by the Scholarship Committee of the AAUW Roseville-South Placer Branch to edit a flyer intended for students at Sierra Community College. Although I knew the details behind the flyer, I wanted to look at it with fresh eyes – as if I were a student reading this for the first time. I asked “Who is this conference for?” “Am I an appropriate candidate?” “What exactly will I learn?” As an editor, I look for ambiguous phrases, errors in spacing, wording, spelling. In this particular flyer I saw the term “financial advocacy” and wondered what that really meant. I noticed a discrepancy in the dates of the event. The national sponsor of the conference had been omitted.

As the editor and proofreader, I spent an hour on the phone with the creator of the flyer brainstorming how to re-phrase the text so that it would grab attention and clearly provide details of the conference. The creator of the flyer kept saying “I’ve proofread this a dozen times and didn’t see the mistakes.” Or, “I thought this was clear until you pointed it out.” Sometimes the writer assumes a reader will understand what is meant behind the words and phrases. It takes a fresh pair of eyes to bring clarity to the writing.

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