Proofing Your Work Can Be Educational

We’ve all done it. We’ve written something hurriedly, submitting it in the very last seconds before the deadline. In those last seconds, did you proofread the article, story, or editorial? If you did, then chances are you found at least one mistake than needed correcting. Perhaps you were able to finally locate that elusive word from your mental dictionary to fill that special niche just before the buzzer sounded. If you didn’t, then you hit the word send and were left to wonder. Proofreading articles and other written work is not just a good move professionally to assure spelling and grammar both are up to standards. It is also a good way to become a better writer.
It is in re-reading our material that we become acquainted with our work as readers, not writers. As readers we find the lack of cohesiveness in thought, the confusing prepositional device and any of the other of dozens of myriad little problems that, as writers, we often overlook. When we are writing, we know what we are trying to say and use our craft to spell it out. As readers of our own work, we can best gauge whether or not we have accomplished that task. It is seldom, even in a short piece, that I do not find at least a small change or two that must be made when I do that final once-over before submitting the work. It only takes a few minutes and is well worth the time.
I challenge you, as writers, to do a quick read-through of any recent works you have either already submitted without proofing, or are in the midst of readying for submission. Even if you’ve already proofed for spelling and grammatical correctness, read them anyway. You might be surprised to find that you can spot little problems that, once corrected, make the entire piece much more readable.
In addition, if you are the type of person who can divorce themselves from their own ego long enough, you can also critique your efforts and gain insight into areas where you are deficient. Of course, the same exercise will allow you to enjoy a glimpse into areas where you excel, as well. All in all, proofreading can be an educational experience that allows a writer the chance to improve upon their craft even while they are performing what many consider an onerous task. So proofread your work for content, grammar, spelling and for your own edification.

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