I’ve had a real battle with typos and grammar over the years.
As a copywriter, it actually feels a bit terrifying to admit that, because most people will think; “well isn’t that what you’re meant to be good at?”
Spelling, punctuation, and grammar (SPAG) is absolutely something I need to be good at for the work that I do. But, just because I have found it tough, it doesn’t mean that I’m not good at it.
Back in school, my GCSE English teacher helped me after class to understand the correct way to use apostrophes… but, just because it took me longer than my peers to get there, it didn’t mean I couldn’t do it.
If anything, it has made me more aware as a quality checker.
Over the years, because my SPAG knocked down my grades, I had to develop my own strategies to quality check my work.
I’ve now got a few pretty robust methods.
If I do my checks, I can be confident in my work.
Here are my checks/tips:
- Read out loud
Listen to what you’ve put on the page.
Does it read okay? Do you need punctuation to break it up? Did you miss out a word?
2. Use text to speech
Much like reading aloud, this gives you the chance to hear those possible errors.
Having a voice other than your own means you’ll hear it how others might read it.
I find it best to close my eyes and listen sentence by sentence, to help catch where sentences get a bit waffly.
This is a feature you can use in Microsoft word.
3. If in doubt, have a google
There is no shame in checking when to use a semicolon over a colon. Or whether it should be ‘affect’ or ‘effect’.
No one is looking over your shoulder screaming “you’re a fraud” if you want to double check. It’s better to check than get it wrong.
4. Leave it, and then come back to it
Fresh eyes are a saviour in catching silly mistakes.
Take some time away so your brain doesn’t auto fill things in that makes sense to you. You and your brain know what you’re trying to say, but your audience might not.
Have a break and be an audience to your own work.
5. Take breaks
Have a break while you are writing.
When you are tired you’re more likely to make errors.
Keep yourself fresh. Eat well and drink well too — biscuits are my favourite form of writing snack.
6. Phone a friend
If something doesn’t feel right and you’re having a tough time with a piece, ask for help. Fresh eyes with a new perspective can be a saviour.
Obviously don’t rely on this, but having a mutual agreement with a friend is amazing when you’re struggling with a piece and you aren’t quite sure why it isn’t right.
Sadly my writing companions (in the image below) aren’t the best at proofreading…
Just because I had a tough time at first getting my head round the laws of grammar, it did not mean I was going to give up on my dreams of being a writer… it just meant I had to create these strategies.
If you’ve stumbled across this blog, I hope this helps you with whatever you are writing.
I used these methods with my university essays and I still use them now as a freelance copywriter, or even when I’m just sending an email.
Don’t let quality check anxiety hold you back; just try these strategies and you’ll be in a pretty good situation.
If you are looking for a copywriter, please do get in touch. I’d love to discuss what you’re looking for and help create a flourishing bit of copy for you and your readers.
Contact me or email firstname.lastname@example.org