How to keep cool while editing
Proofreading describes the checking and correction of a text. While proofreading only checks and corrects spelling, punctuation and grammar, editing also includes document checking as a whole. Editing is a stylistic and linguistic assessment. The layout, designations, writing style, sentence structure, paragraphs, header/footer and content are also corrected here. This not only eliminates errors but also improves the document as a whole.
In this time of content management systems, constantly recycled text modules, autocorrection and smart writing support, it seems as if intelligent information would be checked just as intelligently. But mistakes happen. After all, humans, as fallible beings, have their fingers in the pie, and thus, information products produced by machine and humans must be checked by humans.
Editing is a cognitively demanding task that requires a high degree of attention and a structured approach. To help editors, I have a proofreading checklist in my company. There, you will find all the relevant aspects of reviewing, which can be systematically gone through and checked off.
But what counteracts this systematic, precise procedure is the time pressure that usually arises at the time of editing.
Publication is imminent, and everyone is waiting for the proofread document – but it is important to keep a cool head.
5 tips for keeping cool while editing:
1. Repetition errors
Editors strive to standardize documents, meaning that texts are reused one-to-one when it suits them. If you find an error in a standard text, noticing the same error recurring, you should stop and describe the error in detail at the first occurrence. You should then ask the editor to correct the error globally via “Search and Replace”.
2. Our own daily rhythm
We are not always equally efficient throughout the day. As editing is a task that is cognitively challenging, you should be in tune with your own daily rhythm. When are you particularly able to concentrate? When does your concentration break down? There is a well-known “afternoon low”, when it is better to carry out routine tasks.
3. No mistakes
Not finding any mistakes in a document may cause you to doubt yourself. Was the document really flawless, or were you editing it without focus? Although finding errors is the task, you should not let this unsettle you – trust your own abilities.
4. Ask questions
Don’t be afraid to ask the responsible editor/designer for clarification if something appears ambiguous. This way, you can apply what you learn from this document to future documents.
5. Obtain feedback
It is worthwhile to regularly obtain feedback from other editors. Editing errors that often creep in can be eliminated in the long run through mutual feedback.