My last post, Read to Write, discussed the importance of reading while a writer is working on a project. There were a few comments made about “mental editor” or “internal editor,” which spurred this post.
As a writer, it can be very difficult to read solely for pleasure. Writers are often reading books with an eye for structure, setting, plot and character development. This is what I would call an occupational hazard. In my case I can’t get through a book without searching for typos, grammar and punctuation mistakes. When I find a flaw I am disappointed and annoyed. I tsk-tsk as I move on, wary of more glaring errors.
This particular (annoying) habit of mine could be a result of having been a copyeditor. When I first took a job with a teeny-tiny publishing office, I trained myself to be vigilant for errant commas and apostrophes, misspellings, and poor sentence structure. I became so entrenched in my $8.oo an hour job that I took to the streets with my newfound death-defying editing skills. I would catch typos in menus and flyers and signs, point them out with ferocity and satisfaction, as though I’d caught miscreants lurking about town.