This is part two of my ongoing series, The Art Of Creating Content. Before your content goes live, you should always proofread it several times before hitting the publish button.
English Is Not My First Language
I’ll be the first to admit that my spelling and grammar are far from perfect. English is not my first language and I barely passed it in school. I am sure my old English teachers would be shocked to find out that I make my living by writing. Almost all my friends have better English skills than I do, but I’m the one making money with words. That’s irony for you.
My Proofreading Steps
I like to write my blog posts in Firefox because it has a built-in spell checker. However, I will still copy and paste the post to MS Word to run an additional spell check and grammar check. MS Word does a fair job at checking for obvious mistakes but there are things it cannot check for, like comma placements or the misuse of words (there instead of their, or your instead of you’re). Those are the kinds of things you have to pay attention to if you want to present yourself as a professional.
I like to use the Save and Continue Editing feature found in WordPress. This feature allows me to view a preview of the post before it goes live. I like to proofread my post with the preview window because I run the WordPress editing windows in HTML mode – proofreading is a lot easier when you don’t have HTML codes in the way. I will read over a post three to six times before transferring it to MS Word for the additional spelling and grammar check.
What I pay attention to most is the flow of the article. I want to present my ideas in one seamless fashion. Jumping back and forth makes an article harder to follow. Most of my editing involves taking away redundant words or entire sentences. I like to overwrite a post and then clean it up after.
Once I transfer the post back to WordPress, I like to read it again in the preview window before making it live. This is my last chance to catch any mistakes. Sometimes, I will go away (for dinner or whatever) and come back later to read it. I find this time gap helps me to find mistakes easier.
Correcting Mistakes After An Article Is Live
If you discover a mistake after the post goes live, fix it immediately. Don’t get upset if readers correct your mistakes in the comments. They’re just trying to help you. Make the correction, then thank them for helping out.
I’m proof that you don’t need perfect English to be successful on the Internet. However, you do need to write well enough to get your point across. If your English isn’t up to standard, then consider taking a night school course to improve it. I know Stephen Fung recently took a creative writing course at Langara College and I may do the same.
Now watch me get blasted for all the grammar mistakes in this post. 🙂