My job as a tech editor at Wix keeps me pretty busy, but recently I worked on a family project to publish a Holocaust survivor’s story. I was writing the captions when I saw this typo: “It’s important for me to tell my story so that these atrocities happen again.” Did you catch that? The word never is missing! And 3 proofreaders, including a professional editor, missed it!
Sometimes our brains will fill in the blank or gloss over an error and still understand the meaning, without ever realizing that there was a mistake. Think about those typo-filled paragraphs flying around online that most of us can still read. But as professional writers we have to be careful with the content we publish. We want it to look professional — and typos never look professional.
If you’re a writer working with a team of other writers, sending error-free content out for review increases your credibility among your peers. On the other hand, for those of you who are lone writers on a team of developers, product managers and operations people, you don’t want to count on colleagues to proofread your work. And if they do, like when a developer points out your typo, it can be seriously embarrassing to you —the professional writer on the team. I’ve been there and it’s not pretty. So accept the challenge to always edit your own work.
Here are some tips on how to proofread your own work effectively:
One fundamental secret to success when it comes to proofreading your own work is to give yourself enough time for these reviews. I still cringe when I think about that typo in the Holocaust survivor’s memoir and what would have happened if I hadn’t caught it. Remember that even if you’re under a tight deadline and feeling pressured, the payoff of being more professional is always worth that extra proofread. It really does take effort to seem effortless.
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