3 Easy Ways to Proofread your Writing

No clue as to what I’m talking about? Worry not! Proofing or proofreading or copy-editing all mean the same thing – assessing your work before publishing it. And I just can’t stress enough on its significance in building your reputation as a skilled writer.

Why is proofreading important?

Now, what would you prefer? Someone on the street pointing out that your dress is torn with a gaping hole or you find it out yourself. If you’re someone like me, you’d rather find it yourself and mend it while there’s still time.

Proofreading is stitching up the holes and covering up the bad spots in your writing.

I am someone who cringes at the sight of misspelled words, badly phrased sentences or mismanaged punctuation. I lose interest instantly and skip that article or abandon that book, and listen to music to rectify my foul mood. I also don’t want to see that day when someone other than me finds out errors in my work. When it’s happened in the past, my heart has shrunk to the size of a nickel and I’ve had no confidence to go on for days.

Now, as a writer, it is necessary that you understand this,

Grammar and punctuation errors or misspelled words, etc. make your writing look shabby. They prove how reckless you are!

Your writing is your baby. When you take it out for a walk, make sure you have it well-dressed. You want everyone to notice it and perhaps, even appreciate it, don’t you? So, I won’t be beating around the bush anymore. Here are 3 easy ways to proofread your work and make your baby look goody good.

GPS Rule

This rule has been my savior till date. And no, we ain’t talking about Global Positioning System. In my first job as a copywriter, my boss told me this, “Read your work thrice. Round 1 for Grammar. Round 2 for Punctuation. Round 3 for Sentence Construction. As long as you’re writing, never falter from this.” And I termed it as the GPS rule. Easy to remember, eh?

What I do: Quite simply, I read the document 3 times focusing on one element at a time. This way my mind does not feel overburdened and I can give my 100% to the task of proofing.

Read Out Loud

Well, it doesn’t literally mean shouting from a roof top. Rather read it out loud as if you’re reading to an audience. Usually, when we read what we’ve written, our mind accustomed to our thoughts tends to overlook minor mistakes or missing words. That’s why reading in the mind isn’t a foolproof way to go about copyediting.

What I do: Once I’ve finished writing a piece, I take the document and leave the setting. I go for a walk, find a secluded place and read the lines out loud. I’m always amazed at the number of words I eat up when I write.

Get a Partner

Not just in life, in writing too, a partner can go a long way in sharing the stress. And tell you what? Unlike the hunt for life partners, writing partners are easy to find. All you need is someone with a decent understanding of the language nuances, writing styles, and of course, ample patience.

What I do: I’ve had a hard time finding a writing partner; haven’t yet found one. Since I have a fairly good grasp of the basic elements of the language, I become my own writing partner. I wear on the copy editor’s hat and start dissecting my own work.

You have sites like grammarly.com or paperrater.com and few others that proofread your documents for you. You may try them too. But they tend to miss a thing or two as I’ve experienced.

Whether or not you adopt these proofing tricks, I pray you do imbibe the godly habit of proofing. As I like to say to my juniors,

Show some love. Proofread.

If you get around using these proofreading tricks, do share your thoughts below on how useful or otherwise you find them.

As for my next blog post, I am planning to share few crucial things one should look for when proofreading. You can share your views and I shall include them too.

Asha Seth

51 thoughts on “3 Easy Ways to Proofread your Writing

Add yours

  1. Your article made me nostalgic… Your words reminded me of something my English teacher said to me, after reading one of my essays…
    She said, “Suyash, when we speak to our elders, we use ‘aap’ to show our respect. Similarly, as a writer, your readers are your elders. Respect them by giving them something to read which brings them joy and satisfaction.
    And, the only way to achieve that, is by writing a beautiful piece, free of errors so that they can immerse themselves in your words.
    So, make sure that you proofread your essays not to score higher marks, but because it is your responsibility as a writer to respect your readers.”
    I can still remember her words like it was just said yesterday… She was the reason that I fell in love with literature.
    And, while writing this comment, I realised that I made an error in the last (or second last paragraph) of my comment in an another article of yours, titled ‘Writer’s Block’.
    I agree with everything you have said… But, I feel the two hidden ingredients in the recipe to become better at proofreading are, patience and the desire to improve themselves.
    In my opinion, you can’t proofread well, if you are in a hurry or worse, have an ego which prevents you from seeing your own flaws. Anyways, it was absolutely wonderful to read your article.
    I am sure that we are going to meet again… I would love if you could read some of my posts… While they do not have the same quality as your brilliant pieces, I hope that you can read them and give me an insight on where I might be going wrong.
    I have just started blogging but unfortunately, my primary job as a software developer doesn’t leave me with much time, to focus on my blog… And, I am in love with how you have structured your blog… Could definitely use some assistance.
    -Suyash.
    P.S: Sorry if I bored you with my long essay-like comment.

