Imagine you’ve got yourself a date, by whatever means this happens in the twenty-first century. You want to make a good impression, so every detail must be right: new outfit, sharp haircut, shiny shoes. You’ve even flossed. Twice. You call your flatmate to give you a quick once-over. The last thing you want to be told is to take everything off, right down to your lucky pants, and start again. No, you trust they’ll suggest a tweak to a detail here or there: spot that you’ve put on odd socks in your excitement, or that you’ve got lipstick on your teeth.
When proofreading for a client, I imagine I’m the helpful flatmate summoned at the last minute, pre-date, to avert potential disasters. I assess the raw materials I have to work with, and the limitations (my friend is no oil painting and her bus leaves in seven minutes), and I do all I can to send things out in the best possible state. It’s not about stripping everything down and starting again, or imposing my own ideas. It’s about making careful adjustments for a result that is fit to be seen …
This is an extract from a post originally published by the Professional Copywriters’ Network. Read the complete post here.
Liz Jones has worked as an editor in the publishing industry since 1998, and has been freelance since 2008. Despite the analogy, she was never a very good flatmate because she has hermit-like tendencies.