Ever taken at least a split second to think about what your reading or writing habits mean as a contributor to the state of the environment? Appreciate the opportunity to use digital media but also question conventional wisdom that it's the best for saving trees even compared to paper? No matter where you stand, a report by PBS' Don Carli contains some highlights to validate your concerns (bolded text is added for emphasis):
"The story of sustainable media is a 'bad news/good news' story. The bad news is that the public’s concern about our forests and the environment is justified. The good news is that seeing beyond the green rhetoric and rethinking the lifecycle impacts of both print and digital media will play a major role in allowing us to enjoy forests and conserve our environment...Greenpeace estimates that by 2020 data centers will demand more electricity than is currently demanded by France, Brazil, Canada, and Germany combined. What is less widely known is that mountaintop-removal coal mining is also a major cause of deforestation, biodiversity loss, and the pollution of over 1,200 miles of headwater streams in the United States...Chances are that the electricity flowing through your digital media devices and their servers is linked to mountaintop-removal coal from the Appalachian Mountains. The Southern Appalachian forest region of the U.S. is responsible for 23% of all coal production in the United States and 57% of the electricity generated in the U.S. comes from coal...In addition to considering the way digital media can create new possibilities for a better world we also need to consider the less obvious impacts of the purchased energy, embodied energy, dark content and e-waste associated with the growing use of digital media...[O]ur environment now faces challenges on many fronts that call for a new literacy about the state of the environment and the 'hidden' lifecycle impacts of the media choices we make. The widespread adoption of sustainable print and digital media supply chains can change our world again and help us to restore our environment. On the other hand, if we allow ourselves to be misled by false dilemmas or deceived into making unsustainable choices, distal concerns about destruction of the environment and the decline our forests will soon become a harsh and uncomfortable reality."
Well, I can't take credit for this one, but I find it too important to pass up. Want to publish your writing in print? Writer's Relief offers some tips on the fundamental aspects of writing a cover letter (you'll need one in this case), and here they are in a nutshell:
"Whenever possible, use the editor’s full name. 'Dear Sue Smith.' Never assume gender!...State your intention clearly and include the title(s) of the work(s) you’re submitting...Don’t summarize your story or explain the themes in your poems...Editors may find it insulting if you presume that they can’t understand your work and need to have it explained to them...Include a short bio that lists your writing credits...Be sure to sincerely thank the editor for his or her time...[T]he best place to include your contact information...is below your signature [your real name]. If you’re printing your cover letter to send a submission via standard postal service, then the letterhead and contact information should be at the top...[C]hoose a font that is clean and easy to read...[A]void using images or too many colors."
Without having spent significant time familiarizing yourself with all the style guides out there, you'd be surprised how easily you can run into some minute detail of writing which they differ over. Maybe you want to think it's a stupid waste of time to even discuss and would rather just stick to what looks best to you. Hey, I get it; it's unlikely that many people would blame you. But since languages evolve over time and style guides are there to help writers stay up-to-date, don't think you're too good to at least read others' opinions before you formulate your own, especially whenever things get tricky for you.
For instance, I'm kind of a stickler myself for what words in my titles should or shouldn't be capitalized, what words should or shouldn't be hyphenated, whether to use a serial comma, how many apostrophes if any belong in a word, placement of quotation marks inside or outside a comma, etc. This is kind of a habit you can expect to get into when you've got a formal education or a job in which you're told you need to follow a fixed standard. I really don't have a problem with it at all to be honest.
Barring this, though, I like making up my own mind about what standard I want to follow instead of relying on any one opinion or style guide, because while listening to different approaches to the same situation can be helpful, it gets out of hand once people begin to insist on their own rightness. No need to go to ridiculous extremes. I also agree that if you write to be understood and you can help it, your main concern is to be neat and not set out to confuse anyone.
I think it's only appropriate that I devote my first entry here to helpful tips for you who are just starting out in the world of editing and publishing copy. (Everyone else, please bear with me.) So here it goes...
Okay, so maybe you know someone (even if it's just yourself) who likes your writing enough to think it deserves to be published. Not to be a party pooper, but don't get a big head. Seriously. There may not be anything wrong with wanting a large readership for your writing (as in millions of people); you just need to understand that this sort of thing never just happens overnight, at least not without someone who's in a position to make that promise and deliver on it by meeting you where you are. Should you go that route, always verify first that your publisher has received overall positive reviews which are genuine, meaning no scams.
Now, more power to you if you can achieve that, but otherwise, I recommend starting with something like self-publishing on Amazon Kindle. Assuming you've never used a service like this before and to save time, you'll want to be prepared to ask for help from someone you know who's already familiar with it and can help you through a few questions you'll be asked on the way to publishing which will more than likely catch you off guard otherwise. Yes, it's possible that even what Kindle explains about its own questions won't provide the clarity you want the first time, but have no doubt that it does provide all the tools you need to succeed. Finally, if you get an illustration done to go with your work, make sure it's very professional.
If you're ready to publish, I can set up your work for that on Kindle. In the interim, as you plan to print your work with a publisher, more writers are using the e-book as a good starting point for each book because it can be set up and published in a matter of a few days.
Writing and editing can be pretty rigorous processes if you want to do them well, but that's what this page is here for. Check out the latest tips here.