Friday, 1 June 2012

Diet or Edit

Years ago, I trained in journalism, I loved the training, however once it came to doing the job, while I love writing, the actual 'job' part didn't thrill me. What I found often, was that I could write, but just could not edit what I wrote. And I still can't. I don't know if this is because it is my writing and therefore my eyes know what should be coming next and insert the correct spelling etc where it doesn't exist or if I am just sloppy. Interestingly I have seen some great experiments which trick your eyes into reading what isn't there, our eyes tend to scan and assume and I believe it takes a special kind of eye to catch the mistakes. (the following shows what I mean)

Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

It's a funny thing, and I have quite strong opinions about correct writing, which I will argue about till the cows come home and can always justify my thoughts. I tend to hit a brick wall with grammarians and pedants - we tend to disagree with each other, neither of us accepts the others opinion. My other job is teaching language and for me language is for communication, and so if the recipient understands the message - fab - if they don't, then uh uuuh - that's a fail.
However, I do find it very frustrating when I really try hard to catch all the mistakes, and even then (and sometimes even having had it checked over by someone else) and there is still a blasted mistake.
So, one thing I do do, is print it out, I have found that if it's left for a day, it's easier to see the problem, and if it's a hard copy, it's easier to see the problem. A comfort to me is that some of the best journalists I know of are apparently also crap at editing their work, but it still bugs me. I'd love to know of any other tips, or others opinions.


Vickie said...

It's terrible to go back later & find a mistake isn't it. My younger sister is studying writing & I'm one of her editors sometimes - usually she makes corrections after we've read it, then gets us to read it again. & we usually have missed something! She does the print it & leave it for a day thing too, for her own editing.

sue hodgson Jewellery said...

Oh It's a trial Vickie! You know, I studied linguistics (to MA level ha ha) and one class we had, the prof got 20 of us to correct a piece of work, and you know what? Each and every one of us punctuated it differently!

This last week I gave two pieces of work to four different teachers each - and again, each and every one changed different things and corrected different bits - so, as the older I get the less I worry. Sure typos annoy the hell out of me but punctuation? I think its pretty much a mugs game lol