Print to Proofread! Ye Gods!

I’ve been teaching, I dunno, a long time. Way too long, probably. Someone should put me out to pasture. I’ve been writing even longer than I’ve been teaching. One thing about having a teacher WAY the fuck older than the students is that the teacher came from an earlier time.

Like the Pleistocene Epoch.

When they had typewriters, for one thing. A great thing about typewriters is that as soon as you finished typing the page, you had it there, lying on your desk, ready for a rewrite or, at the minimum, a proofread.

Today’s eager young writer writes in a computer and little did I realize that he / she does not understand Rule #1 of proofreading, which is you have to print the stuff out!

I had a class last week. Lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of proofreading errors. I was going over their work and a tiny, white hot light bulb went off in the center of my skull. I asked for a show of hands. Eighteen students. “How many of you printed your homework to proofread it?”

One.

THAT is a problem. If you proofread in your computer, you’re NEVER EVER EVER going to see all the mistakes. Ever.

So print the stuff.
Remember me and my beloved IBM Correcting Selectric II, which cost more, probably, than your computer and all it did was type. Pretend you too have a typewriter.
When you are done writing something, get it out on your desk so you can then read it and fix your mistakes.

Cause, trust me, you made some.

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2 Comments

Filed under Rewriting, Screenwriting

2 responses to “Print to Proofread! Ye Gods!

  1. Ha ha ha ha! Yes, I remember this lecture well! 🙂

  2. JBC

    Yes! One time when its ok to burn the trees. Even in business and journalistic writing this is quality advice. I wish more journalists (and their editors) printed and read their work before publishing.

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