In the last post we talked about why it's important to proofread your writing, and why it's so damn hard to do. If you haven't already, go read that first.
The trick for proofreading is to change the way you see your writing so your brain approaches it as something new. Reading something “new” will then slow your brain.
You’ll still need to pay attention, but these are the tricks that writers and editors use to proofread their work.
Try one. Try them all. Find what works for you.
1. Print and read
This is my tried and true technique. For me, it works like a charm. I keep a fun coloured pen to hand (not red, red = bad) to mark up the things that need changing right there on the print out.
2. Read it aloud
You’ll feel like a prat when you start (I always do), but it gets better. Again,
3. Turn it into a PDF and read
This has the same effect as printing, but saves paper. For bonus points, use the Adobe Read Out Loud function. It sounds like a robot, but thankfully the Adobe robot isn’t as smart as your brain, so won’t skip words. Just like tip 2, take notes as you (the robot) go(es).
4. Change the font size
Small. Not big. Very, very small. Eight point or less, in some crappy font like Times New Roman. This will force you to open your eyes and focus on each word. Take notes on paper or use the comments function.
5. Use a ruler
This works best on real paper, but could work on a screen. Hold the ruler under the line you’re reading. It’ll block the text below and stop your brain skipping ahead.
This last bonus tip won’t help you proofread your writing. But it will help you through the writing process, from first word to publish.
It's simple: Be kind to yourself. Blogging is hard because you’re smart.
Next time I'll be sharing the marks editors use to proofread writing, so you can use them too!