Freelance proofreading and editing has many advantages. One is the flexibility it offers, which allows freelancers to pursue other interests and passions. We spoke to Proofreading Academy graduate Liz, who also works as an actor, to see how freelance life is working for her.
Hi, Liz. What made you consider the Proofreading Academy course?
I work as an actor (under the name Liz Jadav). This year I’ve been doing bits of TV, and I’ve set up a home studio for voice acting. I used to teach between acting jobs, but I was looking for an alternative and I had always liked the idea of proofreading.
What were you doing before the PA course?
I started the course at the end of a theater contract; I’d previously been performing in two plays written and directed by Alan Ayckbourn.
Had you done any proofreading before?
I’d done bits and pieces of proofreading before, in a “making it up as you go along” sort of way. Although I frequently edited content for friends, family and church, including business and academic documents, no one had ever paid me to do it.
Was anything in the course particularly challenging for you?
I was surprised at how much I didn’t know, and I felt quite defensive about some of the rules I was introduced to. But I found the course to be good value in the end.
You left a great review of the course. Now that it’s been a while, how has your transition to working freelance with Proofed been?
I was keen to get stuck in once I completed the course. It quickly became clear where my blind spots were, and I was able to work on those. It was great to get specific feedback where I made mistakes and encouraging to receive good feedback when those mistakes were few.
Now, three months, ninety documents, and well over a hundred thousand words in, I feel confident and in control of my freelancing. The support from the Proofed team has been friendly and comprehensive, too, which has helped a lot.
Have you been self-employed before? How are you finding it?
I’ve been self-employed since 2000 and I love it. This is one of the two most flexible opportunities I’ve had (the other being courier work for my husband’s start-up, Street Stream).
How often would you say you proofread for Proofed in a typical week?
There’s no such thing as a typical week for me, but I try to complete at least one short job a day, six days a week, even if I’m busy with other things. I’m able to take on more when I need to as well. In my busiest week so far, I worked ten hours each day.
Also, unlike many companies I freelance for, Proofed pays me promptly, which is a great help when I’m waiting for what I’m owed for other work.
What do you enjoy most about proofreading?
The author’s personality often comes through in their writing, and I enjoy the connection I feel with them then. I also enjoy non-academic documents, especially when I’m providing an editing service as well as proofreading. I’ve worked on three poetry collections lately, and although I had to be careful about how many changes I made, it was a real privilege to read such personal pieces and put my skills to use refining them.
In complete contrast, I tackled a mammoth PhD thesis recently (sadly not a thesis on mammoths). And I found the magnitude of that task strangely satisfying.
Finally, what else do you do when you aren’t proofreading?
If I’m not proofreading, I might be learning lines or delivering them. If I’m not working, though, I’ll often just spend time with people or go for a walk. I try to have one day a week when I don’t work at all, and the flexibility of freelancing makes that easier.