How To Work From Anywhere As A Proofreader
+ Essential Resource List
When people ask me how they can start working as a proofreader, I always ask the question: Why do you want to proofread?
There is no right or wrong answer—I just ask because I’m curious.
I get a few different answers such as “I love to read” or “I’m really good at catching mistakes,” which are excellent reasons, but I’ve found that the number one reason why people want to proofread is because they want freedom.
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Freedom to a lot of people means being able to work how you want, where you want, and whenever you want. And it’s why I became a freelance proofreader, as well.
In this post I’ll discuss what it takes to work from anywhere as a proofreader, and I’ve made a list of editorial resources you’ll need to get started. These resources are the industry standard, so make sure you get the list at the end of this post.
To start, let me share where I’ve worked in the past 10 years as a freelance proofreader who isn’t location dependant and can set my own schedule. Here are some of the places I’ve proofread from:
- Turks and Caicos
- Vancouver, BC
- Cottage weekends
- In the hospital where my son was admitted for a few days (I never had to leave his side)
- On many airplanes
- New York City (went with hubby on a business trip)
- On roadtrips, during our stops at hotels for the night
- At a lot of rec centers while my son took hockey, basketball, soccer, karate, and drama classes
- Tokyo, Japan
As you can see I’ve been able to work while I travel, and also in moments when I wouldn’t normally be able to if I were in a typical 9 to 5 job.
When my son was in the hospital for a few days I was able to sit by his side and work while he slept or watched tv. I didn’t have to call in sick to the office or worry about how my absence would affect my job.
What You Need
Laptop or computer
You don’t need much to do any sort of remote work. Proofreading doesn’t require a lot of physical equipment beyond a laptop or computer. I don’t recommend using a tablet or iPad to proofread on because I find that it slows down your process.
Having a proper keyboard on which you can quickly type notes on a project, queries, create word lists, and communicate with clients is key. Remember, the faster you work, the more money you make. Also, it’s convenient to have tabs open so you can quickly check resources, do research, or check with your client’s style guide.
It’s important to know how to proofread in word processing programs like Word, which is popular with most writers. There are also shortcut editing programs and apps that are designed to make proofreading and editing easier, but learning those should come after you’ve learned the basic industry programs.
Working remotely is so easy now because of the internet. You need an internet connection in order to find work, market yourself, communicate with clients, receive and send projects, and invoice. You can schedule these things so that you don’t have to be online all day. For example, you can do job searches and marketing twice a week, and check your email two or three times a day.
Proofreading can be done offline. After you’ve downloaded your project you can work from anywhere without needing to be connected to the internet. Even if you receive a Google Doc you can download it as a Word doc and work offline.
If there’s anything that needs to be researched you can make a note (don’t forget what page number/location you’re referencing) and later check it out when you’re connected. Then you go back into your document and make the necessary changes.
A lot of editorial resources that proofreaders rely on can be downloaded onto your laptop, tablet, or mobile device. They’re also available in book form or online, but if you really want to create an effortless proofreading process then it’s a good idea to have them downloaded (if possible) so you’re never at the mercy of an internet connection.
The two most important resources you’ll use will be a dictionary and a style guide.
The Chicago Manual of Style is considered the bible of style guides, and will help you immensely. It’s available in book form or online. You can sign up for a free 30-day trial period, after which the online annual access is $39. Or you can purchase a print copy, which is very handy to have next to you. The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th Edition was just released and it looks amazing!
Another style guide you need to have access to is The Associated Press Stylebook, which is available in print and ebook formats. It’s often used instead of Chicago for digital content because it includes more modern uses. Both are the top two most referenced style guides, are the industry standards, and are used by major publishing companies. You must be familiar with them.
The Associated Press Stylebook
Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary (free & can be used offline)
If you have any questions about creating and maintaining your freelance proofreading business, you can also use my ebook “The Ultimate Guide To Freelance Proofreading” as a reference. It’ll answer your questions about marketing, client management, contracts, and also contains a style guide.
I’ll also be hosting a FREE workshop on how to proofread blog posts and books. You can save your spot for that in the box below:
Get Your Resource List
So that’s really all you need to be able to work from anywhere as a proofreader. Proofreading is a great skill that can be adapted to your situation, whether you’re a digital nomad living in Bali or a stay-at-home parent. You also don’t need a degree or special certificate to start working as a proofreader. I know some people who proofread as a side hustle and do it on their lunch hour at coffee shops. Another friend is proofreading as she travels through Europe.
I’ve made a handy list of the most commonly used editorial resources for you to download and reference. The 10 Essential Proofreading Resources list contains items that are used by professional proofreaders, copy editors, and editors. They are the industry standard and being familiar with using them is valuable.
Click the blue button to get the list!
Now let me know where you would like to work from in the comments below!