Freelancing is not for everyone, but I love it!

So you are thinking of working as a freelancer? It is not for everyone, but it may be for you!

How do the following considerable benefits sound to you?

–        You can choose a career that offers something that is in demand.

–         You can be home-based – no more sitting in traffic jams or waiting for a train on a freezing cold platform!

–         You can set your own hours – if you are a parent you can work school hours and can possibly do away with day care,  completely. This of course will save you money.

–         You can have job flexibility.

 –         You can even work in your pjs if the mood takes you – unless you are worried about window cleaners and visitors…oh and maybe not if you have to do a school run…but still!

–         You can decide not only when to work, but for whom – well if you are lucky to have that choice of course!

–         You can be your own boss and make decisions that are important for you and your family rather than conforming to a company’s ideas/ethos etc.

 

For me, the decision to become a freelancer came at a time, when I was being made redundant from an industry I had been in for years – recruitment – and I needed to work part-time because of the children. I had to identify what it was that I was good at and I enjoyed doing.

 Et voilà the idea of becoming a proofreader was born!

I was a bit of a frustrated proofreader when I worked in recruitment, although there were plenty of opportunities to use my red pen on applicants’ CVs!  

So… I decided I would finally go it alone as a proofreader, signed up to do a professional proofreading/editing course and set up Copy-proof.

There are of course, downsides to freelancing work and I won’t pretend otherwise:

–         Freelance work can be likened to waiting for buses – none for ages and then they all come at once!

–         You can have super months when you have earned a lot and then there are others when it is much quieter. Be aware of this before you start.

–         You can get lonely from time to time too and you may miss the camaraderie of an office. Make sure you meet with friends/family and find something you enjoy doing to break up the day.

–         The buck stops with you of course as well – if you don’t put the effort in to market yourself for example, you won’t succeed.

Nearly four years on, I am still enjoying it.

There could be more work of course at times and at others, when I am swamped with deadlines to meet, I think,

“I wish I was working 9-5!” but, the flexibility it gives me, makes it all worthwhile…most of the time.

Until next time…

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‘There’, ‘their’, or ’they’re’? ‘Your’, or ‘you’re’? ‘To’, ‘too’, or ‘two’? The English language must be a nightmare to learn!

Is it any wonder that foreigners find English so hard to learn? You have to feel sorry for kids too, as they struggle with the above vagaries of the English language! Mind you, no offence to any teachers reading this blog, but looking at my kids’ work, mistakes are not corrected enough these days in my opinion. The number of times, homophones (for that is the correct title for words that sound the same and are spelt differently), have not been corrected, has to be seen to be believed.

 

I cringe, every time I see someone has written, “Your right” (You’re wrong, actually!) “There happy” is another cringe moment and how about “Are you coming to?”

 

Is it complement or compliment, principal or principle, made or maid, hear or here…the list goes on and on. Homophones are confusing.

 

Tricky old language… English!

 

Mind you, if you are familiar with German, you will realise that we probably have it easy. In German you don’t only have to learn which words are male (not mail of course) or female, but, there is a third gender to consider as well – neuter. For example ‘the’ in German can either be: der (masculine) die (feminine) or das (neuter) – tricky!

 

Some of the spelling rules must also be a nightmare for those trying to learn our language. However, at least there are handy little mnemonics such as “i before e except after c!” “Change y into i and add es” – to get a plural.

 

Talking of pluralisation…

 

If hoof can becomes hoofs or hooves, why does roof not become rooves as well as roofs? Why does foot become feet and not foots and why do we have one sheep and lots of sheep as well?

 

Don’t even get me started on apostrophe use and where they go.

 

How about ‘its’ versus ‘it’s’?  This is another big bugbear of mine. I have seen this written incorrectly, more times than I care to remember.

 

‘Its’ is an adjective and is possessive (i.e. belonging to something) such as the dog wagged its tail (not tale though!) ‘It’s’ is a contraction of it is. “It’s important to brush your teeth” for example. ‘It’s’ can also be used as a contraction of it has – it’s been fun!

