Proofreading can feel like torture sometimes, you’ve finally finished your work and all you want to do is relax…but then you remember you have to do one last check.  Proofreading can be painful and exhausting, but there are some ways to make it easier.  These proofreading tips can help you get through the process quickly, while ensuring your work is as good as can be.

Proofreading Tips

Slow Down

One of the most important things to do when proofreading a piece of writing is to read it slowly so you don’t accidentally glance over mistakes.  It can help to use your finger or mouse to follow the words as you read them as it forces your reading pace to match the speed at which they move.  Similarly, you can highlight each word as you go to help you focus on them.

Talk it Out

Another helpful technique is to read your work aloud; this is especially useful for finding grammatical errors and pacing, as you can see where you feel the need to stop for breath or where the writing is not as fluid.  It can also be fun to add some flare and read it like a dramatic monologue, the more you get into it the more mistakes can jump out at you.

Know Yourself

Every writer has some bad habits, and as the author of the work, you know your writing style and tendencies better than anyone else.  It’s useful to identify your weaknesses or the common mistakes you make so you can be on the lookout for them.  You can even make a list to consult as you go through your work.

Leave it Alone

Obviously this doesn’t mean to leave it forever, but it can be good to take a break once in a while, especially if you’ve been working on the same piece of writing for hours.  If you have the time, I recommend leaving it for a full day and coming back to it with a new pair of eyes tomorrow.  However, that’s not always practical or doable, leaving it for an hour, or even just ten minutes, still allows you to come back with a fresh perspective and spot mistakes you might have missed before.

Grab a Friend

Speaking of fresh perspectives, one of the most valuable tips I have is to share your work with someone else, even if they’re not familiar with what you’ve been working on.  In fact, sometimes having someone who doesn’t know anything about what you’ve written is best, as they are more likely to have an unbiased view and focus purely on the grammar, punctuation, and structure, rather than the content.

Hopefully the terrible task of proofreading seems a little less daunting now that you’re equipped with the tools to conquer it.