Tagged: correct spelling

A Good Freelance Writer Pays Attention to Spelling, Grammar

A bad freelance writer is one who spels words incorectly.

Freelance writurs who make typoz or who make garmatical erors on there werk are deserving of all the ridicule that can be muster on thim.

What’s that you say? I’m a hypocrite because you spotted spelling and grammar mistakes in this post, and here I am telling you that you stink as a freelance writer for making spelling and grammar errors? You say you’ve never been angrier?

Well, then, just imagine how your freelance writing clients feel when you deliver copy riddled with defects.

I’ll save you the energy required to imagine it by revealing that your spelling and grammar errors make them angrier than you felt a minute ago when you saw all my spelling and grammar errors and decided I was a hypocrite (which, naturally, I am, so congratulations to you for being such a perceptive person).

I know spelling and grammar errors make freelance writing clients mad because I’ve upset many of my own peeps by turning in less-than pristine product time and again.

Having been guilty of multiple counts of this crime myself, I’m perfectly positioned to tell you why spelling errors and grammar mistakes don’t get corrected before the client receives your work.

There are three reasons. They are:

• Laziness
• Haste
• Over-confidence

I’m tempted to add ignorance to the list, but let’s not go there. Anyone smart enough to be a freelance writer isn’t likely a dodo when it comes to spelling. Unless you’re me.

So let’s go through the three reasons cited above, one by one.

LAZINESS

You get to the end of the assignment, you bang out the final word, you lay down the ending punctuation mark. You’re done. That’s all, folks. The body-positivity lady has sung. Put your feet up on the desk.

The last thing you want to do now is go back to the beginning of the story and read it with an eye toward catching all the mistakes that are guaranteed to be in there, even though you had your spell-checker or grammar-fixer software running live as you wrote.

You want nothing more at this point than to pack up this story and ship it over to the client. Being done is gratifying. Lifting not a finger more is heavenly.

But you’re not done – and should take no gratification or pleasure – until you’ve double- or even triple-checked your work for accuracy of spelling and grammar.

If you don’t feel like doing it right away, it’s OK to put it off until tomorrow (unless you’re right up against the deadline).

In fact, if you do have the luxury of time, you should put off your copy proofing until morning for the reason that you’ll be looking at your story with fresh eyes. You’ll be amazed at how many mistakes you catch in a piece you thought perfect at bedtime if you edit it after an overnight break. You’ll spot other things too, such as choppiness of transitions, flaws in organization, and weaknesses in sentence construction (those that cause the reader to abandon the story because they’ve been confronted with an impenetrable word jumble).

HASTE

This is a problem when you do a Sonic the Hedgehog impersonation to speed you through the assignment.

Maybe you hate the assignment and want to wash your hands of it ASAP, so you race to complete it. In the process, you make spelling and grammar mistakes – and don’t really care because your magical thinking leads you to believe the client will be glad to receive it in whatever shape you submit it.

Maybe you’ve got other, higher-value freelance writing projects clamoring for your attention, so you dash this one out in order to attend to those awaiting you in the queue.

Or maybe in a classic Rich Smith move you goofed off for the first 14 days of a 15-day deadline and now, suddenly, the due date is at hand. If you had started the project when or soon after you received it, you wouldn’t now be in this bind. But here you are, racing to play catch-up. The ensuing haste is bound to make waste.

OVER-CONFIDENCE

It’s possible that you’re submitting work with mistakes in it because you’ve completely convinced yourself that you were sufficiently careful as you typed.

I’ve done that one. A lot. And am endlessly surprised to see how many goofs that I was sure I wasn’t making were actually made.

I can’t stress this enough. It doesn’t matter how careful you think you are being as you assemble the product. You are going to make spelling and grammatical mistakes.

Also, don’t put total confidence in your real-time spell-checker to keep your copy mistake free. You may have noticed that it doesn’t catch all the misspelled words. This is especially true of homonyms – words that sound identical but have different meanings and, hence, different spellings. The problem is your spell-checker may not be able to figure out from the context of your writing which of two or more possible meanings you intend.

Bottom line: you should make it a habit to carefully review your freelance writing copy for spelling and grammar errors. Take your time in working through the text – proceed word by word, line by line. This is important because clients don’t like receiving work pockmarked by typos and grammar errors.