Tuesday, October 10, 2006
The fine art of profreading
Some people are naturals. Others, like me, can read, check, and proofread a document and still manage to overlook a mess of errors, typos, spacing problems, etc. (I'd like to think that it's because I'm better at big ideas and compelling themes than such minor, mundane, matters. But it could be because I'm just lazy. Once the damn thing's written I want to move on to other things.)
Luckily, there are some people who are natural proofreaders. My boss at work is one of the best (which means she'll spot the tiniest error in anything I put in front of her - not always the kind of feedback I'm looking for!) Jenn Sommersby Young who contributes in a very signification way to Imprint, the newsletter I publish 'for anyone who writes for pleasure or publication', is another eagle-eyed proofreader, who also has a paid gig as a proofreader for a health magazine, as well as being a dynamite writer herself.
Dorothy, our Admin Assistant at work is another one who can spot an error or oversight a mile off, but shrugs off the praise we heap on her everytime she proofreads the annual report or brochure copy.
Whether they've learned the craft by sheer hard work - and perhaps some training - or come by the skill naturally, good proofreaders are hard to find, but once you've got your hands on them, don't let them go.
Whether you write for pleasure, profit, or publication, being word perfect helps the reader accept your writing for the well-crafted work it is, and gives credibililty to you and your efforts.
If you do end up proofing your own work (not always the best idea), you'll find some tips here and here on how to do it well.