We've recently gotten some copy-editing work from a couple of clients and boy, has it been an eye-opener. The number of errors in professional writers' work is pretty astonishing. These folks aren't hacks and the magazines they're writing for are national publications. They're not making tiny errors that don't matter. Rather, they're turning in copy with people's and products' names misspelled, typos spell-checker won't pick up, and sloppy grammar errors.

As I've said before here, we all make mistakes. And that's why the copy editor is a writer's best friend. But there's a limit to what you should expect your editors and proofers to catch, writer pals. It's just plain unacceptable to misspell sources' names. And it's just plain lazy not to check product and company names. These are journalism 101 rules that shouldn't be forgotten.

Even if you're doing two jobs for the price of one, even if you're hard up on another deadline, check your work. Put in a few extra minutes to verify spelling and check off word choice at least. And not just to make my job as your copy editor easier. But to make a better impression on all of us who see your work before it's published.

Based on what we've been editing lately, I wouldn't recommend any of the writers submitting this stuff because I think they're careless and lazy. Ouch. Those errors have eroded the authors' reputations.

With more editors working with skeleton crews, the writers who turn in the cleanest copy are the ones who get the most work. Isn't that worth a little extra effort?