How to find typos in your own writing…

Concept de lecteur

Well the basic challenge is overcoming familiarity and reading what you typed, rather than what you meant to type. And the short answer to this is to use audio, concentrate, go at a set slow pace, and double check alterations.

But let’s clarify what I’m talking about here: I’m talking about a piece of writing that has already been edited and proofread. Either by yourself or by a paid service. The structure of the work is set. And all that remains is to find simple typos. A word missing. A plural that should be singular. A missing quote mark or period. Something capitalized that shouldn’t be. Repeat words etc….

The reason I’m offering this advice is because I read a lot of indie books, and almost all have simple typos. Like mine used to.

My process is this:

Microsoft Word: From the top of the page we need to click on this little arrow that gives us a drop-down box to Customize Quick Access Toolbar. And we select ‘More Commands’

word talk 1



From the More Commands pop-up we want ‘All Commands’

word talk 2


From the list of all commands we want to select ‘Speak’

word talk 3


Which puts this little icon on our toolbar. And when we highlight a section of text and click Speak, the text is read to us slowly and clearly.

word talk 4


This forces us to follow the text at a set pace, and the audio will help A LOT in picking up errors. You might be amazed at how you will see something that you’ve missed a hundred times (and that your editor missed as well).

A couple of important tips:

  1. Use earphones and accept no distractions.
  2. Make corrections immediately then highlight again to re-read that paragraph.
  3. If your mind has drifted, stop and go back to where you were last focused.
  4. Expect this to take a long time – 3 to 4 hours per 10,000 words.
  5. If you find a lot of errors, do it all over again.

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