“Details matter, it’s worth waiting to get it right.”
― Steve Jobs
Proofreading & Attention To Detail
Proofreading and attention to detail in general is definitely the downfall of “ideas people” – those of us whose head is full of creative solutions and new, exciting ideas and prospects. In my experience, somebody is either a naturally creative and somewhat chaotic OR organised and disciplined individual. All four qualities rarely manifest in one person. The latter type is of course much better at proofreading, too, attention to detail comes natural to disciplined individuals.
Most creative thinkers on the other hand are terrible at proofreading, but the good news is, while a highly organised person can’t quite become creative (that is something you’re either born with or not), attention to detail can be developed, and it’s much easier to do than developing creativity which is nearly impossible.
Here’s a an easy-to-follow checklist to help you improve your proofreading skills by following 4 straightforward steps.
Make Quality A Non-Negotiable
Some may say attention to detail really boils down to a commitment to produce the best work possible, and make the quality of work non-negotiable.
The first thing you need to do improve your attention to detail is to commit to quality and then to create a process of checking your work to ensure that it is faultless.
Here’s a simple 4 step process to ensure that your writing is flawless:
- Read one time all the way through to make sure that your writing makes sense.
- Don’t worry about mistakes at this stage, focus on the flow of the copy rather than
- Read again to check for spelling errors or typos. Your computer does highlights the most obvious typos but don’t rely on it entirely, it’s not 100% safe to do so. If you have your text printed out, take a ruler and place it under a line of text. Start at the right-hand margin and read backward one word at a time. If it is an important piece of work, you probably want to do a print-out copy spell check, even if you don’t normally do it.
- Tip: You can use an service like Grammarly to check your online copy
- Read a third time to check facts. Do you have all the names, dates and facts right? Make sure it’s all correct.
- Mark completed
- When you have checked your work, make sure you mark it completed. If you like to print your work out just put a sticky note on top with the date and time. If you use your notepad or word processor on your computer, just write the date in red at the end of the text. This way, you won’t spend time rechecking work that you have already completed.
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