Proofreading is the final stage once you’re done with writing. It’s the process of checking the whole body of work to find any error or mistake. It’s not just about finding spelling or grammar errors. It is also about finding:
- Smaller errors that can avoid notice unless you’re careful, such as punctuation errors or misrepresented facts.
- Stylization and coherence or consistency issues in the copy.
- Finding gaps, plot holes, missed opportunities, or skipped details, especially in fiction writing and novels.
In general, the entire point of proofreading is to make the work better. You should never greenlight your work to be sent to publishers or editors before you have done due diligence on your end and proofread the entire body end-to-end first. It can help you avoid certain awkward mistakes.
What are proofreading services and how can you hire a proofreader?
Proofreading services or freelance proofreaders both work pretty much the same way. They read your manuscript, not as a fellow writer or a reader. They go through the body of work with a critical eye.
With their experience comes their ability to make out even the subtlest of mistakes. They can be a great help in improving your text.
Going for a proofreader is highly recommended before you prepare the first draft. Often, it’s the proofreader who prepares the first draft of your manuscript that’s ready to be shared.
There are plenty of services that allow you to hire proofreaders or editors for your stories, poems, novels, or other types of texts.
A fresh pair of eyes and a different perspective allows a proofreader to go through the body of text critically and not skip over any mistakes. It’s very efficient in terms of the time consumed to get proofreading done by a professional.
Don’t hurry. Finding the right proofreader is bound to take time. The more seasoned proofreaders also have availability issues and they are pretty expensive. If you manage to find a proofreader ideal for your work then give them some time with your manuscript. Proofreading isn’t a perfect science with hard and fast rules. If you put pressure on the proofreader to finish their job fast or if you’re unreceptive to critical feedback then the whole process can break down.
Be patient and give the proofreader the time they need. They need to be in a relaxed state of mind to make the best decisions for your text.
Often proofreaders also have actionable advice and meaningful insights that can improve the text. Working closely with the proofreader and keeping a communication channel open will ensure the best results.
Being the reader of your own work
Self-proofreading is still an option. Larger texts should also be proofread by you first before being sent to a professional proofreader or editor.
Writing in a flow often makes us take turns we wouldn’t find rational or suitable when reading. The proofreading process can iron out the details and enable you to smooth out some rough edges in the written word.
Overall, it can vastly improve the consistency to proofread the work once.
Remember, you’re the writer. The writer doesn’t necessarily know what’s best for the reader. Perhaps you’ve dragged a little something way too long for the reader’s comfort. Or maybe it’s something entirely different.
Seeing the manuscript from the reader’s point of view can help greatly.
First – completely forget that you’re the one writing. Be the reader. Read your manuscript as if you are reading the work of someone else.