Six Tips to Spot the Mistakes You Make in Your Writing (And Keeping Your Reputation)

You, a journalist or blogger you’ve been writing a story for the entire day and now it’s time. You’re hoping your story is free of grammatical and typographical errors. However, at this point, having been through it a million times, you’re afraid there’s something you missed. There’s no one to read your book, and it’s almost the time to press “publish.” What are you doing? Get the copy editor inside.

In this article we’ll discuss the self-editing tips which will help you avoid mistakes, typos, and other errors. First, an exercise. Here’s a passage from a story I’ve stuffed with all kinds of errors that are common. Check out the number of issues you can identify, and follow by clicking “publish” to see the revised version. Before he became Ivan Drago, He-Man or the “Expendable”, Doll Lundgren was a six-foot-five Norwegian male model who had black-belts in Karate and a bachelor’s degree from chemical engineering.

These kinds of errors -spelling, grammar inconsistencies, context or style can make people doubt the quality in your job. An A study by Wayne State and the American Council on Education which measured the perceptions of people of news stories that were edited as compared to those without editing discovered that people perceived edited stories as having better quality and higher worth.

It’s something journalists have experienced for a long time. In many newsrooms, those layers of editorial stories were once able to go through are slowly disappearing. Spending a few times to tidy up your narrative is essential in ensuring that you are able to maintain your credibility with your readers. Here are six simple ways to start:  

1 Reread it.

Take your story to the end one last time and all the way through as the reader would. Don’t take a moment to search for something else or make any changes. Mark the area where rather is troubling you, and arrival to it after you’ve ended. If you return to make a change, you must be sure not to add another error.

According to the American Copy Editors Society states that this is among the main errors that cause mistakes. It is also possible to spot repetitions of words in this kind of reading.

We are prone to repeating words such as “a,” “the,” “and” and “but” when we type. As ACES mentions, mistakes tend to be distributed in pairs. If you spot one, check nearby to see if there are others. If you spot mistaken spelling of a name, for instance look up the name of the first person, title and even the name of the company while you’re looking.

2. Alteration the format.

If you’re getting too relaxed to your story, you should change the way your analysis it. Print it out in case you’re working on a computer screen. Make vicissitudes to the font or size of the type. Change the background or text to an entirely different color. Then read it aloud to yourself or another person — or ask someone else to read it aloud to you.

Merrill Perlman, Columbia Reporting Appraisal’s Language Angle blogger has stated “Every when you read the same way, you’ll read less of it and repeat more of it in recall. This is how you are prone to miss mistakes.” It’s time to change it.

Chief copy editor at NPR Susan Varick is a fan of reading the story from top to bottom instead of from top to bottom.

3. Take a step back.

Walk around or watch a film, or make a call or read about something completely unrelated to the topic. Let your brain rest for a while. If you decide to revisit your story, you can change it by using one of the suggestions listed above.

4. Grammar check and spelling check are your best friends.

Make use of skill! Check and grammar check tools are a brilliant first choice. If you aren’t working within a program that supports the use of these tools, think about making changes to your routine.

It’s simple to get used to the tiny green and red Squiggles, and then read through them. Try a read-through in which you’re only focusing on the highlighted phrases and words. Click on each and examine what suggestions the program gives you about how that you could change.

5. Use a checklist.

It’s on I keep the NPR Accuracy Checklist stored on my computer’s display. It’s a list, amassed by NPR Standards and Does editor Mark Memmott, of 13 items which “must be double- or triple-checked” since journalists frequently make mistakes. “Personal names” are on this list due to spelling mistakes are among the most frequent mistakes we make in NPR (you can find every mistake we’ve needed to rectify on NPR Corrections).

I once heard about one tutor who would assign students an F in the event that a student misspelled any name. This may sound extreme however, I like the idea of thinking about names this are written in a way that if I spell one of them wrong my story is not successful. It’s important. It’s important for your readers as well as to those you’re naming as sources and to your credibility.

A checklist can be useful at any time during the writing process however, at minimum, you should review it before hitting “publish.” It will be backing you in creation great reserves.

6. Make sure you are checking the most important items.

The first paragraph and last paragraph is where the majority of errors are hidden. It’s not difficult to read over them after a few minutes because you’ve already learned them. Review the headline, graphic as well as captions and other similar texts. This is what people who read your post on social media like Pikdo, Wikipedia and on search results, or on your homepage.

If there’s an error in this tiny snapshot, will readers click to read further? Most likely, your answer will be “no.” Your headline must be clear, concise and spirited. It should also be free of typos! (More NPR Training guidelines on writing excellent headlines are available can be found here.) When you take these tips to unleash that copy writer consider being an advocate for the reader only just catching up with the story.

The way to do this is as the Baltimore Sun’s John McIntyre has said: “The reader doesn’t care near how hard you’ve drove or the weight you’re below, or how great the aims of you. The buyer sees the product online or published; if the product looks shoddy and wrong, the reader will likely form, and have a negative impression of the item.” You can make sure that this doesn’t happen, irrespective of regardless of whether your work goes through several edits or even no editing before publication by ensuring that it is passed on in the most perfect shape.

Like this article?

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Linkedin
Share on Pinterest
Share on Reddit
Share on Telegram
Share via WhatsApp
Share via email

OTHER ARTICLES IN OUR BLOG