The story I’m about to tell is about wine, but it’s also about writing and editing, and your future if you’re freelancing…
This story is from a while back, but the message is as pertinent now as then: Years ago, I was visiting friends in Santa Barbara, Calif. They were close friends with winemakers in the area, so I got to see the inner workings of one winery, to learn more about the process.

Shipping boxes were piled in the middle of the room full of wine barrels waiting to get branded with labels. The winemaker lamented having to put the winery’s label on the boxes with precision because they had learned a hard lesson: Having friends help him with the labels one day had resulted in a haphazard approach with labels slapped on every which way. A customer in Japan complained saying they didn’t trust the wine to be top quality because the labels were all askew on the boxes…and sent the wine back.

That was 20 years ago, and the story has stuck with me because it is as relevant now and then.

What does this have to do with #proofreading, #editing and even #writingatwork? Details matter!

How You Do Anything Is How You Do Everything

As the saying goes, how you do anything is how you do everything.

Therefore, it’s imperative that you get the details right because it’s a reflection on you and quite literally how you do everything.

I am of an age where young aspiring copywriters, writers and editors come to me for advice. When I read their email or LinkedIn message asking to talk to me, I cringe when I see the lack of attention to detail: the typo, the grammatical error, the sloppy formatting. Shouldn’t they want to make a good impression on me if they are asking for my time?
This also happens on LinkedIn when I see the job titles for junior copywriters that are capitalized without attention to detail, like Topnotch Copywriter who helps Clients win Customers. (If you can’t see the mistakes there, let me know.)

The World Might Be Crazy, but We Don’t Have to Be

We live in a hurry up world, one in which people don’t care about details because they’re too busy to bother, a world where AI is taking on a bigger and bigger role in marketing and content creation.

If writers, editors and proofreaders still want to have value in the midst of all craziness, they’d better be better than the AI (which isn’t that hard to do, from what I’ve seen). They’d better get those wine labels on with care, and make sure their own work is error-free and of the highest quality.

Does this take longer? Of course. Is it worth the extra effort? Duh. That’s the future of freelancing.

Photo by Arthur Brognoli:

Sharon Ernst is a freelance editor and writer at, a teacher and coach at And a farmer and planet saver at