Tag: find a proofreader

Body art – love it or loathe it?

Does it matter what your body language says?

The type of art that uses the body as a canvas to express someone’s feelings about something important in life. Some use it just to adorn themselves, like a permanent necklace or a bracelet. I’m not talking about piercings here, but tattoos, which are by no means a new fad – people have been applying permanent etchings to their skin for thousands of years.

In the past ten or twenty years though, this has become almost a fashion, like the mini skirt of the sixties or the ruffles and bows of the New Romantics in the eighties. But this is a fashion that you can’t discard: you can only embellish, add to or remove painfully.


Tattoos for cosmetic purposes

Maybe tattoos are a Marmite thing – love them or hate them. Opinions are definitely divided, and while some regard them as beautiful works of art, others see them as a mutilation. Sometimes a tattoo can have a very positive purpose, for example when concealing scarring such as this and stomach surgeryno doubt restoring confidence to the person who has had to struggle with their body image.

But for the most part, I have to say I cannot find it in me to admire tattoos, however skilful the artist. I have seen amazing images and I have seen quite disgusting ones on the person of those who are happy to announce their innermost thoughts to the world via their own personal canvas. spider tattoo

I particularly dislike artwork on females – without apology as my own daughters both have fairly small discreet ones – and I am dismayed when I see a bride, looking her most radiant and beautiful… with black ink snaking up her back and shoulders, completely ruining the vista for the congregation gathered to witness her marriage ceremony. I’m sorry but I find it quite disturbing and distracting.

Don’t forget to proofread!

But my distaste is sometimes accompanied by malevolent glee when it comes to tattoos with a message, not just the “Mum” tattoos, but those that carry a slogan, like wearing a T-shirt with “Keep calm and carry on” across it. The thing is, if you get bored with it or it doesn’t suit how you’re feeling on a particular day, you can wear a different T-shirt. But what if you were a cool dude in the seventies and you had “I love Gary Glitter” drilled across your forearms … slightly inappropriate now.

But it gets funnier – especially as people are less and less worried about their spelling since the advent of mobile phones and texting – we shorten words wherever we can to speed things up, and accurate spelling has gone right out of the window. It doesn’t occur to some to proofread what is about to label them for life!

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The moral of the story

So do I laugh or cry when I see this sort of thing? I cry for the foolish person who thought it was such a good idea to have a typo written in indelible ink on their skin for all the world to judge their bad taste, and I despair for the future of the proofreading profession – or perhaps I should become the world’s first proofreading tattoo artist myself!



6 DIY tips for proofreading your own blog

Ok, it’s not going to be War & Peace – you just want to get your blog out there! No reason why you shouldn’t proofread your own work before it goes live.  But a word or two of advice:

How to spot invisible typos

You’ve read it and re-read it, you left it a day or so to see it with a fresh eye, you even got your partner to proofread it. And before that, you were responding to the red and green wiggly lines screaming at you from beneath your typing. But, you wonder, does it really matter?

So you publish it. It’s your latest blog or a new page on your website. Or it’s a novel that you’ve finally, FINALLY, managed to send to a publishing house.

And then the shame!

How to write a book and get it published

A different kind of post from me today, to tell you about my day at the Darling Buds of May Farm writer’s retreat.

You might remember a very lovely, gentle TV series starring David Jason and a very young Catherine Zeta-Jones, based on the stories by H.E.Bates about a Kentish farmer and his ever-growing family, the “deals” he struck (an early Del-boy character I think!) and the enviable fun and loving relationship the farmer Sidney Larkin had with his wife and children.

It was memorable for the setting in which the series was filmed, an old country farm complete with roses growing over the door, farm animals and geese wandering freely, a duckpond, and seemingly, forever summer. It certainly left an impression on me, and of course, launched Catherine Zeta-Jones to the fame she now enjoys.


Last week I had the opportunity to spend a glorious, hot, summer day at this very lovely venue myself, Buss Farm, near Ashford in Kent.  As well as a wonderful B&B, some of the outbuildings have been converted into workshop premises for training courses. On this occasion, I was learning how to write a book and publish it. As I work with writers who are keen to have their books edited and then see their books in print, I am often asked how to go about finding a publisher and I decided I needed to gather the information to help my clients do just that, rather than just wielding my red pen, proofreading their typos and spelling mistakes.

It would take me too long to tell you all about it – suffice to say it was an excellent day learning how easy it is to self-publish, and money well-spent.  Follow this link to all the courses available with the Internet Business School.

