It is very easy to overlook certain errors or typos while writing. Both experienced and amateur writers fall victim to this, especially when working on a tight deadline. However, being a writer demands that you are a master of your language of communication, in addition to being an authority on the subject matter on which you are writing. Hence, there is little or no room for excuses regardless of the pile of work on your desk. Nevertheless, you can easily spot those goofs that devalue the quality of your writing by heeding the following:
Print a copy of your writing
Whether you are writing a blog post, an essay, or a novel, printing it out affects how readers will interpret it. Reading something you have written from a paper instead of a screen makes it seem new, as if you are not the one who wrote it. When you read over a full day’s worth of work on your laptop, you tend to speed read, which makes you less focused on the words.
Read it aloud
You communicate differently when you write and reflect. When you read aloud, you use your understanding of what you meant to write to fill in any gaps in reasoning or sentence structure. When you read it aloud, your ears will identify any mistakes or words that are weirdly put together. You can tell if you are writing for a robot or a dramatic Shakespearean performance when you read it aloud. You might not notice it while writing, but when you listen to what you have written for the first time, your ears will immediately pick up any goof.
Give it to another person to read
Your spouse can be your first reader. This method can prove to be more beneficial than simply reading it aloud to yourself since your partner can spot any logical leaps or unstated assumptions you make in your writing. When you get to the end of the page, and your partner says, ‘I don’t get it,’ it might be that your subtext, inferences or ‘words between the lines’ do not make sense or that the subtle hints are insufficient for the reader to pick them up.
Review the most important details
The first and last paragraphs both have numerous mistakes. You can almost memorise them after reading them a few times. Check the headline, pictures, captions, and any other related text. Readers can only view these if they come across your story on social media, through search results, or on your homepage. If there is a mistake in that little excerpt, will readers even choose to continue reading? ‘No’ is usually the response. Your headline should be unambiguous, passionate, straightforward, and goof-free.
When applying these techniques to let your inner copy editor loose, remember to be an advocate for the reader who is just discovering your work. Bear in mind the reader does not care about the effort you put in producing the work, how much pressure you were under, or how pressing your deadline was. Whether the work is read in print or on an online platform, the reader’s perception of you will be based on the quality of your work.