How to Take Writing as Art and Proofreading as Science?

I’m an avid reader. I also love to listen to Audiobooks and podcast. Currently, I’m in paradise because I have all the time in the world to absorb ideas from books and audio teachings. This morning I just read an e-book from Leah McClellan entitled “The Simple Writing Writer’s Guide.”

With the subtitle “A Handy Reference For Punctuation and Grammar.” Reading that title and subtitle, I know I found what I’m looking for.

If you want the free e-book, you can go to simplewriting.org. This is a gem for beginners like me.

Photo Credit: sj_sanders via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: sj_sanders via flickr cc

Better Writing and Grammar

Earn as a freelance writer. Cross-out in my list.

Be a full-time writer. Bigger cross-out.

Publish a book. The biggest cross-out.

Learn SEO. Cross-out also.

Monetize in blogging. Cross-out.

Get more readers. Cross-out.

All these might happen to me in the future. Actually, I want to achieve them all. Not for now.

I don’t want to be a hoarder. This is not practicing mediocrity either. Knowledge without action has no power. Or at least I can share some knowledge that has no practical use for me but could be a good use for someone. I just want to be guided by the direction of being a writer. I think I don’t have to hurry.

I learned from the past. Information overload is a sign of greed. To accumulate a lot of knowledge in an unrealistically short period of time is frustrating. We can know a lot, but for what?

I don’t think there are dumb people. Everyone is smart at something. There are just many people nowadays who know a lot of things — Hollywood celebrity babies, latest cat videos, funny memes, and other quite interesting stuff. Sadly, we give them so much importance. Except for entertainment and being in the trend, these things have nothing to do to add value to our lives.

I knew it because I experienced it.

For now, I want to improve in these two only — writing and grammar.

We Can’t Just Rely on Instinct

I’m a book-lover with no English mastery. I lived in the Philippines where English is the second language.

I stutter every time I talk to an English speaking foreigner. I remember, I have a cousin who has an Italian boyfriend and I have to entertain him. I told him about the culture of our country and the hospitality of the Filipinos. With some relatives, I think we unload all our bullets on that day. We exhaust our vocabulary reserves.

I prefer English for writing not because I’m not patriotic. It just happens that most of my favorite books that I found interesting were written in that language. I also want to connect with the world. And English is the closest language that I can think of.

With regards to preference, Filipino has been always my first love and English is my best friend.

Acquired instinct is my only way of proofreading because of my fondness for books. If it sounds fine, then I would say that the grammar is fine as well. Shucks.

That’s how I proofread. Obviously, instinct is not enough. I should also learn some rules.

Without proofreading, we could look like lazy when the truth is we’re not. We just don’t know what to follow yet.

Same Focus, Different Ways

Writing and proofreading are separate processes. Both need focus, though.

When we write, it is almost compulsory to daydream. To think out loud the craftsmanship of our words. Be in a different state of mind. Laser-focus writing is being unaware of the world around you as if you are living in a completely different place. A place of vivid imagination.

Just like writing, proofreading also requires a great amount of focus. In a different way this time. This is not fun for many creative writers who just want to create something majestic.

Daydreaming is not required. We should end it as much as we can. Well, that was according to the e-book that I read.

I think proofreading force us to be emotionless in our own writing. It’s hard to proofread your own work because we tend to be subjective.

The bottom line I think is that both need enough focus. Though sometimes, they overlap, the two are different sides of the coin.

Tools Are Not Enough

With so many apps and software that we can use as a proofreader, I think nothing beats human intelligence. Who create these apps and software in the first place? Secondly, I think the human experience of a proofreader is better than updating apps and software from version 1.0 to 2.0 and so on. Third, we would be much more confident that we can still write prolifically even for the times that we can’t rely on proofreader created from bits of data.

I admit I use Ginger SoftwareHemingway App and Microsoft Word for minimizing my mistakes. Even WordPress has its own proofreader, which I also use. I rely on these computer programs to know my mistakes and learn from them. I even plan to go to a paid software Grammarly.

I’m looking forward to the day that I barely use them because I almost master the rules of spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

Art and Science

Like the title of this blog post. Writing has something to do with beauty, tragedy and captivation to the story. We enjoy the aesthetics. So, proofreading is like being a factory worker who follows exact orders.

“Know the rules well, so you can break them effectively.” ~Dalai Lama

Proofreading is technical and doesn’t sound like artistic. But, to make an art out of writing, we should know how to break them. This will take time for me to develop this skill. But I’m willing to wait.

If you still find some errors in my writing. Two possible reasons — either intentional or unintentional. Please bear with me. You can comment and tell me about it. I will be joyful to know.

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