Not ready yet?

If you are not yet ready to publish, you will no doubt need a proofreader to fine tune your manuscript.  Contact me and we can talk about font and formatting, and if you wish, I can walk you through the whole process of getting your book out there on Amazon.

Punctuation: one great secret

When you’ve drafted an article, leave it for a couple of hours, or overnight before you continue or decide to publish it.

When you open up that draft article again, you will have “slept on it”;  the images in your mind will have developed, like photographs, the words you wrote about them will have dried on the paper, the file you created will have been safely saved.

punctuation, editing

Settle yourself down comfortably, where you won’t be disturbed, and breathe deeply. Then, slowly, begin to read. Out loud. Listen to yourself, hear the rhythm and beat of your sentences, notice when you pause to take another breath.


This is when you might start to notice your punctuation.

Where you take a new breath might just be where a comma could go, or if you already have a comma in that sentence, try out a

Copy-editing & proofreading – is it worth it?

Not every writer chooses to hire a professional proofreader for copy-editing.  But I’m not just talking to novelists or journalists:  I’m talking to website owners as well! 

The content of your website has every reason to be as accurate as a published book or hard copy magazine – it’s the window to your world and it really matters.  Reasons cited for not bothering to have work proofread are valid and varied:

“I can’t afford an editor.”

“True, I make a few mistakes, but not enough to need one.”

“That’s just my style, it’s the way I write.”

“I’m going for a casual, more talky style.”

“Nobody will notice – most people aren’t as picky as you.”


Probably the most common reason for hoping to do without an editor to copy-edit is

Shamed by you English? Hire a proofreader!

Right from the start, let me state that I am no snob regarding my love of English, it’s just what I know best due to the chance location of my birthplace.

It’s a dreadfully complex language, made up of so many historical influences and invasions, therefore anyone who learns English as a foreign language has my admiration!

non-native English

But if English writers

Easy peasy apostrophes!

Some will guess what’s coming, others won’t even recognise it, so neglected and abused has it become in the last decade.

I feel so hugely defensive and have a fierce need to protect it – there is actually a Protection Society for it with thousands of members!

It’s only tiny, but such a clever little thing. Sometimes it sits toward the back, and sometimes right at the back, as it doesn’t demand too much attention, and makes no noise at all. In fact it’s so quiet that people have started to ignore it completely – with devastating consequences!

Mostly it helps us out with two important things: it can help us with ownership, or possession. The other thing is it reminds us that something’s missing.

What the blazes am I talking about? A yapping chihuahua? A 21st century memory chip?

Nay! The subject of my passion is apostrophe apostasy!

What really gets me is why so many people get it wrong when they very nearly get it right! Most of us know that an apostrophe is needed when we are talking about possession, eg: Laura’s shoes. And again, we mostly get it right when we know there’s a missing letter – see what I just did – the apostrophe in “there’s” actually replaces the letter “i” in the phrase “there is”.

But over and over again I am seeing it’s when it should be its, and its when it should be it’s – but why when the same rules apply? The word “it’s” represents “it is” – simples!

Let’s (or let us) go back to Laura’s shoes. Suppose you wanted to say “the heels of Laura’s shoes”. You can say it more briefly by using the apostrophe: “Laura’s shoes’ heels”.

Hold on, you say – what’s that apostrophe doing hiding round the back?

Actually, it’s exactly where it’s supposed to be. Because we are talking about more than one shoe, whether two or a thousand shoes, we’ve added an “s” for plural. But the apostrophe for possession still has to appear – so it quietly attaches itself to the end of the word. Clear? I hope so!

If you learn nothing else from my little rant today, please just take away this one thing: the apostrophe is NEVER EVER used to denote plurals! Even if it appears to clarify your message, for example MOTs or DVDs – no, no, no! It’s just WRONG to add an apostrophe!


Apostrophe misuse

My urge to pee was as nothing compared to the insane urge to find chalk and correct the glaring errors on this simple sign!

Terrible Typos 1

Send me any typos you come across and I’ll add them to this list – always worth a look to make me smile! CVs, menus, websites … and click here to see some of the worst newspaper bloopers!

National Punctuation Day!

I am tickled to find there exists such a thing as “National Punctuation Day”! A competition is set to send in a short essay in three sentences, using all 13 of the following punctuation marks: apostrophe, brackets, colon, comma, dash, ellipsis, exclamation point, hyphen, parentheses, period, question mark, quotation mark, and semicolon. You may use a punctuation mark more than…

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