Why you should have a proofreading buddy (and how to find one)
Note: In this blog post, I refer to proofreading blog posts, but you could have a proofreading buddy for any type of content you produce.
As a trained (and obsessive) editor, I like to think that I’m pretty good at proofreading. Plus, I love it. Proofreading is one of my favourite things to do in the whole world.
And yet, I still miss things, particularly in my own writing.
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Why should you have a proofreading buddy?
People miss things in their own writing because they’re so used to the words that they skim over them. One way to help this is to learn some proofreading tricks (we have a blog post about that), or to develop a proofreading checklist (we have one you can download for free). However, even with all of that, nothing will work as well as having someone else read your writing. They’ll pick up things that you’ve missed, or things that you don't notice because they’re part of your writing style. For example, I use the word ‘things’ a lot without realising that I do it. My proofreading buddy picks up on that.
Because I miss things (see?) in my own writing, I would be lost if I didn’t have a proofreading buddy—my writing would look that little bit less professional, and I definitely don’t want that. Luckily, I have a business partner who doubles as a proofreading buddy, so I have it easy. But, if you aren’t that lucky, here are some tips.
How can you find a proofreading buddy?
If you don't have a proofreading buddy, but you’d like one, here are some ways you could find one:
- Ask someone who already reads your blog posts—if they already read them, all they have to do is read a little closer from now on, and then give you feedback. If you also already read their blog posts, that’s even better!
- Post in a Facebook group that you think would contain someone who would be a good fit for you (i.e., if you write about women’s issues, post in a group that contains mainly women). If you’re not in any Facebook groups, you should be! (We’re going to write a blog post about this soon—stay tuned.)
- Contact someone directly. If you’ve noticed someone on Facebook (or elsewhere) who you’d like as your proofreading buddy, message them and ask. The worst they can do is say no.
What should you look for in a proofreading buddy?
Before you find a proofreading buddy, have a think about what you actually want in one. When you’re assessing a potential proofreading buddy, you might want to ask yourself:
- Is this person’s writing generally error-free?
- Is this person’s writing style similar to mine?
- Is this person’s content similar to mine?
- Is this person posting content consistently? (That is, will they be a permanent and reliable proofreading buddy?)
You may have other points that are important to you, too, so make sure you think before you commit to being someone’s proofreading buddy.
After you’ve found a proofreading buddy, what happens next? I suggest figuring out when you’re going to give each other feedback. This could be immediately before each of you publishes a new post, or immediately after (and then you apply changes to the published post), or every week, etc. You might set up a shared Dropbox and store your soon-to-be-published posts in there so you can both easily access posts before they’re published.
After you’ve been working with your proofreading buddy for a while—a few months, perhaps—you might want to assess how the relationship is going. Is it benefiting you and your writing? If so, great! If not, maybe you and your proofreading buddy are not meant to be. You can never really know how you’re going to work with someone else until you give it a shot, so if you think that you and your existing proofreading buddy aren’t working well together, it’s best to move on. Eventually, you’ll find the perfect fit.
Do you have a proofreading buddy? Do you find them helpful? How did you find them? Let us know in the comments—we'd love to hear from you.
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