Hiring the right editor for your written content takes time, resources, and a solid grasp of the kind of errors you want your editor to check for. While hiring a professional is definitely the way to go if you want to make your writing pop and stand out from the crowd, proofreading your own content will go a long way towards sharpening your skills. In this post, we will discuss 5 Tips for Self-Proofreading:
1. Give Your Brain A Rest
Proofreading content that you’ve just written can be a daunting task. Because the material is so fresh on your mind, you are bound to overlook a few common errors that we all make. It’s important to take a step back and give your brain and eyes a rest before beginning your proofreading process. Give yourself at least an hour to get away from your writing before you go back and proofread.
2. Pen and Paper Are Your Friend
In 2020, the majority of us are caught up in the age of iPads, iPhones, tablets and PCs. However, reading from your computer screen is not the most impactful way to proofread your content. It can be helpful to take the old-fashioned approach: Print out your document, and have your pen handy to make your corrections manually. It can be much easier to spot your written mistakes on paper as opposed to a computer screen.
3. Read. Out. Loud.
We’ve all heard the phrase, ‘reading is fundamental,’ and that rings especially true when it comes to being your own proofreader. Reading your content slowly and out loud will not only force you to say every word, but it will help you hear how each of your words flow together. As you listen to what you’ve written, it will help you spot errors that you may have unconsciously corrected in your mind as you were writing.
4. Make A List
As with many things in life, preparing a list is a great way to stay organized and on track. Before you begin going over your content, consider making a list of the kind of errors you would like to look for. Is it punctuation? Spelling? The overall flow of how your content sounds? Maybe you’re checking to ensure all of your arguments/points are properly supported by facts, numbers, etc. After you’ve made your list, try proofreading your document all the way through for one item off your list at a time. It's easier not to look for 5-6 errors simultaneously.
This may sound like a random tip in regards to proofreading, but role playing is essential! Here is where you need to take your emotions out of what you’ve written, and place yourself in the shoes of your reader. Who is your audience? What would they think about the material you’ve presented to them? Would they have any additional questions after reading your content? If so, are you able to go back and answer those questions by revising what you've written? Playing the role of your reader encourages you to see what you’ve written from the eyes of your audience.
So remember, you don’t need any formal training to self-proofread. All you need is a little discipline and time.
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