I am a notoriously bad proofreader of my own work. My typos are sneaky little devils and do all they can to slip past me. Often, despite my best efforts, they succeed and laugh at me from that email I’ve just sent, or the blog I’ve just posted, or the paper I’ve just submitted.
I appreciate the opportunity to grow in my humility, but each time I fail to banish a typo before I let my writing loose in the world, I re-commit myself to eradicate the pests. A futile quest, I’m sure, but I keep looking for new strategies to help me. Thankfully, Grammar Girl offers some sound advice: 10 Tips to Banish Typos.
I find that reading my draft aloud to a friend works well for me. Having another person around helps me hear the gaps, lapses in logic, grammatical errors, and unfortunate word choices that jar like unexpected potholes in a smooth road.
But I don’t always have a friend able – and willing – to sit with patience while I work through my (draft’s) issues. So I was happy to learn a few other approaches that might work when I am unable to dragoon a generous ear. Soon, I’ll try reading drafts backward and printing them in a different font and margin size.
With luck, I’ll find a process that helps me to read with fresh eyes and ears, to stop the flow of prose in my head and focus my attention on the sentences on the page. Then maybe, just maybe, I’ll start exorcising those pesky typos once and for all.
Virtual Writing Center