Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Dyslexic Fingers

I'm not sure if there's actually a medical condition [other than age maybe] that accounts for the growing tendency for my touchtyping-abled fingers to misplace the letters on my keyboard. It has the potential for embarrassment. After all, I'm meant to be a writer, therefore, what's the deal with all these typos?? I ask myself this question every day.

Not only am I a writer, I'm also good at spelling and at picking up other people's typing errors. If anyone finds out that my fingers can no longer spell, I'm in for it!

Proofreading your work is, of course, the answer. If your masterpiece, whether it be school writing assignment, letter or media release, is on your computer then you may want to run the SpellCheck at least once. However, and that's a really big However, please do not rely on SpellCheck alone. It is simply not good enough and should really be renamed as the SpellCheckGuide. Here's a few tips on basic proofreading that should help you pick up most of your mistakes:

1. Read over your work yourself, word-by-word. This might sound silly, after all how else do you read if not word-by-word? Actually, you read a word or two, skip a few, read another one, skip some more... Get the picture? If you've read the page a few times already, you'll find yourself autmatically skimming - that is, skipping whole lines.

2. Print your work out. Reading onscreen is different to reading the hardcopy. Different angles, lighting, focussing, ability to use a ruler and pencil with the paper version.

3. Speaking of rulers... The old "read with a ruler" trick is excellent for picking up mistakes. The ruler restricts you to reading one line at a time - stopping the urge to skim. If you have a problem with skipping words, use a pen as well [or your finger, but the pen is slightly more professional looking] and point to each word.

4. Mark all your errors with either red, green or [bright] blue ink. Pentel Pens are great for this! Some kind of mark at the beginning or end of the line of print is helpful as well

5. Formatting is so very important! Once you've fixed all your mistakes, go back and check your formatting as per the requirements of the writing project. Adjust lines so that you avoid hypenation wherever possible. Left justify [unless directed otherwise] to avoid large amounts of white space between words. Ragged right edge is actually much easier to read anyway. Ensure you're not cutting paragraphs in two at the end/beginning of your pages and that your top line of text is in the same position on every page.

You're done! Or you should be at any rate. Maybe you should just go back and read it all over one more time....

Now, if you find any typos in any of my posts here, please be assured that I am endeavouring to improve the condition of my poor dyslexic fingers and will try to type slower and proofread more often in the future.

Trish Anderson
Independent Writer

PS: like my new title? I was just about to get some business cards printed up, but I like the word "independent" much better than "freelancer" so it's back to the drawing board for a quick word adjustment.

If you would like some more information regarding any of my writing services, send me an email [I love to email!] outlining your requirements. I have a C.V. lower down on this webpage, but for a quick rundown, if you need words written, checked, given a flourish or two then I'm your "gal". I also love to research!

Contact me at: wordcatcher@hotmail.com

5 comments:

Yvonne Perry said...

I love this article! I've been wondering if my fingers belong on someone else's hands. I have been making more typos than ever and I can't understand why MS Word and spellcheck can't understand what I meant to type. I got all the letters in the word--they just aren't in the correct order!

Thanks for sharing, Trish.

hal manogue said...

Great article Trish. I certainly needed that information. Thanks.

Writer4762 said...

Clever article! dyslexic fingers! I like that!!!

Taryn

Sondra said...

I like the ruler trick. Great after the umpteenth edit and you know you know what you know is there.

By the way, I call handwritten typos--writos.

-Sondra

Beginnings, Middle and Ends said...

I make so many "writos" that my notebooks are all but illegible!

Trish