Your Ultimate Online Proofreading Guide for Better Writing

Online Proofreading Guide. Photo Credit – Flickr: tonxA proofreading guide is like a dessert menu.

It presents the third course to your creation meal that involved writing as a first course and editing as a second course.

Since proofreading is the last step you take before publishing, it’s obviously an important one—you want to ensure perfection.

It’s heartbreaking to find an error in a final document that has already been released for the world to see.

But before proofreading is the most appropriate revision procedure, there are important steps that you can take during the writing process to make sure your message is strong and direct.

Unlike the first edition of my proofreading guide, which only explained proofreading techniques, the second edition of Your Ultimate Online Proofreading Guide also establishes methods to keep your thoughts clear and organized while you write and edit. [Read more...]

The Differences Between Copy Editing, Proofreading, and Reading

Copy Editing, Proofreading. Photo Credit – Flickr: Terry FreedmanThe differences between copy editing, proofreading, and reading are commonly considered subtle.

For instance, if I happened to mention in conversation that I’m a “freelance proofreader and copy editor,” it may seem that I’m referring to the same occupation.

In contrast, if I said that I’m a “neuroscientist and farmer,” it would appear that I have two separate careers.

It is clear that neuroscience and farming are different practices that require distinct educational prerequisites, skills, and expertise.

The technical differences between copy editing and proofreading are too boring to explain, and I’ve created Revision Fairy proofreading services so that you can invest in producing a quality product without having to pinpoint the exact type of help you need before I review your work.

If you know you need to specifically hire a copy editor or proofreader, you may already know the differences between copy editing and proofreading.

If you don’t know the differences between the two activities, and aren’t seriously interested in hiring a professional proofreader, you may regard both copy editing and proofreading as just reading and making some corrections. [Read more...]

Comma Chameleon: When to Use a Comma

When to Use a Comma. Photo Credit – Flickr: duncanNothing like a little Culture Club pun to liven up an otherwise dense conversation about when to use a comma, right?

A subscriber recently wrote me this interesting question about overwhelming comma rules:

Dear Stefanie,

I write textbooks and often get pulled up for my comma usage. I was always taught that it marks a pause in the sentence but this rule doesn’t seem to work all the time.

A lot of comma usage can be down to individual taste it seems and you might be a heavy or light user. I think there may also be some US/UK differences (I am from the UK by the way).

I have consulted the Chicago Manual of Style and I see that there are endless pages on how to use commas in a variety of different situations.

To get to my point, I was wondering if you had a simple guide for comma usage that works and isn’t overly complicated to put into practice.

Thanks for your help. [Read more...]

Permission to Be Bad, Real Bad, Michael Jackson

Photo Credit – Flickr: dBRYJ MusicWriting a rough draft is not only a necessary step, it’s the most important part of writing.

Keeping ideas in your head stifles the creative process.

You have to write your thoughts so that you can manipulate them properly.

If you try to perfect every detail in your mind, your work won’t reach the level of greatness that it can when you edit your ideas in the physical world.

Once you have a draft, you have the invaluable opportunity to review your creation and say to yourself, “That really doesn’t make sense. How can I make it better?”

But the fear of sounding bad can often make a writer freeze up.

If it doesn’t sound perfect right away, there’s no point of writing at all. You’ve failed at writing. Perfection or nothing. A pretty common insecurity, right? [Read more...]

What a Blog Without Comments Can Teach You About Managing Your Workload

Manage Your Workload. Photo Credit – Flickr: marsmet542Before I published content on this site, the concept of adding a “blog” to my workload was daunting.

Responding to reader comments and filtering spam is time consuming. I didn’t know if I could commit to it.

So, I created an outlet for my writing that is more like a traditional newspaper or magazine. I don’t have a comments section following my articles.

In the days of old media, you didn’t have the chance to sound off right away. If you wanted to comment on an article or feature, you had to write a Letter to the Editor.

And only a few select letters were published in the next edition.

What part of this process appeals to me? [Read more...]

5 Shortcuts for Proofreading Documents in Record Time

Proofreading Documents. Photo Credit – Flickr: jayneanddIn the past, I’ve provoked some outraged responses when I’ve written tips about proofreading your own documents.

Variations of “You simply can’t find your own writing mistakes! You need someone else to proofread your work for you!” have echoed through blog comments when I’ve addressed this apparently taboo topic.

I understand the sentiment, but I think that the benefits of working with a freelance copy editor or proofreader are obvious.

When a writer can also proofread like a professional proofreader, she is in a unique position to create a product that communicates her exact intentions. [Read more...]