Three writing tips (for after you’ve finished writing)

So you’ve finished writing, and maybe you’ve even read your piece once or twice. But before you post/send/submit it, there are a few other things you should do.

Put it aside  

Hopefully you’ll read the piece a few times before you deem it finished. But when it comes to that final read, looking at it with fresh eyes is best. Fast-approaching deadlines can make it difficult to wait a day or even a few hours. But, at the very least, step away from the computer for a couple of minutes and do something else. When you return, you’ll be more likely to see what you actually wrote, not what you meant to write. If it’s possible, get someone else to read it, too.

Read it out loud

It’s easy to skip over problems when you read silently. Your eyes can trick you into thinking you wrote quite when you actually typed quiet. Reading out loud lets your ears catch these kinds of errors. Other benefits: hearing the words will point out run-on sentences and makes overused words and phrases hard to ignore.

Be meticulous

Attention to detail is key. Check everything, including facts, spelling, punctuation and word choices. Remember, even the most common words are often used incorrectly (know when it should be every day or everyday, or if you mean it’s or its). Confirm you’ve been consistent with style (did you use a serial comma in one place, but not in another?). And while you’re checking everything, don’t forget the main idea. Make sure you didn’t miss any points you wanted to address, and that you’ve followed through with what you set out to do.

What else? Feel free to comment with any other tips you have.

 

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