Reduce errors in your writing with these strategies:
- Ask a friend or colleague to look your document over. Research shows that we start to overlook errors in our own writing once we understand what’s on the page (read more about why we miss errors in our own writing). Getting help from another person can require some planning and communication! You’ll need to finish your project before the deadline to allow time for someone else to read it. It will also help your reader if you communicate with them about the length of your document and ask them how much time they need to review the project.
- Take a break from working on your document. For short projects, it might be enough to set your writing aside for a day. For longer projects, you may need more of a break. You’ll know your eyes are fresh if you find errors when you return to the project.
- Share text or edits in writing. This makes it easy for collaborators to get the exact wording right. Send text in a format that allows your collaborators to copy and paste the correct version into the document. Avoid giving dictation, leaving voicemails, or sending text in images or text messages (SMS). Retyping copy is not just inefficient, it’s likely to introduce errors.
- Make a checklist of your typical errors. Use the checklist to look for errors in each document. (Congrats, now you’re editing/proofreading like a pro!)
- Review text in high-visibility locations like headings, first sentences, and last sentences. Spend extra time checking names, titles and any text that has been highlighted visually like the call to action on a button. Mistakes are more noticeable in these prominent locations.
- Check it again! If you sent your project to a designer, be sure to proofread the final results. Anyone who works with the text can introduce new errors to your clean copy.
Typos happen to everyone, but good writing habits will catch mistakes before your audience gets a chance to see them.