Tag Archives: Post-it note

Self-Editing Tip #18–Method: Reading for Errors

21 Aug

Track Changes and Comments

How do you read for errors? There are so many ways to do this. From using Comments and Track Changes in Word (my favorite method when editing digital text) to the Colored Pen/Highlighter Method , ideas not for the actual grammar errors to find, but for the way to read for them abound.

I thought today I would share a couple more of my favorite methods so that when you go to implement any of my Self-Editing Tips, you’d also have new ideas on how to mark it up.

The Repeat Read-Through

This is exactly what it sounds like, and it is best for short texts. Choose a type of mistake you want to find and fix. Read your text for only that kind of error. Mark the errors as you see them, or fix them as you go. I have no doubt you’ll see other types of mistakes as you read. That’s ok. Fix them when you see them if you think you’ll forget on your next go-round. If not, mark them in whatever way makes sense to you so that you can come back to it. It’s a great opportunity to integrate the Colored Pen Method into your multiple reads. Each read could get a different pen rather than trying to work with all pens at once.

If your text is really long, this might not be the most expedient option. I’m not saying to skip extra revisions on a large text like a manuscript. It’s never finished after one revision. I’m merely saying that you might want to look for any type of error every time you read it. The next method might be more your style.

Post-it Pages (My favorite method when editing print text)

Post-it Pages

For long texts in print, you can use sticky notes for errors that need revisiting. It’s like the paper version of Comments and Track Changes in Word. Mark small mistakes directly on the text with a red pen–punctuation, typos, misspellings, and the like—or whatever color works for you. For bigger issues that require time and consideration (plot inconsistencies, text that needs to be (re)moved, or topics that need to be researched in order to accurately reference them in the text), make notes on brightly colored sticky notes you’re sure not to overlook. Stick them directly under the line they reference. Remove the note when you’ve remedied it, or mark it as fixed so that you can ignore it on your next read-through. High priority issues get circled directly on the page and accompanied by a sticky note with an exclamation point. Leave these high priority notes hanging off of the page so that you can see them when the document is closed. No way to ignore them, now! Tackle them as time allows.

Dog Ears

For mid-sized documents in print, dog ear the pages you need to revisit. You can combine this with any of the other methods. If every page gets folded, this isn’t the option for you. That would be equivalent to the person who highlights every word in a textbook in the name of “studying.” It’s useless. If your document is in its final stages and there are minimal errors, this could work very well. Neat-freaks like me won’t be able to ignore a folded page among crisp, flat pages with no marks.


Side Note

Color Marking

The Colored Pen/Highlighter Method is also great for academic readings of literature for critical purposes, and is also called color marking. Rather than using the different colors to mark errors, the colors are used, based on a key of your creation, to mark themes, motifs, symbols, any number of literary/poetic/stylistic devices, and whatever else is deemed important in the context of your reading.


Happy Editing!


–Amanda Marsico

Editor, Proofreader, Red Ink Enthusiast



Twitter: @MarsWriteSite


Self-Editing Tip #7: Organizing When Writing by Hand

12 Jul

Idea Organization when Writing by Hand—Last installment I promised all those writing by hand a tip for getting notes and comments more organized without a computer and Microsoft Word.

Remember rolodexes? Still have one lying around? Put it back to use by taking notes on the rolodex cards. Use the alphabetically ordered dividers as ways to separate your writing projects. Divide by title, by school course, business project, whatever suits your needs. The letter can refer to whatever key word that will help you remember where you put your notes. If this isn’t the kind of organization that works for you, put a white label sticker over the letter and write in your own heading. Keep the notes that correspond to each project in its own section.

It’s no problem if you don’t have a rolodex or can’t find anywhere that sells the refills anymore. Get generic note cards. Make a point to keep your notes only on note cards. Get one of those latching boxes made specifically for the note cards and the dividers meant to accompany them. Labeling follows same process as above. With either method, all of your notes for all of your projects are in one container, organized by subject or title.

Still looking for a solution?

  • Get color-coded. If you like sticky notes, use a different color for each project.
  • Highlight with a color code in books read for research and reference purposes. Maybe green means a good resource to keep at hand, orange means quotable material, and yellow signifies items worthy of a second look later.
  • Get a multi-subject spiral notebook. Dedicate each section to a separate project or an individual aspect of a project. It keeps your ideas together, eliminates the scraps of paper littering your desk, and is portable.
  • If portability isn’t a concern, mount a large cork board to the wall, use yarn, twine, or ribbon to section it off in segments, then use each portion to pin the notes in relevant groupings.

Have more ideas to add to this list? Is there something you do to organize that’s practical, original, and would help others? Tell me about it in the comments section!

%d bloggers like this: