Be it a business proposal, a short brochure, a website, business card, or a completed book of any genre, it’s best not to edit or even proofread your own work.
That second pair of eyes, that alternate mind that confirms or denies whether you’ve made your point; enriched your plot with descriptive, thrilling, emotional scenes; or included the correct steps and keywords to support and reach your logical conclusion is essential to the success or failure of a written piece online or in print.
Much expense can be avoided by getting an editor, ghostwriter, or trusted business colleague involved in not just grammar, spelling, punctuation (copy editing), but also in flow and ease of reading, using the most current terminology and format intertwined with unique design and pleasing, enticing, accurate writing, graphics, and pictures.
Show you care enough to make all forms of media on-target for your audience, specific purpose, and desired response.
Present your writing in the best design possible. It is a reflection of YOU and leaves a lasting impression.
Let Clasid Consultants Publishing make that impression memorable, sustainable, and relevant.
Unfortunately, a new pair of glasses won’t change your preconceived judgments, criticism, and bad habits. You just can’t wipe away a lifetime of engrained programming.
Editing and proofreading is a learned skill. You train your physical eyes to see errors, typos, and inconsistencies–things that just don’t make sense or are contradictory to previously stated fact or fiction. This is a different skill set than reading. You have to slow down, read each word separately, then each phrase or clause, making sure it’s a complete sentence, and check the construction of the sentence to make sure the objects, prepositions, verb tenses, and subject(s) are in a logical parallel pattern. Lastly, you go back to the beginning of the sentence, paragraph, or piece to check the validity of the statement in conjunction with the rest of the facts in an expository or the forward progressive action in fiction.
Your mind’s eye is a little harder to train. The mind’s eye is a collection of programmed data that has been input into cellular, organic gray matter since the day you were born. The conflicting material is a little overwhelming, to say the least. The number of times you’ve spelled or used a word incorrectly may far outweigh the times you’ve seen it correctly. So what’s going to pop up in your database, the brain, when you do a search/retrieve? The wrong, more plentiful data, of course. But a firm, conscious override of what has been programmed previously will stick, if only you could see with fresh, uncensored eyes.
The training begins anew, guiding your physical eyes to notice things you would normally just read right over, especially if it’s your own writing. Those of you who’ve read my editing/proofreading tips before know that I’m a firm believer that you cannot peruse your own writing for errors, typos, inaccuracies, and inconsistencies. What’s engrained in your computer database or brain is what you think is there, not necessarily what your physical eyes are seeing. A professional editor is still your best investment, but there are a few tricks that can fool the physical eye into seeing what is really there and not what your mind’s eye perceives. This would be like fresh data to the brain.
Read sections, sentences, paragraphs out of order. I’ve known many proofreaders who read things backwards, sometimes one letter at a time.This, of course, only works for catching typos and errors. Inaccuracies and inconsistencies won’t be seen if you’re reading in nonsensical fashion. This process works best if you’re reading/spelling aloud with two people swapping off and reading to each other. Two heads are better than one? Two sets of eyes and ears are even better!
Your Kindle, e-reader or app can change-up your writing to make it appear somewhat fresh by enlarging the text, changing the font or typeface, changing the color, and especially switching the background to black with white type. Sometimes that’s just the ticket to make errors pop!
If the eyes and brain are programmable, data-driven organs, use something else, like auditory. Use your Kindle or computer voice to read to you. A multitude of errors and misspellings can be heard in awkward phrasing, mispronunciations. Extra words, doubled words, left out words, wrong words are very noticeable in auditory.
Using a professional editor or proofreader is always, still, your best bet. Spell-cheek, grammar-check, and so-called editing or grammar software packages are as finite as your operating system. If it makes a word, it makes logical computer sense to a computer. That does not make it the right word. Nor does it catch inverted construction (different languages have different sentence construction), repeated words, left out words, and will never pick-up inaccuracies, inconsistencies, and errors in content.
The last item I’d like to share is cadence. Have you ever read some authors where the words just glide through your mind with flowing, almost poetic smoothness? Edgar Allen Poe was the master at this. Poets are known for keeping the cadence rhythmic. But this idea of fluidity can be applied to any type of writing–business, technical, essays, academic papers, and especially advertising and promotional media. Read your own writing back to yourself aloud, record it, listen to it in your own voice and inflection. Is it catchy, creative, smooth, persuasive, dramatic?
Other Points to Consider: Have you used the same word or words too repetitively? That gets boring to read very quickly. Do you have trouble reading an awkward sentence? Does it make logical sense or is it too rambling, ambiguous, losing momentum and cadence? Is it too long, too short; are you too repetitious in your ideas? Does each sentence have a subject, a verb, and an object or predicate? Do you have your clarifying remarks in the correct order? Does the entire piece have a dominant theme, supporting material, and a conclusion? Then look at each paragraph under the same premise–an opening sentence, substantiated information, and a conclusion that is linked to the theme. Paragraphs are just mini essays that support the whole concept.
Writing is considered a free expression of thought and creativity, but if you want to make your point, there are tried-and-true steps to follow to get that point across.
Best wishes on manuscripts and media that say much about you, the writer, in subtle clarity that speaks for itself.
CHECK OUT MY NEW BLOG FORMAT AND PROFILE!
(Please let me know what you think, even if you don’t like it.)
At this stage of my life I am a fiction author, first and foremost, but I wear many hats!
With a 30+-year history and education in editing and publishing, as well as psychology, I have introduced Clasid Consultants Publishing with a handful of specialist staff members to help writers of all media produce a better product. I am a firm believer that the meticulous high quality of the “old-fashioned” way of publishing, which took months and even years, CAN be accomplished with the new rapidity of our techno-change-o world. All it takes is a little knowledge, which I gladly impart for no-charge, and an eye for accuracy, lay-out, design, and consistency. I have extremely reasonable fees for coaching/ghost writing (all types of publications), edit/rewrite, copy-editing, proofreading, graphics design, full publication layout-and-design, and eBook publishing. At present, I have not expanded to hard-print, but I can assist in finding a “network partner” referral.
My main concern is that written material be accurate, consistent, beautiful to behold, and interesting to read. I’ve been told I’m far too generous with my specialties, but I love helping others writers be the best they can be. I willingly do no-charge reviews on short stories and novels, as I hope you will check out my fiction selections on amazon.com and do a review for me–good, bad, whatever–we all learn from each other and our perceptions change and evolve with every life we touch. Let me know how I can assist you!
As hobbies, I am an avid reader, musician (singer/piano/Celtic harp), mediocre artist, and Advanced Clinical Psychological Hypnotherapist (A.C.P.H). I am spiritual and creative. Creativity comes in many forms: from music, art, gourmet cooking, poetry, and novels to layout, design, and final printing prep.
I am an animal lover with a beautiful Turkish Angora Cat named Molly.
I am an advocate and speaker for Women’s Rights and “How Not To Be A Victim,” as well as esoteric subjects dealing with hypnotherapy, psychic dreams and visions, telepathy, unexplained phenomena, angels, demons, and gods/goddesses. I am happily married to my dearest friend, Sid.