You may have read the title and secretly thought, “But I’m a content writer, not an editor! Why do I need to properly proofread?”
That thought process, sadly, lands a lot of content writers in hot water. Simply checking your grammar/spelling/etc. through MS’s spellcheck or the app Grammarly (of which I am a HUGE fan of) is simply not enough. And if you don’t bother to edit your work at all before submitting it, well then, shame on you.
Yes, an editor will probably go over your work before the company posts it, but delivering subpar work full of mistakes just doesn’t make you look bad, it’s a huge time sucker for the folks editing your copy, and a sure-fire way to get dropped by a client.
Besides knowing the proper usage of “your” and “you’re,” here are four additional ways to proofread like a pro.
Read It Aloud
Yes, this may be a bit embarrassing at first, but reading your words out loud to yourself is a great way to catch tiny spelling checks, run-on sentences, and other verbiage mistakes. Too often, we think faster than we type, which can lead to tons of tiny, pesky errors. Ensure you’re in a quiet place by yourself (your cat is okay) so you can give your work your full concentration.
If you have a work buddy, ask them to give your content the once over. As the saying goes, two sets of eyes are better than one.
An arch enemy in your high school English class, the red pen can now be your BFF. Red ink stands out and allows you to notice your mistakes as you go back to correct them. It also directly points out which areas you’re having the most trouble with in your writing, be in spelling or improper word use.
Kill Your Darlings
As William Faulkner said, “In writing, you must always kill your darlings.” This simply means giving the boot to certain words/imagery/anecdotes that you’ve fallen in love with and use over and over again. Pruning your darlings out of your writing enables to you write in a broader scope and style.
What tips do you have to boost your proofing game?