A typical day in the life of this proofreader

Before becoming one, I often wondered what was involved in the daily life of a freelance work-from-home proofreader. I’m sure my day isn’t representative of everyone in the profession, but last Wednesday was a fairly typical day for me. Enjoy!

7:47 am. As I am both childless and dogless, and because Wednesday happens to be the only day I’m home alone (this introvert’s favourite day of the week), I have to force myself to get motivated to do something energetic. Today, it’s yoga. I usually cycle to my yoga classes (double-exercise-whammy) but today, despite it being nearly May, it’s snowing. Hard. OK, bus it is. I scramble some bus fare together, detangle my gym bag from all the other bags lurking in my hallway, and dash out the door.

9:52 am. I arrive back home and attempt to defrost. This mostly involves putting on the fluffiest socks I can find and putting on my Wug hoodie. This week is a busy one, so I head straight up the stairs to my office and switch my computer on, promising myself I’ll get my cup of coffee later*. A bachelor thesis arrived in my inbox last night – it seems to be dissertation season in Denmark, as this is the second this week – and, as this requires the most brain power, it’s best done as the first task today. All my student essays come from non-native speakers of English, so a proofread and light language edit is my brief for this job. It’s an interesting topic, so time flies!

12:26 pm. My phone beeps. Boyfriend is on his way home from his customer’s premises. I decide it’s lunchtime and go downstairs to reheat some soup and stare mournfully at the weather.

1:30 pm. Back to work. I do a last run-through of the dissertation, compile some notes for the student about some mistakes he/she made regularly (once a teacher, always a teacher), and send it back.

2:00 pm. Time to open up my other big project: an 80,000-word novel about to be published. It’s the second I’ve proofread from this author and I always learn some new Australian slang! The deadline is early next week, so I am already almost through my first pass, though my list of things to double-check is getting increasingly longer. The story is also getting pretty tense, which keeps me absorbed in my work. I pause briefly to bicker with my also-freelance boyfriend over who ran up this month’s unexpectedly large phone bill and then work until . . .

4:16 – 4:30 pm. Unexpected email explosion. Do I want to get a coffee with an ex-colleague tomorrow afternoon? (Yes!) Can I proofread a PhD thesis in German? (No!) Do I want to teach a continuing advanced-level English class beginning next month? (Maybe!) Did I know PerfectIt could do this? (No! Don’t send me down that rabbit hole! Bookmarked to read in next break). The computer stops pinging. I cautiously re-open Word. It stays quiet. Back to work.

5:30 pm. How is that the time?! A quick dip into my bookkeeping to add this morning’s work to my running invoice to the university proofreading company, and I’m finished for the day.




* I never got my coffee. Tomorrow…

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