    Like

    1. Happy to meet you, Suyash. You have shared some really good points which I totally agree with. Once does need patience and will to be good at anything.
      Keep adding more power to writing, by doing it well. Good luck!

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              1. Well… I will always look back at 2017 as the year where I made some good inroads in understanding myself…

                I was hospitalized for the first time in my life… And, considering my phobia for anything related to doctors and injections, I consider my trip to the hospital a successful one.

                I personally can’t wait for 2018… I am just so excited for all the new challenges waiting for me, but most importantly, I can’t wait to begin the next and perhaps, the most interesting chapter of my life…

                Like

  2. Out of pure interest I copied your article and placed it into my application ( typely(.)com ) which is a proofreader to see what it reports. Out of 706 words it only reported a single issue which is really nice.

    Since you’re a writer I would really appreciate your feedback. Maybe you like the tool and integrate it into your writing stack.

    Like

  3. A method that my wise old grandmother taught me when she adopted me in December 1965 and enrolled me in sixth grade in January 1966: “When you have to write something, you want to proofread it. To proofread it, write it well in advance, stick it in a dark drawer or closet for 24 hours, and then get it out and read it. Any errors will jump off the page screaming at you, ‘Fix me! Fix me!’ ” It’s always worked, and I still do it. (Except for this comment, of course……LOL)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s almost poetic. And your grandma’s advice is something I’ll follow now on. You’re one lucky man to have come across a wise suggestion as that so back in time. I only started to learn.

      Like

    1. Haha! That wasn’t really a secret. But you do make it sound like that, which actually sounds so very cool. 😍
      The GPS is a bloody brilliant tool to deweed our garden of writings. Hope you find it useful too.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This has been a very useful post. I utterly despise the proofreading process and honestly hadn’t thought of splitting it into different components. I think I’ll try your GPS method and see how it works.
    Thanks for this Asha.

    Like

  5. One always learns, and I’m happy that you did have a takeaway today. As for the blog, I did have minor changes in terms of segregation, and thus the additions in the menu bar. 🙂
    How’ve you been?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t get to know when you reply to my comment because you don’t ‘reply’ to it; you write your reply which doesn’t send me any notification.😛
      I have been and still am in an okayish zone. How about you?

      Like

  6. My heart sink and eyes cringe on the site of a good content with the bad punctuation and grammar sprinkled around. Days turn into agony if it were someone else to point out the errors in my content. The only person I tend to hate during such times is me; how could I just not catch and kill that error. And this in no way is exaggeration of such situation. Rather if it would be anything then it is underrated description of such agonized days.
    And so this is one of the posts I loved, Asha. ❤ Plus the bonus of getting to know about the steps to proofread made the post more effective. GPS rule is something I never heard of. Going to apply it from now on.
    Also, I noticed that you changed the look of your blog; added tabs on the tops. Loved it. And so, I went through few of your older posts which I hadn’t devoured before. Loved each and every bit of them. ❤
    Keep writing. Keep rocking. 😉 🙂

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  7. With the use of shortforms and slangs and even punctuations taking back seat, grammar and punctuations, the backbones of good writing, are compromised.
    As you rightly said a write up, which is not proof read thoroughly , will rarely grab attention.Looking forward to the next post, Asha.

    Like

    1. Yes, I too believe that. The love for good writing is diminishing day after day owing to the advent of sms and slangs and the likes. But I’m sure that those of us who worship writing will always strive to preserve its sanctity. 🙂
      Shall have the post up soon, Medha.

      Like

  8. Thanks a lot Asha, I think the GPS rule I am going to use. Reading it separately each time to find out the different mistakes, sounds perfect. I usually try to do all three things at one. Thus I do miss out at times. Reading out loud is one thing I do. And am going to keep doing that. As a new blogger I am yet to learn to edit properly. It was a great help reading your tips. You are an amazing blogger. Thanks. Smita

    Like

    1. If it helps you conquer the task, well, there’s nothing like it then. I was battling with that situation for long, and then this particular rule saved my life, to a lot extent.
      Thank you for your motivating words, Smita. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

“I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions.” ― James A. Michener

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