Have you ever written “you’re” when you meant “your”? This seemingly small typo in an essay can cost you a letter grade. This seemingly minuscule error in an email to a prospective employer can cost you the job. This seemingly insignificant mistake on a landing page can cost you the confidence of potential
clients and customers.
But writing blunders like swapping out “you’re” for “your” happen all the time, even to great writers. How can you eradicate such damaging gaffes from your next piece? Use these general strategies for editing/proofreading, and discover how much cleaner, tighter and compelling your next blog post, paper, article or essay can be.
The Difference Between Editing and Proofreading
Before we get too deep, let’s clear something up: There’s a difference between editing and proofreading.
Editing includes a look at the clarity, organization and underlying concept of a written work. No matter what you’re writing, you want it to make sense, to capture the audience’s attention and to lead them on a journey toward a specific conclusion or call to action.
Writers never achieve perfection on the first draft. They must make their points more clear, they must reorganize, cut fluff and excess, and they must tighten up the concept that drives the piece. That, in essence, is the editing process.
And then comes the proofreading. If you make a spelling error, or if you misrepresent a fact, or if you name the wrong person in an anecdote, you’ve destroyed the integrity of your writing. That’s why you must read for misspelling, confirm facts and double-check the people, places and things in your anecdotes. That, in essence, is the proofreading process.
Take Time Off Before Editing and Proofreading
Before you start employing general strategies for editing/proofreading, take some time away from your writing. The process of writing brings the writer close to the work. If you’re going to edit and proofread your own stuff, you must first take a step back.
If you’re writing an essay, article or blog post, this step back may be a small one — a day or two at most. This time away helps you see your writing with fresh eyes. You’ll be better able to improve clarity and organization, to lop off words and paragraphs that don’t fit, and you’ll be better able to identify those pesky misspellings, typos and mistakes.
The longer you spend on a piece, the longer the writing itself, the larger your step back should be. If you’ve written a thesis or a novel, take a week or more away before jumping not the editing and proofreading.
Read Printed Copy Only
Never attempt to edit or proofread on a computer. There’s something restricting about reading on a screen, something that prevents you from seeing how your writing can be better and from identifying the typos and errors throughout.
Do you know how newspaper editors proofread? They print out stories and read them slowly with a ruler underscoring each line. The ruler prevents the eyes from darting ahead and focusing on other aspects of the piece at hand. And then editors read the piece backward, word by word, considering the spelling and usage of each without the distraction of context.
It’s a highly effective approach developed over centuries. Perhaps you don’t need to go this far, but it highlights the need for conscientious and care when using general strategies for editing/proofreading.
Read Your Piece Aloud
Think you’re finished? Think again. There’s nothing like reading your piece aloud before considering it done. Reading aloud lets you experience your writing as a stranger would. Find yourself running out of breath in the middle of a sentence? Split the sentence into two. Discover that you’re stumbling over your words? The reader will, too, which means you need to work on your flow.
Reading aloud is the secret ingredient, the final flourish, to publishing great writing that engages, entertains and compels an audience.
Get Expert Help
When you truly need fresh eyes on your writing, get help from a friend or expert. You can find websites that offer an essay editor services, as well as online platforms that let you paste your copy into an editor for analysis. Even the AP Stylebook and other resources can be helpful when you have questions along the way.
General strategies for editing/proofreading can only get you so far alone. There’s real value in seeking outside authorities and assistance.
Get the Editing and Proofreading Support You Need
Writing can be a lonely process. And when you try to write, edit and proofread on your own, you’ll find that you’re filled with doubt. Did I miss a typo? Did I include a misspelling? Are my facts just right? But there’s good news: You don’t have to go it alone. Need support crafting your next blog post, paper, article or essay? Edusson.com is here to help.
This article was prepared by Edusson Community.