I spend pretty much half my life on a computer, phone or tablet. I write hundreds of emails and text messages a day. I write so many I have gotten into the lazy habit of not proof-reading and when if I have to re-read them (when someone has replied for example) I cringe at the schoolboy mistakes I make.
I tried writing emails then leaving them for a few hours. Then I started leaving them until the next day. The trouble was I read them as my brain wrote them, not what’s on the screen. So I was thinking about how I could prof-read simply and quickly. The idea struck me – to write an email with my eyes closed. That way when I proof-read them moments later it would be a like seeing it for the first time. So my theory goes. I’m sure it will engage another part of my brain too.
It shouldn’t really be a problem. I’ve used the same keyboard for three years. The QWERTY format probably for 20 years. So here it goes….
For my first attempt I was so worried about mistakes. I had to open one eye just to make sure that my fingers were in the right position for the first key of each sentence. After that the sentence finished quite well. Then I had to cheat to start the next. The biggest problem was punctuation and when I needed to use the shift key, as well as pressing two keys at the same time. I also found I out I am addicted to the backspace key to cover up my mistakes!
For my second attempt, I tried to write some prose (as opposed to a work email) so that I could find some flow. I had hoped having my eyes closed would allow me to visualise a scene.
I still found I was concentrating on minimising mistakes than I was on the content of the story. When I opened my eyes and started to proof-read (as was my original goal), I only served to focus on finding my individual spelling mistakes, to see where I had gone wrong, instead of the context too. I think this will take some practice!
Here are some websites I just found:
- Someone did it before me (http://vincentmars.com/2013/02/20/writing-with-your-eyes-closed/) and they were much better! Even includes some tips and tricks!
- This is FUNNY! How to text message with your eyes closed (http://www.wikihow.com/Text-Mesage-With-Your-Eyes-Closed). “This is a step-by-step guide on how to learn to text message with your eyes closed, say, if you want to text during class, during a recital or show, or under the table”
- This is SERIOUS! A clear and accessible post on how blind people use computers (http://philstephenson.wordpress.com/2011/08/01/how-do-blind-people-use-computers/)
Why not give it a go yourself and let me know how you got on! Post to my Facebook page or tweet me @jelly_wobbler.
Remember: Don’t press send on an email until you have proof-read the email you wrote with your eyes closed!