Is it a drumstick? A chopstick? Wand? Nope, it’s an editing stick. Ok… it’s a chopstick really, but who says that something has only one purpose? Maybe, for example, a useful writer’s tool to help edit!
Everyone always tells you to proofread your work, right? But you still miss stuff because your brain, being your brain, tells you that you put genes not jeans in that all-important science essay. We had a lecture at university about editing our work and one of the suggestions was this chopstick—something to go into the writer’s toolbox.
But the chopstick, it forces you to pause as you read. Especially if you move it around as you read. That slight pause before you move on… that bit of no movement. That’s your brain registering whether it’s a mistake
The Story Behind the Editing Stick
I know it sounds odd, but it works. So let me tell you the story behind my editing stick.
Last year, I sat in on the radio module. It was a small class, perhaps a dozen or so students in the room. Once, the lecturer came in with several chopsticks bunched up in his hand like a bouquet. He puts all but one on the desk and starts up a powerpoint. As he talks through the slides, he waves the chopstick around.
By now, everyone was probably wondering why he had a chopstick in his hand. When he finished a section of the powerpoint, he would ask us questions. The people who engaged in the discussion got a chopstick, by the end of the presentation, many people had one. Naturally, we started acting as if we were given a wand crafted by Ollivander or were challenged to a duel. It was great.
He then told us that it wasn’t a chopstick (receiving comments back agreeing, many saying it is a wand or sword). He said they were neither wand or sword, but an editing stick; used to point out errors in our work.
What is an editing stick?
It is a writer’s tool for editing. Whether you are writing a story, screenplay or article, the stick is there to help.
It works by holding the stick in your hand as you read aloud. Your hand will naturally move the stick across the page, and if there is a word or sentence that does not make sense, the stick will remain still, indicating a problem in your writing.
You try the sentence again, but you can’t get past a word- the stick won’t allow you. So you review that word or the whole phrase and read from a point higher up. If it moves on, you have fixed the problem, if not try again.
I love this idea. It’s so simple.
Anyway, I’m thinking of decorating mine and would love your ideas. I know people in class have started turning them into Editing Wands—in the theme of Harry Potter.
To all the writers out there, I do recommend trying this method. You may be surprised how much it will help you. It has helped me with my coursework so far. So, yep. I highly recommend it.
Before you go
What did you think of this writer’s tool? Would you try it?
I hope you enjoyed this post. If you have, why not read some other writing tips and content. There are plenty on here: 12 Key tips to writing your