Cartoon credit: http://www.savagechickens.com
I remember when I first started writing, and I decided to take the plunge and expose myself on the internet. I would post articles and essays I had written on several different websites. My first love at that time was politics, so naturally, I decided to write about that topic,—it was my only area of expertise. Readers scorned my politics–as anyone would expect (at least those who disagreed); however, the worst tongue lashings I received were for my grammar, spelling, and general syntax.
The biggest reason for this was that I never proof read anything before I pushed the “publish” button. Yes, there I was, an unfound literary master, one who was so good that my work should be published pure, as it was first written—blah, blah, blah—(sighing loudly) the ego of a writer can be quite ugly in its raw form. I have to give myself some credit for being so brave. My wife Lori would cringe as she sat and listened to some of the comments readers wrote about my work. One guy told me that I was an affront to the Liberal Arts (laughing).
Lori, my dear wife, began to suggest that I allow her to read my work for a second opinion, you know (she said) a second pair of eyes. I begrudgingly agreed; however, this was also an impressive display of ego. She would point out areas that needed editing only to hear me growl at here like a dog that guards his bone. Over time, I was verbally beaten into submission by readers who saw themselves as the guardians of syntax. Then, it happened, I mustered enough courage to take an honest look at my readers, their comments, and for that matter, my overall traffic. It told the real “tale of the tape.” I sucked. No one was reading my work—not really. I came to the horrid reality that I needed to work on my skills as a writer, that I wasn`t the natural born, unfound, literary master that I thought I was. I was just another garden variety writer who needed to study the craft and practice more. And more importantly, I needed to PROOFREAD!
One of the top ten books that I ever read about the craft of writing (and there are so many) was a book called “Write good or die” by Scott Nicholson. This book is a compilation of shared advice and experience from published authors. It’s free for download and well worth a read. This book revealed to me some harsh truths about my craft from real writers who knew what it was like and what it takes to make it. One author, in particular, spoke to the issue of proofreading. He said that he would proofread no less than five times. Each time he was working to make his sentences more concise, looking for awkward sentences and poor grammar, and making sure the final product was truly his best. As indie authors and freelance writers, we are often our editors. We don`t have the luxury of an editor that we pay, like perhaps Steven King or some other best-selling author. We will make mistakes and typos; however, we must try our best to drop the ego and realize our first writing is not as good as the third or fourth. God bless–WP