Mar 31

Sometimes Old Ways are Best

Never try to edit something solely on your computer screen or tablet. There is a lot to be said in favor of printing a proof copy of your next great article, manuscript, novel, textbook and editing it that way.

My eldest son, Andrew, recommended it to me for book 3 in my Quantum Entity trilogy (of which a proof copy (with blue tape ID’ing it as “special”) is shown above). Not only do I catch spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and other annoying problems faster, I also spot continuity errors much more readily. In addition, there is something about a pen or pencil and paper that helps add layering and depth to a work that you can’t easily achieve relying solely on computer screens. My wife says editing it this way is more akin to watching a film of your book; you can go back and forth much faster, and there is less search time spent trying to remember if you’ve used something twice, say, that you only meant to use once.

Lastly, it is much easier for editor and author to work together on a single proof (paper) copy. They just use different colors (we use pencil for me and pen for her) on the same manuscript. We just hand it back and forth. That way document source control is far easier and more reliably managed than versioning on multiple computers and in the cloud. By the time you have copies of a document on your computers, in dropbox, in icloud, on your editor’s computers, keeping control of it and knowing which version is most current and which one contains all your changes and all your editor’s becomes terribly difficult and frustrating.

Truthfully, I would almost be inclined to do final editing of complex software projects on paper too.

@ profbruce

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About the Author

Bruce is an entrepreneur/real estate broker/developer/coach/urban guru/keynote speaker/Sens founder/novelist/columnist/peerless husband/dad.