Proofreading tip: let the text rest - and yourself too!

She’s not sleeping, she’s doing the important work of resting between writing and revising.

Q: My boss asked me to write a brochure for our company and I quickly agreed. Then she said to make sure I let the text rest. Rest? I don’t understand.

A: Imagine you’ve just finished writing that brochure. Whoo hoo! Cue the cheering! The boss is eager to see it and your finger is itching to press send. Don’t do it!  Here’s an important proofreading tip.

Like a big juicy steak just off the grill, your text needs to rest before it is plated and put in front of the reader. So follow the advice of your boss and put your text aside for a bit before you edit or revise. The text isn’t tired, but you are, whether you realize it or not.

Working on a piece of writing for more than a few hours affects your ability to judge the work’s quality. Letting the copy rest solves this problem. You just close the file and let it be. Ideally, you put it aside overnight. No peeking!

When you return to it the next day, you can see your work with fresh eyes. Misspellings, typos, awkward sentences and incomplete thoughts become visible. Better yet, you see how to fix the problems. You may add or change material to improve clarity, accuracy and tone. You may also see flashes of writerly brilliance and give yourself a big pat on the back.

It’s as if you’re suddenly an editorial superhero and all it cost you was a little time. But then, all good things take time. Why should writing be any different?

Need help with writing or editing content for your website, blog, email newsletter or brochure? Call Kim Landry at 484-829-0021 or email [email protected].

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