Why writing and proofreading?
Ever since I can remember I’ve wanted to be a writer. Writing is something that I’ve always felt that I have to do, I don’t really know why. I’ve always had an overactive imagination - which isn’t always a good thing – and loved using it to create stories. I also enjoyed recounting real-life events. I read Anne Frank’s diary when I was about 11, and it had a real effect on me, I even took my confirmation name after her, and, like many others I’m sure, started a diary. As well as documenting her life she wrote a lot about being a writer. As an 11-year-old, full of ideals and ambitions myself, I felt that I could identify with so much of what she said such as: “I can shake off everything if I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.” And that: “Paper has more patience than people.” I also loved her ambition: “I can always write for myself, but I want to achieve more than that.”
It was probably around that point in my life that I began to think seriously about becoming a writer. I remember being great at starting stories. Oh, the number of “amazing” novels I started to write! Most of them about things that I didn’t really know about, and none of them really went anywhere. Without realising it, I also used writing as a sort of therapy, as I really did find it helped to write things down when I was struggling with life. The thing was that I always felt “myself” when I was writing, to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard, as is more often the case these days) was being the real me.
But I didn’t have a clue about how to go about being a real writer! I think part of this was because I didn’t really know what sort of writer I wanted to be. I thought seriously about newspaper journalism for a while. I also contemplated lots of other careers too – actress, lawyer, doctor and primary school teacher (my working life to date has been closest to this one!), to name just a few. To be honest, my problem was that I just wanted to do everything! However, in the end I settled on studying my favourite subjects – English and music; and figured that things would work themselves out from there. And so far, it sort of has, although I’ll admit, my writing ambitions have yet to be fulfilled – the only difference is that now I know exactly what they are and I’m working on it!
Proofreading wasn’t something that really sprung to mind until this year, when one of my aunties suggested that it might be something I’d be interested in. Looking back I don’t know why I didn’t think about it sooner. I’ve always loved helping people to structure their writing. I just love the technical side of it all – the grammar, the punctuation, the spelling. To me this is all part of the craft of writing. I was fortunate to be good at spelling and punctuation from a young age (probably because I read all the time), and I actually learned a lot about English grammar from studying German from the age of nine until I left school.
So, this summer I did a proofreading and editing course which I loved! I suspected that there was much more to proofreading and editing than checking for spellings or missed punctuation marks – and there is. I also loved taking the time to sit down and learn something new again too, I think that’s something that we possibly appreciate more as adults when we don’t have the time that we had when we were younger. Through doing the course I realised that this was something that I really wanted to do professionally, in addition to writing (and music – I’ll come to that in another blog post).
In answer to the question in the title of this post, I just know that writing and proofreading are for me. I’m comfortable working with words, whether I’m creating an imaginative or factual piece of text out of them; or structuring them in such a way that is technically correct and makes the meaning clear and concise.
So I might be at the start of a new venture, but I'm certainly not at the start of my journey!