You could say that I’ve spent a lifetime
working with the written word.
As a child, I enjoyed setting my friends essays to write, just so that I could have the pleasure of correcting them. Not the best way to keep friends, but a hint at my future career path.
I first trained as a proofreader in 1983, but had done all sorts of jobs – including collator at Interpol, NHS secretary, and call centre training researcher – by the time I finally specialised in editing (in 2001; I’ve been freelance since 2006). Even my other jobs always involved producing documents: writing and editing content, refining layout and finalising everything for print – always within a tight time frame.
Having worked in so many different environments, and knowing the pressures people are usually working under, I like to offer support by delivering results. I am undisturbed by children or pets, so can give things my full attention.
I also understand the importance of clear communication at all stages of a project. I have excellent filing hygiene (no mix-ups with version control) and, unlike my 10-year-old self, am not arrogant about ‘corrections’ – after all, not everyone is (or would want to be) a punctuation fetishist.
A useful trick I’ve acquired over the years is document design in Word: I can create and apply stylish templates that give the impression of professional typesetting at a fraction of the cost.