For all fellow writers, adventurers, budding writers, wannabe writers here’s your chance to really spend time doing what you know you do best.
Along with Insightful Learning Journeys I am organising a Mindful Writers Retreat to the Kingdom of Bhutan in June this year. Please read my blog posts for an insight in to this amazing country and take a look at the details below for what this journey will involved.
Poor grammar and words misspelt, text talk and bastardised words. You may wonder what all the fuss is about? Why some of us make such a big deal about grammar and spelling. Why a sign declaring “your all invited” gets my goat so much, or “Good food at it’s best” screaming at me from an advert makes my toes curl. Why knowing “they’re going to see their friends over there” is important.
Whilst a classic newspaper faux pas might make good fodder for Facebook jokes, the reality is your reputation is at stake if you go in to print or online with something that is so clearly un-edited. What you write and how it’s written says a lot about your company and what it represents. If you are shoddy with spelling it gives the impression you’ll be shoddy with your work. If you play games with your grammar you may find your proposal is passed over for someone slightly more eloquent.
I often get asked about who employs a freelance editor/sub editor or even a writer? The answer is everyone. If you send letters, have a website, produce information leaflets, post on social media, have a blog, or offer any kind of written material to customers then it’s a good idea to consider adding a proof reader to your contacts. Of course, if you’ve written a book it’s essential, not just for spellchecking. And please, do not even go down the “but I have spellcheck on my computer” route. If your words represent what you do for a living (and your reputation) and you know you can’t write for toffee, you need someone to look at your words for you.
Obviously you may not have the time, money or inclination to have everything checked and that’s sometimes understandable. But some things really should be read, proofed, edited, checked and checked again. Here’s my list of the essentials you should have at least proof read by someone other than yourself.
Any reference material that you give out on a regular basis, for example rate cards.
Anything that will go in to print to the public.
Anything you are submitting for testing or a board that will be judging it.
PR material including posters and adverts, no matter how simple.
Check and check again
You would be surprised how often you can look at something and not see the mistake. Even the best of sub editors will miss things. But you are more likely to have your mistakes spotted if you use a professional.
Over the next few weeks I’ll be looking at what the roles of an editor, sub editor and proof reader are in more detail. More importantly, how they differ from each other and how each aspect could help your business helping you to make informed choices on what you and your business need.
For now, here are just a few examples of why you really ought to consider a professional for the job:
Actual quotes taken from resumes:
Hobbies: “enjoy cooking Chinese and Italians”
“I’m intrested to here more about that. I’m working today in a furniture factory as a drawer”
“Career break in 1999 to renovate my horse”
Read all about it
Here are just a couple of the many cringe-worthy headlines that have made it to print..
For more information on the work I do please take a look at my website
And of course, if you spot a mistake be sure to let me no…
As a writer you get used to being in your own head – and space. It’s a well-known fact that writing is one of the lonelier jobs. Ernest Hemingway once said: “writing, at it’s best, is a lonely life” he wasn’t wrong.
Hours spent tapping away at the keyboard filling the blank pages, or not. Deadlines being met in the middle of the night as the day has been taken up with research. Sat on your own in your ‘writing space’ – be that a spare room you’ve converted in to a writing office, a corner you’ve managed to snatch in the house, or maybe simply the kitchen table or propped up in bed. Wherever you are writing, it’s likely you’re doing it alone.
In fact, it can be crucial to the job.
For me, I need quiet, I need calm, I need to not have music playing or tv on in…
I have a wide variety of experience writing on a number of subjects including travel, home interiors, product reviews, buyers guides and business. I also have copywriting experience working for PR companies, individuals and websites.
I love to write about travel including the places I have visited here in Singapore and Asia – more on this subject can be seen on my blog Five Go Mad in Singers.
I also enjoy interviewing people for lifestyle and business features and I have been complimented on my style of interviewing. I’ve met many interesting people this way including international chefs, entrepreneurs and interior designers.
Recently I have edited a book for creative fragrance Director, Sandy Blandin, the “nose who knows.” This involved advising on layout, content, structure and grammar. As well as all other aspects of editing.
Being a freelancer here is Singapore is interesting in many ways. The range of magazines, websites and companies I can work for is more varied and my work is more global – both in feel and reach.
However – and I’m well aware I could be shooting myself in the foot here – there’s one thing I’m not so keen on.
If you were to visit a doctor and gave him your symptoms and he prescribed something to help, would you expect to walk away without paying (obviously talking non public health countries here)? No?
How about if you went in to a shop looking for an outfit? Would you ask to ‘try it out’ before deciding and expect to take it home without paying for it? No?
So how come some publishers/editors think it’s ok to ask freelance writers to submit work – and we’re talking full articles here, not just ideas or a synopsis of a proposed feature – and not pay for them? I’d understand it if I was a fledgling journo without any experience or published work to show. But I’m not. So to be asked to work and not be paid is quite insulting.
It’s often disguised as wanting to see if your work ‘fits’ with the style of the mag/website/company. But if that’s the case, I’ll direct you to a feature I’ve already written that would reflect that. Even worst there’s the suggestion that seeing your work published in certain magazines should be payment enough.
Maybe it’s about the glut of talent here and the fact that for many, being an expat means time to explore a new path. There are a lot of would-be writers out there looking for a break. A free published article gives them just that.
But to ask someone who’s clearly experienced to work for nothing is not, in my opinion, fair or professional. Sadly it reflects in the finished product too. Having worked as an Editor myself I can see that. Personally I always look to pay my freelancers a rate that reflects their work and talent.
As my husband says – who’s a good barometer for all things business – if you pay peanuts…