Hmm. I wrote the post below this morning after I took the kids to school. I hadn’t pressed ‘publish’ (which is how you make the post appear on the site) when the phone rang. Could I come in to work – a relief teacher (that’s me) was needed in an emergency. I’m trying not to do relief at present because I’m not really well enough, but it was an emergency so I said yes, pressed publish and headed off to work.
Four hours later I’m home and back at my desk, having had quite a fun morning (I had to plan lessons on my feet so I read some great picture books to the class, then did an extended music and drama session). The first thing I saw when I sat down here was my blog post which was still open. The second thing I saw were the glaring spelling errors in the first paragraph of my post. Yes, because I was in a hurry I had not proofread or even spellchecked.
Fortunately for me, blogger allows you to edit posts even after they’re published, so I’ve now fixed them, but if anyone read my blog in the last four hours they probably shook their heads at my sloppy work. These were not little errors – they were big fat glaring ones. In future, if I’m in a hurry, I’ll save the posting for later when I have time to do it properly.
But there’s a lesson there for all writers. Proofreading is such a vital part of the writing process. I try not to proofread AS I write, especially for the first draft – that is, I get it all down before I go looking for errors. But then I proofread each draft, with the final draft getting several goings over. Where possible, I also get at least one other person to proofread for me, to see what I’ve missed.
Do you proofread your work meticulously? If not, you should not be sending it out for publishers to read. The care you take with proofreading (and manuscript [presentation, but that’s another story) can make or break your story – a manuscript riddled with errors says to the publisher that you don’t consider it worth doing a good job on, or that you don’t know your craft.
Do yourself a favour and proofread proofread proofread! It doesn’t matter whether it’s a blog post, a letter or a manuscript – get into the habit of proofreading everything you write.
By the way – even though I had to work unexpectedly, I’m still smiling.