Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Edit, Edit, Edit

As evidenced by this blog,* my writing is far from perfect. My grammar needs work, my diction is sometimes off, and I need to proofread more. A lot more.

Nonetheless, I feel as though law school has turned me into a writing snob. In the past weeks, I have:
  • Graded thirty ten-page short write-on submissions for law journal
  • Line-edited (made changes line-by-line and corrected footnotes) a twenty-five page article on net neutrality regulation for journal
  • Line-edited one paper for my Public Employment seminar
  • Read over and gave general feedback for five papers for my seminar
After looking at so many papers with a discerning eye, I am started to correct everything around me. Everywhere I look, I see and cringe at the passive voice. I even started to line-edit the dozens of Dean's Fellow cover letters I was simply supposed to read. Although I stopped marking up cover letters, I do know that the quality of the cover letters did influence my ultimate recommendations for the positions even though the jobs are not directly related to teaching writing.

1Ls often ask me what was the most important piece of advice someone told me in law school. I do not know who it was, but someone told me to keep writing. Whether you join a journal or law brief, or take another writing class, find a way to write and receive feedback. It does not matter how developed your arguments are if your grammar is poor or your footnotes are horrible.

This point may seem obvious, but you would be surprised with some of the writing that comes from law school students. One short write-on I graded actually used the word "legit." Someone suggested that I respond with: "time 2 quit."

*My writing for class/journal is far better than these late night blogs that I usually write while in bed.


faithsalutes said...

Read Eats, Shoots and Leaves. It will make you feel better about yourself. My blogs are atrocious, but I do long for properly placed apostrophes.

Lauren said...

I second the Eats, Shoots and Leaves recommendation. Scott recently told me that my pen name must be "Lynne Truss," which was slightly disconcerting.