I’ve long been cursed by an attention to detail for writing. Yes, it’s helped me craft sentences I can be proud of, but it’s also made a lot of people roll their eyes at my corrections over the years, and it’s forced me to stay awake at night thinking in horror of all the improper quotes on signs, all the wrong theres, and all the poor misused semi-colons.
Professionally, I’ve been able to harness these tendencies for good. When I joined The CE Shop in 2015, names of products varied by state and there were no consistent rules. I renamed them across the board, which ended up being a far larger task than originally thought, but then the problem became that the logic wasn’t documented anywhere.
Thus came the style guide, an essential document that covered everything from capitalization to how to write out numbers to what to do with that misunderstood Oxford comma. I realized pretty quickly after starting on the style guide that this stuff was not terribly exciting for anyone who wasn’t a card-carrying grammar nazi. In fact, you might say being lectured on the correct use of a hyphen was boring.
And so I packed it full of jokes and silly scenarios, following in the footsteps of Schoolhouse Rock and hoping that if the subject was fun, people would pay more attention to what was being said.
This was originally made back in 2016, and in 2021 it’s still being referenced. I’m happy to say the style guide has brought some organization to how copy at the company is written, and it’s been incredibly useful as something to point to whenever questions of style arise.