You've heard it before: slow down. Concentrate. Clear your head. It's all good advice for better editing.
But how do you tell that to the editor breathing down your neck, or how do you delay the deadline approaching? You likely can't.
I hope you don't work in a newsroom that has constant deadlines and pressure. Even if you do, or feel like you do, try these tips for finding time to clear your head:
1. You have to have time to eat or run to the restroom during your shift, right? When you do, pause for just a second, and do what you need to clear your head. Close your eyes and breathe, or shake out your legs and arms for a moment. Think about what's next on your plate, and what you've already done that day. Usually in one of these moments, I come up with a solution for something that's on my plate, or I remember that I was going to check that spelling in a story. These moments are important for avoiding mistakes.
2. Using checklists for editing stories or accomplishing certain tasks during a shift can also be helpful, and give you that moment to pause and clear your head.
3. Resolve this year to act on your red flags. When you are editing a story and think, "I should check that," do it then. If you wait until the end of the story or later in the night, you'll get caught up in something else. When something strikes you as odd in a story, go ask the reporter immediately. If he's not at his desk, ask his editor, or make a phone call right then. Acting immediately on these niggling feelings can help you avoid corrections tomorrow.
If you have other resolutions for better editing this year, please share them in the Comments section below.