One of the biggest challenges in writing a daily blog is proofreading. It’s no small task for a single individual to churn out a new blog post everyday. Churning out an error free blog post everyday is practically impossible.
Since the time when I wrote my first blog post back in 2003, browser spell checking and auto-correct functions have taken care of most of the routine proofreading tasks. However, these simple spell check functions also provide a false since of security.
If you’re a regular writer, you know that routine spell checking and auto-correcting doesn’t even touch the tip of the proofreading iceberg. It may actually hurt more than it helps. The tough part of proofreading is catching the accidental misuse of words that are spelled correctly. This is what my 3 tips focus on.
Proofreading Tip 1: Read Your Blog Post Backwards
When I say read your blog post backwards, I don’t mean literally read it word for word backwards. What I’m saying is to start at the beginning of the last sentence, and read that sentence normally while proofreading it. Then move to the beginning of the second to the last sentence and do the same thing.
Keep moving backward to the beginning of each sentence until you get to the start of the first sentence in the post.
The reason why this works is that when you read a post from start to finish your mind reads what you were suppose to write instead of what you actually wrote. When you read from the last sentence backwards, your mind does not get into the flow of the content, so it’s easier to see the words you actually wrote.
Proofreading Tip 2: Check the Common Misused Words
Here is a list of the words I misuse the most. I always go through each post and double check that each of these words are used in the right context.
- A, an, and
- They, The
- Then, Than
- There, their, they’re
- Where, were
- Lose, loose
- Its, It’s
- Effect, affect
- Alot, a lot
- Your, you’re
- to, two, too
- Knew, new
- right, write
It’s not that I don’t know how to use these words. It’s often either the auto-correct changing it to the wrong use of the word, or me typing too fast without thinking. Either way, double checking these words is a must.
Proofreading Tip 3: Write, Take a Break, Then Proofread
It’s best to never publish a post just after you write it. No matter how many times you proofread, you will always miss something when you publish right away. This is the sequence I use:
- Write the post
- Proofread it one time to catch the obvious stuff
- Take a break and go do something else for 20 to 30 minutes (One of the things I like to do is go find an image for the post during this time)
- Go back and do the hardcore proofreading
When you take a break, it helps your brain to forget what you were trying to write and read what you actually wrote.
Finally, there is a good chance that when you write a blog post about proofreading there is a grammar mistake or typo in it. So while I did my best to proofread this post, feel free to drop a comment below if you find something I missed. While you’re at it, share your proofreading tips too!