Proofing your own writing
Have you ever counted up how long you spend writing each day? I’m guessing it adds up to quite a sizeable chunk of time.
People may talk about the death of print, but many of us spend our working days generating far more text than ever before.
Jess Cartner-Morley’s piece in the Guardian about the death of the telephone got me thinking about it.
I’ve noticed that I spend a lot less time on the phone than I used to (although my bill is just as high, and apparently about to get higher when BT puts up its rates).
It seems the same thing is happening in offices of all sizes everywhere. The main sound is the tapping of keys. Ironic, given that outside of work, people never seem to be off their phones!
This puts more importance than ever on writing skills. As a writing trainer you would expect me to say that. But consider the evidence: a little grammatical slip up, a poorly chosen word – in a conversation they’re soon forgotten. Not so in an email. They’re there to haunt you forever.
Which is why it is hugely unfair that it is so difficult to proof your own writing. Our treacherous brains see what they want to see. So, no matter how many times you check, something always seems to get through.
My big tip on this is to rest whatever you are writing. Minimise it on the screen, do something else and then take a fresh look. Hopefully mistakes will stand out.
Check out our course on proofreading for lots more tips.
What do you do to make sure your emails don’t disgrace you? (And how many mistakes did you spot in this?)