Photo credit:  Samantha Hurley for Burst

I’d like to pass on some cool information about proofreading. Credit to author and screenwriter, Martin Johnson and the site Almost an Author.

Martin Johnson survived a severe car accident with a (T.B.I.) Truamatic brain injury which left him legally blind and partially paralyzed on the left side. He is an award-winning Christian screenwriter who has recently finished his first Christian nonfiction book.

Here are my takeaways:

Sage advice to bring to your proofreading – “From this point on, you have to look at yourself as a professional writer. I don’t care if it’s a simple love letter to your sweetheart or a thank you card to a coworker, it needs to be polished, edited and proofread.”

Writers are only as good as they are readers. Stephen King once noted, “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.”

What to look for when proofreading:

  • Spelling
  • Punctuation
  • Grammar
  • paragraph/sentence structure
  • content (did you say everything you wanted?)
  • content flow
  • contextual meanings (sometimes we say something in our heads and it comes out completely different in print)
  • is your voice present

Sometimes we know our message so well it’s what we see on a page even if it’s not what is actually there. Our brains hear it even when it’s not written. This is why it is important to get a second set of eyes to look over our writing.

  1. Microsoft Word: Speak text-to-speech feature
  2. Scrivener: Start Talking feature
  3. Pages: How to use text-to-speech
  4. Dragon Naturally Speaking: Playback Text-to-speech

Each of these features can help us better listen to what we are actually saying in our writing. However, they can never replace a professional writer’s need for proofreading.

When proofreading, look for and eliminate the word “very” if at all possible. Replace it with stronger singular words. For example: Don’t say “very accurate”, say “exact” instead. And so on. Here’s a link that has a handy info-graphic to use.

Submit for proofreading – Do not publish without submitting your work for proofreading. Not that expensive. Pay proofreaders $30-$100 depending on how advanced you are. Use online site like

Proofreading is part of the Refining process. It includes all the various editing activities, input from other readers and getting opinions, reading your story out load to see how it flows, copy editing, grammar checking, and any improvements that you use to push your work from raw to ready to serve. In my readings, authors have said that one-third of your allocated writing time should be spent on editing and refinement. Rarely are first drafts ready for the marketplace. Editing is a friend of all writers; whether it is formal and paid, with a writing coach, at class, with a writing group; or something more informal, you need to develop a refining process that works best for you.