Proofreading, Editing, Writing

What sort of proofreader and copy-editor would I be if I didn't dabble a little in writing too ... Feel free to browse through my latest journal entries below.


A day in the life of a proofreader

Posted on 23rd July 2015

I thought I’d give you an insight into the glamorous (not!) life of a freelance proofreader – or my day-to-day life anyway. My job title might be proofreader, but in reality I’m a jack of all trades … let’s not continue with that figure of speech! Not only do I proofread, but I also have to hold together the business that is ProofreaderNI. In the words of Louise Harnby: ‘Business owner first, freelancer second.’ With that in mind, here’s some of the things I get up to on a daily basis -- you may be surprised to find that proofreading is only one part of my job:


I spend a lot of my time replying to emails from prospective clients, be it editors, students, businesses or authors. Usually they’re asking about rates or whether I can fit them in. And sometimes I’ll receive an email from an editor who would like me to proofread a page or two of a manuscript to see if they would like to employ me for a job.


Fielding enquiries from current clients can take a bit of time, too. You have to remember that their work is an extension of them and it’s a big thing handing it over to someone else. They like to know that it’s in safe hands and they need reassurance. For this reason I like to keep clients up to date with how I’m getting on and if I think I’ll be early on a deadline or cutting it fine.


Then there’s the very important job of keeping track of accounts. I try to email my invoice out with the proofread document in the hope that it will be paid promptly.  Banking online has proved to be a godsend as I can now check whether jobs have been paid from the comfort of my own home. Once a job has been paid, I like to email my thanks to the client. Good manners cost nothing and clients appreciate the thought behind it.


More recently I’ve been focusing on my online presence. This takes the form of blogging and updating my website and Facebook page. All these things take time and can eat into precious working hours, but they’re a vital part of keeping a freelance business alive. They’re like my shop front: it’s important they’re engaging, vibrant and informative.


Added to this, there’s continuing professional development. This means taking time out to do courses to update my skills, or branching out into new areas of learning – I’ve already done one course this year and I’m nearly finished another. Another form of CPD is attending events like the SfEP’s London conference in 2014 or EPANI’s marketing skills session with Tracy Dempsey; these are valuable uses of time because I always come away having learned something new. And, of course, I like to keep up to date with what’s going on with other editors and proofreaders via forums, LinkedIn and Facebook. Sometimes I’m guilty of falling down the rabbit hole that is the world-wide web and resurfacing an hour or two later.


But, somewhere amidst all this, I actually get some proofreading done! While I can do most of the above at any time of the day, proofreading has to be done at times of relative peace and quiet; an empty house and a full pot of tea beside me is preferable. Two screens works a treat too. This means I can have my manuscript open on one screen and flick between the style sheet, online dictionary and google on the other. This is the part of my working day that I enjoy the most – the part that I trained for. If I could edit and proofread all day long I’d be a happy bunny, but, the reality is, running a business means doing more than just the job you’re paid to do. If I didn’t reply to emails, keep my accounts up to date, work at being visible on the web and update my skills regularly, there would be no proofreading to do!




Louise Harnby Business Planning for Editorial Freelancers: A Guide for New Starters


EPANI (Editors’ and Proofreaders’ Alliance Northern Ireland)


Tracy Dempsey


SfEP (Society for Editors and Proofreaders)


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  • I have employed Victoria Woodside for several projects over the past year and found her to be an excellent proofreader. She is thorough, eagle-eyed and meticulous. She is also a pleasure to work with - professional yet friendly, efficient and timely. I can't recommend Victoria highly enough...

    Averill Buchanan
    Advanced Professional Member, Society for Editors and Proofreaders

  • I am working with Victoria on two projects and am extremely pleased with her work: one piece of work is fiction and the other is non-fiction. She is able to edit equally well on both even though they are two entirely different genres. She has checked facts, corrected spelling and punctuation and made good suggestions about layout and formatting. The work is all mine but she has somehow made it better. I look forward to working with Victoria in the future.

    Rev. Neil Cutcliffe

  • Victoria has proof-edited business documents for us on numerous occasions. We are very pleased with the standard of her work and I am sure that her contributions have positively impacted on our business.

    Mark Grain
    Financial Director, Woodside Haulage Group

  • Victoria provided a fast, attentive and very thorough service. It immensely improved my work and focused my attention on various aspects of my writing throughout my dissertation.


  • I found Victoria easy to deal with, she has a pleasant and willing manner and always responded to emails/calls/texts promptly. Victoria engaged well with the content of my book and was considerate of the subject matter. Victoria was thorough in her proofreading and demonstrated a high level of attention to detail.

    Victoria offered suggestions but was not forceful with any of them, and was open to my view on her suggestions. I found Victoria to be professional and efficient in her work and I would have no difficulty recommending her to others and I would certainly use her services again in the future.

    Nollaig Mc Sweeney

  • Victoria has been amazing at helping shape the flow and language of our brochure, from simple mistakes to rewording entire sections.

    This had made a big difference to the standard and quality of our brochure, which we are very grateful for.

    Alex Milne
    Milne Holiday Parks