Proofreading for Dummies

epcot (3)I’m on the verge of finalizing a manuscript, and while I’d previously written on the benefits of a professional edit, I chose to stick with my original plan, and keep my financial investment to a minimum (at least for my first entry into the world of self-publishing). A part of me fears a copy edit would result in my manuscript returning with more red on the page than white; my non-traditional style crucified beyond redemption. ‘What do you mean that’s a comma splice? If that’s a comma splice, everything I’ve ever written is a comma splice.’

A proofread however, a line-by-line edit to catch those misplaced words, homonyms and spelling inconsistencies, I felt confident I could handle. I have experience editing documents in my alternate realm (the real world), so the decision was simple.

Off I went, paragraph by paragraph, chapter by chapter, focused and determined.

After two thorough proofreads, my 70,000-word manifesto was ready to move on. CreateSpace and Kindle here I come; the magic about to happen.

Until something within, some indescribable gut feeling, convinced me to hold off for one final edit—just in case. As meticulous as I can be, as thorough as I am, it is possible—I missed something.

So I held off.

A week later, I embarked upon another time-consuming, painfully laborious proofread.

The end-result,

Sixteen errors.

How can that be?

Oh, it be baby—it be.

My confidence shaken, I embraced humility, made the corrections, and set the manuscript aside—again.

A week later during the follow-up proofread, I found an additional—six errors.

I began to doubt reality.

How could I have missed six errors on four previous proofreads?

But I had.

I regrouped, revised, and felt confident I’d nailed it. Come the next proofread, I’d be at zero errors; done.

But zero never materialized, eclipsed by—fifteen.

I suspected sabotage at this point.

It was unfathomable. Did someone switch files on me? Is this perhaps a sinister plot to drive the writer insane?

None of the above.

Thirty-seven errors—and counting.

Which led me to realize.

Proofreading one’s own work is indeed a mug’s game.

And I’m that mug.

Will I consider out-sourcing in the future?

Is it Epoct or Epcot?

Until next time,

102 thoughts on “Proofreading for Dummies

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