Editing tips for travel writers and bloggers

Over the past year, I've had the pleasure of working with some great travel writers on everything from blogs to books to media Qs&As. It's always a good idea to have an editor review your work before it goes live. An editor can find any sneaky little errors that were missed by your tired eyes, fact check place names and URLs, and in the case of blogs, ensure a consistent style week to week. But for those of you out there who are your own editor, here are some tips on creating your own style sheet, which is guaranteed to make your travel writing and blogging easier. 

A style sheet is a great device to help you remember your decisions about mechanical issues -- spelling, capitalization, currency, numbers, hyphenations. That way, when you start your next blog entry, you don't have to Google everything all over again. You'll remember that you already decided you prefer Unesco World Heritage Site over UNESCO World Heritage Site, or art deco over Art Deco, or you understand when to use awhile vs. a while, or the correct spelling of Reykjavik, or your preference for 58 euros over 58 €. 

Having accurate, well-written content with a consistent style will establish you as a professional writer and blogger. Your readers will appreciate it, and your freelance writing career will benefit from it, too!

Here's how to create a style sheet:

1. Open a new Word doc and divide it into 6 rows and 2 columns.

2. Add one heading in each box within the first 4 rows and 2 columns: ABC, DEF, GHI, JKL, MNOP, QRS, TUV, WXYZ.

3. Add one heading in each box of the remaining 2 rows and 2 columns: Numbers; Currency; Punctuation; Times, Measurements & Dates (or use whatever headings make most sense to you for the things you want to keep track of).

This is how your style sheet will look, and you can keep adding to it and referring back to it each week.

 

ABC

Adriatic Sea

check-in (noun)

checking in

DEF

day-to-day (adj)

euros

First Nation

GHI

GPS

hotspots

Internet

 

JKL

jet lag

jet-lagged

lookout

MNOP

Middle East

New Age

off-season

QRS

Reykjavik

staycation

sub-Saharan Africa 

TUV

takeoffs

Unesco

vaccine

WXYZ

Wi-Fi

Yellowstone National Park

zip line

Numbers

9/11

24/7

401k

Currency

$1,000 (comma)

$333 US (not USD)

Can$20 or CAN$20

Punctuation

no serial comma

italics to stress words

bold important phrases

Time, Measurement & Dates

1960s (no apostrophe)

a.m., p.m.

12th-century church

 

There you have it! By spending a little bit of time upfront to create your style sheet, you can save precious time down the road when you're writing under a deadline and can't remember to hyphenate or not to hyphenate.

Happy writing, everyone!

Stacey D. Atkinson is a freelance editor and author of Stuck, a novel she published via her independent company Mirror Image Publishing. 

2 comments

  • Jean
    Jean
    Excellent idea! I'm going to start one right away.

    Excellent idea! I'm going to start one right away.

  • Stacey
    Stacey
    Great! Glad you found this week's post useful.

    Great! Glad you found this week's post useful.

Add comment