No matter how much you love to write, it’s hypocritical to deny that proofreading is sometimes boring and dull. Proofreading your work rather than someone else’s is often a more challenging job. It’s because writers tend to have blind spots or to be overconfident in their own work.
Proofreading an article word by word is tiresome but is crucial for all types of writings. Checking and editing a piece of content of a few hundred or thousand words is easy that enthusiasm can overcome all the dullness.
But if you are dealing with a paper with tens of thousands of words, a technically written manual, a transcript of a long meeting, or a book’s draft writing, I am afraid you will have to spend days and nights to review it again and again to guarantee a “zero mistake” result. This won’t be an enjoyable job.
Life isn’t interesting all the time, is it? Here’s what a writer or an editor can do to get the proofreading work done at ease.
1. Go to sleep.
Sleep or take a nap after completing the first draft of an article. You may also listen to a delightful song, have a walk, or do whatever you like to refresh your mind.
It is not the best time to proofread your work when having a profound memory of it. If you are not in a hurry to submit the writing, just forget about it and read it tomorrow. Slow work usually produces better products.
2. Change the font and color.
Enlarge the text a bit, change the texts into another font and font size, or even print it out, hold a pen and correct the article like a teacher. By refreshing the format, you may review the same writing piece differently and discover previously overlooked mistakes. Just do whatever is more comfortable for you to read.
3. Make good use of technology.
No matter you are writing on Microsoft Word, Apple’s Page, or Google Docs, the automatic spell-checking function is always there for you. Writing apps like Grammarly even give suggestions to improve the clarity and style of your writing.
These tools are handy and effective in preventing English typos. But as of today, we do not see equivalent products for other languages. And more importantly, do not over-rely on AI writing tools as they may kill your creativity.
4. Press Ctrl+F.
Sometimes, a single error may be repeated more than once throughout an article. Use Ctrl+F to find the mistakes and correct them consistently.
5. Ask someone for help.
After you write the article, you may share it with a friend, colleague, or someone with reliable editing skills and then ask for practical advice from them.
Having a reliable “writing buddy” saves you a lot of time and effort and pushes you to improve. If you are too busy to proofread yourself or have difficulties finding the right partner, you may consider hiring an editor to share some of the burdens.
6. Publish and edit it later.
While brewing content for clients requests perfectionism, writing on your own non-commercial website, Medium, or social media account sounds much more casual.
After publishing an article online, your audience could become the best proofreaders who correct your mistakes, share valuable opinions, and give inspiration for your next writing. All you need is to keep an open mind, learn from mistakes, and work harder to be a better writer.
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(Article Last Updated on January 20, 2021)