Even the most seasoned writers make mistakes. It’s easy to do when you’re working on a draft for weeks, months, even years. You read the same sentences over and over again, and eventually your eyes glaze over the most obvious typos.
I remember writing my first paid article for a parenting magazine in Toronto. I had made the rookie mistake of assuming an editor would catch what I might miss during the editing process.
So, the article was published. I was so proud of it. I posted it on Facebook, emailed it to my whole family, and cashed my cheque. A few days later, I got an email from my grandma:
“Hi Angela, congratulations on your article, but I must inform you, there is a typo in it.”
I was devastated. Instead of “calm” it said “clam.” Needless to say, I had to pick up my editing game.
Here are few things I do now, and you can do, to ensure copy is spotless when sending it out for publishing:
- Print the copy out: don’t read it on the screen. My journalism professor insisted we do this, even though we all rolled our eyes and griped about the environment. She was right about this one, trust me.
- Read your copy out loud to yourself. If you stumble, fix the sentence. Fix the word.
- Get someone else to read your copy. When they stumble, or ask you questions about certain phrases or meanings, fix those too. Since they haven’t read the copy, they’re also likely to catch typos as well.
- Highlight uncommon words/spelling: then go back through each one, checking in the dictionary just to be sure. Moo-moo is actually Muumuu — just saying.
- If you’re unsure, do what the pros do. For example, if you are using CP style in your copy, and you are unsure about a word, search similar online media outlets that use CP style. Use the most consistent version.
Have any tips? I’d love to hear them. Post them in the comments below.