Episode 1 – How I Started

Hello – and welcome to my first blog post as a newbie freelance proofreader. I know, it was a surprise to me too!

blogging proofreader

The year is 2018. I have been in business as a self-employed proofreader for 22 months (yep, almost two years!). Up until now I have always smiled silently when my fellow networkers at the SfEP (Society for Editors and Proofreaders), now the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP), folk would say, “How about writing a blog, then? You’d be really good at it.” My reply was always, “Och no, I don’t think so! I check the writing of others, not write myself.”

Why now?

But over the last few months, I have had a slow, burning change of mind and heart: by reading a variety of blogs recounting the wide range of experiences at the latest SfEP Annual Conference, held in Lancaster in September; by reading the blogs written by new SfEP-ers about their experiences of feeling the same terror of revealing their inner thoughts. These have all encouraged me that it is necessary to consider plunging into the world of blogging. So, with my SfEP parachute for support, here we go …

Fears

However, there were decisions to be made IF I decided to go ahead:

  • If I organised myself enough to commit to blogging once a month, once regular deadlines were met. Planning was needed.
  • If I could find enough topics to write about – turns out there’s plenty of advice out there about how to find subjects to write about.
  • If it meant it would lead to more business as a proofreader by promoting my website through my blog …

Research

I set about doing research into the skills of, and theory behind, being ‘a blogger’. Following certain content marketing gurus on social media, bookmarking advice offered by more experienced bloggers who happen to be fellow editors and proofreaders. I’ve done a LOT of reading. And persuaded myself to ‘bite the bullet’.

Biting bullets

There has been much ‘biting of bullets’ over the last two years …

  • when I found the courage to leave full-time primary teaching after three decades, giving up the main family income.
  • when my local Job Centre helped me write a New Enterprise Allowance Business Plan.
  • when I joined the SfEP and completed two proofreading courses.
  • when I built my website, ordered my business cards, and invested some inheritance in my new company.
  • when I started networking with local freelancers IRL (In Real Life), on the SfEP forums, and in local groups.
  • when I answered my first proofreading job query, sent out my first contract to my first student client, and invoiced on completion of my proofreading of her dissertation.
  • when I carried out my first private tutoring job with a primary pupil after not teaching for 18 months.

All nerve-wracking stuff. All to be developed in detail in my ‘How I got to this point’ blogs to follow.

Name for my blog? Describe me

So –  to choose the name for my blog. As SfEP colleagues who attended the last two Annual Conferences will know, I stand out. Because I am 6 feet tall. I can be spotted across a crowded room. Helen Stevens, a fellow lofty SfEP-er, commented to me at Conference, “It’s good to talk to someone taller than me!”.

I am also proud to have held onto my lilting Scottish accent. I spent my first 23 years living in Paisley, Scotland. I consider myself Scottish. Having said that, the last 30 years of my life have been spent in the pretty countryside of north Essex, in East Anglia, immortalised in my husband’s oil paintings.

A family conference (on much more important matters) finished with me uttering, “So I’ve thought of a name for my blog. What do you think …?”.

What followed was a flowing of ideas, several changes of direction, discussion and debate. You know that feeling when you wish you’d never started something.  Anyway, the name Tall Tartan Tells was born. (We thought that Tall Tales might … not give the professional image I was after. The name changed after a few blogs to Tall Tartan Talks.)

The future

So I have started blogging, and I look forward to sharing my experiences as a new business owner, proofreader and tutor, while giving useful tips along the way about what I’ve learnt.

I’m sure, if you’re a newbie freelancer, you will be having the same doubts, fears and excitements that I had. Why not share your experiences?

Have some flowers. My pleasure.

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Proofread by Lisa De Caux, SfEP Intermediate Level Member, https://www.ldceditorial.co.uk

Author: Annie

Proofnow Proofreader

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