Justin Jackson on Proofreading
"Write it fast, then read it out loud a few times."
Sometimes you need a break.
Between blog posts about bootstrapping a startup, a book about marketing for developers, and running podcasting platform Transistor (with content about starting a podcast along with landing pages and more), Justin Jackson is quite the prolific writer. And sometimes, he finds, the best way to spot what needs fixing in your work is to take a break, go to sleep, and come back with fresh eyes.
The promise of the web, wrote Justin years ago, is that "if your words are good, people will read them."
Here's Justin on his writing and proofreading process, how he makes sure his words are good:
What's your favorite thing you've written recently?
I'm really proud of what we've done with How to Start a Podcast. I just did a pretty big re-write of it for 2022. I'm trying to make it better (in terms of providing folks with clear steps on how to start a podcast), but also optimize it for search engines.
What's your standard writing workflow?
Generally, I write the first draft and then share it in our team Slack, plus a few other Slack groups I'm in. Usually, I write the first draft in Google Docs, just because it's easy for people to make suggestions and add comments.
What's your favorite way to proofread your work and spot things to change?
Besides the aforementioned feedback, I'll get in Slack, I also use Grammarly.
What do you do with the things you cut?
When I cut sections, I just remove them. The nice thing is anything I cut off the website gets recorded in GitHub (version control for software companies), so we always have a record of what we've removed.
What's your ideal editing workflow?
Generally, I'll write it fast, and then read it out loud a few times. That process catches 80-90% of my problems.
I like sleeping on it too. I'll leave a draft, go home, and then come back to it the next morning.