A Small But Worthy Christmas Gift to You: Remember this One Tip And Save Yourself Time and Headache

My son is in his first year of college and chose writing as his major. I love that he is developing his gift, plus it gives us something more we can share...our love for words.  

As he and I chatted recently, it reminded me of a few very important basic tips that can save a writer lots of time and headache in the writing process.

Numerous times I have received a manuscript from one of my authors that is "ready for the publisher." However, a quick glance lets me know that isn't the case as I find quotes that have no footnotes or only partially completed footnotes.  

Bummer. And the biggest part of that bummer is for the author.  

Some writer's erroneously believe that it is the publisher's responsibility to complete footnotes or to obtain permission to quote.  

Wrong.

That responsibility belongs to the writer. And it's so much easier to do it when you first write it, then weeks or months later.  

My gift to you this Christmas is a simple reminder. Keep a notebook beside you when you write. Or open an electronic page for the book on which you are working. Write the title of the book at the top of the page and as you insert a quote, statistic or other piece of data, be sure to take the time to write down the necessary details to complete your footnote right then in your notebook or on your digital page.  

The most common error I find is that the page number for which the quote is found in a book is not included.  

Finding that same quote or stat in a book after the fact can be like finding a needle in a haystack. If the information was found on the internet (Tip #2 - This is not your best or most reliable source by the way. In fact, some publishers will refuse to use information documented only on the internet.) then the link might be gone or hard to find later on.  

So do the details in the beginning. This is one of those writing habits that once learned, will be a blessing each time you complete an article or manuscript and you discover you already did the work.  

You can thank me later. :-)   

Merry Christmas!