You can do this. You really can. While replicating the work of a professional proofreading service is hard, following the steps mentioned below will enable you to complete a decent edit all by yourself!

The joy of writing inevitably paves the way for the trial of editing. However, that doesn’t prevent you from conquering it to emerge with a far more effectively edited document.

First things first, some basics. Keep at least half of your document time to edit post writing, try to keep the distractions at bay, stay focused, avoid over-editing. You know the drill.

But even before taking the aid of a proofreading service or a professional editor, a round of self-editing is must. Let’s just say that they can’t do much if your manuscript is totally scattered. 

Are you ready to consider editing by yourself? Then follow these simple steps!


1) Take a break

An edit always requires a fresh pair of eyes. Always.

Once the last word is typed, close it and keep it aside for a certain amount of time. A few hours at the least, a week at most. This way, the story remains fresh in your memory while also preventing you from obsessing over it. (Note: This is why professional editors keep insisting on dedicating a lot of time to the editing process.)


2) Categorize the errors

There are several types of grammatical errors, and it’s impossible to get them all in one go. So divide them into different broad categories, such as spelling, punctuation, and formatting amongst others. Edit a different category of errors at any given time, and you’ll find that you will be able to get all of them too.


3) Read it…

There are two ways to go about with this particular trick both of which might require you to be alone in a room. Unless you want people to question your sanity, of course.


4) …Aloud

(Bonus tip: Print it out) When you read aloud, you detect all the errors that your eyes might have skimmed over. Since you’ve seen this document multiple times, you’re especially prone to glazing over certain errors, so reading it out and making notes as you go along really helps.


5) Backwards

This will definitely take a little getting used to, but reading from right to left helps you focus on just the grammar discrepancies as opposed to the content.


6) Formatting

Every document comes with a format. Even when you think it doesn’t, it does. It doesn’t matter if it’s an email, essay or novel – there is a certain structure to be followed. Check for paragraph spacings, indentations, font, subheadings, bullet lists, etc. It goes without saying that this should be left for the end as content might be shuffled while editing.


7) Get another perspective

We know. The article is about doing the proofreading all by yourself, but asking for a third opinion is always helpful. Don’t forget; it’s better to get someone objective as well as reasonably skilled for this job! (we’re talking about a proffreading service, of course *nudge, nudge, wink, wink*)

We hope that you know better than to rely on automated spell checkers by now. And we wish you the very best of luck in your future editing endeavours.

Think you’re not quite sure what to look for while you’re editing? All the rules getting muddled in your head? Check out some of the more common mistakes you make that editors hate!