Justin Pot on Proofreading

"I like to have my computer read my articles to me."

"Read it out loud," suggested Zapier managing editor Deb Tennen on how she spots things to fix in her writing.

Justin—my former Zapier colleague with bylines around the web including Fast Company and The Next Web—took that idea a bit further, by hiring a robot to read his articles before publication.

Here's Justin on his writing and proofreading workflow:

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

Setting work boundaries using software

What’s your standard writing workflow?

First I outline the key points I'm going to hit, quotes I intend to use, and in some cases whatever screenshots or images I'm going to use. Then I spent most of my writing time on the first two sentences, my lede. The rest falls into place easily after that.

What’s your favorite way to proofread writing and spot things to change?

I like to have my computer read my articles to me. I tend to skip over my own typos while reading, but hearing my typos out loud makes them obvious. I can't recommend this enough.

What do you do with the things you cut?

I print them all out and, once a year, fly to Iceland so I can throw them into an active volcano so that they can never be seen by anyone ever again. Seriously, though, I usually delete stuff unless I think it might make a good article in and of itself, in which case I'll make a new document to save them.

What’s your ideal editing workflow?

Honestly the most important thing is working with an editor I trust. I like being able to review the changes, so I can learn what the editor is looking for.

→ Check out Justin Pot's blog, and follow him on Twitter @jhpot.

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