I always chuckle to myself when I see the blog posts and forum posts to freelance writers recommending that they have someone else proofread their writing.
It’s not that having someone else proofread your copy is a bad idea. It’s not. It’s a very good idea. Many companies hire full-time editors to proofread their documents for that very reason.
It’s just that, as a freelance writer and as a WAHM, there’s no one else here. (Well, no one except the dog, that is. The dog can’t read, so she’s out of the question.) The kids are at school and hubby is at work. It’s just me and my computer (well, it’s me, the computer, and the illiterate dog).
Even if the family was here, it’s hard to say how much help they’d be. You see, since I’m a writer I’m also the proofreader in the family. They give their letters and papers to me so that I can check them over for mistakes.
So, if you have access to an editor, then great!! For the rest of us here are five real life proofreading tips that you can do when you’re all by yourself:
- Read your writing aloud. You’d surprised at how well this works. You will tend to pause where there should be pauses. Painfully long sentences will become painfully obvious.
- Proofread your writing on paper. In this electronic age it’s tempting to do all your proofreading online. Don’t do it! Sometimes it’s better to see a hard copy. So, grab your favorite red pen and print that document out.
- Pause and come back to your writing. It’s easy to get so wrapped up in what you are writing that you miss obvious mistakes. If your deadline allows, put the document aside and do something else for at least a half hour. When you return, you’ll have a much fresher proofreading eye.
- Proofread the document backwards. Reading out of sequence helps you look at what you actually put on the paper instead of what you think you put on the paper.
- Use that spellchecker. Always take advantage of the electronic tools that come with your writing software. Sure, they’re not always correct, but sometimes they are correct. Don’t miss fixing obvious mistakes that your spellchecker would have caught.
Contents (c) Copyright 2007, Laura Spencer. All rights reserved.