To make the most economical use of sending your writing to a professional editor, you want to have fully proofread your work on your own beforehand. But what’s the best way to do that? There are a great many resources out there available to you that can help you proofread your writing before you have a professional editor put the finishing touches on it.

If you’ve written a research document, take advantage of the reference and citation resources online. Almost all of the citation manuals have online resources that you can use to review requirements and see examples. Those available include the Modern Language Association (http://www.mla.org/style), the American Psychological Association (http://www.apastyle.org/index.aspx), the American Medical Association (http://www.amamanualofstyle.com/oso/public/index.html), the Associated Press Stylebook (http://www.apstylebook.com/), and the Chicago Manual of Style (http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/home.html).

In addition to providing reference and citation information for both MLA and APA Style, the Online Writing Lab at Purdue University (http://owl.english.purdue.edu/) is a great free resource with plenty of writing advice, tips, and suggestions. While the site’s main audience is students completing writing assignments during their course of study, the writing explanations and descriptions are applicable to any writer!

Another great online resource is the Paradigm Online Writing Assistant (http://www.powa.org/). This community of writers, students, and teachers, provides advice and information regarding various types and styles of writing. It also provides step-by-step instructions for editing your own work and completing the proofreading process.

But perhaps you’re not yet to the editing and proofreading stage. If you have a writing project or assignment that you need to complete, and you are struggling with where to begin, there are some great websites that provide the “push” in the right direction you need. One example is Paragraph Punch: An Interactive Online Paragraph Writing Tool (http://www.paragraphpunch.com/), which pushes you from the stage of organizing your thoughts to getting them put down on paper. Another fun example is “Dr. Wicked’s” Write or Die website (http://writeordie.drwicked.com/). It’s a software application that forces you to write… or experience the consequences. After all, the most important step, long before you need an editor or proofreader, is getting the words down on the page!

All of these resources have one thing in common: they’re available to you now! You can use these resources to either proofread your work or just get the work started. Then, when you’ve done all you can do on your own, seek out the finishing touches from a professional editor. By ensuring that the work you submit to an editor is as polished and well prepared as possible, you’ll be making the best use of your time and money!

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