The Next Web's Abhimanyu Ghoshal on Proofreading
"Move the text, change the font and font size, and have a go at it."
You start out doing something, and if you're good at it, very often you find yourself managing others doing that thing.
So it goes so often for writers, where writing on the beat leads to editing other writers in the future. For The Next Web's Abhimanyu Goshal, a writer I've had the privilege of working with when our paths crossed at Envato, that's meant less writing than he'd write, but with that comes far more experience in proofreading and improving copy.
Here's Abhimanyu on his writing and proofreading workflow:
What's your favorite thing you've written recently?
Gah, as an editor, I don't get to write much of anything lately. Sad.
Of things my team has published lately, I really enjoyed this one: A plant-based filet mignon gave me a taste of a meatless future.
What's your standard writing workflow?
I jot down notes in OneNote on my iPad with a stylus, compile desktop research in a bookmark folder, write in Simplenote, and self-edit or restructure the piece in GDocs.
What's your favorite way to proofread writing and spot things to change?
I'm generally good at proofreading writing wherever I come across it — but for intense editing, I prefer moving the text over to GDocs, changing the font and font size (so as to make the actual words and letters look less familiar), and having a go at it.
I get the system-detected errors out of the way first, and then do a proper read. At TNW, I prefer to use GDocs' suggestions tool for inline edits, and the comments tool for more substantial edits, like moving a paragraph or questioning logic or reasoning.
What do you do with the things you cut?
I generally comment on bits that I want cut, with a brief explanation as to why. If it's an obviously unnecessary sentence or phrase, I simply use the suggestions tool to cut it without an explanation. I've already had conversations with my team about my approach to editing, so we're on the same page about why I might suggest things like cutting sentences and whole paras.
What's your ideal editing workflow?
Preferably, I'd like to see an outline of a piece before reading the story, so I know what to keep an eye out for.
I'd love GDocs' comments and suggestions tool to work on our CMS' article preview pages, with all the formatting and embedded media displayed as the author intended. I'd love to not have to touch my mouse at all, and just work through entire pieces with my keyboard. I'd love in-app reminders about typos that haven't been attended to, before hitting
→ Check out Abhimanyu's work on TNW, and follow him on Twitter @aghoshal.