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9 Effective Proofreading Techniques For Creative Writers

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Writing any piece of fiction takes blood, sweat and tears. Once you've written 'the end', and sat back from the keyboard, you just want to be done with it. Whatever you do, though, don't publish it right away. Proofreading can polish that piece up and make it perfect. Here's nine tips that will help you proofread like a professional.
 
1. Leave it for a while
First of all, you shouldn't proofread straight away. You need to give yourself some space away from your manuscript or you're apt to miss a lot of errors. Give it a week or more, then come back to it with fresh eyes. It'll be a lot easier to look at it critically.
 
2. Get familiar with common grammatical errors
To be able to spot grammatical mistakes, you need to know what they are. Invest in grammar guides or use online tools to learn the most common mistakes made. Then, you'll be able to see them straight away when you're writing. Great grammar guide is provided by Australian Help.
 
3. Take your time
Once you start proofreading, don't rush the process. Set some time aside to really pay close attention to your writing. Make sure you don't have any distractions that will make it more difficult to pay attention to it.
 
4. Know the difference between proofreading and editing
You'd think they're the same, but they're not. Editing is making changes to your language and content, while proofreading is checking for errors in spelling, grammar and punctuation. If you proofread before you edit, you'll simply be doubling your work.
 
5. Try using proofreading services
If you're really struggling to proofread your work yourself, think about using a proofreading service. They're staffed by writing experts who know what makes a story flow properly, and can pick out a mistake at 40 paces. Here's a few online services that are worth checking out: UK WritingsThe ProofreadersEssayrooEnagoBoom Essays.
 
6. Don't just proofread once
Don't think that just one pass through will be enough to catch everything in your manuscript. Go through it a few times, until you're certain you've got everything. Then go through it again.
 
7. Think technical, not story
As mentioned above, proofreading is checking for technical errors. Rather than making large changes to your story, edit all the technical issues that appear in the text. Proofreading is a cleanup exercise, rather than a hefty one changing parts of the story around. 
 
8. Don't proofread when tired
Writers work hard, and you're often tired when you come to sit down at your computer and work. However, don't proofread when you're tired. You won't catch all the errors, and you'll just create more work for yourself.
 
9. Do several passes for different types of errors
The easiest way to proofread is to spend each pass looking for different kinds of errors. For example, in one pass check for spelling errors, and another look for punctuation mistakes. It makes the job easier on you.
 
10. Don't proofread when tired
Writers work hard, and you're often tired when you come to sit down at your computer and work. However, don't proofread when you're tired. You won't catch all the errors, and you'll just create more work for yourself.
 
Practice
Now you've read these tips, it's time to put them into practice. Take the last piece you wrote, and proofread them with this advice in mind. Post the piece both before and after you proofread it. You'll be able to see just how far your piece has come. 
 
Conclusion
If you don't normally proofread, now is the time to start. As you could see in the practice, even a small amount of time spent checking your work can yield a lot of positive results. You'll never publish anything with an easily spotted error again, and that's a good feeling.
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