How to Proofread your Final Year Project

It is coming to that time of year again, when the Christmas festivities are nearly over and the submission date for your FYP looms ahead. Whether you are writing furiously to fill your word count or you have all your chapters neatly filed away here are a few tips to help you polish up your work. 

  1. Make sure your document language setting is English (UK). If your computer has the dictionary expansion for English (Ireland), all the better, but if not, English (UK) is best. This is very important as some word processors default to English (US). 
  2. Revise your quotations first. Make sure that all quoted and paraphrased material is referenced correctly and in line with your department's preferred referencing method. 
  3. Check that your document is formatted correctly. Most departments will give you guidelines on how they want the document formatted. Check the line spacing, paragraph spacing, font, and font size. If no guidelines are given stick to either Times New Roman or Calibri for font, size 12 with 1.5 line spacing. 
  4. Consistency. This is one of the most important parts of proofreading any text. Not only does your formatting need to be consistent (headings the same size and font, section numbers and page numbers are in order, all text margins align) your word use needs to be consistent. For example, if you are using the term "copyeditor" in a text, you need to be sure it appears as one consistent spelling and not hyphenated "copy-editor" or as two words "copy editor" throughout the text.
  5. Run a spell-check. This is an important step that many people skip over. When you do run the spell check make sure that it is in the correct language English (UK).
  6. Read your work aloud. Students often underestimate how helpful this can be. By reading your sentences aloud you can hear any grammatical mistakes that your brain skips over while reading. Try it and see how it improves your writing. 
  7. Get a friend to read your FYP. By now, you are too familiar with your work and it will be difficult for you to see any errors in spelling or grammar. It would be preferable to get a friend who has some knowledge of your subject, but if not, anyone with a basic level of english will do. 

These are just a few of my tips and tricks for proofreading your FYP, thesis, or essay. Remember to give yourself enough time to proof your work before you print it and to give yourself a pat on the back when it is all over and done with. If all of this seems like too much for you, you can always call your friendly proofreader here at Best Copy. Happy proofing!


That tricky second blog post ...

Like Jon Snow, I knew nothing about how to set up my own business. In my mind the process went like this:

Step 1. Acquire skills

Step 2. Advertise

Step 3. Profit

Nope, nope, and nope. I got so much wrong, and I am sure I will make more mistakes in future. But, I am on the right track now with the right people behind me. My fault lay in the fact that I never really considered this job as a business. I saw it just as a way of earning a living in a manner that suited me. Just because I didn't have other employees to worry about or a business premises to set up I thought things would be different. If i'm a sole trader, the only thing I need to worry about is if I have saved enough money to pay my tax bill. I quickly learned that even if you don't consider yourself to be business-minded, you damn well need to acquire some business knowledge and skills fast or your foundling enterprise will fall flat on its face like a toddler taking its first steps unsupervised.  

So, with some encouragement and advice from my friend and boss at Canteen, Paul Williams, I signed up with accountant Paul Murphy at Murphy O'Connor Accountants. Here I got some great advice on how to register my business name, set up a business bank account, and pay my taxes. I was also advised to set aside money from each job specifically for marketing and now, here I am up at 7.30 am on a bank holiday Monday studying an excellent book by Louise Harnby entitled  Marketing your Editing and Proofreading Business.  Louise's book is laden with practical advice on how to attract new clients by marketing yourself properly. 

With all of this advice and support I find I am more enthusiastic and motivated than ever to develop my business. It has also changed how I view my professional self. Before, I saw this career choice as a way to survive as an introvert, a way of making money without having to deal with the typical working environments that caused me a lot of stress. Now I see myself as a business owner. I run my own business, I do my own marketing, and I provide a service with exceptional skill and professionalism. I don't feel like I am hiding from anything anymore, in fact, I am standing out in the world and saying "My name is Brí and I run my own business" and I must admit, it feels good and empowering  to be able to say that.

Insert Catchy First Post Title Here ...

First blog posts are always the hardest. Well, for me they are. This one I decided would be about why I set up this business. I had many reasons for it but my first and foremost reason was that I needed to find a way to work and earn a wage while living with chronic depression. There are many people with depression who can hold down a Monday-to-Friday 9-5 job, but I am not one of them. With a combination of general anxiety disorder and a tendency towards the odd migraine or twelve, I needed a job where I could work where I wanted, when I wanted. I always enjoyed words and writing and most of all I love to learn new things. Being a freelance copyeditor seemed like the right choice for me.  I am currently working towards becoming an accredited copyeditor with the SFEP (Society of Freelance Editors and Proofreaders) while picking up a few jobs to keep me ticking over (not to mention my regular shifts in a well-known local café). This is a career I think I can be happy and healthy with so I hope this is one of many blog posts to come as I embark on this little adventure.  

I was really nervous about even starting this blog because I feared if I made any grammatical, spelling, punctuation mistakes that other copyeditors and proofreaders might leap all over me. Well, before any pedants try to take me down a few points to note. 

1. It is extremely difficult to edit your own work. (That's why you hire a copyeditor like me!)

2. I'm human, I make mistakes. (Even the best copyeditors cannot promise a 100% error free text.)

3. This is the blog part of the website where I get to be a bit more free with my words so that my voice, my opinions can shine through. 

Well, that's enough blathering for now. I hope you enjoyed it. 


(FYI my name is pronounced "bree")