In 2010, I decided to follow my desire to become a self-employed proofreader and writer. I had always incorporated my proofreading and copy-editing skills into my employed work, but felt that I wanted to turn this into a full-time role. At the same time, I hoped that being self-employed would enable me to dedicate more time to voluntary work. So, with the practical support of The Women’s Organisation, I set up Words and Deeds.
The name of the business was chosen to reflect my two main areas of interest, and skills offered: working with words to enable individuals and groups to communicate effectively with their target audience, and volunteering. It also reflects the ethos of Everything Possible (written by Fred Small, and as heard sung by Roy Bailey):
“And the only measure of your words and your deeds
Will be the love you leave behind when you’re done.”
My experience and qualifications
* A BA (Hons) degree in English from the University of Leicester.
* A Proofreading and Editorial Skills qualification.
* An Initial Certificate in Teaching Adult Basic Literacy.
* Twelve years’ experience in further and higher education, including drafting complex documents containing information for students; proofreading academic regulations; designing, writing, and editing newsletters; and editing web content.
* A number of years spent in industry, including proofreading advertising material for national campaigns and drafting management reports.
* Media training from a national conservation charity – and PR work for them.
* Training to support students with disabilities, for example, by working as a study mentor.
* Experience of working with many different types of people, both face-to-face and over the telephone/via email.
* Using online software packages such as Slack and Google Docs, e.g., to work in a team of people based in different countries to coordinate an international Twitter conference.
* Writing news items and magazine articles for a small national conservation initiative focusing on rare native plants.
* Proofreading and copy-editing the website and newsletters of another national conservation initiative, relating to protection of birds of prey.
* Working as a volunteer communications officer for the local branch of another national conservation charity focusing on birds – which included writing blog posts, updating the events and news web pages, using social media to engage with followers, and serving on the committee.
* Writing fortnightly letters to a care-home resident, including a poem and prompts to help the reader engage with the work, providing a connection to the outside world.
* I now have over 11 years’ experience as a self-employed proofreader and content writer, working on a wide variety of theses, dissertations, journal and conference papers, and other academic work for both students and academic staff; the majority of this work has been for non-native English speakers.