How To Be A Proofreading Pro

Writing, in general, can be challenging enough when you are trying to create content for a newsletter, annual report, email campaign, social media, or anything in between. Running a spell check is an easy first step but what else can you do to identify errors?
 
Practice. Practice. Practice.

Typos can undermine your message, causing your well-thought-out piece to get passed over and forgotten. We can miss these annoying little details when editing because when you write, you are thinking about more than just the words. You consider the meaning of the message and the outcome for which you want to achieve. As with any task, the more you practice the better you will become. Train your eyes and brain to seek out typos and mistakes. No one is a perfect proofreader and even computer programs can miss things. When in doubt, we suggest getting a second pair of eyes to review your copy. Sometimes a fresh perspective, like what a donor would see, can make all the difference.

 
The Eagle Eye Has Landed

Here are a few tips from our experts:
  • Proofread when you are completely done. Your brain will be able to switch from the creativity of writing to the rigid task of editing.
  • Eliminate distractions. Get rid of as many distractions as possible and allow your brain to fully focus on proofreading.
  • Ignore content. Analyze each sentence and word. Focus on punctuation, grammar, and spelling. Often it helps to work backward or read the content aloud.
  • Learn common mistakes. If you are prone to typing “our” instead of “out” or if you type “hte” instead of “the” it can be helpful to watch out for a few specific missteps.
  • Double-check facts. Confirm that your quotes, dates, tables, references, statistics, etc. are correct. Focus individually on these elements which can stand out to readers and potentially cause big problems.
  • Put it down and pick it up. Take a break and go back and reread the material again like you are seeing it for the first time.
 
Resources

There are countless resources available to make life easier and to help catch what the human eye might miss. Here are a few of our favorites:

 “Details are the difference between good stuff and great stuff.” – Stephen Brewster
 
Your furry friend,


 

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