The Adventures of a Freelance Writer and Editor

Well, I just got the results from my copy editing test:

“Your editing skills are good—certainly better than average.  You were able to
spot redundancies, clear up meanings by rearranging words and phrases, and
correct punctuation.  However, in these two pages of text you missed at least
five things…I regret that we cannot use your editing services at this time.”

Here is what I missed:

Leash was spelled Lease

Then was spelled Than

Quiet was spelled Quite

Changed of the worse said Changed for the worst

The couple left the same way they had come was written The couple left the same way they came

What I learned:

Editing tests make me nervous. Instead of picking up the obvious (like misspelled words), I was obsessing over commas and semi-colons. I know I have strong grammar skills. For instance, last summer, I took an English class with a teacher who took off two points for every grammatical error. One of the papers I wrote was error free. That is almost unheard of. I also know I have strong editing skills. I frequently circle mistakes in published newspapers, magazines, and books. During writing workshop classes, I find myself correcting grammar and style in addition to offering feedback on content and structure. However, I have learned that I need a little more practice. Luckily, I am taking several copy editing courses online, and I have a good selection of books, articles, and handouts to review. Next time, I’m going to try to stay calm so I don’t miss mistakes that I should have seen.


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