Proofread, Proofread, Poofread

Proofreading your work is the most important action you can perform before pressing the publish button. An error-free post sends an unconscious signal to the reader that you care about your writing.

I can’t count the times I have found a beautiful post, especially a poem, ruined over a misspelled  word, an incomplete phrase, or another grammatical error. The flow is brought up short and the reader loses her concentration.

I opened Twitter yesterday and read a post by a writer plugging his self-published novel. I don’t usually open links to read excerpts, but did in this case; the title and cover art pulled me in. Actually, now that I think about it, the writer’s blurb is what caught my eye. Were I an agent, his blurb would have led me to read more.

Anyway, the excerpt disappointed me when I read this:”… I should been the one to look out for her.” The omission of “have” after should was jarring, and caused me to change my mind about reading on. Should I have continued reading? What’s one error in a novel of probably 80,000 words? Is it unfair to the writer to hold one error against him? In this case, yes: the writer should have proofread his excerpt before posting it. He wants people to buy his book, but doesn’t take the time to proofread before posting. He rushed to post. Fatal error.

I hold writers to high standards. This isn’t grade school. We’re putting our writing out there for others to read. We are judged by others based on the quality of our writing. Writing and posting in a hurry leads to errors. Writing a poem and posting without proofreading is a terrible thing to do. Reading a beautiful poem and finding a misspelled word makes me want to cry.

I would like to be judged a good writer based on the quality of my writing. A 200 word post should be as carefully proofread as an 80, 000 word novel.

19 thoughts on “Proofread, Proofread, Poofread

  1. Tails Around the Ranch

    I have that same reaction but confess, I’ve seen errors on more than enough of my own posts on occasion. Sadly we’re all human and make mistakes. Usually it’s precipitated when I use the mobile app on a teeny little screen. Still…it sends me into orbit. Argh!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. writealineblog

    Guilty as charged😊. That is a skill I really need to work on. I’ve learnt to read it out loud to myself, it has really helped. I’ve also realised that when I proofread it my mind, I miss words and hence the mistakes. But it’s a good point you raised, there’s a higher standard of proficiency placed on us writers to bring out a quality assured paperwork.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Will Pennington

      I proofread this again and again before I posted and still missed a word: “finding a misspelled makes me….” Part of the reason is that I was typing this on my iPhone’s WP app while at the airport waiting for a flight. So, being in hurry, typing on a small keypad, and not reading aloud so people wouldn’t think I was weird and move away from me, were all reasons not to post until I could be sure it was ready.
      I was totally embarrassed when I found the missing word 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ajibola Sunday

    My proofreading happens in my subconscious as I am writing and I only read over once or try to play with the words, vocabulary and sentence if I want. Proofreading over and again is an act of a perfectionist but I can’t stand being one as the hassle can be stressful. I’ve read books with typos from great authors. I’ve read webpage contents with typos. To err is human; We are born happy not to be perfect.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. proofistheword

    Proofreading is an ESSENTIAL thing for every writer, whether they’re writing blogs, emails, essays, letters, articles or books. How many texts have we all had where there was a major error in the language?

    I can sort this out for any of you who need it!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. typely

    Out of pure curiosity I extracted your article and placed it into my own proofreading application. Zero reports which is really nice. The app has over 1,000 checks being performed over a submitted piece of text and yours came out clean. If you have the time, maybe you can create your next article using our tool and share some feedback: typely(.)com

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Will Pennington

      I had never heard of negative sentiment analysis until running a chapter of my book through typely. It fits, though, as the chapter contains an overall negative aspect.
      I’m curious though; I would never call my writing this clean, but the four chapters I tested came out clean but for consistency (spaces after a period, a cliché, a redundancy, and typography (curly quotes). How does typely stack up against ProWritngAid? My writing comes out pretty well there too, but for complex sentences for the most part.

      Like

      1. typely

        Will, thank you for taking the time.

        The strength of Typely is the fact that it tries to keep the “false positives” at minimum. We don’t do grammar checking because it’s too hard for machines to do it properly. ProWritngAid can be used in parallel as they seem to complement each other.

        My idea with this tool is to create an environment where the writer comes and actually writes not just copy-pastes pieces to see a report. If you play with the upper right icons you will notice some actions that allow you to “settle in” and be productive. I don’t want to go against giants as I don’t have the manpower nor the funds to do it and, instead, I focus at going forward with small steps while keeping Typely a sensitive, unobtrusive and reliable tool for any writer, newspaper editor, teacher, blogger or student.

        At 1000+ checks I consider it to be somewhere at 2% – 10%. We still have a lot to cover but the early feedback is positive. I’m just dividing my time as best as I can to try and spread the word a bit, connect with writers and see where I should go next.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Will Pennington

        I like it so far. Your list of checks is comprehensive and includes some I haven’t seen anywhere else. I like “Filth” because I don’t use curse words in my writing unless the word is a place name (Shit River); “sexism” puts me off, but only as a sign of the Big Brother mentality that seems to afflict so many people these days.
        All in all, I like Typely. I’ll use it for a few posts and give you feedback. Thank you for the opportunity!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. typely

      Nope. It’s 100% free and I plan on keeping it like that. I have some advanced features in mind that will require a small plan somewhere in the near future but we will always have it free. I haven’t even thought about marketing yet to be honest. I’m testing the waters right now and see if this application can become a product that’s why I’m reaching out as much as I can.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Will Pennington

        I’m liking the program. I’ve run twenty-five of thirty-eight chapters of my book through the program. I’ll do the remainder tomorrow. I had never heard of Sentiment Analysis, what an eye opener. The program picks up adverbs and cliches – excellent. There is a lot to like here.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. typely

        That is really nice to hear Will. I had this program featured yesterday on the frontpage of a really big social website and that, along with your feedback and what I received from other writers, is all the validation I need to keep at it. Maybe you can recommend it to your audience.

        Do you find that sentiment analysis to be accurate with the bits you input?

        Liked by 1 person

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