The Importance of Proofreading and Editing
If you expect to impress your readers without first proofreading and editing your typo-infested and grammar-riddled work, you’ve got something else coming.
Depending on how ‘kind’ your readers are, they will carry on reading until their patience reaches its limit. Once that happens, then it is goodbye to your article, book, or whatever you might have written.
All your hard work would have gone down the plug-hole…sorry.
Your writing shows you as you are. If you write in a ‘shaggy’ type of way, then your audience will picture you as being a ‘shaggy’ type of person. Such writers don’t induce a great deal of trust, and to gain hordes of followers, you have to dish out trust, and fair amounts of it.
How do I Become an Editor and Proofreader
Granted, not everybody can be a good writer and also be able to proofread and edit. Many professionals in the field insist that proofreading and editing should involve a third party.
In other words, your writing needs a new pair of eyes.
This makes a great deal of sense since what you have written will seem fine to you, but it might be nothing short of a disaster. No matter how careful a writer you are, you are often blind to your own mistakes…which can cripple your copy.
Typical errors are missing words, spelling mistakes, repeated words written next to each other, words that sound the same but have a different meaning, like ‘their’, ‘there’, and ‘they’re’, just to mention a few.
The number of mistakes writers make, and not realize it, will shock you.
You might say you’re good as you use a spellchecker. Fair enough, it’s fine, but will a spellchecker know when you intend to write ‘to’ and not ‘too’? Most times, it doesn’t. It won’t raise a red flag and you think your writing is perfect when it’s not the case.
A Proofreading and Editing Job
A proofreader’s job is to check that your finished work is error-free.
No proofreader is 100% accurate, but the best in the field do a very good job of reaching a very high percentage. They know when to use a comma, full stop, or period, and other punctuation marks. These talented people can spot a typo from a mile away.
Even though such professionals are engaged to correct these errors, many also edit their client’s copy. For example, if they come across a sentence that is way too long, and not making much sense, they know when to chop it down to two or more sentences.
They know when a sentence flows, and when it doesn’t, or when it’s not going anywhere. These cases call for drastic action, and such a sentence will need some serious editing and restructuring.
Part of the editing process is the choice of words and the tone used. This mainly depends on the target audience. As a general rule, you should always write for a ninth-grade audience or less, and not for a university professor. The reason being that nobody enjoys stopping halfway through a sentence just to check what a particular word means.
So, when you think you’re being clever, think again, as this has the opposite effect on your audience.
When you feel you need to use difficult or complex words, like ‘accomplish’, use the simple version, ‘do’, or ‘finish’. Another typical example is ‘acquire’…you can use ‘buy’, or ‘get’. ‘Despatch’ becomes ‘send’, or ‘post’…and the list is endless.
After proofreading and editing, the copy is more readable and clear. This makes the reading experience interesting, easier, informative, and entertaining
How Can I Improve My Proofreading Skills
A tip from an experienced proofreader: For a short while, forget about the work you’re checking. Put it out of your mind. Leave it on a shelf or in a drawer…and go back to it a few days later. You’ll then be able to tackle it with a fresh approach, a ‘new’ pair of eyes, as if you’ve seen it for the first time. You’ll be awkwardly amazed at what you’ve missed before.
The Definitive Proofreading Checklist (+ Tips)
The above is just the tip of the iceberg.
In this checklist, you’ll find all the items you need to stick to so you’ll do a good job as a proofreader, and not leave out any important steps.
Download the pages, and refer to them while you work…
Download this checklist now and start making your proofreading and editing life a bit simpler.
All you need to do is hit the button below, and the checklist is yours.