Hello – and welcome to my first blog post as a freelancer. I know, it was a surprise to me too!
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) folks would say, “How about writing a blog, then? You’d be really good at it.” (You know who you are, Howard Walwyn.) My reply was always, “Och no, I don’t think so! I check the writing of others, not write myself.”
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 …
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 needed.
- If I could find enough topics to write about – turns out there’s plenty of advice out there.
- If it meant it would lead to more business as a proofreader by promoting my website through my blog – known as increasing SEO, apparently …
So I set about doing research into the skills of and theory behind being ‘a blogger’. Following certain gurus on social media, ‘bookmarking’ marketing advice offered on their excellent websites such as Jammy Digital, John Espirian, and Louise Harnby, and a few more I could mention, I’ve done a LOT of reading. And persuaded myself to ‘bite the bullet’.
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 an inheritance in my new company;
- when I started networking with local freelancers IRL (In Real Life) as well as 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 then 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, and a huge support to all, 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, in the West of Scotland. I consider myself Scottish. Having said that, the last 30 years of my life have been spent in the pretty countryside of Essex, in East Anglia, immortalised in my husband’s oil paintings. I could succumb to the accent of Estuary Essex … nah.
A family conference (about 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.)
I look forward to sharing my experiences as a new business owner and proofreader with you, 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. Why not share them?
Have some flowers. My pleasure.
Proofread by Lisa De Caux, SfEP Intermediate Level Member, https://www.ldceditorial.co.uk