Have you ever published your blog and gone back a while later to read it, only to notice you made an error? Maybe you forgot the difference between there, their, and they're, or maybe your subject-verb agreement left a lot to be desired. I'll never forget an article I wrote about baseball on my own personal blog. I managed to get a major sports writer to read it and was so excited! Well, that is, until I realized I'd typed "picture" instead of "pitcher."
The point is, it happens to the best of us. No matter how careful you are, or how many times you proofread, you can still overlook an error. Especially after you've spent an hour or more working on a post. Proofreading isn't fun in any situation, but when your tired eyes have already been staring at a computer screen for so long, you probably have a tendency to not proofread as closely as you should. Having a second person to look things over is the best way to truly proofread something you've written - they'll probably catch things you didn't - but I understand that's not always possible. In the event that it's just you reading your blog post before it becomes published, here are five simple ways to help make proofreading a little easier.
1. Take time between writing your post and proofreading it. Walk your dog, eat lunch, take a shower, or go for a drive. Whatever you do, step away from your computer and put something else in your head for a little while, and then go back for a fresh perspective. Chances are, when you've spent so much time writing something, you probably have it almost memorized, and when you go back to read it over a final time, you aren't always seeing what is actually there.
2. Be aware of words you often misspell. I think everyone has a word or ten they have issues with - my number one is "environment." Every time I type the word, I have to stop and think about how to spell it. Even then, I often get it wrong. Of course, you'll always want to run spell check when you finish a blog, but technical issues can sometimes prevent it from finding every spelling error. Keep a list of those problem words handy, or here is something I often do: type the word into Google. Even if you misspelled it, Google will more-than-likely come up with "Did you mean [correct spelling of the word]." A good old-fashioned dictionary works, too!
3. Write as if the world is watching. Remember my story about the sports writer? Write as though someone who you want to impress is reading. So many blogs have become book deals or led their authors to permanent jobs in media. You never really know just who is reading your blog and where it could lead you.
4. Read out loud; read slowly. Often times, when we start skimming over a post, in our heads, it may sound right because of the way our brains are trained to read after we've been doing it for so many years. Read your post out loud, and do it slowly. Then read it again to yourself - again, slowly.
5. Let your blogging friends read your posts. If you've been blogging for a while, or even if you haven't, there are probably other blogs you read, comment on, and link on your own blog. If you've had a chance to befriend any of their authors, consider asking them to proofread your posts. In exchange, you can offer to proofread theirs. You'll make new friends and eliminate grammar and spelling errors.
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