7 Proofreading Tips Every Travel Writer Should Know

Proofreading for Travel Writers
1 August 2011 Post Author:
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Travel writing is a competitive field, which means it’s especially important for you to turn in flawless, polished pieces.

By following these essential proofreading tips for travel writers, you can improve your writing and offer vivid information to readers:

  1. Proofread your draft shortly after your trip. Do your best to begin the proofreading process shortly after returning home. When your travels are fresh in your mind, you’ll remember better details and have an easier time being specific.
  2. Cut words mercilessly. Magazines, journals, and newspapers often have limited space for travel reviews. You’ll likely have a firmly set maximum length, so take the time to go through your draft and cut out every word that isn’t necessary. Concise, specific prose can convey more than tons of unnecessary adjectives.
  3. Double-check names of places and destinations. This is one of the most essential proofreading tips for travel writers. Always double-check the spelling and proper usage of all names and local terms. Spelling errors are unprofessional, while mistakes in terminology can confuse readers or cause offense.
  4. Look for colorful words and descriptions. Travel writing is a special field, as you have more freedom to use bright adjectives and descriptive words than you might in other types of journalism. As you go through your draft, make sure your writing is entertaining to read. It shouldn’t be dry or read like a news article because readers want to experience the color of the location.
  5. Re-edit sentences you’ve already edited. Always be sure to go back and take another look at the sentences you’ve changed. Many writers forget to re-edit these sentences, thinking they’ve already fully corrected the writing. Unfortunately, mistakes can often appear during this stage.
  6. Make sure your writing is an accurate portrayal. Read through the draft without paying attention to the style of the writing, grammar, or punctuation. You should specifically be thinking about whether or not your writing captures the feeling of the location. Pretend that someone else wrote the article and decide whether or not it offers an accurate description.
  7. Follow proofreading best practices. Be sure to practice the same standard proofreading practices you would use for any other writing. Read your draft aloud, have a friend read it, or try reading backward to catch final mistakes.

These proofreading tips for travel writers can help you convey your experiences and opinions more clearly.

~ Randall

10 Responses to “7 Proofreading Tips Every Travel Writer Should Know”

  1. Jason
    Twitter:
    says:

    Thanks for putting together these tips. I must admit that proofreading is one of my least favorite parts about writing, but it’s got to get done! One question — on #7 how does “reading backwards” work? I’m not familiar with that technique.

    Thanks,
    Jason

    • Randall says:

      @Jason: By reading your document backward, you can focus on the individual words and not get distracted by flow, tone, sentence structure, etc. Reading backward is a great way to catch spelling errors, but a poor method, of course, of catching sentence structure errors.

  2. Some really good advice. I also suggest having someone else proof it to make sure it actually says what you want. This is especially important if you are a new writer.

  3. Fem
    Twitter:
    says:

    In addition to #1 and #6: leave the text for a day (or two) after you have first edited it, and then take another close look with a fresh mind the next day. You will always catch things you didn’t catch the first editing round.

  4. Alison
    Twitter:
    says:

    I receive a lot of guest posts so I don’t have to “Pretend that someone else wrote the article”. Often I find them lacking correct use of grammar with poor punctuation. A quick review of your easy to follow tips is going to be helpful but I wonder how the authors will feel when their work has been strictly edited?

    • A very valid point, Allison……generally speaking I only do light editing to catch typos or the occasional missing word or punctuation, but if an article needs a little bit heavier editing – such as when the grammar is really off or a point they’re making is unclear – then I’ll notify the author and let them know that I’m making edits with the intention of ensuring that they “look good”. Of course, if an article needs really heavy editing, I’ll ask them to re-write it with a few suggestions for improvements.

      So far I’ve been pretty lucky with this tactic, in that I’ve not had anyone respond negatively to either my edits or suggestions. I truly believe that most non-trained writers – which is most bloggers these days – do want to improve their skills and are receptive to suggestions and help from editors.

  5. Carlos
    Twitter:
    says:

    Thank you for your tips. My favorite one: #4. It gives me so much FUN! when I include a unique Spanish idiom, slang and funny word and then trying to figure out how to explain them in English and even making up new words as English equivalences.

  6. George says:

    In case you would not have a friend to check your work, I would mention as tip #8 some automated proofreading services like proofreadbot.com

    • Terrific service, George – thanks for sharing it here. I corrected your link so that it would work….remember that when you leave a link in comments you must add the http:// (and the www. if applicable), otherwise the blog comment system will assume it’s a page on the blog you left the comment at, which will result in a 404 error.

      While I agree that an automated proofreader can help pick up some errors, I don’t think it can replace humans, who are better able than a bot to comprehend the subtleties of meaning and context, and understand the appropriateness of similar-sounding, but altogether different words, such as pear/pare/pair etc. But I do believe that someday the bots will be just as good as humans, hopefully in my lifetime.

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