I’ve been SUPER busy these past few weeks with editing and proofreading assignments.
Staring at the computer screen for hours on end can make finding those little errors an incredibly difficult task!
Of course, printing out your text is ideal when it comes time for editing and proofreading...but that may not be realistic in many situations.
To combat those long days behind the keyboard, here are my top five “hacks” to
help you polish up the details!
#1 - Read out loud
Don’t be afraid to feel like you’re in elementary school again! This trick is great for identifying awkward sentences.
When you read silently, your brain has a tendency to skim over chunks of text. Reading out loud forces you to slow down and process what’s directly in front of you.
If you catch yourself stumbling over your words, it’s a red flag that your sentence needs some work!
#2 - Change the font
It’s easy to get comfortable with your text after spending time with it. To mix things up, try out a different font style, color, or size.
Personally, I like doing all three at once...it’s almost like getting a fresh set of eyes!
#3 - Read in reverse order
As silly as it sounds, this really helps isolate individual sentences and avoid the temptation to skim. Starting by reading your last sentence, then second to last, and so forth.
Combine this clever trick with any other hack from this list for error-spotting superpowers. Bonus points if you use your finger while you read!
#4 - Check for one type of error at a time
Trying to catch every grammar mistake, typo, and wordy sentence in a single reading is a recipe for disaster. It’s difficult enough for our brain to remember the different types of errors, let alone search for everything at once.
To make things easier, work through your document several times. Start by analyzing the big picture, then go after the details.
For example, identify wordy and awkward sentences on the first go. The second time, look for missing articles. And so on...
#5 - Take a break
Editing and proofreading require intense concentration. The longer you go without taking a break, the more likely you are to miss easy-to-catch mistakes.
Ideally, you should make an initial sweep through your text then ‘go to sleep on it’. When you come back the next day, you’ll be surprised by everything you missed.
If you’re on a tight deadline, take 5-10 minutes between each ‘run-through’ to do some other activity. Use this time to wash the dishes, clean the bathroom, make lunch...just avoid the temptation to scroll through social media!
Remember, working with a professional is one of the best ways to get an unbiased set of eyes on your text.
Not only do we have TONS of other tricks up our sleeve, but it’s our job to make your life easier!
Got some “hacks” of your own? Tell me in the comments below.