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Practically Perfect Proofreading And Other Editing Myths

One of the difficulties a writer faces is reviewing their work in an attempt to locate all errors. There are generally two forces that work against a writer who attempts to ensure their work is error-free.

1. Being too close to the work you have difficulty concentrating on the writing.

2. You know what you want to say so it is possible you read over mistakes simply because your mind only sees your impression of the article. In order to be effective in proofreading your own material you have to work hard at reading every word… Refuse to speed through simply because you know what the writing says. Consider each word, then each phrase and then the context of the thought. Does the article flow or are there phrases that bog it down? Check punctuation and grammar. Look at the headline and make sure it is correct. Do the above all over again. Most often the best personal proofing requires multiple readings and ongoing edits. The key to the entire process is discipline – personal and professional discipline. Check and recheck the facts in your story and when possible allow another set of eyes to proofread your writing. They will likely see things that you missed. There is another myth that is closely linked to proofreading and that is the myth of the perfect story. Anything we write will either have a shelf life because styles and accepted practices change or we have missed something in the arena of consistency, grammar, spelling or word use. If we keep a piece of writing under lock and key until such time as we think it’s perfect we will likely find that the article will never see publication. You can go over your article with a fine tooth comb and you are likely to see some error when it is finally published. Writing should be taken seriously, yet not so seriously that the stress of word crafting removes the joy that caused you to become a writer in the first place. The best advice may be to simply write your story first and worry about fixing any problems afterward. If you stop writing in the midst of your story in order to correct trouble spots you are likely to lose the spontaneity of the storyline. This can ultimately have a detrimental effect on the overall reading satisfaction of the consumer. If you have to be a perfectionist wait until the story is complete and then get out your red pen and make a few alterations.


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