Your Minimum Editing Route and How Fonts Can Help You Spot Typos

Your Minimum Editing Route

I work with words all the time. I have to be careful not to gloss over my writing. If I do, I risk missing typos and worse.

Even with a clear focus, it’s bad enough. Your focus is on conveying meaning more than it is on uncovering typos.

But there’s hope. When you edit your work, go through several runs at the text. First, read for overall flow. Second, read for clarity. Third, read for typos. This should be your minimum editing route.

Editing for different reasons each time helps you to focus on the particular task at hand. These tasks require thinking processes that do not gel with each other. If you tackle them all at the same time, it’s like ineffective multitasking.

Read out loud and look at each word, no matter how trivial. When you read with purpose, you’ll trip over sentences that clearly need reworking. When you look at each word, the mistakes stand out.

letter blocks

There’s another magic trick that’s easy and effective. Change font!

Yes, simply change the look of your text so it looks new to you.

Copy and paste your text into another document…You don’t want to mess about with your sparkly live document now, do you?

Then change the font. It doesn’t matter which font you choose, so long as you can read it. As you read through the draft, you’ll notice new things (both good and bad) as your brain is tricked into thinking it’s looking at a new document.

Try with different fonts until you find one that’s a good combination of readable and accessible for you to review. After a few uses, you may want to find a new font so you don’t get too familiar with any particular typeface. Once you’re used to it, you won’t be so effective when reviewing your draft.

My own method is to use a few good fonts and rotate their use. That way, I can use the same fonts and not get too familiar with them. I can even throw a curveball and use a completely different font on a particularly challenging piece of text. Anything to get me focused where it counts.

Which fonts would you recommend?


How fonts help (and hinder) your writing

Your academic outfit is a big deal.  Every element related to learning impacts upon you in some way:

  • Time of day;
  • Location;
  • Lighting;
  • Output method (pen & paper, laptop, etc.);
  • Ambient sound;
  • Music (or lack of);
  • Disturbances;
  • Company;
  • And so on.

I give my study setup a lot of consideration and have always been aware of how my attitude changes, depending on my circumstances.

It seems that I overlooked one important element that alters perspective on productivity…Fonts.

photo by vial3tt3r

photo by vial3tt3r

Fonts, the styles of writing you see on screen and on the printed page, are not only useful for layout and pretty structure.  They have another special power.

Your workflow and approach changes greatly depending on the font you use on screen. Fonts bring a new dimension to your writing.

This all came about when I read about the different printing costs between different fonts.  The most efficient font is apparently Century Gothic.  And, as Ampercent mentions, “The more pleasing a font looks at the screen, the less tempted someone will be to print it.  This will save both ink and paper”.

In which case, you should be able to take the logic further to aid study.

When reading, different fonts alter effectiveness and motivation, leading the reader to believe something is more difficult than it really is.

Therefore, your own engagement with text as you type probably makes an impact.

The more pleasing a font looks on screen, you’d hope it would help your own output too.  As you type, you watch the text appear on screen.  You’re engaging with the text.  You’re creating.

Until recently, I didn’t try using different fonts to see if they made a difference to my writing.  But once I changed font to Century Gothic for printing purposes, I noticed a change in how I viewed the text.

After some (still ongoing) experimentation with different fonts, I found that my workflow changed.  Sometimes I wanted to write more and more and more and…

Depending on the typeface, the text suddenly let me open up further with ease.  Even on work that I considered complete.  Quite an eye opener.

I’m amazed I didn’t pay much attention to font use for productivity in the past.  It’s not like I’ve ignored fonts.  Yet I didn’t ever think far enough to imagine a simple change of font could noticeably change my relationship with the text on screen.  Neither did I think certain fonts would let me tap away at the keyboard and enjoy the writing process more.

If you haven’t got enough fonts, or want to experiment with a wider range, a good place to start is Addictive Fonts.  The site showcases all sorts, including:

That should be plenty to be getting on with.  I’m sure that the most effective fonts differ from person to person, so find out what works best for you and enjoy!

I’m curious.  How affected are you by fonts?