You have just finished an important piece, and it’s time to publish. The countless hours of brainstorming, researching, and writing have all come to this moment. You turn it in (or click send), and it’s official. However, after a few minutes, you realize that you’ve misspelled a word here and missed a comma there.
Unfortunately, this is an embarrassing moment that we have all experienced. However, one simple solution can help avoid this: proofreading. This final step can easily cure many of your clumsy writing mistakes. Here are a few tips for making sure your work looks spotless.
Set Time In Your Schedule
When deadlines are tight, most writers spend little time carefully reading and checking their work, which is where errors can arise. To avoid this, proofreading should be worked you’re your writing schedule just as other components such as brainstorming and research are. When planning time to proofread, first be sure to give yourself a break between your finished draft and your final proofreading. Whether it is 20 minutes or a night’s sleep, this time away will allow you to mentally reset and come back to the paper to read with a fresh perspective. Next, make sure you give yourself more than enough time to read your writing a few times slowly. Remember that the more time you have to read your work, the fewer errors you will have at the end.
Print It Out
Personally, this tip is one that I have found the most useful. Reading on paper is much different than reading a screen. When reading on my computer, I always find myself quickly scanning through writing like I would a Twitter feed. This leads to missing critical errors. To fix this, I started physically printing out copies to read. This fix not only slows my reading down but is also an easy way to mark errors.
Read Your Writing Out Loud
Given that we tend to skim and autofill phrases when silently reading, reading aloud helps us fully see the words we’ve written. This process will also allow you to catch any awkward or overused phrases. This process will help eliminate fluff and improve the overall flow of your writing.
Give it to Someone Else
When reading your writing, you already know the message that we want to convey so well that you may miss a missing letter or word. However, other readers might not know this message and notice errors. This help will allow you to identify if something is missing or if the writing is confusing. Whether it is a friend, coworker, or spouse, having another set of eyes is always beneficial in perfecting your work.