Though I proofread backward and forward, fact-check, and check sources, simple preventable errors still occur; errors that are there for everyone to see. It’s kind of like showing up for a presentation in your underwear—there’s nowhere to hide.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you should stop trying to alleviate errors. Don’t show up in your underwear on purpose. And don’t skip the presentation just because you’re in your underwear. Here are some proofreading tips that can help you keep yourself covered.
1. Though proofing requires extreme focus and concentration, it can be boring. Try something that relieves your mind of the pressure but allows you to stay focused. This could be chewing gum, tapping your foot, or listening to classical music.
2. The more familiar something is, the less we tend to notice it. This is why you can review something 10 times and still not notice that half a sentence is missing. You expect the sentence to be there. Have someone unfamiliar with your project review it and serve as your sanity check.
3. We tend to make the same mistakes repeatedly. Know your weak spot, and compensate for it. For example, complete a separate “graphics check” if you have a tendency to overlook page numbers, headers, footers, or other graphic elements.