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Bookish Friends

This past weekend I went to a bookstore with my family and browsed for longer than they wanted and not as much as I did. As we were leaving, my son asked whether I had enjoyed my playdate. It made me pause for a moment, but I could not refute the basic sentiment. My friends are found within the pages of the books I love and, frankly, the ones I am still flirting with on the not-read-yet shelf. This is not to say I don’t have real, flesh-and-blood friends, but the ones who live on the page are among my favorite. I cannot lie.

I am a somewhat typical writer/reader, I think. Somewhat a recluse, though not completely. The condition is not even self-diagnosed. I have proof. On the Myers-Briggs test, which I have taken three times in my life, I have consistently scored 49 out of 50 as an introvert.

I am not a social creature. At least not with the living. But in the world of fiction, I am gregarious, open and a traveler of worlds. I am bold and engaged.

My fictional friends are constant and true. They have seen me through childhood, tumultuous teen years, young adulthood and whatever you want to call where I am now. I am certain they will be there through my golden years too. It is the gift all readers receive. Friends for life. No matter what.

It is also a gift given by writers.

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Top 15 Proofreading Tricks for Everyone

There is nothing worse than sending out something you have written only to spot errors in it afterward. Those tiny errors haunt and are the reason why proofreading is an essential step. It doesn’t matter whether you've written an email, presentation or novel. You need it to be error-free.

Think of your poor readers. You don’t want them stumbling on your poor punctuation, misspelled words or clumsy construction.

The problem is that proofreading requires a shift from the creative writing mode into a detailed perfectionist state. It requires different skills than writing does, but is most often performed by writers on their own work. It is a circumstance rife with peril. Writers are least likely to see their own errors. Our eyes gloss over missing words and punctuations because our minds see what we meant to write. Unfortunately, it is not always possible or feasible to hire a professional proofreader or con someone else to read our work before hitting the send button.

The only solution is to do our best. Here are my top 15 tricks to help you find pesky errors in your work and someone else’s work:

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