Try a new look

You’ve probably suffered through this: You’ve spent a lot of time writing, a lot of time revising, and a lot of time polishing. Then you went over ever word in every sentence to make sure there were no mistakes. You checked spelling. You checked punctuation. You checked grammar.

Then you printed it out. And the first thing you saw on the paper was a glaring mistake that you had missed.

While that’s exasperating, it’s also a hint at how to solve the problem. You spotted the mistake as soon as you put your masterpiece into a different form. So use that quirk of the brain to your advantage.

While you are still editing the copy, change the font. Change the size of the type. Change the margins. Print it out specifically for editing. (Save a copy in the formatting you want to use for the final version.)

When we get too familiar with a piece of writing, we see what ought to be there instead of what’s really there. Our brains skip over extra words, mentally fill in words that have been left out, and fix the spelling of words without notifying us. So play a trick on your brain and make the familiar writing look like something new.

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