Proofreading may not be terribly fun, but it's one of the most important parts of writing.
Have you ever read a web page or a document that had typos, grammatical errors, and punctuation mistakes? This reflects badly on you and your business, and you could easily lose a customer over a simple spelling mistake!
Here are some tips for quick and effective proofreading:
1. Wait several hours before proofreading. Otherwise you might be thinking about what you just wrote, rather than watching for typos and punctuation errors.
2. Eliminate distractions. This is very detailed work so you need to be focused.
3. Print out a copy of your work, rather than reading it on a computer screen. To make it even easier, print a double-spaced draft copy.
4. Read the document aloud. This helps to highlight punctuation errors and missing words.
5. Use a piece of colored paper as a guide. This will help to keep your eyes on the line you're working on. If you don't have any colored paper, use a ruler.
6. Read backwards for spelling mistakes. Yes, that's right! You'll find spelling errors much easier if you're going from right to left. Otherwise you might unconsciously start reading, and not "proof" reading.
7. Use a different colored pen such as green or red to make your correction marks. These colors are much easier to see than black or blue.
8. Carefully check numbers and totals. Refigure all calculations and look for misplaced commas and decimal points.
9. If you have a lengthy document to proofread, rest your eyes every 10 to 15 minutes.
10. When you're absolutely sure there are no mistakes, have a partner check your work. Sometimes all it takes is a second pair of eyes.