My passion is proofreading. I take joy in making sure each "to", "too", and "two" is correct. I love searching for the pitfalls of the busy writer or editor: the repeated, missing or wrong word, the spell check that inserts the incorrect word, the style errors introduced by flowing type into a template, and the countless other errors that interfere with communication.
I discovered my passion in an unlikely place, at an advertising typographer. A large part of my time was spent determining differences between fonts and point sizes of type. The spacing of the type and how the letters interact with each other can affect how a reader perceives the information, at least that's what advertising designers believe and they are the artists.
However we also set books, brochures, newsletters and various other publications. The books were the most fun because they were often full of errors that needed to be corrected. So few people, for example, know which of the "there"s to use. A simple way to tell is by this sentence: They're going to their house at the beach and will stay there for a week.
I'm a firm believer that no one should have to proofread their own work. But if you must, pay special attention to the end of one line and the beginning of the next. Often a repeated word will be on the line breaks. You can even try changing the line lengths or typeface of the writing to help you see it with fresh eyes. Errors will also lurk at the beginning and end of the piece.
When my workplace quit setting type, I started Professional Proofreading. Like many English majors, I've been working at other jobs to make end meet for a few months at a time. Proofreading is my first love. The focus on each word and how that word relates to all the others is a compelling sensation. I still like using the graphic skills I learned working with designers, such as: identifying inconsistent use of typefaces, incorrect point size or leading of type, missing paragraph indents, and any of the other slight but noticeable errors in a publication that can weaken a reader's opinion of the information provided.
Improved understanding through increased clarity, accuracy and consistency is the ultimate goal of any communication. My goal at Professional Proofreading is to take the worry out of achieving this objective.