Profeading is a writers most useful tool!
And it has its very own day! Business trainer for business writing, grammar, and proofreading Judy Beaver is the founder. Her mum, Flo, loved correcting people so Judy decided that her birthday would be the ideal day to correct errors! You can find more details at:
When writing a novel or anything of great importance, proofreading is a must. (Although, nowadays, its even more important that you proofread a message before sending it online, because once its on there it can never be taken back)
Here I have gathered a number of tips you can use to help proofread your latest master piece or your next academic essay! (I wish I’d done this whilst I was at uni)
First though, before anything, you have to know the differences between proofreading and editing. Editing focuses on the content, on the plots, the dialogue, the setting, the consistency of what your trying to write, whilst Proofreading focuses on correcting the superficial errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation, and formatting; so for example, it will look at that extra space you put in, or that quotation mark that’s not where it’s supposed to be. It is usually the last part to completing a work piece.
I’ve gathered these from a range of sources over the web and have used most myself:
- Take a break! Don’t go straight in to proofreading your work once you’ve finished it. Give yourself a break and mistakes will be easier to spot when you go back to it.
- Find a comfortable, quiet place! Make sure there’s no distractions or interruptions.
- Use printouts! It’s so much easier to read off a piece of paper than off a computer screen. It also lets you highlight and pen anything you find.
- Proofread when your brain is most awake! You need a clear head to proofread so make sure you don’t do it all in one sitting. Too many words inside your brain at once won’t do anything for your concentration.
- Read it out loud! This is the best way to know if all your sentences are clear and easy to understand. It will also give you an insight in to whether or not the punctuation works.
- Read it backwards! Many people have said that reading your words backwards from end to start can make the mistakes jump out at you.
- Look out for the dreaded they’re and theirs, your and you’re.
- Get someone else to proofread it for you! Ask someone you trust; it could be a friend, a family member or a work colleague to look over it. Sometimes a fresh pair of eyes will find the mistakes your overlooking.
- Don’t rely on your computer spell check! Make sure it’s formatted to the correct language when writing (English and American’s have different ways of spelling certain words).
- Proofread it at least twice! Once for the technical part, and once for sense!
Hopefully, this’ll help you finish your work and get you that one step closer to what your trying to achieve!
I’m no expert, but one of my favourite things is to write stories and create my own little worlds!
But, alas, like everyone, I suffer from writers block. It can last days… months… Sometimes, I just feel too busy to be inspired, and other times, I sit down and just can’t put anything to paper. But I’ve found ways to beat it. Here are some tips that I’ve gathered on my journey as a writer, and hopefully, they can help you write the story you always wanted too:
- Make sure you do your research! For example, if your story is set in Tudor times; look up the clothing; what they ate; what roles they had. If a character is ill or murdered, research the symptoms, the causes; the way someone would die if they had their heart ripped our by a werewolf! Research, research, research! It may make your history look terrible, even questionable, but as a writer, you need to know what your writing about before you can write it! It can make a story more believable if you know how much blood your hero can lose before dying!
- Try and write everyday! It doesn’t need to be a story. It could be a blog post, an essay, an idea; even writing about your day in a journal will help.
- Use prompts! You can find numerous challenges on the internet, and you can even use prompts to help you complete the piece your working on. Just relate the prompt to your story and you may come up with a new scene all together!
- Write first, edit later! Remember that you can’t edit a blank page! (I am the worse for this, especially if there’s a complicated scene). If you write something your not happy with, use the highlighter tool so you can go back to it later. Usually, when I go back this way, the stories more developed and I have a better idea of how I want it to read.
- When writing, use what’s best for you! Some people prefer the old pen and paper, and some prefer to sit at their laptop. Some may even use a typewriter! It’s all about what makes you comfortable.
- Have a little notebook where you can jot down all your ideas! Some may find that a jotter pad or a reporters notebook is good enough for them, but don’t be afraid to get something a little more expensive! I found that after going to WHSmiths and getting an A5 moderno notebook, I’ve been inspired to write more! It gives you a space to create characters, scenes and brain storm to your hearts content!
- Said! Laura said, Robert said, I said! It may sound repetitive at first, but it makes a story flow so much easier if you write Aran said instead of Aran questioned, asked, replied, etc! When you think about it, it makes so much more sense!
- Let others read it! You may think that your story has lost that excitement and feeling it had in the beginning, but remember that you’ve looked over it hundreds of times and know every spoiler, every loop hole! Having another set of eyes on your work could inspire you to write more, to write better! It doesn’t need to be an agent, or a publisher, it could be a friend, a parent! Just ask them to be honest!
- Have an app on your phone or your notebook handy at all times! You’ll never know when inspiration will strike! I find that whenever I have a spare moment, whether I’m sat on the train or waiting for something, I’ll sit on my phone and write a scene for something that hasn’t even been mentioned yet!
- Have somewhere to write! It could be your bedroom, your office, your front room, maybe even a coffee shop! Just have somewhere you feel you can concentrate! It won’t be the same place for everyone. Some people need quiet, others might like a bit of background noise.
- When writing, you don’t have to start at the beginning. If a scene or an idea strikes you that would be better suited to the middle or end of your story, just write it! You can put it all together later! Sometimes, people find it easier to start writing from the middle and going outwards.
- Join writing communities! It could just be a page on Facebook that gives out some helpful tips and tricks, or maybe a forum where you can ask questions! Even following other writers and publishers on twitter can help inspire you! For me, I liked ‘The Writers Circle’ on Facebook and enjoy seeing the handy tips and prompts that they put up every once in a while.
- Have a thesaurus handy! Some say its better to have a hard copy next to you, but thesaurus.com is just as good and will help you block out all those repetitive words you see sprawled across your text!
- Read books! I think this is the most obvious! Reading, whether its the same genre that your working on or a completely different one will help to inspire you! It can give you different outlooks on how to write, and make your writing better in the long run! I’ve found that being a reader also helps you spell so much better!
- Explore! It doesn’t need to be a mysterious path in a forest, or a climb up a mountain! It could just be a stroll down the street, up the park or maybe a road trip! Just open yourself up to your surroundings. The world is full of inspiration in every single nuke and cranny, it’s just waiting to be discovered by you!
- Read it out loud! This will help with anything you write! It’ll let you know how well it all flows and whether or not your dialogues make sense.
- Make sure that when you do sit down to write that you keep yourself hydrated! Whether it’s a coffee (yuck), a tea or a bottle of water, staying hydrated will keep your mind more focused.
- Open yourself up to other types of inspirations! Watch a movie, a TV show, play a videogame, listen to some music, go to a museum! Just because it’s already been done doesn’t mean you can’t do it. Nowadays, every idea has been explored by one person or another, but it’s not been done by you!
- Be passionate about what your writing! Don’t write because you want to become a famous author, write because you want to know what happens in your story from the beginning to the end! If your passionate about what you write, the people who read it will be too!
- Believe in yourself! That’s the best advice that anyone could give you.