Authors may choose to write multiple articles quickly for a number of reasons, however this runs the risk of excessive typographical errors. If you are a bit obsessive-compulsive, the experience will be frustrating. Of course, the spell checker is the obvious answer, but the spell checker doesn’t catch a lot of misspelled words.

Here are 7 tips to improve your spelling and reduce typos:

1. Improve your own spelling skills. If you think this is hopeless, make a list of frequently misspelled words and keep them in a notebook or computer file handy. Is it embarrassing or embarrassing? Or embarrassing? List the correct spelling for quick reference. You may also want to buy a spelling reference and refresh your memory regarding basic spelling skills. (Do you remember “i after e, except after c, or when it sounds like a, like in neighbor or weigh”?)

2. Write your articles in a word processor and then paste them on the Internet. Your word processor can be set to correct your spelling as you go, or alert you to questionable spellings. Seeing your words in a different font with different spaces helps too, so your eye doesn’t skip familiar phrases or words.

3. Be aware of common words that are used incorrectly. As you compose in your mind, words that sound the same may end up being misspelled, and the spell checker will miss it. Pay close attention to his and them, you and you, you and you, you and yours, right and write, naked and bear, peak and spy, brake and rest.

4. Don’t send your articles immediately. Before submitting an article, perhaps write another, then come back later and reread the first one, when you’re not so close to the material you’ve written. Your eye is much more likely to catch an obvious mistake. Reread your articles at least twice, preferably in different settings. Also, be careful with duplicate letters like i and l – they are hard to see and therefore easily lost. I just had to correct the ‘settings’ myself.

5. Take a break periodically. The mind becomes numb to mistakes when you write too much. You may be able to write more efficiently by taking a 5-10 minute break between articles.

6. Improve your typing skills. Typing is by far the fastest way to compose and can be learned with painstaking effort. In just a few months, you can improve from 20 words per minute (words per minute) to at least 50. Get yourself typed right. Slower practice with fewer mistakes will eventually lead to faster and more accurate writing. Sloppy writing will lead to sloppy spelling.

7. Write about what you know. If you always have to search for things, more errors will appear. Do not use words that you are not sure of, this will inevitably slow you down and lead to mistakes.

The above is what I do to write articles quickly. If I don’t have to research what I’m writing, a 400 word article can be completed in 30-40 minutes. That’s only 10-15 words per minute, allowing a bit of time to think between words. I squirt, finish one thought, then pause until the next forms in my mind. I try to get at least one complete sentence in my mind before I start writing a sentence, so I don’t have to go back and correct the words. It also allows more flexibility to change your mind without having to go back and correct something.

Copyright 2010 Cynthia J. Koelker, MD