Process for Writing & Translating

This process is flexible enough for the wide variety of writing that we produce. These steps are sequential. Each section includes a note for when to move on to the next step. They are for our published written works. Work for our website, monastic platform, email newsletters, or guest content for others. When creating for social media, we skip most of these steps.

Learn more about Urban Monastic Content

Initial Writing or Translation

Keyword: Initial

Writing your initial draft is a personal process. There is nothing anyone can do until your words are written down for the first time. Get at it! Get those thoughts out! There is little more to add since we write in many styles and genres. We strongly encourage an immediate re-read of your initial writing. This can help you make immediate edits. Texts should be free from spelling errors and be within range of our reading level goals.

Translation Process:

We are slightly more opinionated when it comes to translation. Specifically for non-contemporary texts. Our goal is more than getting the words correct. After your initial pass through a given text, you need to read it in context. At this point make changes. These should ensure the text communicates the full context of what you understand the author is saying. Pay attention to concepts, visuals, emotion, and relationships within the passage or text. This process is part of an initial translation. Enrich lightly to help contemporary readers understand and experience the text.

Progress to the Next Step After:

  • The initial draft has been re-read.
  • Spelling and grammar checks have been run.
  • Translations need to be enriched within their textual content.
  • It meets our reading level requirement.

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Second Pass by Author

Keyword: Second-Pass

The second reading needs time. To the best of your ability, please wait at least one day. The point of letting time pass is to allow the ideas and writing to not be as fresh. This lets you return to your words with fresher eyes. You may come across sentences that are stiff, ideas that could be clearer, and structures that could flow better. This is the time to make those improvements. This step is critical to our process. It allows the person who did the initial writing to be the first to peer review. 

Progress to the Next Step After:

  • Time has passed since the initial writing
  • You have finished re-reading your work and feel comfortable with any changes made.

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Peer Review

Keyword: Peer-Review

We are better together. Our lives are better in community. What we write is better when reviewed by our peers. This step is here to help us avoid mistakes and ensure guidelines are followed. Those who are reviewing do not need to be experts on the subject. Our major concern is that the texts make sense. Their ideas should develop logically and be understandable. The work of Urban Monastic is for a public and diverse audience. There are non-native speakers. There are also native speakers with graduate degrees. We are writing for a wide audience. Attempting to do so while inviting deep thought and engagement.

Those who are peer reviewing are advocates for our community and audience. Do your best to be familiar with our guidelines. There are general writing guidelines, and there might be content specific considerations. Experts in the source’s language(s) for translations are invited to comment on source issues. The goal here is not to align a text with a reviewer’s specific preferences. Rather, we want to ensure that our handling of the source(s) is gentle, generous to the original author, and faithful to the text(s).

Within Context and Type:
There will be variety among all the styles and genres of our written works. Yet, work of a similar type should feel and be similar. Works that are part of something like the Divine Office should be read in their setting. Texts are successful when they work well on their own and in context. Check if there are specific guidelines for the type(s) of content being reviewed. Take those guidelines into consideration. In addition, check the work being reviewed against other samples.

The work stays at this step during any dialogue between reviewers and the author. It moves to the next step after any areas of concern are addressed.

Checklist for Peer Reviewers:

  • The text makes sense overall.
  • There are no spelling mistakes.
  • It has avoided complex structures and grammar (making it more accessible).
  • It has avoided exclusionary language.
  • It follows the general writing guidelines.
  • It follows the content-specific writing guidelines.

Progress to the Next Step After:

  • Does the text flow smoothly, logically, and comfortably.
  • Are the guidelines being followed?
  • Has the writer made any needed adjustments?
  • Track the names of reviewers and the date their review was complete.

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Alignment to Guidelines

Keyword: Guidelines

The guidelines are serious. More than the author’s eyes have now seen the work. This last review is about guidelines. Ensure it follows our writing guidelines. Check again for any content type guidelines. If those exist, follow them too.

After this, the work is verified.

Progress to the Next Step After:

  • Are the writing guidelines being followed?
  • Are there content type guidelines that are also followed?

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Verified as Ready

Keyword: Verified

Being verified is not so much a step as a destination. After going through the process, they need to arrive somewhere. A text will stay verified until it is brought back into one of the previous steps. This can happen during a normal review period, source text developments, or from community feedback. No text is ever finished. However, we need a way to indicate that a given text is trusted and has our confidence.

All work should be verified before being prepared to be published in print or sent to third parties. This does not ensure that no mistakes will be present when published. It does help us feel better about the effort and process involved.

Reach out to us if you have found errors or issues with any of our written works.

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