WHAT DO PUBLISHED AUTHORS WANT?
I want to:
1) have no typos in my published work, and
2) avoid pain.
These aims are incompatible.
Proofreading your own work: a professional promise
I just proofread an important letter I am writing to a corporation for a subject of public advocacy that is apparently something only I can do (if it fails, you will hear about it).
I’ve been writing it for two years.
A very nice German fellow who discovered something similar and wrote blog posts about it, requiring a major worldwide corporation to mend its ways, was kind enough to help me, and worked with me on the letter. A year ago. Yes, I’m that slow.
Needless to say, with that many iterations between two people, in English but with a German correspondent (whose English is far superior to my almost non-existent German) on one end, the document had a lot of tiny gotchas where things had been moved around, edited, deleted…
I almost rewrote from scratch – but would have lost many of the nuances we’d built in. No go.
Add in brain fog. It took a long while.
The mechanics of proofing, newbie version
So I threw it up, latest version, on the screen.
And I started into it with all the tools of the proofreader:
I changed the font – edited, took a screenshot after making the corrections [s].
I changed the font size [s].
I changed to italics – found out the new font didn’t have italics – lost all my formatting. So I replaced with a different font, and located the things which needed to be bolded for emphasis again [s].
I turned on Speech in Scrivener, and went bonkers trying to turn it off when it brought the first error into my ken. Speech is at the bottom of the edit menu, and has no keyboard shortcut.
I went into the preferences, edited the formatting bar to include the Speech icon.
I selected paragraphs one at a time – then Speech only reads the selected text. Whew. Much better [s].
NOTE: hearing your text read to you, even by the pretty-good speech facility, is excruciatingly painful.
I printed it on paper – oddly enough, that didn’t work for me, no more typos found – or maybe I should have started there.
It hurts – the pain is probably good for your character
I couldn’t face the job. Procrastination, according to Alan Lakein (How to get control of your time and your life) occurs for two reasons: the task is Overwhelming. Or the task is Unpleasant.
This was both. I’m only doing it because it is my duty as a citizen, and said corporation could squash me like a bug merely by waving an attorney or two at me.
I hope they don’t.
The results of proofing are worth the effort.
I did the job. Two letter pages, closely argued. Trying to sound intelligent and committed and with further resources to sic on them if they give me trouble (y’all will help, right?)
The letter is in the outgoing mailbox (snail mail).
My stomach still hurts.
Celebrate! Always celebrate victories, however small!
I celebrated with mozzarella sticks for lunch.
I cannot imagine proofreading a 150K word novel this way.
And that’s next week’s task. Ouch. Even with lots of promised help (thanks, Lily).
Thanks to Quozio.com for the quote software with the pretty text and pictures.