When writing for an audience, there are few more embarrassing things to discover after submitting your work than a mistake, or worse yet, mistakes in your submission. Not only are they embarrassing, but your mistakes could cost you future work with the publisher or diminish your credibility in the eyes of your readers. To avoid such mishaps there are aspects of your writing that you should review before you submit your work. Here are a few of the more common mishaps that might occur in your writing.
Not proofreading your writing might be one of the greatest mistakes you can make. Even great writers must often read and reread their work to ensure that it is fit to be seen by others. Proofing your work is even more important if you know that the only editor reviewing and revising the work will be you. To ensure that you catch a majority of your errors, consider reading your work aloud to hear how it sounds as you speak the words. You may be surprised by how many additional mistakes you catch with this method, even if you’ve already proofread your work several times.
2. Improper Word Use
When you proofread your work, there are many issues for which you should be on the lookout. One of the more major and most common of these mistakes is improper word use. Mistakes like using ‘your’ instead of ‘you’re’, ‘there’ instead of ‘their’ or ‘they’re’ and ‘it’s’ instead of ‘its’ are some of the likely culprits you might find lying in wait for you along the way.
3. Word Choice
If you aren’t sure of a word’s meaning, look the word up before you use it in a sentence. Using eloquent words just because they sound good could leave you looking pretentious, uneducated, and your readers left scratching their heads as to what you were really trying to say. Sometimes simpler is better.
4. Tense Change
Didn’t it sound weird when I am saying that I will not changed tense in a sentence? Moving back and forth between tenses can stick out like a sore thumb. We aren’t conjugating Latin verbs here. Chose a tense and stick with it.
5. Online Writing
One of the best ways to become frustrated with online writing is by using an internet site’s application in which to write your work. There is nothing wrong with writing your material in an application with which you are comfortable and then copying and pasting your work into the site’s submission area. Just ask someone who has spent an hour or so writing an article only to have it swallowed by the internet and not having a saved copy to refer to. As a side note to this tip however, be sure to check for glitches in the formatting of your work that may have been altered or affected by the move before you submit it.
6. Copy and Paste
When working online, you might find it beneficial to copy and paste the directions for your writing directly onto your work page. By having the instructions for your assignment available to you upon whatever software you are using to write, you can quickly and efficiently refer to the publisher’s or client’s guidelines. This reference tool can keep you on track and on topic. Just make sure you don’t forget and accidentally submit these instructions along with your work.
7. Long Sentences
In this day and age, people just aren’t up for long sentences like they used to be. Most readers want quick and easy information packed into short powerful sentences, and would prefer not to be lost in a sentence that just keeps going on and on for the sake of taking up space, and those same readers would likely be appreciative of sentences that are kept to a minimum of a line or two rather than three or four lines like this one is turning out to be.
Sentence fragments can throw. Your readers for a loop. See! While short, compact sentences can often be a writer’s best friend, it helps to ensure that those sentences are complete and make sense. Otherwise, you may be leaving your work choppy and nonsensical.
9. Broad or Overly General Statements
Saying that Harry Potter is the best movie ever, might be true in your opinion, but that doesn’t mean it’s true for everyone. Saying stocks are a great investment, may be true to some extent, but are all stocks really a great investment? It is important to keep the opinions and statements you place in your writing, qualified and backed up with supporting evidence.
10. Slang and Abbreviations
In this age of quick texts and fast information, it’s often easy to forget that not everyone understands what LOL or BTW means. Those who aren’t familiar with such terms might think you are referring to the new NBA, MLB, or NFL, which in many areas of the world aren’t commonly known abbreviations either. My point here is that in a world globally connected through the internet, it’s important to remember that what is commonplace to you, might not be common knowledge to those reading your work.
This is a guest post written by Tom Walker, a writer and designer from the UK who works for a printer supplies company specialising in Epson Stylus cartridges, toner and paper. You can read more of his writing about print media and design on their blog.