Proofreading is Boring

Proofreading is boring. If you’re a new writer I may as well give you the bad news now. It doesn’t get better with age. It’s boring even though I’ve been writing online for six years. It was boring when I began. Well, maybe not that first week when everything was new and wondrous.

Ugh! Why can’t we just get it right the first time? Is it some kind of brain blockage? Are our fingers not nimble enough? Do the words change so quickly that we can’t catch them fast enough? Is grammar really all it’s cracked up to be? I go with the nimble finger theory.

My fingers are complete klutzes. So often they aim for two keys at once. They miss the letter completely. Worst of all is when they think I mean ‘whole’ when I really meant to say ‘hole’. What’s wrong with fingers these days? I’d send them to school but I know they did that, I was right there with them, sort of watching over their shoulder. It didn’t seem to help. In fact, I remember crying over my fingers during a typing test in grade nine. We failed that course. It was the only one I didn’t pass that year. I blame my fingers.

There was that time when I had typed a whole essay for English class and my dratted fingers hit some strange key that deleted the whole thing. It wasn’t the delete key because that always gives you the chance to change your mind. I would have changed my mind, trust me! What can you do? We only get 10 fingers, no replacements, no warranties. Basically, you’re stuck with the fingers you’ve got.

So, proofread. Proofread till it hurts. Yes, it’s boring but you look like a fool if you can’t type. You see, everyone assumes the fingers are innocent and it’s YOU who can’t handle grammar or spelling. Yes, there’s the rub. No one ever assumes your fingers are the saboteurs.

Assignments for Home-Based Writers

From the book – How to Start a Home-Based Writing Business by Lucy V. Parker, these are sixty key assignments for home-based writers:

  • Advertising copy
  • Anniversary materials for corporations, organizations, institutions, municipalities
  • Annual reports
  • Articles for employee magazines
  • Articles for single-sponsor magazines
  • Articles for trade journals and small magazines
  • Brochures
  • Calendars
  • Capability brochures
  • Catalogues and product sheets
  • CD-ROM/ Interactive media writing
  • City and newcomer guides
  • Collateral materials
  • Conference and trade show materials
  • Consultation
  • Contributing editor assignments
  • Critical reviewing
  • Direct-mail packages
  • Directories
  • Editing
  • Employee benefit materials
  • Environmental materials
  • Family histories and genealogies
  • Flyers
  • Fund-raising materials
  • Ghost writing and collaboration
  • Greeting card writing
  • Indexing
  • Industry-specific writing
  • Instructional materials
  • Investor-relations materials.
  • Letter writing
  • Manuals
  • Menu writing
  • New product regulatory writing
  • Newsletters
  • Newspaper feature writing, reporting and stringing
  • Packaging design and copy
  • Policies and procedures writing
  • Political campaign writing
  • Press releases and press kits
  • Proofreading
  • Proposals
  • Public relations services and materials
  • Radio and TV ads and promotions
  • Researching
  • Restaurant reviewing and writing
  • Resume writing
  • Retail and mall promotions
  • Sales presentations
  • Scripts and storyboards
  • Speeches
  • Sports materials and services
  • Teaching writing
  • Technical writing
  • Telemarketing scripts
  • Transcripts and other forms of word processing
  • Translations
  • Travel writing
  • Website content providing

Go through the list and pick out which you like to do, could do more of, or could learn to do. It’s a great list. Find a copy of the book for more information about any of the assignments above.

You can also look up information about being a virtual assistant. I know some writers/ web designers/ virtual assistants – people who are leaving their options open and learning a lot of new skills. The key is to find your niche, the area(s) where you can flourish and grow and really love what you’re doing.