Editing with Track Changes in Microsoft Word by Vickie Youngquist-Smith

I’m slow to warm up to technology. I’d see the Track Changes icon under the Review tab in Microsoft Word, but I’d ask myself “Do I need more technology?”

When I write a first draft, it’s rambling and long-winded. With the hardest part over, I revise and edit. I move story elements around, cut the fluff, choose the perfect word (or somewhat perfect) for precise meaning, and proofread.

My old method of revising was a cumbersome cycle: print copies, revise with a pencil, print again, revise again, save as a new document, print, revise, save, print. I used lots of paper and printer ink.

Occasionally, I’ll change my mind about revisions, so I save all the drafts of a story on my hard drive. It became overwhelming to search for a draft that contained the word, sentence, or paragraph I wanted to resurrect.

Then I took an editing class, and I had to learn about Word’s Track Changes. Using Track Changes makes revising easy—maybe too easy. In one story, I redlined part of a paragraph. A day later, I redlined the rest of the paragraph. The next day I missed it, so back it came. But a few days later, I cut it again. It’s gone for good. But, if I wanted to reinsert it, I could put my cursor on it, right click, and choose Reject Deletion.

Track Changes is easy to use. Numerous online articles and YouTube videos are available to learn about Track Changes in the many versions of Microsoft Word. I like the videos best.

Some of Track Changes useful points:

  • All edits, insertions, and deletions can be seen in one document.
  • Track Changes can be used with Comments.
  • A two-color option helps distinguish between insertions and deletions. Multiple color options are available.
  • Selecting No Markup provides an edit-free copy, which is easy to read. Select All Markup and the edits return.
  • Many editors use Track Changes.

When I want to email an edit-free copy of my work, I follow these steps:

  • I choose Save As and give my document a new name. I use the same name but add a number.
  • I click the dropdown box under the Accept icon and choose Accept All Changes and Stop Tracking. I Save
  • I still have my original copy with all the additions and deletions. But now I have a clean second copy, which I can submit to an editor.

Track Changes makes editing easier and cheaper. With a couple of clicks, I can see or hide revisions and edits. I save fewer drafts on my hard drive. And I print less, so I save money on paper and ink. For writers who use Google Docs, the feature Suggested Edits is similar to Track Changes.

 

Vickie Youngquist-Smith writes short stories, essays, and articles. She is working on a collection of short stories. Her short-short story “Tossed” won first place in the Lake Superior Writers’ Contest in May 2019. When she writes, her two standard poodles keep her company.

Writers’ Bumps: An Endangered Condition? by Marie Zhuikov

Photo by Jak of the Mast Cells & Collagen Behaving Badly blog.

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Writers’ Bumps: An Endangered Condition?

The picture above of the middle finger is not me flipping you off. It’s not even my finger. I found it on this blog. I am featuring it here because it shows a writer’s bump, which is something I, and many other writers have. 

These bumps are formed from the pressure of a pen or pencil pushing against the middle finger when a person is writing. If you’re right-handed, it will form on your right hand. If you’re left-handed, it will form on your left.

I once asked a manicurist if she could ever tell what profession a person has from looking at their hands. She had never considered it. Then I told her about how to spot a writer from their bump. I’m sure she was edified forever by this information and it changed how she approached her job.

I realized the other day that my writer’s bump is much smaller than it used to be, presumably because I hardly ever use a pen anymore, opting instead for a computer keyboard. This caused me some dismay since I rather like my writer’s bump and the distinction it gives my profession.

Then, I realized in horror that most young people probably don’t have a writer’s bump. They might not even know what one is since they all use phone and computer keyboards.

Truly, writers’ bumps are endangered. We just can’t stand by and let them disappear. They have been with society for hundreds of years. Somebody should do something about this. We need a public information campaign to “Save the Writers’ Bumps!” 

Where is the outrage? Why are we complacent with the disappearance of this badge of honor earned by hours of slaving over paper with a writing utensil?

Cast aside your computer keyboards and your phones my friends. Start a movement!

(Smirk. I think not. I actually love the convenience and speed of typing.)

 

In her day job, Marie Zhuikov is an award-winning science writer and communications project manager, specializing in environmental and medical topics. She has published hundreds of articles, publications, videos and radio programs, as well as coordinated production of many web sites. At night, Marie writes eco-mystic romance novels for new adults. Her first, Eye of the Wolf, was published in 2011. The sequel, Plover Landing, was published in 2014. Her first short story, “Water Witch,” was published in the Going Coastal anthology in 2017. Her website is http://www.mariezwrites.com and she blogs at http://mariezhuikov.wordpress.com.