Now that I’ve passed my classes and a tad bit older, I love red pens! Yes, they are generally still used to represent errors but I see their role in a different way. These blood-colored marks no longer represent failures in my writing and low scores on my exams but rather opportunities to improve my craft before it’s presented to the world for all to see, and hopefully buy.
One of the biggest problems with many independently published works, and some traditionally published, is poor grammar and spelling. That’s where the red pen comes to the rescue!
When I’m editing my own work I find printing it and working from the paper more efficient and beneficial than reading it on a screen. You acquire a more accurate feeling for the flow of the pages and the story. And you get to use that red pen!
I even pay someone to tell me my work stinks!
Money spent on an editor is extremely worthwhile. It’s hard for a writer, even an educated one, to see errors in their writing given how close and familiar to their work they can be. I can usually find a mistake in my own work even after reading it a dozen times. This further illustrates how your mind can read one thing yet see it as another, ie read it wrong and see it right.
If you do have your work reviewed, which I wholeheartedly hope you do, make sure it’s a professional editor and not just a friend. You want valuable feedback and not just compliments.
Just because someone can read and speak doesn’t mean they are capable of finding written errors on your pages and has the ability to point them out. When I first started writing I asked a voracious reading family member to proof my manuscript, before I sent it to the editor. What came back from her was hardly worth my time to review.
Do you dread constructive criticism? Does the color red make you cringe? Turn a new page in your writing career and come to love the editing phase and the red pen.