This month we're talking about resolutions Shop Talk


A fresh pack of pens, a newly cleared desk, and a blank slate ahead of us—we’re looking forward to a great year in writing and editing. We asked Chicago Manual of Style users about their goals for 2015. Below are some of the many responses we received. Inspired to add a resolution of your own? Visit our Facebook page to chime in.

The CMS rule: C. Check, check and check again.  M. Make it simple. S. Style needs spice.—Gwendolen W.

I resolve to edit other people’s work ONLY when asked to do so.—Carolyn L.

To continue to enforce consistency, but to allow more leeway for the author’s voice to come through.—Penny S.

To be patient with my authors who look to me for help and advice, not criticism and judgment. Colleen B.

Learn to say no to projects!—Anonymous

To remember as I edit that “it’s not my book.”—Wendy M.

To help the pharmacists, nurses and MDs at my company sound as smart as they really are.—Kristen D.

I would say to stop correcting everyone’s Facebook grammar. But I feel, at this point, it’s a losing battle. We can’t edit the world.—Autumn S.

To edit the technical documents I work on in a manner more consistent with the guidelines in the CMOS.—Elaine F.

To find a better balance between compassion and necessity when it comes to copyediting deadlines with both authors and copyeditors.—Michael M.

Hang out that shingle and start editing professionally.—Erica H.

My resolution is not to be too hard-nosed with the authors whose work I edit. There is room in academic writing for less pedantry.—Vicky L.

To try not to be too judgmental. And to correct gently, if firmly.—Diana C.

My goal is to build up my editing business so that I can be doing that full time.—Leslie M.

After 32 years in the newspaper business, to get an editing job in an industry that appreciates the copy editor’s task.—Steven B.

To find a better-paying job than proofreading.—Anonymous

Pay more attention to the big picture rather than spend so much effort proofreading etc.—Jeff M.

To STOP having friends “edit” my work.—Craig H.

My 2015 goal is to study the CMOS 16th Ed. like a textbook, and take professional copy editing courses while freelance editing and writing.—Roanne K.

To also become edited, rather than continuing to only edit.—Lisa T.

To edit in ways that make the reading experience better for all readers, without ever losing sight of whose book it is.—Sarah G.

I will conduct my own ‘colonic’ . . . master the pesky colon and semi-colon!—Nyanda S.

To enforce the use of the Oxford comma in all circumstances, at all costs, if necessary at gunpoint, muahahahahaha.—Eve S.

My goals are to reinforce the value of good word choice and spelling. There are so many fantastic words available to us, and yet we choose to limit ourselves! Be bold and find a grownup word!—Andrea P.

To stay (somehow) current with the new terms that keep cropping up. Last year was difficult, with a lot of web clients using terms like “startup” and “protip.”—Jennifer G.

Always search for the word “very.” Then cross out most of them.—Allison B.

To win over more people at work to plain language. And to stop typing “teh” for “the.”—Gael S.

To ensure all writers of APA learn to write in author-date.—Ricardo

To improve my grammar skills. I would love to be able to write as a native.—Diana C.

To encourage the proper use of the em dash.—Lauren D.

My editing resolution was to have stopped the use of passive voice, and to use more transitive and intransitive verbs. They add tension. They give drama. They make editors laugh.—Gemma F.

Just write & worry about syntax later!—Rachel S.

To not feel so snooty because my grammar is always correct!—Katie B.

Editing resolution: To continue the fight against the dangling modifier. Writing resolution: To remember my audience.—Katherine J.

To become as confident in my own academic writing as I am in editing that of others!—Kristine H.

To write creatively every day from the heart without an audience in mind.—Iyabo O.

To become more confident in my writing abilities with the goal of submitting an essay (or two!) for publication or conference.—Samantha

My goal is to start at a PhD programme in history. Naturally, by using the CMOS reference system as a trusted sidekick during the process.—Tomas G.

To submit my research proposal for my PhD in the fall. Yikes!—Julia K.

I resolve to write in complete sentences and not give in to the current trend of communicating in fragments and bullet points.—Mary Ellen S.

Write one page per day.—Ashley M.

I resolve to write my outline before I write the article instead of writing the article first and then using that to make an outline.—Matt B.

My resolution is to finish and publish my two books.—Erika L.

Write a page a day, and learn to edit faster in order to make time for said writing!—Jocelyn B.

To be more effective communicator of my ideas. Also I want to be able to maintain the academic rigor using the Chicago system. —Mario J.

My writing resolution for 2015 is to incorporate quotes and figures from other authors into my writing more gracefully.—Hannah C.

On Sunday evenings, I will outline my writing plan for the week ahead, and then formally assess how well I did as part of the following Sunday’s planning session. Basic stuff, really, but I have never been able to make this habit stick. 2015 is the year!—Helen S.

As a freelance editor, my goal is to pick up steady work with a publishing house this year. —Kelsey M.

My editing resolution for this year is to edit my copies to 100% satisfaction of my customer/audience, i.e., optimum quality work. Also, I will constantly strive for value-addition of my own, which perhaps will lead to quality production. I also vow to maintain the author’s voice in copies I edit (which authors nowadays expect from their publishers), irrespective of what changes I make. Standards like CMOS, APA, and AMA have always proven their worth when it comes to grammar or professional way of expressing things.—Anirban M.

To make my editing business the sidekick to my writing business.—Jennon H.

As a writer, I plan to be consistent with my blog, writing something every day and not obsessing over perfection. As an editor, I want to find a balance between obsessing over every grammatical detail and overlooking minor issues.—Sarah R.

To finish the first book that will appear with my name on the byline as an editor!—Janna W.

I hope to write more for art and less for money.—Rosalind J.

To never turn a page (whether reading or writing or editing) without passion or purpose. Even (especially!) if that purpose to relax and enjoy.—Janice S.

Cheers to all our Chicago Manual of Style friends and fans!