Proofreading hacks - get your proofreading game on with these hacks. Photo of manuscript with cup of coffee and pen on table.

So you’re a writer, and you’re finally at the proofreading stage, but you hate proofreading. These proofreading hacks might speed things up!

When you’ve written a novel, you think you’re finished. You do a little leap in the air, and run out of the room to tell all your friends and family you’ve finished it. You arrange celebratory drinks for that evening.

But then it dawns on you. The whole thing needs a round of proofreading and editing. So now you’re in a bad mood.

Not everyone enjoys proofreading. I love it! Hence I do it for a living. But others view it as a pointless exercise, reading reams of text hoping to catch the mistakes that are there.

Here’s how to ensure you stay focused when the mind wants to quit.


Take A Break

Yes, there’s a deadline and you haven’t got much time to play with at the moment. Please, someone, get out the tiny violins!

Jokes aside, being punctual is an important part of working as a proofreader. However, being correct takes the biscuit. No one will employ an “expert” who misses glaringly obvious mistakes and lets them slip through the net. So, even if time is against you, don’t be afraid to take a ten-minute coffee break. Time away from the screen will sharpen your eyes, the coffee will give you a boost, and the break should refresh the body.


Talk To Yourself

Hitting a deadline is a major part of the job, which is why you need a shortcut. Sometimes, there is only time for one read-through. In these cases, there is inevitably a handful of errors which go unnoticed. There isn’t much you can do but try to focus and stay sharp.

Oh, you can speak out loud, too. By doing this, you are vocalising the text and hearing the words as well as seeing them on the screen. Anything which sounds off or doesn’t flow will likely mean it’s not right. All you have to do is ensure it makes sense.


Order In

Probably the main reason people lose focus, apart from tiredness, is hunger. But, you haven’t got the luxury of stopping for dinner, so you power through until the death. Please refrain because this is a big mistake, a lot like the one you just missed on page 4!

The body needs fuel to maintain a high level of output and corporate catering is the perfect answer. As there is no way you can nip down to ASDA or Tesco, it’s best to phone in an order. A catering service is a winner because it’s healthier and doesn’t centre on junk food. And if you work in an office, everyone else will appreciate the food too. 


Print It Out

Sorry to the entire conservationist community out there, but paper still has its uses. For a proofreader, it is often the difference between success and failure. Do you always find mistakes on the page that weren’t there on the computer screen?

This isn’t a conspiracy – it’s down to the fact that human eyes struggle to focus on bright lights. The contrast of the ink on a white background makes it far easier to pinpoint an error.


Work at your Best Time

Everyone has a time they work best at. For me, it’s the morning, between 8am and 11am. Others prefer to work well into the night. You’ll work much better and efficiently if you work out your optimum time. You’ll get the thing done faster, which is always a bonus, and probably do a better job too.


Do you lack fockus focus sometimes? Oh no, so close! But these proofreading hacks should definitely get you by.


Proofreading Hacks For Writers That Hate It
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