Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Measure Twice, Cut Once

 The proverb: Measure twice, cut once, is actually some of the best advice you can get. Simply put, it means take the time to check before you commit.
But as is the case with all advice, you actually have to follow the advice for it to work. I've known measure twice nugget of wisdom all my life, but I can't tell you the number of times I've bungled something, and afterwards said: "dang, I wish I had checked this first."
I had a self-imposed goal to have my book at the press a few weeks ago. I'd read over the manuscript so many times I was sick of it.
Jilda read over it too, and found several errors, which I corrected. As one last check, I sent it to my friend Dale who is a writing mentor to me and an excellent writer, and editor.
The only hitch, it would take him some time to work through the manuscript.
I started to forego the extra set of eyes on my work to meet my deadline, but that little nagging voice (the good one, not the bad one) kept saying, "What's your hurry? Let Dale check it."
I took a breath and decided to miss my deadline, and I'm glad I did. He found a ton of formatting errors, which neither Jilda nor I were looking for, but he also found several instances where I misused words, and he found grammatical errors too. He gave me a paper copy of my book with all his suggestions.
I was surprised by the number of squiggle marks he'd added, but I blew through them and I started to submit the book again.
Then that little saying flitted through my head. Measure twice, cut once.
So I took a felt-tip pen and went error by error in Dale's document - checking the corrections against the  electronic document I was about to submit. I found five instances where I'd failed to correct mistakes.
Now I'm confident that my manuscript is as good as I can get it. That's not to say there won't be any errors, but I know for a fact there will be fewer than there would have been had I not Measured Twice and Cut Once.


  1. I often forget how smart that little voice is in my head. :)

  2. Anything worth publishing goes to so many edits and re-edits and more!!!! Well done you!! Take care

  3. I think it's wise to recheck and think over most things in life..whether writing a book or writing a pays to discover! (sorry to steal that advertising line!) Good luck with your book!

  4. Boy that sounds like a lot of work was put into your manuscript.
    But its worth it if everything goes well.


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