Grammar’s Part When Telling Your Story
Editing your own work can sometimes be quite a challenge. Everyone’s end game is to ensure what you write conveys your message effectively and tells your story. The last thing you want to have is that beautifully-crafted piece discarded due to a grammatical error. To make every moment count and have your voice heard, we have compiled a few tips and tricks to help you avoid getting caught in a tangled web of spelling and grammatical errors.
Embrace spell check. It can be just that simple. For those who do a lot of writing outside programs like Word, there are apps like Grammarly that help catch errors. Spell check is a must and has improved to the point that the software includes a number of common grammar mistakes to help you further.
Reread. Before you send or share something with anyone, you should make it a habit to read the material. It is amazing how our minds work, but sometimes they are not always in sync with what we are trying to say. Reading what you’ve written before you hit send could make a considerable difference. While you are at it; print out the piece you plan to review. Not only does it make the writing sample tangible and easier to edit, it also allows you to see it in its finished form.
Give it time. Do your best to allow for time between the completed written material and the review. Time can bring clarity and sometimes even inspiration to improve your written piece.
Have someone else proofread your work. You know what you are trying to say, which can place you at a disadvantage to notice a content or punctuation mistake. Someone with a fresh set of eyes often has the ability to see things you don’t. This person can also provide valuable input or feedback to confirm that your point is understood.
Confirm the details are correct. Is there a phone number? Confirm by calling it. Is there an address? Confirm it’s correct. Is there a date? Make sure the day and the date match, and the year is accurate. Does the piece include URL links or email addresses? Check them to make sure they actually match at the right destination. Nothing kills a party faster than inviting everyone the day AFTER the event has occurred. These details also extend to tracking links. Part of a complete proof includes making sure all links contain the proper tracking information (if applicable) so measurement can be conducted.
Read Aloud. When you force yourself to read out loud, you slow down your reading and have the added bonus of hearing what is on the page. The latest version of Word includes a Read Aloud function allowing your device to read the piece for you. Close your eyes and just listen; after all, you want your readers to listen to you.
Proof titles, headlines, captions and contact information separately. We are often so focused on the main content, we tend to overlook the fine print and words in bold, especially when this content is incorporated into the design of a piece. Take a moment to review and confirm ALL content is accurate before considering the piece finished.
Part of successfully telling the story is to allow the story to shine. A story that contains grammatical errors has the propensity to lose the opportunity to connect and engage with our audience. These simple, but effective tips will improve your outcome and help you create a powerful story. Happy writing!