By Terreece M. Clarke
You’ve got it down to a science. Research, interview, write, spell check, submit. Assignments come in, articles go out – but are they everything they could be? Make sure you check these 8 things off your list before you submit:
- Check all names for correct spelling. Is it Allyson or Allison? Don’t count on the copy editor to catch your mistakes.
- Spelled write but used wrong. Spell check and even you’re grammar cheque may not pick up on these simple mistakes.
- Double check direct quotes. Nothing is more embarrassing than an editor calling you because a source is sure they were misquoted.
- Read aloud for flow. Sure it sounds great in your head, but reading your article out loud will allow your ears to hear what works well and what doesn’t.
- Look for holes. Read your article again. Are there any unanswered questions the reader may have after they finish the piece?
- Get rid of quotes for quotes sake. Quotes should add something to an article, they give voice to the piece. Make sure your quotes aren’t just thrown in leaving the editor and audience saying “So what?” Check out “Say What? A Quick Guide to Using Quotes.”
- Review the style guide. Whether a publication has their own or uses one of the popular standard style guides, be sure your work adheres to it. If you write for a publication often, make the extra effort and commit the guide to memory: “Writing Tip of the Day: Know your style guides“
- Let it marinate. The best articles are ones writers have had the opportunity to leave and see later with fresh eyes. Check out: “Letting Your Articles Marinate.”
What steps are an absolute must before you submit a piece? Share below!
One thing I would add to this list: PRINT IT OUT.
I have found that it is far easier to miss a mistake while reviewing an article on a computer screen. A printed article is easier to read, and there have been several times when I found that reviewing a printed article caused me to rearrange paragraphs or sentences to tighten and improve the flow of an article that I had already reviewed on screen and thought to be finished. To save money on paper and ink, set your printer to “draft” output or whatever setting uses the least amount of ink, and use reclaimed paper that has already been printed on one side.
Terreece Clarke says
That is a good idea, I stopped printing articles out to save paper, but when I do print them off I’ve got 2 little ones who love to color so they now go to their free paper bin.