|Ten Tips to Help You Finish Writing Your
by: Ann Roscopf Allen
Full Article ]
- Set aside a time to write and keep it sacred.
- Remove all distractions while you write.
- Outline your plot.
- Avoid the intimidation of a blank computer screen.
- Keep a draft mentality.
- Don't feel compelled to begin at the beginning.
- Organize your files, especially if you are not
going to write in order.
- Revise, revise, revise.
- Don't be afraid of putting yourself out there.
- Only you can determine when you are finished.
Writing Tips - Proofreading
Writing Effectively: A Two-Part Guide,
by: Jan Kovarik
In Part 1, I gave you some ideas on how to write your
text. When your text is finished, you will need to review
it in order to spot the flaws, correct the errors, and
put a final coat of polish on your good work. In the publications
industry this process is called proofreading.
Im not going to bother with the minutiae of grammar
and punctuation. Presumably, you faithfully use your spellchecker
program. This will correct misspellings and point out
some basic grammatical flaws. Remember to add words to
the computers dictionary that are unique to your
topic so that the spellchecker will continue to check
your article-specific terms for accuracy.
However, spellchecker programs cannot catch everything---thats
where proofreading comes into play. In the best-case
scenario, you will hire a professional proofreader
to perform this service. You are too close to the work.
Inside your brain you know what you think youve
written. You will not necessarily read what youve
written. An objective pair of eyes can read your text
and spot the errors that your subjective eyes may have
never seen. A proofreader who is also a good copyeditor
will help you sweep away any cobwebs that might cling
to your work by suggesting anything from minor sentence
re-writes to a complete restructuring of a paragraph.
In the real-world scenario, you may not have
the luxury of hiring someone to perform this task. Below
are a few tips and guidelines for how to proofread your
own work, a task that should always be done before you
commit your written word to its final use.
PROOFREADING YOUR OWN WORK
The best tip I can offer is that you never write and proofread
your work on the same day. Your brain has a powerful short-term
memory and you are too likely to read what you want
to read rather than read what is actually there.
So, write your masterpiece and then let it rest overnight.
Busy yourself with other tasks, do a little reading for
pleasure, or get out to play a round of miniature golf.
Come back to your text when you are fresh---not rushed,
not tired---and when you are ready to spend some time
on reviewing the words.
Read your work in dis-ordered pieces. When you read your
own text from start to finish, you tend to get a little
cavalier with it, especially toward the end. You are still
so familiar with your work that you know what comes next,
and you may start glossing over text. So read segments
of your work out of order. Read the middle, then read
the introduction, go to the end and then read the first
portion. Just be sure to read it all. Trust your brain
to note any inconsistencies that might be in the overall
As you read, if you find that you have stumbled
over a particular sentence---that is, something about
the sentence made you skip or stop---then re-read the
sentence aloud. Put your finger under each word and read
it slowly. You might find that there is a word missing
or that you started one thought but finished another.
It might just need a little bit of re-writing to polish
it up and have it make better sense.
Finally, when you think your work is done, have someone
else read it from scratch, preferably someone who doesnt
know what you are writing about. This objective
reader might find some weak spots that you didnt
catch. It may be difficult, at first, to accept criticism
of your work, but remember this is how your readers will
see it. So, when objective criticism comes your way, evaluate
it for exactly what it is and see if there are any changes
that should logically be made to your text.
So now youve written a well-ordered and logical
text. Youve proofread it and youve asked for
an objective opinion. Youve no doubt changed a number
of things, some minor and possibly some major re-writes,
and youve improved your own good work. You are now
on your way to mastering the art of writing effectively!
About The Author
Jan K., The Proofer is a full-time freelance proofreader
and copyeditor. In business since 1996, she has enjoyed
working for a diverse world-wide clientele, covering subject
matter including academic research, medical law, consumer
surveys, and self-help materials. Please visit http://www.janktheproofer.com
for more information.
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