As a freelance writer, one expects you to deliver spotless written copies and produce high-quality text — the content, creativity, and realization of your ideas matter.
But, if there’s a single spelling or grammar mistake found in your content, all your efforts are in vain. Your text will be degraded, and you’ll be considered a sloppy or even an unreliable writer. This is why you must boost your proofreading skills and prevent any mistakes from finding their way to your published texts.
So, if you want to boost your proofreading skills, but don’t know how to do it or where to start from, we’ve got you covered. This article provides 6 different steps in the process of becoming a better proofreader. Let’s dig in!
1. Let it Rest
The golden rule of better proofreading is to always leave your text rest for a while. Don’t start proofreading the minute you finish writing. Instead, leave it be for a while.
Here’s why this rule is essential:
- You’ve just finished writing
- Your brain still memorizes every word you’ve written
- If you start proofreading now, your brain will overlook the mistakes, because it will assume what you’ve wanted to write down
With the text still being so fresh in your memory, you would fail to detect the mistakes. Therefore, take a break and let your text rest for at least a couple of hours, or better yet an entire day. It will make your proofreading much more successful.
2. Print Your Text
For so many people, proofreading is better when they can take a pen and track the mistakes on a piece of paper, rather than looking at a computer screen. It is only natural since the printed version allows you to follow the text more closely and spot the mistakes using your pen.
If you’ve never tried this, make sure that you do:
- Print out your text
- Take a pen
- Underline, circle, or cross out anything you find to be wrong or questionable
- Make the corrections on your computer
You’ll soon discover how efficient and beneficial this method is for boosting your proofreading skills and keeping track of your most common mistakes. Every freelance and content writer should give it a go.
3. Proofread For Separate Issues
There are so many layers of a quality-written piece of text. All the elements combined create a great piece of content.
Still, many freelance writers fail to recognize the importance of proofreading for separate issues. Proofreading for separate issues means that you have to proofread your text several times. Each time, you’ll be looking for mistakes of a different type.
This way, you’ll cover all the possible inaccuracies:
- Word choice and vocabulary
- Sentence structure
Each time you proofread, you’ll focus on a single problem, making it easier for your brain to detect it. This way, you’ll boost your proofreading skills and make it easy on yourself to spot all the inaccuracies.
4. Read it Out Loud
Another interesting and useful tactic for proofreading a text is to read it out loud once you finish writing it.
Reading your text out loud will help you proofread better since the process will reveal the things you otherwise wouldn’t have found.
Reading out loud will help you:
- Hear what your sentences sound like
- Hear if there’s a misused word or a questionable sentence structure
- Learn about the readability of your text
The important thing when reading your text is to do it slowly and be completely focused on the sound of it. Read it like it’s the first time you’ve seen it and try listening to it like the actual people who read your articles, not the author.
5. Always Cover The Burning Focus Points
While you need to make sure there are no mistakes in your text, there are some burning points that require special mentioning.
Always cover the following:
- Subject-verb agreements
- Proper names
If you consistently check for these mistakes, you’ll soon make it a routine, and you’ll make fewer mistakes in the first place.
That will boost your writing skills and help you raise it to the next level.
6. Use a Spellchecker
You may feel like using a spellchecker wouldn’t do much to help you boost your proofreading skills. But, we have to beg the differ.
Spellcheckers are a tool every freelance writer today should use and uses. But, to make sure using a spellchecker makes you a better proofreader, you have to use it properly.
The best way to do it is to:
- Do your own spellchecking as described above
- Use a quality spellchecker such as Grammarly
- Revise every mistake it points out to before correcting- there’s a chance the spellchecker is making a mistake
- Make a list of all your weaknesses and mistakes you most often make
- Learn why you’re making those mistakes and work on improving your writing skills in that domain
This way, you’re using a spellchecker not just to take the workload off your shoulders, but to learn, grow, and develop.
As a freelance writer, you must boost your writing skills and keep your texts impeccable. Creating your own proofreading routine and sticking to it will ensure everything you publish is 100% accurate.
Use the tips above and start working on boosting your proofreading skills. Soon, you’ll be able to enjoy the results and rest assured your texts are accurate and adequately proofread.