If You Use Proofreaders, Please Proofread Your Work First
Yours Sincerely, a frustrated proofreader
During lockdown, as an unemployed person, I signed up to Fiverr as a proofreader to make a small income. For the most part, I absolutely love it.
I adore reading other peoples work, be it coursework for university or a novel manuscript. Proofreading has broadened my knowledge of engineering and has taught me about the in-depth way the media is used to promote the ideals of being a military wife in China. I have learned about the school system in Afghanistan and read countless personal statements giving me a window into the fascinating lives of others.
However, and it’s a big however, there is one thing that frustrates me more than anything, and that is lazy writers who expect me to do most of their work for them.
Too many times now I have been sent a piece of work to proofread and it has become apparent that the writer expects me to not only polish and perfect, but to do a deep-clean and sometimes, even do the building work for them.
It is very easy to tell when a person has tried in their writing and they still need a lot of help with it and when a person has made no effort.
For example, I have just finished a piece of work (a recipe book) where I am 99% sure that the author had plagiarised their work from online, and it was obvious because they hadn’t actually gone through any of it. Each section was written with a different writing style, some were more detailed than others, some were written poorly and some were written excellently. The author had copied and pasted everything without reading any of it and then expected me to do the groundwork.
This is not the only example, there have been many pieces of work where it is obvious that no effort has been put in. And for the record, as a proofreader, I’m not here to write your projects. I’m here for grammar and spelling, to check things make sense, and on occasion to suggest how things could be worded differently.
If you use proofreaders, please consider what state you send your work to them in. Take pride in what you write and when you feel you’ve got your work to a great place, hire us to help you check that it really is in that great place. We work because we love reading and helping, but we don’t love having to spend hours going through the same mistakes over and over again.
We’re not here to do your work for you.