Perfect Proofing Practices

It’s hard for most people to proof their own writing. I’m no exception. For my magazines, I hire a proofreader to check my work and the other submissions that will appear in each issue. For my books, I pay a copy editor to catch my errors. For blogs, I rely on my wife and friends to offer correction, albeit only after I post it.

Sometimes my mistakes are significant errors, such as the wrong word spelled correctly or stating something in the negative when I intended the positive. Other errors are not so weighty, but merely embarrassing, such as incorrect word usage, a missing word, or an extra word.

When someone tells me of an error, I quickly correct the offense. Those who read my posts via email miss the corrections, but those who use a reader or bookmark my blog have a good chance of seeing the revised version.

For a while, every post seemed to contain errors. Then I tried reading my work aloud before I published my post. This greatly reduced my mistakes but not all of them. More recently, I’ve been using text-to-speech software (TextAloud), where Crystal and Mike take turns reading my work to me. Hearing my words through someone else’s voice helps me catch most of the errors I make.

I hope it worked this time.

What methods do you use to proof your work?

Peter DeHaan is an author, publisher, and editor. He gives back to the writing community through this blog. Get insider info from his monthly newsletter. Sign up today!

4 thoughts on “Perfect Proofing Practices”

  1. I have to let my work sit for a while in order to effectively proof it. I need to get my head completely out of it and into something else, only then can I return to it and see errors. I also ask for a lot of help from others.

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