 

I hope it’s been if not fun, then a little informative. I could go on, but I won’t.

 

Until the next time then!

The English language is evolving all of the time… however, is ‘text speak’ a step too far?

Is it laziness that makes people substitute correct English for text language? Is it laziness or a lack of time? Or is it a lack of care and attention?

As a proofreader/editor, it just does not feel right to text u instead of you, or r instead of are. How about plse, or, btw, or gtg and brb? (Be right back… for the uninitiated).

Actually, I am completely up on ‘text speak’ (even though I do not choose to write it). With a teenage daughter in the house, it is impossible not to be. However, even I have had trouble with some of the more unsavoury abbreviations and have had them explained to me by my daughter (with much eye-rolling). I won’t go into some of them here as they really are not that polite.

Lol – do you know that one? It is not lots of love (believe me you would be forgiven for thinking that), but laugh out loud.
What makes me cringe even more is when teenagers say “lol” when something is funny! How crazy is that? If something makes you laugh out loud, surely you just do it – laugh I mean? You don’t just say lol.

One word (not really text speak), that is guaranteed to make every adult in the world cringe… is of course: like!
Omg (sorry!), where did the proliferation of that word; used in the wrong context most of the time, come from? I would love to blame American TV. My daughters watch a lot of kid’s TV and most of it is American. Like is used by every child from about the age of 5 upwards on every programme in sickening quantities.

I have wanted to scream sometimes – as I am driving my daughter and her friends around – at the number of times they have said that word. A conversation would go something like this (note the proper use of the word like there):

“It was like, you know…he said that she was like not that pretty and she said like… do you even know what you are talking about?” Arrgh!

OK that may be a bit of a parody of what they say, but believe me when I say that on one 15 minute journey I counted at least 30 likes!

What really concerns me is what is going to happen to our language in the future, if text speak and abbreviations become so commonplace, is what is accepted as ‘proper’ English going to disappear?

Did you know that lol is already in the Concise Oxford English Dictionary? I don’t know about you, but I think it is shocking. So is innit by the way – horrific.

The English language is evolving and there is a distinct crossover of other languages into our languages already with several ‘foreign’ words for example in daily use – think: déjà vu, or fait accompli for example. Part of me, believes that it is important to incorporate the changes into our working language, but another part of me hopes that text speak and abbreviations  don’t become substitutes for real words.

 Anyway gtg lol 🙂

 

Do I really need a proofreader… REALLY?

This is my first blog… so bear with me, as I decide what it is I should be doing. Everyone else just seems to effortlessly come up with ideas for clever, funny and inspirational blogs, but…

…here goes:

The topic is do I REALLY  need a proofreader?

One very short answer could be “NO!” – but that is too short an answer really!

You can’t even answer, “IT DEPENDS!” It does depend, but only on whether you are prepared to let the world see your work  – naked and vulnerable, without the considerable benefit of a confidence-building ‘cloak of correctness’.

No…the ONLY answer that is correct, is “YES!” 

“WHY?” is the next inevitable question.

This is why:

In this difficult economic climate money is tight, but then so is the competition.

 If you are relying on your new, well-designed website to attract new customers, but it has spelling mistakes, grammar problems and formatting issues, it may just be giving out the wrong message – perhaps one that says you don’t show enough attention to detail or that you are a bit sloppy and unprofessional.

It is often very affordable to employ a proofreader to check over your text; either before or after the site goes live, or your marketing goes to print/online. The peace of mind it brings, will definitely justify the small expense.

Not everyone ‘sees’ mistakes or is bothered by them, but there are enough people (and I am not talking about proofreaders/editors who do this for a living), who would be bothered, and perhaps put off browsing the site/looking any further.

Think of your website as a reception to the world or as the glass front to your shop – first impressions count so make sure they are positive ones.

 I think that the most important question that I can pose is, “CAN YOU REALLY AFFORD NOT TO?”

 You choose the answer …and then contact Copy-proof for a quote 🙂

 www.copy-proof.co.uk. You can find me on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter as well.