November 16, 2016

Everybody needs an editor, but there are times when you are the only set of eyes to read what you’ve written. Whether you’re writing a tweet, a breaking news story, an email or a book, here are some ways to read your work with fresh eyes, and find and fix mistakes before you hit send.

Sweat the small stuff. Articles–“a,” “an” and “the”–are often misused or mis-typed when you’re writing quickly. And it’s easy to overlook “or” when you mean “of” or “it” when you mean “if” or “is.”

Print out your story with different margins, fonts or colors to trick your brain into thinking it’s seeing something new. You often will find mistakes you otherwise would have missed.

Know what you don’t know–and prepare to conquer your weaknesses. Whether you have trouble with spelling, subject-verb agreement or tense shifts, listen to your inner alarm and have a stylebook or website handy to double-check yourself. (And check out our webinar on The Web’s Best Editing Resources.)

Taken from 100 Ideas to Make Your Journalism Better, a webinar replay at Poynter NewsU.

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Vicki Krueger has worked with The Poynter Institute for more than 20 years in roles from editor to director of interactive learning and her current…
Vicki Krueger

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