Editing vs. Proofreading

By: Tia Love

I am writer. Watch my pen bleed. Rawr. And stuff.

Really, writing is all I know how to do.

I’ve been talking to my future publisher (fingers and toes crossed here) and she’s been giving me a lot of advice on what happens after I (FINALLY) complete my novel. So mainly we’ve been talking about the painful, but necessary process of editing. I always assumed since I am such a great writer, that I could edit my own work. Besides, I am the one who knows what I’m really trying to say, right? WRONG. Boy was I wrong, after she broke down the way she edits for other writers, I came to the stark realization that I was using editing and proofreading interchangeably.

THEY ARE NOT THE SAME.

After I realized this, you know I had to do some research of my own. I had to collect all of the facts before I could lay out my next steps in the writing/editing process would be. Here’s what I found:

In the most general of terms, proofreading is the process of going through your finished work with the intent to correct any errors in grammar, syntax, and spelling. Its just like in high school, when you spent days writing that two-page essay on your interpretation of Hamlet’s insanity only to have your teacher return your paper with millions of red squigglies plaguing your hard work. It didn’t feel good, bu the opportunity to clean up your work was always welcomed.

Editing focuses more on how your work flows. What’s the individual style you’re trying to pull together for this piece? Is what you’re writing matching up with the points you’re trying to make? Editors pay more attention to the big picture, and add or remove based on what that big picture looks like and how your work relates to that.

In the grand scheme of things, I think both proofreaders and editors are equally important. If you wish to produce quality work that really reaches your readers, spend the extra money. You won’t regret it. It is better to take the time and pay for an editor than to take the quickest, cheapest route and create something that’s rife with errors and lacking in content.

The complete writing process looks a lot like this:

IDEA –> WRITE –> PROOFREAD –> EDIT. Repeat. 

Did you know the difference between editing and proofreading?

 

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