Proofreading is the final step in your written masterpiece, but it can seem fruitless and tiring.
59% of recruiters will reject a candidate because of poor grammar or spelling errors. These errors could be avoided by that last step of proofreading.
Does it still seem pointless? Read on for an in-depth study on why proofreading is important.
What’s the Difference Between Proofreading and Editing?
Proofreading is the act of giving a last check over and read through for a manuscript, essay, or some sort of written work.
Proofreading can help you fix any minute errors that you might have missed during your writing and editing stages.
While you may think that proofreading is the same as editing, it’s actually not. Editing involves rearranging, reorganizing, adding, subtracting, etc., in your written work. Editing involves a bigger approach to your work and can involve larger changes.
On the other hand, proofreading is for the small errors and mistakes that you could have missed during your editing stage. By skipping out on this final step, you can damage the quality of your work and damage the first impression that someone will have of you.
While there are many benefits to editing, there are also many benefits to proofreading. Let’s talk about why it’s so important for you.
1. Final Edit
Sometimes when you proofread, you may find different sections of your work that end up needing to be redone. This would require editing, but it was the proofreading that gave you one more analysis of what needed to be done.
Since proofreading is done more quickly than editing, sometimes it lets you see things as the reader would see them.
If you send your work in without that last proofread, you could miss out on some parts of your work that you didn’t see during the editing stage. It is vital to look it over and make sure the work is absolute perfection.
If your work isn’t shining like it is supposed to, you should not submit it. You would be putting your own name and work in overall danger by looking unprofessional.
2. Last Check-Up
Proofreading will allow one more check-up to make sure there aren’t any amateur errors or typos.
You may want to consider proofreading it a couple of times. If you are doing it alone, you may see typos and errors that you didn’t see the first time you proofread it.
Whether you proofread it once, twice, or several times, you are bound to always see something you can change or fix. Don’t slack off on fixing those tiny errors, because if you see them, others will see them standing out like a sore thumb.
Once you read it through and are happy that you don’t see any errors, then you can move on and send it in!
3. Second Set of Eyes
Even if you are a master proofreader and don’t see any errors in your writing, it may be important to have a second person proofread it as well.
The reason for this is that everyone looks at things differently. What your eyes see may be different than what their eyes see.
By having a second set of eyes go through your writing, you ensure that everything that needs to be corrected is brought to light. This will also improve your own style of writing by being open to what other people say.
If you read through your work and find no errors, you shouldn’t take that as an “Oh, it’s perfect, time to send it in!“
You should think of that as an opportunity to humbly ask someone else for help. More likely than not, your work is riddled with errors that you might not see.
4. Save Your Money
Proofreading your own work means saving your money. If you are good at proofreading, you won’t need to hire someone else to look it over. If you have a friend who is a good proofreader, you can have them be your second set of eyes rather than hiring someone as well.
This will save you a lot of money as you embark on your writing journey. You won’t need to pay someone to proofread and edit every work you have; you can do it yourself. This will also save you time since you won’t need to wait for them to turn the work back to you.
Hiring a proofreader also means you won’t be at the top of their priorities, since they will have other clients as well. By proofreading your own work, you can be sure that your manuscript or work is getting the time it deserves.
5. Make It a Masterpiece
Why would you submit a work that was full of errors and incoherence?
You wouldn’t. That’s why proofreading is so valuable in making your work a masterpiece.
Proofreading ensures that you are submitting something that is clean of any errors. You are submitting something that will make a good first impression and want people to read more.
By not proofreading, you risk sending something in that is sub-par and caked with errors and typos. This will make the person you are submitting be turned off by your work and set it aside.
Stand out to employers, publishers, teachers, friends, etc… Make them notice how your work is not just any amateur writing but is a masterpiece. A masterpiece that deserves recognization and enjoyment.
6. Computers Don’t Know Everything
You might be thinking:
“I have spell-check. I have an automatic proofreading subscription. I don’t need to proofread it myself. That would be pointless.”
