Ok, it’s not going to be War & Peace – you just want to get your blog out there! No reason why you shouldn’t proofread your own work before it goes live. But a word or two of advice:
1. Sleep on it!
2. See what the spell check highlights
The default spell check in Microsoft Word can be useful for bringing to your attention some obvious typos, like transposed letters. If you have autocorrect enabled, it will have corrected many of these for you as you typed. But be aware that the default setting may be for US English spellings – this can be tweaked to UK English in the settings. But never rely on the spell check as the final judge! While it is useful for first level editing, it can get you into trouble if you rely on it too heavily, which is why the next tip is important too.
3. Turn OFF the spell check
There are things the spell-check or grammar-check tool in Microsoft Word won’t always pick up, or sometimes it will recommend a change that is, in fact, totally wrong in the context. This is because it only knows what it has been taught, it doesn’t have the ability to think for itself. If you wrote “right” when you meant “write” or even “rite“, the spell check won’t highlight that as a typo, because the word itself is not wrongly spelt.
Likewise, words like check and cheque, insure and ensure, counsel and council – none of which are wrong. Time to either engage your brain or ask Google!
4. Read your blog backwards
Another trick you can try is to start at the end of the article and read each word in isolation – you might be surprised at what you missed. When you’ve been working on something for a long time, sometimes your brain tricks you into “seeing” what you had in your head; a common one is repeating a word like “of” twice, or the word “your” becomes “you”. Sometimes a word has simply vanished but your mind’s eye still sees it.
5. Find and replace
A handy tool within Word – just hit Control F. For example, if you notice the odd US English spellings have crept into your writing (courtesy of Microsoft’s autocorrect), rather than working your way through each misdemeanor one by one, you can just enter the command to FIND ize and REPLACE ise. Take care though, not every instance will be an unwanted –ize spelling.
6. Proofread your blog from a hard copy
Errors are harder to spot on the computer screen – strange but true.