Proofreading your own work, so before we talk about how we're gonna do it, let's talk about why it's so hard. So writing is a higher level function. You're generalizing, you're building, you're constructing. You're taking these things in very fragmented little pieces and you're making a whole, you're creating something new. And this isn't easy. This requires a lot from you. It's a lot of lifting. It's a lot of heavy effort. So by the time you sit down to proofread it, your brain already knows the destination. It knows where you're going. It knows what you want to say. It knows where this research came from. It even pulls up all the background knowledge that's not on the page. This generalization is gonna keep coming up every time you come to the page. It's gonna be in the back of your mind. It's gonna be present when you're trying to get the proofreading done. So you need to create some distance, and we need to create some space. We can become blind to these details because like we sai...
d, our brain is operating on instinct. It's trying to be helpful. It's filling in those gaps. The errors literally don't appear to us on the page. Our brain doesn't let us see them. We're focusing on what we thought we said and what we should say instead of what we actually said and what we wrote. Now readers, they're seeing this for the very first time. This is their first time on the journey. They're going to see everything. Readers are more attuned to small issues like typos, confusing phrasing. Anything that's just a little bit off jumps out at them in a way that won't jump out at you because they're not familiar. Even if they know the content, the way you write about it, your voice, your unique take, will present it as something fresh. So we're gonna proofread our own work. We're gonna have to take some time and we're gonna have to distance ourselves. We're gonna have to try and trick our brain, 'cause it's wanting to help and it's not really getting the job done by providing these extra bits of information. So we have to trick our brain. We have to make it think it's reading it for the very first time. Make it as unfamiliar as possible. There's a number of ways to do this, and we're gonna talk about each one of them in depth. So we're gonna start with quick tips. It's often very difficult to have a large amount of time to proofread your work, so we're starting with the stuff that's the most effective first. These are easy, they don't require a lot of time or a lot of extra effort, but they're highly effective and if you're only able to do a couple of things on your piece of writing, start with these. We'll move into ones that take more time. Maybe you've got an afternoon to spend, you've got a couple hours. You can set aside enough time to go through these line level changes, to look for the common errors, to even identify your own misses and create a checklist. Finally, if this is something that needs to go out to a big audience, a high visibility audience, we're gonna want to build in time for a deeper review. We're gonna want to get as much revision out of this as possible.
Before you share your writing with anyone, whether it be an editor, a business associate, a client or a reader, you need to make sure it’s tight, clean and error-free. That’s why it’s critical for all writers to learn how to proofread their own work.
Detecting the flaws and mistakes in your writing is difficult because you’ve grown so familiar with it. This class will teach you the tips and tricks you need to come at it with fresh eyes. Heather Saunders, an experienced writer, editor and proofreader, will provide hands-on advice on how to go about the proofing process as well as the common errors to look out for.
In this class, you’ll learn how to:
- Approach the text in new ways by removing distractions, reading it aloud, changing the appearance of the document, and taking a break when needed.
- Read your work from the perspective of your intended audience.
- Fact-check your writing.
- Figure out if the piece accomplishes its purpose.
- Identify habitual errors, such as weak words, excessive use of adjectives and adverbs, and punctuation issues.