Here’s where you are wrong. While computers are great, and spell-check is a valuable resource, it can’t flush out every error there might be. Computers are not as intelligent as human beings.
Humans can see things that computers can’t. Or, computers will make corrections that are actually wrong. This is why it’s important to proofread your work even after you spell-check it. A computer might have missed some big errors or made mistakes itself.
Proofreading will make your work much more valuable in the long run. This is especially true if you are an author and trying to get published.
If a publisher or agent takes a look at your manuscript and finds an error on the first page, they won’t take a second look at it.
Or, if you are a self-published author, your customer might flip to the middle of the book to see if it’s worth it. When they land upon eleven different errors on one page, they won’t find it worth the read.
The same is true for resumés and job writing. If an employer looks at your work and sees even one error, it decreases the value of your work and makes a bad first impression.
Proofreading makes your work, and you, more valuable.
How Can I Get Good at Proofreading?
Proofreading isn’t something that comes easily. It takes practice and skill to learn how to pick out the detailed errors in your work or other people’s work. Here are some proofreading tips that you can follow.
Practicing is the best way to gain proofreading skills. You can do this by proofreading a friend or colleague’s work, and learn how to pick out details that they might have missed.
This will help you pick out similar details in your own work and know what to look for.
This is why college classes have a lot of peer editing. This is to help others learn how to give constructive feedback, and become better at proofreading and editing their own work.
Practice makes perfect; proofreading is no exception.
If you feel like you don’t know where to start, you can take proofreading training courses. Taking a course or class in proofreading will not only help you gain this skillset but refine your writing skills.
This will also help you in the future if you wish to gain a job in proofreading as your side hustle. Proofreading jobs can be a great addition to your schedule as you can do it from home, and at your leisure.
If you think this is something you would like, or simply need to tune up your skills a bit more, a proofreading class could be the solution.
Let Others Proofread For You
In order to better understand what proofreading entails and how to do it, you should let others proofread your work for you.
This will let you see how they mark up and what they look for, and help you remember things to look for as well.
By letting others proofread for you, you learn how it works and also gain insight into how your own writing is.
When letting others proofread for you, you have to be open to criticism.
You can increase your proofreading skills by letting others proofread your own work, but if you aren’t open to what they have to say, it won’t do you much good. Let them leave open comments and mark-ups on your work so that you can see areas you need to improve.
You have to be open to constructive feedback and accepting criticism. You can’t lash out or get defensive when someone points something out to you. If you do this, you won’t be able to grow in your own skills.
Once you can accept the feedback others have for you, you can give feedback in return and proofread for others.
How Can I Practice Proofreading?
It might be hard to think about how to gain practice if you don’t have anyone to practice on. There are more resources out there than you probably know about.
If you are in school or know people in school, you can let them know you are willing to proofread their essays for free.
They will more than likely jump on this offer. They will want help in getting the best grade possible. This could also help them grow in their own writing abilities too.
You can put out ads on social media. Let fellow writers know that you are looking to proofread manuscripts. This can be for free or at a low price to gain experience.
People you know might message you for details, or they might spread the word to others who are looking for a reliable proofreader.
Maybe you have your own business or know business owners. You can offer your services to them and help them finalize and proofread their advertisements. Since advertisements tend to be the first impression someone has on a company, proofreading is vital.
If you are a book, film, or media geek, you should get into writing online reviews. There are tons of online sites that are looking for people to give in-depth reviews on different pieces of work.
This is a great way for you to practice your own writing skills. Put your personal proofreading skills to work by perfecting each review you write.
This is also something easy and enjoyable to do in your free time, so you won’t need to take up too much time or effort.
So, Should I Proofread?
The answer is yes. You should always be proofreading. Your work can stand out and shine like a masterpiece by taking those few extra minutes to perfect it. If you care about your work and want it to succeed, taking the time to do this should be a no-brainer.