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Tips For Freelance Writers: How To Proofread Your Work Properly

Proofreading can be difficult. This is a painfully obvious statement. Proofreading your own work can be just about impossible. For those of us enjoy proofreading and editing, the frustration associated with finding a spelling or grammar error after a piece has been turned in is absolutely maddening.

Freelance writers may or may not have the luxury of an editor who will make any necessary changes/revisions before the piece goes to print. Finding colleagues willing to look over your work is not always an option, nor is paying a professional proofreader.

Proofreading your own work is difficult because it isn’t always easy to step outside of yourself to look at what you have written from an objective stance. If you have found your voice as a writer, it can be hard to see or hear anything other than what you think is the right way to convey a thought or idea.  So, if and when you have to go it alone, here are some tips.

Let it sit

  • - Time is a precious commodity and there is never enough of it. However, take a break to help recalibrate your senses before re-visiting your work.

  • - If you are short on time, reading your work out loud can provide a different perspective and help you catch something you might not have otherwise.

  • - With everything just written taken into account, always try to proofread as slowly and meticulously as possible. Oh, and do not proofread if you are tired...right?

Disinterested (and uninterested) parties are the ideal sources for proofreading. But use all the resources available to you.

Word up

  • - Run a spell/grammar check as soon as you finish the piece. It’s a first step in the process of proofreading and should never take the place of your own eyes, so run it again after you have done your revisions just to make sure you didn’t create any new issues.

  • - Know your system so it can also help you pick out any formatting that isn’t in line with the rest of your work.

There also a few things you can do before you even start writing the assignment.

Know thyself

  • - Familiarize yourself with different styles and fortify your knowledge by investing in hard-copies of these books. If you don’t want to buy them, ask for them as gifts when the holidays roll around.

  • - Take the time to actually read and study these books so when you have a question, the knowledge is already in your head even if you have the reference available to you.

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