The Importance of Proofreading

The most important skill a writer can have is proofreading.  So many novice writers just slam their words onto a piece of paper and turn it in, missing they key self-edit that can turn average writing into good writing, and help avoid embarrassing mistakes and errors.

What are the steps to good proofreading?  I’m glad you asked.

A good way to start is to read your work backwards.  The hardest bit about proofreading is that you know what you intend to say, so sometimes, your eyes can skip right over a missing word or an awkward transition.  You’ve written it in your head, so you miss that it’s not on the page.  Reading backwards, however, forces your brain to evaluate your writing differently, forcing you to pay more attention and making it more likely to catch mistakes.  Make sure you read backwards by sentence and not by word, though—that’s just too confusing!

Try reading your work out loud.  You’re more likely to catch a typo if you’re saying every word on the page.  People speak slower than they read, so this will slow you down and make you more likely to catch those omitted words and clunky phrases.  It’s not any good at catching missed punctuation, but I find this catches most of my blunders.

Proofread on a piece of paper, not a computer screen.  This is something that works for me—taking my writing out of the context in which I wrote it helps give me a clearer mind to read with.  If I’m sitting at my computer, where I’ve spent my time writing in the first place, I’m more likely to miss errors than I am if I go to the effort of actually printing it out and reading it someplace else.

By the same token, take a break before proofreading.  Get yourself out of the writing zone, so you can approach your writing from a fresh perspective.  Sometimes, you can get locked in tunnel vision, thinking you have to write something a certain way or read something a certain way.  By giving yourself a break, you’re allowing your brain to reset from these assumptions, allowing you to read it with an open mind.

If you still want more help with proofreading and editing, stop by Wordsmith Essays’ order page today.  Our team of international editors will help ensure you get the most out of your writing.

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