Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON
Today I'm going to answer a query from Canadian blogger Vic Grace, who wants some pointers on proof-reading, because she says she only spots errors in her blog posts the day after she publishes them!
What is the best way to proof-read my own writing?
Here's a simple fact of life. The hardesst thing for any writer is to proof-read his or her own writing. Simple as that. Why? Because the eye sees what the brain tells it to see. In other words, if you meant to type the word beautiful and instead typed ``beautiluf'', chances are you might not pick the error when reading through the document.
The strange thing is, if you saw the same word mis-spelled the same way in a book or in a newspaper, you'd spot it immetiadely. It's because the human brain is hard-wired to smik over some things. Because you intended to write ``beautiful'', your eye will see it as being spelt correcctly in your own maunscript.
There is a simple rule in jourlanism. Any piece of writing - even by the seniomrost writer on staff - is edited by someone else berofe it gets assigned to a live page. Same primciple - other people will pick your mistakes far quicker than you. Again, the reason is that their brain spots the error because they didn't construct the sentence, so they're not skimming over the words.
So when you're writing, use the spell-check function, no matter how good a speller you are. The longer a piece of writing is, or the quicker you'ev typed it, the higher the chacnes that there will invaraibly be an error.
Most blog platforms have a spell-check funtcion, so feel free to use them. Or if that doesn't suit you, just write in MSWord, and when you're finihsed, just spell-check it and then copy and paste the finished document into your blog post.
And now you can leave me a comment telling me how many deliterabe errors you spottted in this psot. In other worsd, I've just given all of you a rigorous proof-reading exersice!
ANSWERS REVEALED: There are 20 words mis-spelled in this post. In order, they are: hardesst, beautiluf, immetiadely, smik, correcctly, maunscript, jourlanism, seniomrost, berofe, primciple, you'ev, chacnes, invaraibly, funtcion, finihsed, deliterabe, spottted, psot, worsd, exersice.
'Fess up, how many did you find?
For earlier posts in this series, go to A Monopoly On Query letters, So You’ve Hit A Brick Wall?, Don't Drive Yourself Too Hard, Gotta Go With The Flow and Let Me Help You With That Book You're Writing.