I don’t want you to think that I don’t appreciate the irony.
I’ve talked often about the importance of proof-reading. I stand by it, too. Sure, everybody makes mistakes. Some are more obvious than others, some stem from poor typing, or from rushing and being careless. Some come from ignorance or a lack of concern for basic grammar and spelling. Ultimately, though, the only real defense against stupid, careless errors is eagle-eyed proof-reading.
So, don’t think I didn’t appreciate the irony when a reader caught a typo on my Services page. She discreetly sent me an email (thank you) to tell me to look for it, and even knowing there was a mistake, it took me longer than I care to admit to spot it. Even more ironically, it was a typo that would have easily been caught by a quick spell-check. (I’ve posted about those, too, and how you can’t trust them, but that sometimes (cough) they’re useful.)
But wait, there’s more! Not only that, she looked at the writing samples on my page and spotted another one in one of my sample articles. (Oh, the shame!) My only excuse is that I was in such a hurry to get my Services page up and running that I didn’t take the time to make sure my samples were of sufficiently high-quality. I was more concerned with getting people here to look at my Services page at all. Yes, yes, mea culpa.
Still … this is perfect object lesson. Never forget that proof-reading is important!
But, I figured, this gave me the perfect excuse to go even one better. I took that mediocre writing sample and improved it.
Here is a link to the original. It’s an article on asthma and while not dreadful, it reads rather like a cobbled-together collection of bits of data gathered from many different places. Which, really, it was. It’s not the worst article in the world, but it’s wordy, and reads like a technical article–something that requires concentration, not easy to skim. Worse, it’s not up to par visually, either, since the formatting is inconsistent. Let’s just say that it’s not as professional as a professional sample should be.
Here is the improved version. I tightened the text from three pages down to two. I added a little more, shall we say, personality, but still kept the important details. It still may not be perfect, but it should no longer be embarrassing. (Or so I hope.)
Yep, I’m telling you. You’ve got to practice what you preach. We are all human, and we all make mistakes, but seriously–talk about a stupid mistake. Do I at least get credit for turning mine into an object lesson for the rest of you?