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I think I suffer from some sort of a hangover of my programming days. I have been writing advertisements for a while now. I have seen my skills get polished and some areas of my writing skills getting rusted as well. How my writing changes is mostly determined by the client/product that I am writing for, the scope of my job and of course, the guidance of my mentor. However, there is one aspect of writing that always gets the primary focus - expression. But again, depending on the client, my expression might take the backseat as well.
This blog post is not about my expression but about the other pillars of writing - grammar & spelling. And I am here to whine about all the embarrassment that I go through when some bug misses my eye. In the last 11 months, I have worked on my proof reading skills more than anything else. I have put in a lot of effort to develop a laser vision for grammatical mistakes & silly typos.
Catching a grammatical mistake is fairly simple if your basics are strong. If you are missing a bug, you can brush your basics and refine your laser vision. As a writer, I find it easy to spot grammar issues arising out of callous writing, once in a while. Careful reading is a good enough way to filter out these mistakes.
So, except some occasional embarrassments, the grammar nazi inside me is mostly happy.
What do you do when you type a letter but it's still missing? What do you do when you mean good but it appears god like? What do you do when someone presses an extr a space? These trivial yet annoying errors happen more often that you would like. The greatest proof readers will catch & rectify these but sometimes even they would assure 99.99% cleanliness.
So, when I proof-check, I try to catch these naughty bugs too. But so often, due to oversight, deadlines and many other reasons, these buggers make their way through. These errors don't really show on the language quality but are critical to the final output. Because, at the end of the day, we all want mess-free, clean writing.
MS Word does help correct these mistakes but in the advertising world, your words travel more than you do. So, from a text file, it goes to a design document and from a design document, it goes to production. Big organisations adhere to processes. At every level, manual proofreading cleans up the copy. But in smaller organisations, one has no clue where the bug might reappear.
It's for times like these that I wish for a copy compiler. I wish I could run my copy every time there is a version update and make sure that it's always bug free. Whether the content format is text or image, this compiler will extract the text in any form and do a check to find all typo issues.