No clue as to what I’m talking about? Worry not! Proofing or proofreading or copy-editing all mean the same thing – assessing your work before publishing it. And I just can’t stress enough on its significance in building your reputation as a skilled writer.
Why is proofreading important?
Now, what would you prefer? Someone on the street pointing out that your dress is torn with a gaping hole or you find it out yourself. If you’re someone like me, you’d rather find it yourself and mend it while there’s still time.
Proofreading is stitching up the holes and covering up the bad spots in your writing.
I am someone who cringes at the sight of misspelled words, badly phrased sentences or mismanaged punctuation. I lose interest instantly and skip that article or abandon that book, and listen to music to rectify my foul mood. I also don’t want to see that day when someone other than me finds out errors in my work. When it’s happened in the past, my heart has shrunk to the size of a nickel and I’ve had no confidence to go on for days.
Now, as a writer, it is necessary that you understand this,
Grammar and punctuation errors or misspelled words, etc. make your writing look shabby. They prove how reckless you are!
Your writing is your baby. When you take it out for a walk, make sure you have it well-dressed. You want everyone to notice it and perhaps, even appreciate it, don’t you? So, I won’t be beating around the bush anymore. Here are 3 easy ways to proofread your work and make your baby look goody good.
This rule has been my savior till date. And no, we ain’t talking about Global Positioning System. In my first job as a copywriter, my boss told me this, “Read your work thrice. Round 1 for Grammar. Round 2 for Punctuation. Round 3 for Sentence Construction. As long as you’re writing, never falter from this.” And I termed it as the GPS rule. Easy to remember, eh?
What I do: Quite simply, I read the document 3 times focusing on one element at a time. This way my mind does not feel overburdened and I can give my 100% to the task of proofing.
Read Out Loud
Well, it doesn’t literally mean shouting from a roof top. Rather read it out loud as if you’re reading to an audience. Usually, when we read what we’ve written, our mind accustomed to our thoughts tends to overlook minor mistakes or missing words. That’s why reading in the mind isn’t a foolproof way to go about copyediting.
What I do: Once I’ve finished writing a piece, I take the document and leave the setting. I go for a walk, find a secluded place and read the lines out loud. I’m always amazed at the number of words I eat up when I write.
Get a Partner
Not just in life, in writing too, a partner can go a long way in sharing the stress. And tell you what? Unlike the hunt for life partners, writing partners are easy to find. All you need is someone with a decent understanding of the language nuances, writing styles, and of course, ample patience.
What I do: I’ve had a hard time finding a writing partner; haven’t yet found one. Since I have a fairly good grasp of the basic elements of the language, I become my own writing partner. I wear on the copy editor’s hat and start dissecting my own work.
You have sites like grammarly.com or paperrater.com and few others that proofread your documents for you. You may try them too. But they tend to miss a thing or two as I’ve experienced.
Whether or not you adopt these proofing tricks, I pray you do imbibe the godly habit of proofing. As I like to say to my juniors,
Show some love. Proofread.
If you get around using these proofreading tricks, do share your thoughts below on how useful or otherwise you find them.
As for my next blog post, I am planning to share few crucial things one should look for when proofreading. You can share your views and I shall include them too.
Happy writing till we meet next.
Until then, carpe diem! 🙂
© Asha Seth