As professional copywriters, proofreading is a vital part of our everyday process. It’s vital to us because we understand the powder of words, and the difference between the almost-right word and the right word. Nevertheless, that doesn’t make proofreading an easy task. In fact, proofreading your own work can be a mammoth task simply because of the fact that you read your work as you think you’ve written it – not always as it is actually written.
To help you master the skill of proofreading your own work, we’re going to share our top tips, so grab your reading glasses and get ready to take notes!
- Read with fresh eyes
Having the time to refresh your eyes for a while allows you to look for errors more effectively. However, in this day and age our turnaround times do not always allow for this type of luxury. If this is the case, move onto another piece of work and then head back to the content for another read later on. Breaking even to write something else can help provide you with a different outlook.
- Read the text aloud
Reading your text aloud can sometimes force you to read the words as they are actually written on the page, which is something that cannot always be achieved inside your own head! After spending some time writing, it’s easier to hear a problem in the work than it is to read it.
- Read your text backwards
Arguably the best way to catch spelling errors is to read from right to left. It gets your brain working in another way, separating what you think you wrote from what you have written on the page. This way, you can focus on individual words rather than sentences.
- Don’t trust spellchecker; trust a dictionary
While spellchecker is a handy tool and all, it doesn’t actually tell you if you’ve used the correct word in the correct context. For example, it cannot tell if sand is in a dessert or a desert, but it can tell that both of those words are in fact words, meaning it wont highlight always highlight mistakes for you! Always refer to a dictionary when you’re unsure.
- Create an error checklist
Often creating a proofreading checklist can help you to notice the mistakes you commonly make. Make a note of the errors you find often and then refer to this checklist during the proofreading stage. Not only does this method help you to iron out errors, it also helps you learn and grow as a writer.
Remember these top tips and you’re sure to produce content that is far more effective. Do you have any of your own tips to share? Use the comments section below to pass on your knowledge!
image credit with thanks to Copyediting.com