According to Robert Cormier-
“The beautiful part of writing is that you don’t have to get it right at the first time, unlike, say, a brain surgeon. You can always do it better, find the exact word, the apt phrase, the leaping simile.”
While you are putting your dedicated effort to produce the best possible piece of writing to serve the purpose of your hard work effectively and to send the message, thoughts and ideas embedded in your piece of text perfectly, clearly and professionally to the intended audience in an error free manner and in the most attractive way to earn the respect of the readers of your writing, the editing and proofreading become the indispensible part of your entire writing process.
Editing is always done before the proofreading. This means, after you have edited your writing the last and the final touch to your writing will be given by proofreading.
Here we will discuss some important tips of editing and proofreading documents.
1) Do not involve yourself in the editing work while you are developing the content. While writing the first draft, you may sometimes correct the spelling of some words, or even, may correct some of the grammatical mistakes that are too apparent, but do not indulge in editing the whole of a sentence. The simultaneous effort of developing the content as well as editing will defeat the very purpose of both, that is development of an analytical and reasonable piece of text as well as that of the editing.
2) Do not start editing, right after finishing your work. Take few days break before you start editing your document. Few days break will give you some space to ponder over your piece of text, and you may come up with some new ideas or new logical arguments which will strengthen the content of your document. Moreover, the familiarity with your writing will be reduced considerably, so that when you will be looking at your writing it would be easy to identify the errors you have committed.
3) If possible use a different format (for example form word to pdf format) while editing your document as that will help you to identify some errors more easily.
4) Start your editing work with the structure of the writing. Some sections or chapters may be irrelevant or excess to prove your point and need to be eliminated.
5) Look after the missing information or the additional information that are required to be put into the writing to strengthen the logical validity of your arguments
6) Look after the logical sequence of the paragraphs as well as the sections in your writing. The entire piece of text should be logically sequenced so as to ensure a smooth flow of your writing.
7) Look after the words or any logical points that has been repeated several times. If there is any, it is better to eliminate the repetition without affecting the logical sequence and the clarity of your writing.
8) Look after the key terms that have been used to develop your contents. Key terms are vital and if there is any mistake in spelling or using proper key terms, it may render a substantial part of your writing meaningless.
9) Make sure that the entire work has been written with perfect tone for the audience and ensure that the entire work is represented as a whole with proper logical sequencing and smooth and flawless flow.
Proofreading the edited document is tough in the sense that it becomes really tough to find the errors from your writing, with which you are so familiar. However, to proofread your edited document properly the following approach could be useful.
1) Before you have finished your writing as well as the editing of the same, do not start proofreading your document. As at the time of your writing and even at the time of editing your text, you keep yourself engage in the creative thinking for developing the unique content.
2) Before starting your proofreading, make sure that you are through with the larger aspects of the text. That is you have developed the content as you wanted to and the entire work has been revised and edited properly, so that it will not be necessary to subject your document to a major change at the time of proofreading your writing.
3) After you have finished your editing, take a considerable gap (few days preferably) before you start your proofreading.
4) Take a printout of the entire document so that you can mark the mistakes you have committed
5) Make sure that you proofread in a peaceful environment where there will be no disturbance to your concentration
6) One important aspect of proofreading is that you better forget about the whole story of your writing. That will help you to focus on the sentences one by one to find the errors that you may have committed.
7) Proofread to find the errors of one type at one go of the entire writing. For example you may decide to find the errors in punctuation at first, then spelling mistakes and so on. So make several pass through the entire text while proofreading your document.
8) Be careful about the mechanical errors that are typical to the writing of individual writers.
9) Take notes of the errors that you have found several times in your writing. It could be related to the use of grammar or spelling or punctuation.
10) Read the entire content loudly. This will help you to find the errors that you may not notice if you read it silently.
11) While checking the spelling read the entire text backwards. This will help you to concentrate on one spelling at a time.
12) If you are not sure about the use of a particular word or key terms, do not make assumptions. It is always better to use the dictionary or any other expert help to fix that confusion.