Whether You Practice It or Not, Proofreading Matters; Here’s Why

Anyone can write a book, after all, a book is simply pages bound together with some writing on it. What makes a good writer though, is good writing. When you decide to pen a book, it must be so meticulously done that readers must actually be enthusiastic to finish the book in the first place. I am an avid reader, but even I get bored of books will silly plotlines or bad writing that just cannot be comprehended and I simply don’t care to get to the end! The world is becoming more and more critical about writing and just like me, there are critics out there, waiting to voice their opinions (read curses) about your work to the world. For the simple reason that people don’t think you are an idiot, it’s important to double-check your work before handing it over or publishing it or even emailing it, for that matter. I remember this one email I sent to the Finance department at work about missing files, which actually ended up being kissing files – and this was right after I came back to work from a honeymoon vacation! Ah! The giggles and ridicule I faced for an entire week was enough for me to follow an act of will and proofread every single document I send out into the world, going forth. I have hipster friends who applaud the way I text even; gone are the days when short forms or abbreviations ruled the roost, at least for me. You will find my texts and tweets full with complete sentences and revised grammar. Proofreading is a vital part of any written document. Have you ever come across hilarious newspaper headlines just because someone forgot to use a comma, or a silly spelling mistake that changes the whole meaning of the message? I have even seen roaring and sidesplitting headlines read out on late night television shows! Everyone is prone to make mistakes when they are rushing their work in to send it on time and typing hastily. These types of errors are easily made and just as easy to fix. Proofreading must be done to make sure we haven’t made any errors. Another scenario, and one that is most extensively made is using incorrect spellings and not really caring much about the grammar. In order to improve your grammar, you need to develop your ability to use proper grammar and identify errors more effectively when proofreading. Having a feedback system can help you not only identify, but also correct patterns of errors. I remember when my friend wanted to write a book, he had taken the help of a professional to proofread his work and collectively, the proofreading took more than twice the amount of time than how much he had originally spent writing the book in the first place. Just to share, my friend took about 2 years penning a book and 5 years since, it is still in the editing phase. Using dictionaries, grammar guides and even online tools to fix your erroneous patterns, which are easily avoidable, are helpful. We can compare why subject-verb agreement matters or basically, problems with grammar should be avoided to being a first date. First impressions count on both occasions, in each one rightly so. You may be dressed in your best, shoes are shined and hair all combed neatly, wearing expensive perfume and you go on your date; but when you pull your car up to the front door and go beep-beep-beep on your horn and you pull out your cigarette and then demand some whiskey from the father, you’ve now successfully ruined the whole situation. You looked good, you prepared for your date and you are probably a nice person, but all of these goof-ups you are making are turning off the father and he, in all probability, will have second thoughts about sending his daughter out with you. In the same way, you may have the most wonderful things to say in your blog or your future book or even in a text or an email, but your first sentence if full of mistakes then the reader is probably wondering how many more mistakes are there further ahead. Without realizing it, all of us have these pet phrases like ‘obviously, probably, anyways, never mind, actually’ and may use these phrases countless times in your writing. Proofreading is another way to make sure you minimize the use of such pet phrases and think about maybe substituting the words with other synonyms. Let me just say that proofreading is not just about correcting spellings or grammar; it is essentially looking at your writing with eagle eyes to correct the concept, organization and flow of writing as well. We have to shift gears and look for more meaning in the writing itself.