(As previously seen on the HelaWrite blog.)
I write EVERY SINGLE DAY. Even if it’s texting, I consider that a form of writing. Most of the time, however, I write at least an e-mail and blog post each day. Culturally, many of us have become lazy in regards to self-editing/proofreading what we write. In a world where our version of shorthand is “TTYL” or “U” for “You,” abbreviations are the gateway to lazy writing and lazy editing.
Let’s change that.
Since the age of 12, I’ve taken self-editing very seriously. I’m nowhere near perfect, but my “editing detective eyes” have become better and better as time has progressed. Taking your own communications seriously will prompt others to take you seriously, too. Trust me on this one.
I’ve created some resources to help you out with self-editing. These resources don’t replace another set of eyes (or a professional editor), but they will help immensely, especially if you’re helter skelter when it comes to your own writing.
This checklist is simple and straightforward:
1. Check spelling—don’t rely on spell check for everything, either!
2. Check grammar—ditto to the above ^
3. Proofread your article, e-mail, blog, etc. at least 3xs—don’t be lazy!
4. Review the context/meaning of your wording
-Did you use the right words? (See the common grammar mistakes info graphic below)
-Do you have misplaced/dangling modifiers? http://www.writingcentre.uottawa.ca/hypergrammar/msplmod.html
-Is your message clear and concise?
-Did you cut/edit unnecessary wording?
5. Check your dates & times (if applicable)
6. Check your sources (if applicable)
7. Check your links (if applicable) NO ONE appreciates a broken/incorrect link
8. If you are sending an e-mail, double check your recipient list (and if it’s not an inter-office communication, best practice is to BCC recipients to protect privacy)
9. If working in a Word/Pages document, save often
You can find my checklist on Evernote (I’ve shared it publicly) by clicking HERE. Feel free to copy it to your own Evernote notebook so you can actually use the check boxes that are not shown in this post.
I’ve also made an infographic (my first!) about common grammar mistakes. Check it out by clicking HERE.
There are, of course, so many more elements to editing, but this is a great start. The resources here can definitely get you through your next e-mail or blog post. However, if you find yourself in need of a professional editor, well…you know where to find me. Happy editing!