Today I thought I’d do something a little bit different, and not proofread my post before I upload it. I won’t deliberately make any mistakes, but hopefully it’ll demonstrate how easy it is to make mistakes.
IT can be really tempting to hit ‘send’ when you finish something. That scenario many of us imagine where we’ve finished and released our work to the world gives us a strong hit of dopamine. But it can be an extremely good idea to read through and check something before it goes live. And even then, we tend to be the worst people to check our own work. We see what we expect to see, and often not what’s actually there.
When I write these blog posts, I’ll usually make plenty of reviosions. IT’s going to be very hard for me to upload this as it is, because I expect it will need more than ‘proofreading’ to read well; I often have to do a significant amount of editing. I seem to be very good repeating words, for instance. I’m being careful not to put too many exclamation marks in as I type today, because I know that I overuse them. On a normal day, I can jsut go and remove some of them.
But, for once, polishing this will defeat its purpose. For all I know, this could be the first time that I manage to write something perfectly coherent, and which is completely free of errors. I doubt it though. (Full disclosure: if I notice a typo as I’m typing it, I’ve been correcting it. I’m sure that many of us do this.)
Everyone makes mistakes. And most of us will benefit from the perspecitve of a trained outsider to help us get our point across. If you’ve written a first draft of a book, it’s an extremely good idea to take a few days or weeks away from it, and then go back and read through it. See if there’s anything you want to change. And then, get some feedback. Beta readers are an amazing first step for this. Then, editors can play a fantastic part in the next steps. And finally, proofreaders can make sure that you’ve used the words that you itnended to use.
If you’ve read this far today, congratulations! Hopefully it’s given you an idea about what some polish can do for your text. I hope you can see the difference in quality between this post and the ones that I usually publish on this blog. I promise that the next one will be edited and proofread before I upload it. Now I just have to build up the courage to hit ‘Publish’…
This post was first published 12/02/2021. Style and images updated 28/10/2023. Original errors retained.