Many people ask how I got into proofreading which usually slides into how can THEY get into proofreading as it sounds like an awesome gig. Working from home. Correcting creativity because you may not be able to write it but hell, you know what good grammar looks like. Easy, right?
Well, yeah. It is relatively stress-free and I have to admit it is a very good gig when the work is around. And I can listen to music while I do it. But as to how I got into it? Quite by accident, actually.
I may have mentioned in my last post how study is my happy place and it’s usually my go-to when life gets craptastic. I can’t actually remember how I found the course but it was $1000 and sounded great and was, for all intents and purposes, exactly what I needed (except I don’t know that anyone actually proofreads by hand using strange squiggly lines anymore. Like many other things in life, it’s all gone digital). I completed it in record time … but breaking into the industry is a little more challenging. Looking back, I was so very, very lucky.
There’s a band of five of us from Uni who still get together once every five years (although now we’re *ahem* more mature, we’ve decided we may need to shorten that timeframe). I had just finished my course when we had a catch-up and one of the girls mentioned she did overwhelmingly well in her first year working from home as a proofreader for the advertising agency she’d worked for before babies … so much so that it would be great to have someone who could take the overload when it got too much or she wanted to take a weeks’ holiday.
I tentatively put up my hand, like a shy kid on her first day at school, and mentioned how I’d just finished such a course. Even though she’s a great friend whom I’ve known for years, she’s bossy so I was a little scared at first! But actually, we have the perfect working relationship. She gives me tips and tells me when I stuff up and all in all has been a wonderful mentor – so much so that when I decided to jump out of the rat race and try freelance, she was incredibly supportive and we’ve been able to ramp up business quite a bit.
So, the short answer to any inquiries about how to get into the business of proofreading is … luck. It’s not what you know but who you know.
The next thing people say is how easy it must be and how they could do it too. And that’s where I become a little more cagey. What I want to say is “Yeah, but I’ve seen your Facebook posts!!!!!!!*”*Note: This is an example of such Facebook posts that make my right eye twitch. More than one exclamation or question mark is really not necessary and looks completely stupid.
It’s not actually that easy and if you’ve ever had to read an insurance document outlining all the fine print … oh … you haven’t? No, of course not. Because it’s BORING. But that’s quite a bit of what I do. Read the fine print. Make sure all the headings are consistent. All the capitals are capitals or lower cases are lower cases and does this look the same as the heading on the previous three pages? An incorrectly spelt word is easy to find. It’s all the other stuff that makes me feel like a Word Detective.
I love it because it appeals to my craving for structure and neatness and control and a place for everything and everything in it’s place. But one thing I have discovered is that I can’t proofread my own stuff. If I do a graphic design job that requires proofreading as well, I need to do one then walk away and do something else and give my brain time to swap over before I come back to concentrate on the other as looking at the presentation then going through the text uses different parts of the brain.
And as for my blogs? Oh yeah. There’s gonna be some clangers in here 🙂