Sunday, March 30, 2014


I’ll start off by apologizing for not blogging more regularly this month. I still feel like it’s only the first week of March, everything is a blur of driving, robots and work … lots of work. 

But enough about that. You came here to read about my proofreading methods - and yes, I’ll admit mistakes still slip through. It’s not a foolproof process, especially not when reading my own work. I hear that from many writers. But there is one trick a very sharp, and very good proofreader taught me. 

Actually it’s two tricks. The first one is to read the text more than once; at least three times. The second trick is to use a different color piece of paper, folded over and use it as a reading guide.

Let me explain further with an example of a translation job: 

After I finish a job I’ll often let it sit for a day - don’t tell my client or they’ll shorten my deadlines! - so the text will have a chance to fade a little from my mind. Then the next day I’ll read through a printout with a colored pen or pencil and start marking the glaring errors and punctuation I may have missed. 

Next, after another cup of tea, I’ll enter the changes in the computer. Then I take a folded letter-size piece of paper and go through the piece, line by line. By holding the paper over the other text, I read it no longer as a whole story, but I’m reading it line by line. And when reading it line by line it’s easier to see mistakes our brain would normally correct for. Yes, it is time consuming, but it leads to a better finished product.    

After that I let it sit for a few hours, or maybe just an hour depending on my deadline, and then read it through one more time. You might think that’s redundant, but there have been many times when I’ve caught mistakes or just found clumsy sentences that could be better. Only then will I sent it off to my client. 

Now to apply that rigorous methodology to my novels! 

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Open Road

Ah, the open road, have laptop, will travel. The romance of driving where ever you want, plugging in the laptop and writing about all you see and experience...

Okay, it sounds good, but the reality is you’re trying to see the road in the driving rain. And where is that exit anyway? 

Who has the laptop charger and where is the mobile hotspot? What do you mean you don’t know? Does the hotel have wifi? Will it be any good? I’ve got clients waiting for stuff. 

Is that the street we need? Why don’t they put up legible street signs in this town? Turn left! Are you sure? Oh, you meant the second street, not the first. I’m glad your phone knows the way, because the map got wet at the Starbucks drive-thru. 

What? No cell service? Wait, we’re coming up on an other town... they’re bound to have at least one cell tower. 

We can’t park in the lot? Well, how about if I just park way at the back of the lot, where they can’t see me or even get close enough to try and tow me. Thanks, glad we agree on that. Now, where’s the rest of the team? And, more importantly, where is the bathroom in this place? 

Phew, we made it. Part of our team is in the stands, the rest are building the pit and setting up the robot. I’ve got coffee, not that I need any more, and a print out to work on for now. Nothing like having a stack of papers, poorly stapled together, and only your lap as a desk. But I’m working while the competition field is being set up and the PA systems is doing, ever louder!! , sound checks. 

Other bleary eyed, coffee toting, excited mentors are joining me and we’re start to talk strategy. This is going to be an exciting weekend. 

So did I get much work done? Not really, but it was worth every minute of sitting on those hard bleachers, watching the competitions and watching the crowds. It will only enrich my writing. I’m home and once again able to plug in my laptop, connect to reliable wifi, and work twice as hard and twice as fast to get caught up. Hey, a freelancer can work any 24 hours of the day she chooses. It will mean a few late nights working, but it’s all worth it. 

By the way, our robotics team won the district championship!