To hire an editor or proofreader for your written content takes time, resources, and an understanding of the kind of work your material really needs. 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 own 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 will almost certainly overlook the little common errors that we all make. It’s important to take a step back and give your brain and your 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
There’s no question that we are all knee deep in the age of technology and computers. However, reading from your computer screen is not the most impactful way to proofread your content. It’s best to take the old-fashioned approach and print out your document and have a pen handy to make your corrections. It’s much easier to see a mistake on paper then on a 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 most things in life, having a list can make your proofreading process much simpler. Before you begin going over your content, it’s important to make 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 supported properly with facts, numbers, etc. Once you’ve made your list, it’s important to proofread your document all the way through for one item off your list at a time. You never want to look for 5-6 errors simultaneously.
This may sound like an out of place tip for proofreading, but role playing is essential! Here is where you want 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 before they even lay eyes on your work? 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.
I hope this information was useful for the readers out there who would like to sharpen their own content without hiring a proofreader or editor, and even for those of you who are interested in hiring someone, but want to ensure your content is as tight as possible before sending it to a professional.
Are you or someone you know searching for a proofreader/editor? Contact me today to receive a free sample edit and estimate for your project.