The fact of the matter is that no one can avoid mistakes in their writing all of the time. You are always going to have to proofread your work; if nothing else, there will be times that your fingers just don’t hit the right keys. These mistakes are easily enough fixed. There are other writing mistakes, though, that are more common and more dangerous for your writing. Fortunately, there are a few basic principles that you can keep in mind in order to avoid as many mistakes as possible in your writing:
* Write for your target audience. If you are writing an academic paper, the style and voice of your writing will be completely different than if you are writing a blog entry. If you are writing advertising copy, you’re going to use completely different techniques than if you are writing a short story. If you are writing an article for a children’s’ web site, you will write at a different level than if you are writing for a web site on graduate school programs. Knowing your target audience and directing your writing toward them can make the difference between a piece of writing that doesn’t sell and one that sells for big money.
* Be diligent about correcting grammatical errors. I like to overuse commas. My Creative Writing professor in College pointed that out to me. You know that it’s bad when you’re using too many commas in poetry. I still do it today. But, notice that I didn’t say “Making Grammatical Errors.” Everybody makes them. But, there are a handful of grammatical errors that you have got to be able to avoid and/or correct if you want to maintain credibility as a Writer. You have to know the difference between “there,” “their” and “they’re,” for example. Editors, clients, and your readers can be unforgiving of simple grammatical errors, especially if they happen on a repeat basis.
* Don’t go too deep. One of the dangers, especially for those of you who write on the Internet, is that that of becoming distracted by the topic on which you are writing. If someone is paying you to write about Australian flora, write about Australian flora. Don’t spend your time looking at pictures of different flowers, or comparing Australian flora with North American flora. You can do that in your free time. When you are writing, stay on task and don’t go too deep.
* Don’t expect something for nothing. Hard work has its rewards. If you want to be a success as a writer you are going to have to work at it. Constantly strive to improve your craft. Practice different types of writing. Figure out what your most common spelling and grammatical errors are and work hard at correcting them.
While following these steps won’t guarantee success as a writer or that you will avoid every mistake, you can bet that ignoring them repeatedly will result in disaster.