Writing is an expression of who we are. Happy, sad, optimistic, discouraged, joyful, creative, competitive and on and on. But whatever makes us "tick" as writers, there is one thing guaranteed to kill the mood: errors! How do we avoid that pitfall? There is a simple, sure-fire way to do it. Before you click "publish" read it aloud!
How much time do you put into your writing? How much of YOU do you put in there, as well? Your heart and soul? Most writers are practical enough to know that their work won't make them rich overnight. There has to be another reason that compels them.
Writing can be therapeutic. It fulfills a need to be heard or perhaps a need to help. There is purpose in everything we write--it may help us or it may help them--but we do it because there is something burning inside that compels.
Then, why, why, why do we publish before it is ready? Perhaps we're in a hurry. Or, we may actually think our article is A-OK... but it's not. We press "publish" or click "send," sharing a half-baked story.
What do you think about when you read someone else's so-so work? Did it give you a sense that they didn't care enough to do it right? That is probably not so but readers get an "ouch" when they come across a great topic only to trip over typos.
I have been guilty of haphazard publishing myself. When I discover a typo in my own work, I cringe! All the worse if someone else finds it for me. Double-cringe!
I thank God for the year of writing I did for Demand Studios. Their editors are tough. When you submit an article to them, they analyze it and decide if it's ready to publish or not. If it's not, it bounces back to you with instructions for changes. If it fails a second time, it fails! It is rejected! Done!
That's a lot of work to not get paid. It makes you want to get it right the first time, every time. More than once an editor said to me "Did you read this out loud?" In other words, I hadn't.
It only took a couple of editor comments for me to get it: READING YOUR WORK ALOUD is the BEST proofreading tool a writer can use. Fact is, it works!
Reading Aloud Takes Your Work from Good to GREAT
Have you ever worked on a post for such a long time that you couldn't see the words anymore? At that point, you were too close to your work. That's where mistakes happen.
The best thing to do is to close your work and take a breather. After a break, come back fresh and read again. You will see with new eyes.
Now, read it out loud and see what happens! Reading your posts aloud gets more of your senses in gear. You'll find all sorts of ways to improve your work bringing it from GOOD to GREAT! Simply put, adding the verbal element to your proofreading enhances your ability to catch mistakes.
What Should You Be Looking For?
Spelling-there is no excuse for misspellings. Use a spellchecker and beware of properly spelled but wrong versions of a word. Example: their, they're and there.
Grammatical Errors or Omissions-if grammar is weak, it makes it difficult for the reader to follow what you are saying. If a post is hard to read, the reader will eventually leave.
Inconsistent Tenses-switching back and forth from first person to third person is awkward.
Getting Off Subject-stay focused on the topic described in your title. If you take a bunny-trail, make sure it will edify the reader within the context of your topic or, if it's really good but irrelevant to your article, save it to be used in a different post.
Rambling--simple is better. If you can say it in fewer words, do.
Flow-does the text flow when you hear it? If it is awkward or choppy, refine it to a smooth-read.
Failure to Cite Sources-this is a copyright issue. If you use a direct quote, you must cite your source. Similarly, be sure that you have permission to use the photos you display and cite the sources properly. More: Copyright Free Images
Asking for Reader Response and giving no place to respond? I've seen this error on some blogs. If you ask for an opinion, make sure that the comments field is there so that your readers can offer their input.
In short ... Writers, we love to write. We were made to write. So, let's take that little extra effort to perfect it....read it aloud!
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