Simply put, it’s the process.
This is a process, a way to work, that one of my first writing coaches taught me. He was also a long–time freshman composition teacher, professor, for real.
His trick, papers were due at the time specified, no excuses. Turn in a paper. Then, he would read the paper and stop when he hit a typo, a misspelling, or a faulty leap in logic, he would stop, mark the error and return the paper.
As an early adopter of technology, the whole Apple/PC thing was still new, I discovered the joy of writing with a word processor. So I would save the work, the paper I wrote, and then, as those papers came back, with the teacher’s stop mark, I would correct it. Correct it, print it, run it back out.
It would come back with another red mark, and I’d correct that, print another copy, and I learned to proofread better. Eventually.
When I’m in a hurry, I’ll make note of several edits I need to make, but then, I’ll forget what I was going to cut, copy, parse, or correct. Nothing gets done.
So the process of editing is simple. Start at one end, front or back, and then, stop at the spot where the correction must be made. Stop and correct it. Then start at the beginning of the individual passage again.
The process is a slightly more labor–intensive than other ways of performing the same function, but the process works, as it forces focus, and by the time I’m done? I swear I’ll do a better job next time. Save me the pause and correct, back–and–forth actions.
“31 Saved Revisions,” and that’s just a draft.
It just works better if I make one change. Stop. Correct that one. Move on the next one.
All about process.
So the set–up is that former English Professor, his paper–grading system. Papers were graded based on merit, but the grammar, punctuation and usage had to be correct. No flaws in logic, either. He would stop reading at the first mistake, no judgement, just a simple request to fix it, and then he would continue with the new and improved version.
When I have the luxury to proofread the horoscopes, my material, what I do, I’ll read until I hit a mistake. Stop, go into the backend, correct that one typo, then save, then start the process over.
It’s a process that requires me to take one step at a time. Not jumping ahead, not getting too hasty, and all the while, wishing that the good lord grant me a team with an editor, a copy editor, and web hack.
Since the odd gods of the galaxy have not seen fit to provide me with such a team, as I handle all this myself? The important part of the process to remember? It’s all part of the process. Read carefully until I hit that mistake, stop, correct it, then go back.