Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Importance of Proofreading

If you're like me, you check, double check and maybe even triple check your writing to ensure it's flawless before sending it in to your editor. Then again, maybe one day you get lazy and quickly scan the article for any errors that jump out at you. Hold it right there! Proofreading is an essential part of the freelance writing business and should be taken as seriously as the writing itself. Oftentimes, it can be hard to edit your own work because you can't necessarily give your work the impartial eye it needs to catch errors. The following guidelines can help you edit your work like a pro, and take the hassle out of proofreading.

Obviously, relying on your word processor's spell check program isn't the way to go. It can catch blatant spelling errors, but it won't catch the improper use of "their" when you should use "there," for example. What's more, the built-in grammar checker is often quite faulty, and should not be completely trusted either. Therefore, you'll want to pay close attention to your work as you are writing to ensure you don't make any drastic mistakes the spell check is not likely to catch.

I've also found that reading your work out loud will give you an idea of how it sounds. This way, you'll be able to catch any errors in sentence structure or grammar because your ear will pick up on any mistakes you might have made. Obviously, proofreading your work with your eyes is just as important but reading your work aloud will help you catch the mistakes your eyes can easily pass over. More importantly, you may want to consider revising and editing after a day or so has gone by, so you can look at the manuscript with fresh eyes.

Proofreading is definitely not the most exciting job you could do, but it's essential to the quality of your work. What's more, a flawless article means a happy editor who doesn't have to clean up after your mess. While becoming a great proofreader takes practice, after a few tries you'll be an expert in no time.

Please feel free to leave any of your tips about proofreading/editing. I'd be happy to hear them!

Best Wishes,

Denise

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