Each piece of content we deal with at How’s my English goes through a multi-stage editing process, depending on its purpose. But we always start the same way – by printing it.
The first stage of our editing process involves printing out the content we’re working with and making notes with an actual pen!
It’s not (just) because we’re old-fashioned – it’s because we’ve found over the years it’s the most effective way to pick up mistakes.
There’s simply no substitute for seeing the words in black and white on a piece of paper in front of you.
Why it’s more effective to edit printed content
The reasons for printing are pretty straightforward – that when you read on a screen it’s all too easy to start skimming the text you’re working with and not actually paying attention to what it says.
And obviously if you start doing that, it’s easier to miss mistakes.
Also you can read more text for longer on a printed page than on a screen. Reading on a screen is so much more tiring!
Of course printing out the text doesn’t entirely prevent skimming, but if you’re writing notes then it’s easier to get back on track if you do.
So next time you write a blog post, or content for your website, or if you’re asked to look at something someone else has written, do yourself a favour and print it out and read it through before publishing.