Now that National Novel Writing Month has come to a close, a lot of you will turn to the lovely task of revising and then proof reading. (if you're not quite at The End, well, not to worry. Here's a pep talk from the Fabulous Bill Cameron)
One of the things I've learned in writing this blog is to allow enough time for proof reading. It's almost a truism that the posts I write the closest to deadline are the ones with the clunkiest writing and all too often, the ones with words that have gone astray. Missing letters. Wrong meaning. Yanno...those insidious little HomonymTypoFuckers.
My most recent insight was to make sure to allow at LEAST a day or two for the Week in Review. Not only is it longer than most other posts, it's usually got more "moving parts" in that I cut and paste quotes and jpgs in that post more so than in the weekly posts. In other words, lots more places for stuff to go wrong wronger wrongest.
I started last week's review (11/29/15) on the Friday before I needed to post. I worked on it for a while on Saturday morning, then again Saturday night. On the Sunday morning before it was due to go live, I re-read and found three typos. AIEEE!!
On WIR posts I've started on Sunday morning? Well, let's just say I've been known to go back a couple days later and fix some of the more egregious errors that y'all forgot to mention to me (remember, telling me about homonyms/spelling errors is MUCH appreciated. Just don't correct spelling mistakes made by the other commenters.)
What this means to you: allow enough time to proofread. Don't think it's a matter of days for a novel length ms. I figure you can proof about 5000 words a day at MOST, and fewer is often better. Reading any faster and your eye skips the same kind of stuff I missed on that WIR (buy/but, he/the.)
When I need to proof read contracts, I always print it out on paper and use a straight edge to keep my eye from moving too quickly. I look up after every paragraph to break the rhythm. You'd be shocked and appalled to hear the number of typos I find in boilerplate contracts (ie contracts that should be the same each time.)
Revising is where you earn your chops as a writer. Proofreading is where you show me your level of meticulousness. There are only a few qualities I value in writers more than being meticulous.