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How To Submit Articles: 7 Proofreading Tips That Pay Off
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I have found it infinitely helpful to break my article creation into three stages:

First, I create a rough draft that may be full of errors and needs quite a bit of polishing up.

Then, I do the editing–I arrange the information in my article into a logical sequence.

Finally, I move to the stage where I do serious proofreading. By this time my article is done–I just need to be sure everything is spelled correctly and that I don’t have any major grammar issues.

You probably have a similar method. By the time you get to the final stage of proofreading, you’ve probably looked at your article so many times that you almost have it memorized. That makes it very difficult to pick up on any errors.

Here are some proofreading tips that can help:

1 – Put the article away for at least 24 hours.

Getting your mind off what you’ve written and then looking at it again as if reading something you’ve never seen before will help you to spot errors that you would have otherwise overlooked.

2 – Try reading your article backwards, from the last sentence up to the first.

Reading your article out of sequence gives you the objectivity you need to spot errors. Many times we’ve been working on an article and reading it for so long that our minds start to automatically fill in what we think should be said next, even when it’s not there. Our minds have a tendency to automatically fill in missing words. They also have a tendency to read the sentence as it should be rather than how it is.

Reading your article backwards can help overcome your mind’s “helpfulness” in filling in content. Incidentally, so can taking a break from the article (tip #1).

3 – You can use an automated writing checker, but be careful…

On a lot of word processing programs there is a spelling and grammar checker that you can use. Such a program may be helpful to spot some errors, but you need to watch out because many errors will be missed. I guess there’s only so much “thinking” that a computer can do–it cannot proofread your article for you.

There’s also a free service at http://www.polishmywriting.com that works as a spelling and grammar checker. Like the checkers in Word, I’ve noticed that it can be helpful in spotting some errors, but others it doesn’t notice.

You can use a spelling and grammar checker to do an initial search for  errors in your article, but you must also read through the article carefully to spot any ones that the checker missed. Don’t assume the checker will catch everything.

4 – Read your article out loud.

When we read “in our heads”, we read much faster than when we read aloud. In fact, when we read in our heads, we tend to skim the content rather than read every single word.

By reading your article aloud and slowly, you will pick up on some issues you would have overlooked otherwise.

5 – Make your article look different.

Changing the font, color, or size can sometimes trick your brain into thinking it’s reading an unfamiliar piece of content, and you’ll be able to review your article objectively.

6 – Ask a friend to read your article for errors.

Have you ever found a spelling or grammar error in a book that you were reading? It happens to me every once in a while, and I wonder: “Why did I find this error, and the editor of this bestselling book didn’t?”

Well, it’s because of the simple fact that one person can make a mistake.

You’ve heard that two heads are better than one–it’s true. You may have excellent writing skills, and you may have done tips 1, 2, 3 and 4 in this post, but you can still miss obvious errors simply because you’re human. Having another person read your article will help. It goes without saying that this other person should have some good editing skills!

7 – Eliminate distractions.

Proofreading requires concentration, so it’s best to go to a quiet corner where you can focus all of your attention on carefully reading through your article.

Proofreading Pays Off…

I know that by the time you finish writing your article, you just want to submit it and get on with your life, but it really makes a difference to take the extra time to carefully proofread your article.

The people who are reading your articles will be forming opinions about you and your business based on the article itself. An article that is free of spelling and grammar issues will come across as being higher quality than one that isn’t.

If your article looks high quality, it sends a message about you: You can be trusted; you are professional; you do quality work. The impression of “you” that readers get from your articles translates to your business as well.

Polishing your article before showing it to your readers is similar to taking a shower, combing your hair, and dressing carefully before going to a business meeting. It’s just a natural part of meeting with a person you consider to be important and whose opinion matters.


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