Have you ever pressed send on an important email, only to read it back and realize you had a glaring typo? We’ve all been there! All types of writing should be edited, but revising your own work can prove difficult. Proofreading is a learned skill – so we compiled tips to help you master the art of self-editing!
Don’t start proofreading until you’re finished writing.
Writing and editing are two different things. Keep the ideas flowing and get them out while your brain is in motion. When you stop writing to edit your work, you break the creative mode. Let it all out and then go back to make corrections. It will make it easier for you to focus on proofreading if your ideas are out on the paper.
Give yourself a break from writing before proofreading.
It’s much harder to spot errors when a piece is fresh on your mind. Work on a different task for a few minutes then go back to start proofreading. Resting your mind is one of the secrets to editing.
Go step by step.
Take several passes over your work and go line by line. On the first round, check for spelling and grammar, on the second check for tone and structure and so on. This trick can help you stay focused on one thing at a time and is a thorough way to make sure you catch all your mistakes.
Read it aloud.
You’re more likely to find typos, grammatical errors and overused words when you read your work aloud to yourself. Reading silently to yourself can cause you to miss big mistakes like run-on sentences and misspelled words.
Read it backward.
When you read your work forward, your brain will fix (skip) many of the mistakes you’ve written. Take the time to read it sentence by sentence backward to find errors you might have overlooked. Once you’ve finished reading it backward, read it forward for a final run-through.
From books to emails, proofreading is an essential step to finalizing your work before pressing send. Proofreading isn’t about creativity – it’s a science! If you’re having trouble proofreading your own work, give these steps a try and let us know if they worked!