Proofreading is not the easiest job to attempt after staring at your screen after hours on end. Many of us do not enjoy this part at all, but it is sadly something that has to be done. And if not done correctly, you will most definitely hear about it.
It doesnâ€™t have to be scary or agonising though. You could make (or ask nicely) a friend to have a read of it for you. It is usually someone that has a fresh pair of eyes that helps to find the mistakes you have been missing. If youâ€™re the only one reading it over and over again then it becomes easy for your mistakes to just fit in and appear normal.
Or it can be easier by simply changing your font, or the size of it around. Something so simple can make the faults in your work suddenly become so apparent. You will be asking yourself, â€˜how did I miss that before?â€™
Or perhaps the notion of the screen is getting the better of you. Print it off and then have a read. Highlight your work. Grab a really bright highlighter, or pen, and get to work. Circling or underlining – paying special attention to those words that everyone stumbles up at. You know the ones, â€˜formâ€™, â€˜fromâ€™. The ones that spell check ignores, as of course, they are words, just not in your context.
Have a break! Itâ€™s okay to take a step back. Itâ€™s not giving up. Just like we need our rest, our work does too. If we start over thinking and over analysing our work, it is likely to end in disaster â€“ and no one wants that. Step away and come back in a week or so. Youâ€™ll have the benefit of â€˜fresh eyesâ€™ yourself and all (should) become clear. Itâ€™ll be exciting, like youâ€™re reading it for the first time.
Read it out loud to yourself. Donâ€™t worry about feeling silly; just embrace it. Itâ€™ll help. Reading your writing out will help the mistakes and errors stick out like a sore thumb. You will probably want to kick yourself with how you have missed these mistakes but at least then you will know once and for all.
Relax. We all make mistakes and it is likely that there is some in this post! Just take your time, and use these tips – do you think they will help you next time?
Written by Shannon McGinty