I can’t tell you how many brilliant writers I’ve come across throughout the years. As a voracious reader, I am never not reading something. I consume books with a vast hunger that I know will never be satisfied because I simply cannot get enough. Yet, something really grinds my gears during my daily read-a-thons.
Whether I’m reading a national bestseller, scrolling through my social media feed, checking out the latest food blog, or reading an essay for a friend, there is ALWAYS (and I mean, always) some sort of typo! From grammatical errors to incorrect spelling or punctuation mishaps, these little no-no's continuously present themselves, no matter what the medium of writing. Like fellow phonology tyrants, this drives me absolutely insane (to phrase it lightly).
As I read books more than any other form of writing (screw audiobooks and Kindle's- no offense), it is not uncommon for my local library to receive their returned books with several pages marked up with my handy-dandy red "oopsie" pen. I cannot begin to tell you how many popular, successful publishing houses I've personally reached out to due to their unforeseen typos in critically acclaimed bestsellers. Like, how does that even happen? Beats me. But, after all of these literary hardships, I've picked up a thing or two when it comes to editing.
Here are some handy tips for you folks in need of a second (and third, fourth, fiftieth) pair of eyes.
Tip # 1: Read your final product out loud to yourself. No one will think you're crazy for talking to yourself; we all do it. The cool thing about reading your draft aloud is that you'll notice if you stumble over a word or a sentence sounds awkward. You'll hear it. And if you hear it, your readers will hear it, too. Whenever you find yourself stumbling over a word, change it. Reread the sentence, and then the paragraph, and so on. You'll thank yourself later, and your readers will appreciate the effort.
Tip # 2: Ask someone you know to read your first draft. Maybe not your mom or dad, because they may just say it's perfect because you wrote it and you're their little angel so how could it be anything less than perfect. But no, really- ask someone who you know will be fair and unbiased towards you and your writing. At the end of the day, this is for you–so don't cheat yourself or ask someone that you know will only compliment you and fluff you up, buttercup.
Tip # 3: Hire a pro. Even if your best friend is an English major and thinks they know it all, they don't. Ask them to read it over, but after that, find a pro. Don't know where to look? Websites like upwork.com and fiverr.com are your friends. Do your homework and check the editor's qualifications and recommendations before you hire them. You may not be aware that editing entails more than just proofreading. Professional editors know the various stages involved and will work with you throughout the process. While I understand the struggle of "ballin' on a budget", this is one item you do not want to be stingy with. Spend your extra bucks on this necessity. It's a must.
Tip # 4: Don't be so sensitive. No matter what industry you're in, this is a dog-eat-dog world. You can't take life too seriously. Receiving feedback on your writing is a form of constructive criticism–aimed to help you improve, not tear you down. Take it all in with a grain of salt and if you're feeling sensitive, hold the tears and get back to work. No one is attacking you or your writing; they're trying to help you make it better.
Tip # 5: You got this. If you've followed each of these steps and your content is structured and formatted correctly, you're good to go. If you're like me, you'll probably read it aloud to yourself for the 34th time and have an outsider read it for the 92nd time, just to be sure. No matter what, be confident and remember how far you've come. Give yourself a pat on the back and get that bad boy out there.
Hopefully these tips help you succeed on your writing journey. We're always here to lend a helping hand! Set up a strategy session with us to see how we can help you curate your visions, one sentence at a time.