Remember all these amazing articles you stumbled upon online? There’s a 99 percent chance that all of them were proofread before publishing – and that’s one of many things that makes them so amazing.
You might be a good writer paying attention to the details; however, this still doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to deliver a flawless article right from the first draft, especially if you were truly caught in the writing process. There are so many errors that might slip into your writing simply because you’re paying more attention to the content, not to the grammar (which is completely normal, of course).
When you’re tired or stressed, the same things could happen, and that’s also normal. However, submitting an article without a proper proofreading is not normal even if you are tired. The thing is that even if your writing is good, interesting, and engaging, a couple of errors and flaws might ruin all the impression you were trying to make. That would be a pity, wouldn’t it?
So if you do want to make the most out of your writing, you have to spend time on proofreading. And here’s what can help you during the process.
1. Don’t rely on proofreading tools
Sure, these days there are so many free proofreading tools like Grammarly or Hemingway App that can help you improve your writing quickly and without many efforts even if you’re tired or time-limited. However, some writers just rely on them too much, thinking such tools can replace manual proofreading.
No, they can’t. They can spot grammar mistakes, they can improve your punctuation, and offer some valuable stylistic suggestions, but that’s all. They won’t be able to detect a logical flaw or a cliché in your writing and sometimes their suggestions need double-checking too. You can still use them for initial proofreading but don’t settle with them only.
2. Put the text away for some time
It’s good to proofread with your eyes fresh. However, it’s impossible when you’re tired, when you’re just finished your writing and think that you know it well enough. The best way to make the most out of your proofreading is to put the writing aside for a while and then return to it. That’s why it’s better to finish the writing as early as possible – you’ll have more time for proofreading and polishing.
3. Ask someone’s opinion
If you don’t have much time to put the text aside, you can ask someone for help. Sure, it’s better when a person is experienced enough but even if they aren’t they can still spot some flaws you aren’t able to detect at the moment.
4. Read it aloud
Reading the texts aloud has so many perks. You actually understand how your writing sounds, you detect the mistakes more easily, and you also notice whether the sentences are too long or not. For example, if you’re running out of breath before you’re even able to finish the sentence, you might want to shorten it a bit.
5. Print it and proofread it with a pen
This is a truly manual proofreading, which might make some of us feel like old-school editors. The whole process itself could be a bit unusual and entertaining to many, but it’s not the fun that matters. Some people simply work better with material things and spot errors quicker when they have a printed version in front of themselves.
This is also very convenient when you don’t have much time to proofread your work – you can take the printed version with you and edit in when you have some free time. Moreover, such method allows you to “accept” your mistakes as well to remember them more easily (that is if you have a visual type of memory, of course).
6. Look for patterns in your mistakes
It doesn’t matter if you follow the guide to proofread your texts or choose one of the proofreading techniques I’ve mentioned above. Either way, it’s important to notice the patterns in your mistakes (and you probably do have them).
Every writer has their own weak points so once you notice them it’ll be easier for you to fix them. Maybe you have problems with punctuation and can fix that by refreshing some of the rules in your memory. Maybe you have too many typos: this can be fixed by being more attentive during the writing process. It’s good to use this tip in the combination with the previous one as the mistakes spotted on paper would be easier to remember.
7. Don’t settle with one proofreading
There aren’t so many writers able to create stunning texts right from the first draft. Most of them have to work hard and proofread a lot before their writing becomes truly polished. Try following their example. Once you proofread your text, leave it alone for some time, and then return to it. Cross out paragraphs if it seems that they don’t fit. Change and rewrite sentences. Add new facts. Sure, this might seem too complex and tiring at some point, but it’s the only way to make your text stunning and flawless.
As you see, proofreading does require a lot of time and work. We might even say that it is as important and time-consuming as the writing process itself. However, it’ll become easier with time. The more time you invest into proofreading and polishing your texts, the better you’ll become in writing.
That’s why don’t stop and always strive for perfection. I wish you good luck with that!