I love this tweet, which I saw the other day and just had to share:
— Monica Cable (@monicacable) 15 July 2016
Not only will every writer relate to this but although it’s about editing, the same can also be said about proofreading.
You’re a writer. You just want to write, that’s what you do. You love having ideas, getting them down and forming stories. You like to create.
It’s fun, satisfying and hard work that involves emotional investment.
The last thing you want is to have to edit and proofread. For a creative, the needle-in-a-haystack work of proofreading can be tedious. I’ve heard people say it’s their least favourite part of the process.
That’s because they’re still thinking like a writer. As I said in a previous post, writing and proofreading are completely different tasks requiring totally different mindsets, and it’s very difficult to do both at the same time.
Even if you’ve finished the writing part, if your head’s still in writing mode you won’t be able to proofread effectively. While multitasking is often a skill to be applauded, in this case it’s not recommended.
Ideally you’ll hand your work over to someone else – a professional, objective second pair of eyes – who can do the proofreading for you. Because they won’t be in writing mode.
If this isn’t possible, you can be your own proofreader but you need to get out of your writing head, and get into your proofreading head.
How to do this?
You have to be very mindful about it, and make the clear decision to be consciously present. If it’s not possible to chime mindfulness bells in your workplace, imagine the sound in your head. Focus on your breathing, make that commitment to the present moment – and to your words.
Breathe. You’re a proofreader now, and you owe it to your words to get the best out of them.
They will thank you for it.