Want to improve your proofreading?

Reading time: Less than 1 minute

This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss a blog post with a list of strategies for proofreading…

It was the headline that grabbed my attention: “Seven Proven Strategies for Editing and Proofreading Your Own Writing.” I couldn’t resist a come-on like that. I also appreciated the title of the blog: The Blood Red Pencil. It made me understand that this site was serious about writing and editing.

Author of the piece was Michael LeRocca, (pictured above) who has one of the ugliest websites I’ve ever had the bad luck to see. But when it comes to writing and editing, he knows his stuff. Or maybe we’re just sympatico. Many of the suggestions he makes in his post, I also made in my post, 10 ways to become a better proofreader.

I particularly agree with his argument about the importance of putting the writing aside before editing. Here’s how LeRocca describes what writers should do:

After you finish writing it, put your document away for a while. Hours, days, weeks or even months. You want to look at it with “fresh eyes.” Instead of seeing what you meant to write, you want to see what you actually did write.

When I tell my book-writing clients that they should put their manuscripts away for at least six weeks before editing, many of them are gobsmacked. “Why so long?” they ask. Well, as LeRocca puts it, we need “fresh eyes” before we can become decent self editors. Here’s a link to my post with more details about the value of inclubation.