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proof-reading your posts

© May 2019 Anthony Lawrence

We all make mistakes in composition. Typos, actual spelling errors, incorrect punctuation, bad sentence structure, or just general confused writing: there are lots of ways to screw up your posting, and that's especially true in the heat of creativity. You are concentrating so hard on content and it's easy for mistakes to creep in.

There are tools, of course. Basic spelling checkers are a given, and grammar checking isn't hard to find either. But spelling checkers don't catch "to" when it should have been "too", and grammar checkers are a long, long way from really being useful for most of us. They may catch the more egregious problems, but they aren't yet up to the level of analysis a human being can apply to writing.

You may be fortunate enough to have a good proof-reader available to you. Maybe a co-worker, or a friend or spouse can check your posts. However, many of us work alone or don't have anyone with the particular expertise needed to judge the overall quality of a post. It's very difficult to proof read your own work, mostly because you know what you wrote (mare accurately, what you think you wrote) and will skip right over glaring errors. This is one more reason that I recommend writing ahead: if you read a post a few days after you write it, you can often pick up problems you just cannot see when it is fresh.

I like to write a week ahead if possible, but that's of course impossible if your blog is more topical than mine are. Still, you can probably delay the actual post a few minutes anyway while you write or read something else that will flush out your mind a little and give you a fresher perspective to come back to proof read. If you do have the luxury of a tech blog or other blog where you can write well ahead, coming back to a post a week later really does let you see it with new eyes. I often find myself doing a little polishing just before I finally post; it's the delay that let me see initial awkwardness or other problems.

Proof reading isn't easy, and it is especially hard to proof read your own work, but putting some time between writing and reading really can help.

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