The foundation of any great writer is their ability and dedication to proofread every work that they put out into the world. Though for most writers this is more easily said than done. Check out a few of these handy tips to improve your editing skills.
It’s past midnight and you finally finish writing an article that needs to go out tomorrow. You are exhausted but you now you aren't done yet. So you hunker down, grab your favorite red pen, and get ready to edit.
One of the easiest ways to miss small grammatical errors or sloppy sentence structures is by going straight from writing to editing. You’ve been staring at the same piece for presumably a long amount of time and you have been reading the same words over and over; your eyes and brain aren’t going to catch the little errors that will seem obvious to you with fresh eyes.
So don’t pull out that red pen yet. Take a walk, take a nap, and step away. Your article will wait for you and you’ll be able to give it the proper attention once you give yourself a break.
Ask Yourself, Is This Necessary?
Brilliant writers, especially in content marketing, know that concise writing will always trump drawn-out prose. Being able to provide your readers with a quickly comprehensible piece makes them more likely to finish the entire article and can help you build a more loyal audience
One of the key traits of a great proofreader is the ability to trim down your writing without ego. A great proofreader can look at the body of their work and pick out the parts that are absolutely necessary and, more often than not, their writing is better off.
So if you find your work is becoming overladen with clever filler sentences then maybe it’s time to start trimming away.
Grab a Friend
Anyone who has every published a book or worked as a writer for a company knows that in some ways creating content is a collaborative effort. Whether you are a professional writer or an amateur blogger, getting a second pair of eyes on your work is always a good idea.
Having someone else proofread your work has multiple benefits. A person who has never read your piece before will be more sensitive to possible errors than the writer who has been sitting with it for hours or even days. People tend to skip over parts of their own writing because they are already knowledgeable material. A different editor will look at your writing with a more discerning eye
The other benefit to finding an editor is the ability to receive feedback on the piece outside of just spell checking and grammar. Writers, like all people, come with their own set of preconceived notions and biases. To an economist, game theory might seem like a concept that everyone is familiar with but an average reader will probably need an explanation to properly understand the entirety of the piece. This is where an editor would be a great asset. They can inform you when your writing isn’t accessible to your audience.
Grab Your Tools
Sometimes you don’t have an hour or two to get away from your writing and sometimes all of your friends are too busy to take a look at your work. Don’t take this as an excuse to simply forego proofreading!
There are hundreds of easily accessible tools at your disposal that can function just as well, if not better than, an editor. Even tools as simple as spell check are better than nothing at all. Check out this list of some of the best editing tools available!
PaperRater: This free online tool acts as a multifunctional form of spell check. Not only will PaperRater check you grammar and spelling but it will also give you tips on improving the style and word choice of your content.
Grammarly: This is a paid service that goes above and beyond most spell checks by offering contextual spell checking that can save you from embarrassing mistakes. While this service starts at $29 per month, professional writers without an editor find this service useful for its comprehensive editing tools.
AtomicReach: Offering free and paid packages, Atomic Reach is perfect for both casual and professional writers. Unlike other proofreading services, Atomic Reach grades your writing on how accessible it will be to your audience so you can optimize your writing for your readers. It also allows you to track your content’s performance using their Insights tool. Atomic Reach is perfect for writer’s who are looking to create online content with a strong social presence.