Outlines, Proofreading, and Other Silly Myths about Writing
I am a rebel, an outlaw, a renegade with no regard for the law. I disdain rules and regulations and fight any authority that thinks it can tell me what to do. I am a freelance writer.
I revolt against all those silly grammar school rules that help me write clear, concise copy. No more, I say. No more outlines, proofreading, spellchecking, and grammar checks for me! From now on, I will start at the beginning, write straight through to the end, and never look back.
Outlines Are For Control Freaks
I could yammer on for hours about the futility of outlines, but I tend to veer off point and include information only vaguely related to outlines, such as kittens, pork chops, and quantum physics, so I will keep it short. Outlines are for perfectionists and freelance education writers who feel a strange need to be concise and efficient.
Furthermore, kittens are cute and please pass the porkchops.
Proofreading – When You Have Nothing Better to Do
Proofreading is a waste of time and incredibly boring, so you should never trouble yourself with re-reading. Instead of proofing a document, which can take upwards of five minutes of valuable time, you should instead rely on autocorrect, spellchecker, editors, and the public at large to either fix your mistakes or ignore them. You can trust these tools to correct “the rapist” to “therapist” when writing a biography, for example, or prevent you from saying, “The sexist women of Denver will compete in a beauty contest tonight” for a promotional campaign. Just remember – pretty close is good enough in writing.
Besides, professional proofreaders make mistakes all the time. Who can forget the newspaper article about hypothermia that advised readers, “put on a sweater, crap yourself in a blanket, or turn up the heat.” Proofreading professors allowed a banner at a school bookstore to read “Missouri State Univerisity” because they know proofreading is useless, especially at college level. Even the professional proofreaders at global software brand HotDocs dropped the ball when they allowed the company logo to read “HoDocs” on about 15,000 printed programs guides and other documents.
The Spellchecker Scam
Running a spell check is another ridiculous myth about creating a professional document. The average American is a terrible speller, so most readers will not notice anything wrong in the headline and shoppers will always buy pork boneless lion roasts when given the chance.
Grammar is another farce. As the old Twitter joke goes, grammar is the difference between knowing your junk and knowing you’re junk. Feel free to ignore grammar as you make up the motto for a butcher that says, “Try our sausage. None like them.” Surprise your clients by putting a unique spin on their product brand; they will always remember the effect your grammar had on their business.
So step aside, Strunk and White, there is a new kid in Grammar Town and she doesn’t play by your rules. Even if they do make sense and actually improve a body of work.
Lynn H is a full-time freelance writer who has learned to love the drudgery of outlines, spellchecking, grammar checking and proofreading to produce quality content for her clients.