Jason Crawford on Proofreading

"Read the draft."

What's next?

Jason Crawford's writing about the history of technology and the philosophy of progress weaves the story of how things changed and how they could change in the future. From the history of concrete to the questions we need to answer about progress in the 21's century, Crawford's writing teaches and makes you think.

To get there, "knowing what you want to say" is most important, says Crawford.

Here's Jason on his writing and proofreading workflow:

What is the secret to writing?

To me writing is mostly about having something to say, knowing what you want to say, figuring out the logical structure of the ideas, and then figuring out a narrative flow for the ideas, and then executing that and polishing it.

And different types of writing are very different.

What's your favorite thing you've written recently?

Why do we need a NEW philosophy of progress?

What's your standard writing workflow?

These days I often draft in Notion, then copy to a Markdown file and format for publication on my blog.

What's your favorite way to proofread your work and spot things to change?

I just… read the draft?

I mean, spellcheck helps.

Sometimes if my head has been in it for too long, it helps to take a break and come back to it later.

What do you do with the things you cut?

Occasionally, rarely, I copy and paste them somewhere, like a file in my notes. Usually I just delete stuff though.

What's your ideal editing workflow?

If I'm editing my own work, not much workflow is needed. Just open the draft and edit.

If I'm working with an editor who is editing my work, then ideally they leave me line-level comments, and then I edit. Or in certain cases they edit the text directly and there's some “track changes” on so that I can see exactly what they did.

Some version control would be nice but I don't have it in Notion, GDocs, etc., and I don't feel the strong need for it.

→ Check out Jason Crawford's work, especially his salon series on The Story of Industrial Civilization, and follow him on Twitter @jasoncrawford.

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