Guest Post: Tips to Proofread Your Own Work

April 22, 2013

I would like to welcome Sandra Millers to the backwoods! Today she will be sharing tips about how to proofread your own work–important things to know while proofreading before and after sending it to the critique partners, editor, the beta readers, and in between.

Enjoy!

Editing and proofreading

Editing and proofreading (Photo credit: the Italian voice)

Tips to proofreading your own work: Get your eagle eye on 

To all forms of writing, proofreading is one of the most important steps that must be adhered to. This is because reading work that is full of typos, spelling mistakes, poor grammar and bad sentences is awful. And as much as writers pretend that no one cares or looks at the quality of work or people just don’t notice; this thinking is wrong because readers indeed notice bad work. Writers’ having an eagle eye over what they write to make sure it is without error is the best strategy to produce better written work. After finishing don’t forget to check your writing with plagiarism checker Plagtracker to ensure it is 100% unique. Here are the steps to do this:

  1. At all times, proof work that is totally complete and ready for consumption to avoid doubling over mistakes in written work.  Proofreading work that is not complete can waste a lot of time with modifications as well as introduce new errors in the work.
  2. Keep off distractions at all costs. This means you need to switch off the TV, radio or loud music. Proofreading requires sharp focus to discover the subtle of all mistakes. Being distracted will lead you to make mistakes and this is not required when you are proofreading.
  3. You need to forget the story you are writing about. Proofreading needs you to focus on the obvious mistakes like grammar, typos, spelling, etc. if possible, read the work backwards to discover mistakes.
  4. Always tackle the main mistakes in the works as a bunch. For instance, you cam group your check to spellings, grammar and typos differently. Doing this will give you the ability to narrow down possible errors in the work and possibly save time.
  5. Taking notes as you proofread work is one of the steps many writers ignore, yet it’s crucial. You need to list down anything that sounds ambiguous for later checking. In case you encounter problems in the areas of the work, take note and investigate.
  6. When you have made a small correction, ensure that it fits into the whole sense of the story. If possible, you need to read the full paragraph where the correction was made so that the story still makes sense. This step can enable you avoid the mistakes that come with making local changes which impact the overall sense of the sentence.
  7. Dates, quotes and other lift evidence are quite hard to proof and many writers end up misrepresenting them. If you have quotes or specific dates or numbers, be sure to double check on those factors. Many writers have lost credibility for wrongly quoting individuals and using wrong dates and it’s something you may consider doing to avoid facing the same brunt.
  8. Keep tabs on yourself. In the middle of doing concerned work like proofreading, your mind can drift off and you fail to see mistakes. To avoid this, you need to watch yourself. If you find yourself drifting halfway through a project, stop and take a break. Small breaks have been quoted as some of the best ways to maintain focus on the job at hand.
  9. Knowing a little about yourself can help you know what mistakes you are more likely to make. Whether it’s a punctuation fetish, spelling problem or any other. This can help you save time as you know what mistakes you are looking for. This can make your work easier and better.
  10. Look at your format as the last thing. This is because the format is the icing on cake and for written work, you need the format last. Depending on what you write about, you can refine the format for greater impact with the readers.

About the AuthorSandra Millers is freelance writer form US. She has a PhD in English literature.

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AK Taylor

About the Author

AK Taylor

AK Taylor is an award winning YA author who has been writing novels since age 16. Beekeeper, outdoor sportsman, avid adventurer, and animal lover. Taylor lives in the backwoods of Middle GA where she continues to write stories.

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  • Lori says:

    Thanks so much for the shoutout. Great post!

  • […] Guest Post: Tips to Proofread Your Own Work (backwoodsauthor.com) […]

  • Karen says:

    You can also read your work out loud so you can identify the mistakes. It is one of the things I learned through the years as a proofreader.

  • […] Guest Post: Tips to Proofread Your Own Work (backwoodsauthor.com) […]

  • Martha B. says:

    I really don’t like it when people comment just so they can be anonymously snarky, and that is not my intention here, but this post was just bad. Here is the article I think you were looking for:
    http://writetodone.com/get-your-eagle-eye-on-10-tips-for-proofreading-your-own-work/

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