When you write, you write. And when you read, you read… what you write! It reads exactly the way you intended it to. Am I right?
Well, not always. When you spend enough time writing and editing your copy, it becomes very familiar. So familiar that your mind plays tricks on you and will automatically read what you want it to say. The most infamous culprits are the words you and your. They seem to be totally interchangeable and despite your best efforts, often missed.
After my last blog, I started to reread some of the posts I’d made. Although I was sure I’d come out clean, I was wrong!
Proofreading is an art. You need to have a clear mind and the time to read your copy slowly and uninterrupted. When you proofread, you’re polishing your copy. You’re looking for those misspelled words or those grammar misses. It’s not the time to evaluate the flow of your copy or look for missing information or details. Let me share a few little proofreading tips I’ve learned along the way.
1. Put your copy down and read it later when you’re no longer thinking about it. Giving yourself a little break will not only rest your mind, it will also rest your memory.
2. Read your copy in sections or from the bottom up. When you break up the sections, you’re more likely to see things you may have missed.
3. Use your finger or a ruler to guide your reading one line at a time. This will stop your mind from forging ahead with what you know and overlooking a typo or missing word.
4. March through your copy reading one word at a time out loud. This will slow you down and will make each word stand out as you pronounce it.
5. And, my favourite, ask a friend or colleague to read it for you!
However you choose to proofread, take the time to read your copy slowly and carefully. Clean, error-free copy can help build credibility and trust.
Now, time to proofread!