How to Choose the Proofreading Strategy for Beginning Authors
Proofreading can be a real pain in the neck. It might take hours of searching for the proper word combination, vivid examples, and proper grammar usage.
That is why, so many writers new to this choose not to proofread their writing. And to their own bad. Proofreading is essential to the quality of your writing, its popularity among the website visitors and in case you are an online marketer to the conversion rates of your company.
So, how to start with proofreading your texts? Easily follow our tips on how to do it, and even if you are new to this, you will find proofreading a much simpler task.
How to proofread your writing: Every beginner’s guide
- Only start proofreading once you are done writing.
There is always a temptation to start proofreading what you have even before you finish the text. But remember you can only start working on this task once you are 100% sure that you will add nothing else to your text.
Otherwise, be ready to proofread every section you added at least one sentence to.
- Be focused.
If you are an inspired writer, proofreading is something you can easily deal with. All you need is proper environment that will let you focus. Take that eagle eye out – it’s time to put it to action!
Make sure to have no distractions around.
Thus, gadgets, social media, favorite books, loud music, or annoying neighbors should be nowhere around. If possible take it outside and proofread your writing somewhere quiet.
- Take one type of mistakes at a time.
Start with searching for misspellings. Go over the whole text looking for typos and wrong spelling. And only once you confirm that this task is completed, you can start looking for grammar mistakes.
Taking one type of mistake at a time will increase the positive results of your proofreading and won’t give you a headache by the end of the day.
- Look it up.
If you are not sure about something, do not leave it all to fate. Look it up in a dictionary. Misusing the words is one of the ugliest mistakes beginning writers might make. So, if you can save the face and prevent such errors from getting into your paper, go for it. You don’t have to be spending hours in a library looking everything up (though there is something romantic about it). Use available online dictionaries like Merriam-Webster dictionary you can find by following this link.
- Read out loud.
You need to hear this text read to you or by you. Therefore, read it out loud whenever possible. Ideally, you will have someone to listen to you read and give you feedback about it. So, if you have friends that can do that for you, do not hesitate to ask for their help.
But even listening to yourself when reading it can do the trick.
This way, you will be able to focus on minor mistakes and notice different stylistic issues you could not have paid attention to when simply reading the text quietly.
- Listen for text’s rhythm.
Every writing has its own rhythm. It has its own voice. However, you can totally kill it by creating sentences that are too long or too short. Make sure to break long sentences into shorter ones and unite short sentences for improved musicality. This leads us to mentioning that you need to seek inspiration for writing before getting down to business.
You can call this process fine-tuning: you are trying to adjust the way your text sounds to the audience. It’s almost as if you are a conductor trying to make sure that all the musicians play altogether.
- Edit both a hard copy and on your laptop.
Old school proofreading with a real pen and everything is a powerful tool. Adding marks and keeping track of changes using your computer will never be as effective as that of your hard copy.
So, find those pens, print out the text and add your comments as you go on that piece of paper.
It is truly a pleasure to add changes with a pen, and also it gives your eyes a chance to catch a break.
- Check the formatting.
While you need to pay much attention to the words, facts, dates, and names you use in your text, you should also make sure that your text’s format and structure comply with the requirements.
It should flow naturally. Every next thought must be backed by the previous one. You should not jump from one point to another, but rather be consistent in the way you talk about the topic.
Remember that every text must have an introduction with an interesting opening and a hook to grab readers’ attention, several paragraphs each of which must be focused on only one idea, an a conclusion that would summarize and wrap everything up in an interesting but concise manner.
- Make sure the text is plagiarism-free.
Use good plagiarism checkers to ensure that your piece is 100% original and contains no copied parts. Otherwise, you might end up hurting your image badly, losing your audience’s trust, and getting in trouble with the law. Who wants that?
- Support your writing with references.
If you are using ideas or content first introduced by other people, you need to add references. Make sure to add real links, names, and places. Otherwise, read the consequences from Tip #9.
- Keep track of your common mistakes.
We all tend to make the same mistakes in whatever we write. That is why, by keeping track of the most common errors you make, you can improve your writing by eliminating these mistakes. Think of all the time you will save this way!
Proofreading, no matter how horrifying it sounds to you, is your friend. By investing time into proofreading your writing, you improve your writing by times and strengthen your good name among your fellow writers. So, maybe it’s time for you to change your perspective and jump into proofreading with both feet even if you are new to this: it is definitely worth the hassle.
Richard Nolan is a writer and a private tutor, sharing his experience in spheres of writing, blogging, entrepreneurship and psychology. Richard writes for numerous blogs and gives useful tips for bloggers and students. Currently, Richard works as a general blog editor for ProWritersCenter