Wednesday, January 16, 2008

At Some Point….

At some point I need to stop writing about the house and submit this damn thing to the State Office of Historic Preservation. Actually, its not so much writing anymore, as it is editing. I have a bad habit of scrutinizing every little detail and making endless edits. Or, I guess should say, re-writes. You know, making changes to something to clarify what is I want to say. Constantly refining it over and over until it sounds exactly like what I want. I re-read it over and over again and make minor, subtle little changes that I think better get my point across. Constant and repeated changes so there is no mistake about what I’m trying to describe. Does that make sense? Do you understand what it is I’m going through here? Because if you don’t, I’m happy to go over it again and again and again, until there is no mistake what so ever about the point I am trying to get across.

It just never seems to end.

The worst part, of coarse, is the fact that even with all of the edits I still make repeated mistakes in my righting. Stupid little mistakes that the spell checker doesn’t pick up and some how go unnoticed by me even after I read it dozens of time. Is there such a thing as myopic writing? I seem to concentrate so much on what I’m trying to say that my peripheral writing vision does not pick up everything. Unless I go over each letter of each word, I will never see all of my own mistakes. I don’t have time for that, though. I’m too busy editing.

This is why I’m going to take up the offer of a reader of The Petch House blog and have a professional pair of eyes go over it before I submit it. I should be finished with the editing in a week or two.


Ragnar said...

The best thing to do with any kind of text is to have someone who doesn't know anything about the subject read it. Even people with a real bad spelling will easily be able to point out other people's mistakes - I've seen that myself with French at School - my own homework papers were always liitered with red ink when I got them back, but reading other people's papers I easily found the mistakes. You just won't be able to check a text you wrote yourself anywhere as thorough as one somebody else wrote.

Ron said...

You wrote: "I still make repeated mistakes in my righting. "

Was that a joke, or just to prove your point?


I will be happy to review and edit to the best of my ability your proposal,


Alicia said...

Well, yeah, that is precisely the problem with being a writer. You find yourself wanting to re-edit stuff, when you can't stand that close to the text in order to proof it for the editing process. One thing people do to step back is to read backwards. Another is to print it out and proof it while standing up (you can't make changes so easily when you don't have something to write on).

The best part about sending the draft to the editor is that after your page proofs come back you can't make content changes anymore. That would piss off the editor to NO END! So use the Petch house reader like a real editor. Once he/she sees the text, you can't make content changes or the editor would have to do the whole job all over again, and why piss someone off who likes you?

(I would offer to edit your text for you but was afraid you would pop my head off if I found grammar/spelling have a certain reputation...)

I am trying to get an article to the proofing stage right now and it's just shit. Not being at proofing stage, still screwing up the text by making content changes. Really sucks.

Sucks sucks sucks sucks sucks.


StuccoHouse said...

Here's my former English teacher trick. Read it out loud.

your mind can't do that snaeky self-correcting it does when you read it silently. Sounds odd. Really works.

Anonymous said...

Just so you know, it happens all the time with everyone. You don't see your own mistakes, your brain/eyes skip over it. (esp. if you have edited it over and over again) I always have someone else read a "professional" email I am about to send, to see if it makes sense to them/is not full of typos.

I would offer to help, as I edit folks' stuff frequently, but I am a bit far away. *grin*

kathy said...

Do you have a friend who's good with grammar and spelling? Because if you do, you can use an old proofreading/editing process, which also involves reading aloud. You read the piece out loud to friend, pronouncing the punctuation as well as the words, and the friend (following along with their own copy) can stop you to correct spelling/grammar.

But, Greg, believe me when I say this: You don't have anything to worry about. I worked as an editor and proofreader for many years, and your posts are little masterpieces compared to some of the crap written by professionals.