I recently asked my colleague, proofreader Whitney Yount, if I really needed a proofreader. After all, I review everything I write several times.
Here’s what Whitney had to say:
As a writer, you have undoubtedly put a great deal of time and effort into your work. This commitment is essential in making your manuscript the best that it can be, but at the same time, your closeness to the project may prevent you from seeing its flaws.
Allowing a professional to proofread or edit your manuscript is an excellent way to bring a new perspective to your text, and it has the added benefit of boosting your confidence about the quality of your work.
It’s also helpful to have another set of eyes look over your manuscript to ensure that your audience can understand it.
Because you have a thorough understanding of your project’s message from beginning to end, you may unintentionally leave out details that are necessary to the reader. Your familiarity with the content of your work allows you to fill in these details as you proofread, but this may not be possible for readers who are less familiar with the ideas you are presenting. A proofreader or copy editor can help you realize where these gaps exist and help you fill them in for maximum clarity in your final draft.
I then ask a question many a writer asks: Proofreaders cost money, so why not have a trustworthy friend step in for free?
In the same way that you can be blinded by your proximity to the project, important people in your life can be as well. In many cases, your friend/mom/spouse has heard a lot about your manuscript as you’ve worked on it, and they may also overlook gaps in your message.
It’s helpful to have an impartial reader review your work because their sole job is to improve your manuscript so that it’s the best that it can be, whereas the primary goal of your friends and family members is often to reassure you that your project is excellent as it is.
Additionally, professional proofreaders have the training and experience necessary to recognize consistency and continuity errors that other may miss, and they are often more up-to-date about recent language usage and style updates than people in other professions are.