Edit Yourself: A New Writing Course for Dog Professionals

This course is not currently available, but will be re-released.

If you are a professional dog trainer, you probably have to write a lot. If you have a small business, hiring a copyeditor every time you put out a document is not feasible. But my new course provides a practical way to help you create more polished and professional writing.

You can learn how to edit your own writing.

Lots of you teach skills all day, and often to more than one species. You know to break behavior into small chunks to build new skills. That’s what this course does. Although nothing can substitute for the work a professional editor or copyeditor does, in this course, you will learn to look at writing like they do. You will learn more than a dozen things to look for. Fixing those will improve your writing bigtime!

Putting better writing out into the world starts a cascade of good things for your business. It helps you establish authority and demonstrate competence. It helps you attract clients. And clear written communication skills can help you keep them and get good outcomes.

“Edit Yourself” can help you make your writing better. And you don’t even have to provide the writing that you work on. I do.

“Edit Yourself: Writing Skills for Dog Trainers”

The course has 16 lessons, 34 activities, and 21 worksheets. There are also four videos, including two interviews with accomplished writers in the dog training world.

Here’s a peek at some of the lessons and activities in the course.

Text: list of chapters and activities in Edit Yourself course. A Capital Idea Show Your Good Breeding Heading Your Way A Number of Things... 7 Use Strong Nouns The Utilization of Nominalizations Precipitates a Minimizing of Robustness Lose (Most of) the Romance 8 Leaving the State of Being Finding a Stronger Verb than "To Be" and Kicking Out Its Buddies There Is and There Are 9 Getting All Those Words to Agree and Stay in Line Nouns and Verbs and Tenses, Oh My! (Subject-Verb Agreement) I Misplaced My Modifier! 10 Lists: Determining a Format and Making Them Parallel Bullets or Numbers? Getting Lists Parallel Is the Tricky Part 11 Will You—Can You—Work 8–5 and Stop Dilly-Dallying Around? Hyphens and Two Kinds of Dashes 12 Whose Voice Is It Anyway? Voice: Your Face To the World Contract That! One Weird Trick To Warm Up Your Writing

Each activity has an explanation of the issue and several examples. I explain how to identify a particular problem and how to fix it. With issues of style, I also discuss the reasons one might “break the rules” and not fix it.

Really, No Writing!

You don’t have to write for this course; you do that all the time for your business anyway and you don’t need extra writing assignments. Instead, you will tinker with and fix what I write for you. Some of the “bad” examples are straight from my older blogs! That’s where you’ll practice. Then you can take your new skills straight to your own documents.

A systematic way to find common style and readability errors can change the way you think about writing and take your skills to a new level. As you internalize these guidelines and practice editing, your new habits will flow into your writing. You’ll get more things right the first time and know what to look for when it’s time to polish your document.

People have asked me what level of writing skill they need to take the course. The material is helpful at all levels. You don’t need advanced writing skills.

Beyond Proofreading

This is neither a proofreading course nor a grammar course. There are hundreds of apps and online courses for those. In “Edit Yourself,” you learn to make your writing more polished, professional, and readable. You learn to catch common errors and mishaps. And you go about it in an organized, systematic way. For instance, several of the problems you learn to spot can be found by simple document searches. Others are a little trickier, but once you learn to look analytically at your writing, your good habits can generalize.

a worried looking brown dog looks at some text pinned to the wall

Not Just for Dog Trainers

This course focuses on principles of writing that apply to more than writing about dogs. It is helpful to anyone who writes nonfiction and in particular those who write for their business. Since my world is the dog training world, the course is aimed at people in that world. There is a lot of doggie content in the material. (Did you know there are rules for capitalizing dog breeds? Do you know where to find those rules?) Not just dog trainers, but behavior consultants, vets and veterinary staff, dog walkers, dog groomers, and shelter and rescue folks will all benefit.

This course is awesomely put together and extremely useful for writers of any genre. It’s very easy to follow, the instructions are clear and concise, and it helps you remember the ”rules” of writing in a fun way. 

Antonia Čirjak

The Nuts and Bolts

After you have practiced different editing challenges, you will create a personalized list of issues to check when you are finishing up any document. I provide a master list of the issues students work on, and you can cut any that aren’t important for you. By the end of the course, you’ll know what you need to focus on. (Two of my own personal problems are too-long sentences and overuse of the word “that.”)

“Edit Yourself” is a self-paced course. There are group discussion areas tied to each activity, and you can choose how much you engage. Your work is completely private; you don’t turn anything in. But you can ask questions of other students and me when you need more help on a topic.

“Edit Yourself” is opening at an introductory price of $129, and you can get an additional 25% discount using the coupon code LAUNCH. This discount applies through June 30, 2019. That price is under $100, less than you would pay for an hour of a good copyeditor’s time.

4 thoughts on “Edit Yourself: A New Writing Course for Dog Professionals

  1. If you don’t turn anything in, how do you know if you’re on the right track?
    I am a writer with severe ‘writer’s block’. Will this course help me or put me further into the fog of self-criticism?! Do you teach rigid rules or flexible guidelines? Rules can really harm spontaneity, for sure.
    I have re-written this comment three times. Help!

    1. Hi Debbie,
      The course teaches you to do, in part, what a good editor does. You can take a sentence that doesn’t have anything technically wrong with it, but maybe is not optimal for the reader. You learn to make sentences clearer and more readable. You learn specific, concrete guidelines for doing this.

      To answer your questions specifically:

      On the worksheets, you will be improving sentences in ways I have taught you to do in the lessons. You’ll have examples, then you’ll practice applying the principles. The goal is to get you to think of these issues, rather than to establish rules about right and wrong. So I don’t have “answer sheets” because, while some exercises have pretty obvious optimal solutions, when you are writing, style is always a judgment call. I give you the principles, and you decide how to apply them for your particular writing voice.

      The same with the lesson on passive voice. Overuse of passive voice can make writing dull and soulless. So we do exercises on converting passive to active voice. BUT I also show examples where passive voice is probably the best solution for an individual sentence.

      I can’t answer for your writer’s block, but one thing that may help is that you don’t write the content in the course. You are being an editor, and you are editing stuff that **I** wrote. So I’m guessing that might be freeing, but I can’t be sure, of course. I don’t know what effects it would have when you go on to do your own writing and carry some of the lessons along. For me, I think it would be a confidence builder, but again, not sure how it would affect you.

      I’m teaching guidelines almost entirely. Here’s an example. One of the lessons is about recognizing the difference between words in English that come from Latinate/romance language roots and those that come from Germanic roots. The point is that overusing Latinate words in anything but the most formal writing makes one sound pretentious and stuffy. So for an example, I create a sentence that uses the maximum number of Latinate words I can think of. It sounds stiff and silly. I then change them all to Germanic words and compare the sentences. But that’s not the end of it. I make a judgment call to put two of the Latinate words back in because of nuances of meaning. So there was no “rule” to get rid of all the Latinate words. The challenge is to consider the words and decide for oneself whether some could be replaced.

      I hope this helps. Feel free to ask more. Maybe one of my pre-testers can join in with a comment here, as well.


  2. Thanks Eileen. I just want to check: the course if self-paced and doesn’t start any particular time? Many thanks.

    1. That’s right, Debbie. Start whenever you like and do the lessons at your own pace. And you retain access to the course. Hope to see you there!


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