Writing and Publishing

Perfect Proofing Practices

It’s hard for most people to proof their own writing. I’m no exception. For my magazines, I hire a proofreader to check my work and the other submissions that will appear in each issue. For my books, I pay a copy editor to catch my errors. For blogs, I rely on my wife and friends to offer correction, albeit only after I post it.

Sometimes my mistakes are significant errors, such as the wrong word spelled correctly or stating something in the negative when I intended the positive. Other errors are not so weighty, but merely embarrassing, such as incorrect word usage, a missing word, or an extra word.

When someone tells me of an error, I quickly correct the offense. Those who read my posts via email miss the corrections, but those who use a reader or bookmark my blog have a good chance of seeing the revised version.

For a while, every post seemed to contain errors. Then I tried reading my work aloud before I published my post. This greatly reduced my mistakes but not all of them. More recently, I’ve been using text-to-speech software (TextAloud), where Crystal and Mike take turns reading my work to me. Hearing my words through someone else’s voice helps me catch most of the errors I make.

I hope it worked this time.

By Peter Lyle DeHaan

Author Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, publishes books about business, customer service, the call center industry, and business and writing.

4 replies on “Perfect Proofing Practices”

I have to let my work sit for a while in order to effectively proof it. I need to get my head completely out of it and into something else, only then can I return to it and see errors. I also ask for a lot of help from others.

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