Proofreading is a must! It’s difficult to copy edit your own work because you’re so close to it – you know what’s coming next which often means you unconsciously skip along, missing typos and misspellings completely.
Or at least I think that’s what happens to me, so I’m guessing that’s how it works for many of you.
Spell check helps, at least some, but we all know it isn’t the full answer. Learning how to copy your own work is part of becoming a successful freelance writing.
These tips can help:
- Pay extra attention to your word processor’s spelling check. It’s easy to miss the cues when you’re in the heat of writing or editing. And if you’re blogging using WordPress, it’s awfully easy to miss the red underlines showing problematic spelling.
- Print the manuscript and read it out loud. This slows you down so it’s easier to spot errors, and your ear will also pick up other things that need to be changed.
- Put the manuscript aside for at least 24 hours – several days is even better. You will see it with fresher eyes when you return to it.
- Ask someone else to read it. Make it clear you only want them to spot spelling errors and totally unclear sentences, not their opinion or editing.
- Read the manuscript backwards, from the last word to the first. If it’s too long to do this efficiently, read difficult passages backwards.
- Proofreading or copy editing is the last step before submitting a manuscript.
Proofreading is a must! It’s not fun, and it’s not easy, but it often makes the difference between rejection and acceptance.
What proofing tips do you use?