Hello, and welcome to my first blog post!
I’ve been freelancing for a few months now, so thought this post would be a great way to reflect on what the change has meant to me, and also allow you to get to know me a bit better. Without further ado, here are my favourite things about working as a freelance editor and proofreader.
1. Working on a wide range of books
I started my in-house career at a company that publishes adult books, and then moved to the children’s division of another company to work exclusively on children’s and YA books. I had great experiences at both companies, but often wished I could work on children’s and adult books, instead of just one or the other. (In my spare time, I’ve always enjoyed reading a wide range of books, for all ages: That’s Not My Hat by Jon Klassen sits comfortably on my bookshelf next to my Jane Austens and Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give; Sylvia Plath’s poetry flanks Robin Stevens’ Murder Most Unladylike and my collection of Saga comics.) Now, as a freelancer, I get to work on fantastic middle grade and breathtaking YA, beautiful coffee-table tomes of non-fiction, short stories in translation, brilliant women’s commercial fiction, literary fiction and more.
2. Working with a variety of clients, in different areas of the publishing world
While a lot of my work involves structural editing, copyediting and proofreading for a range of publishing companies, I also work directly with authors who have found me via Twitter, my SfEP Directory page or by word of mouth. It’s so rewarding to work with such talented, creative people, whether they’ve been published before or are just starting their writing journey.
I see another aspect of the publishing industry in my role as a children’s submissions inbox reader for the excellent Eve White Literary Agency, and love nothing more than coming across an exciting voice who might just be the Next Big Thing. I’ve also joined the team of freelance editors at Cornerstones Literary Consultancy, who do brilliant work in helping authors prepare for submission and publication. All of these roles feed into one other, and make me a better editor all round.
3. Flexible working hours
I am definitely not a morning person, and getting up early (especially in winter) to commute to the office was not my favourite thing. Now, I manage my own hours so I can wake up at a time that feels more natural, spend the morning doing chores or go for a run while my brain gets into gear, and then start working when I know I’m most productive – and comfortably work into the evening. I can take a day off in the week if I need to, and make up for it at the weekend. Flexible working hours also means…
4. Time for volunteering
Volunteering was something I always intended to do, but didn’t feel able to fit in with a 9-5 office job. Also, many organisations need volunteers who are regularly available on weekdays, when most people are at the office. I’m passionate about both encouraging creativity and boosting literacy in young people, so have invested time with the Ministry of Stories and Love to Learn, both of which I highly recommend supporting if you can.
5. Peace and quiet
I’m an introvert (reading Susan Cain’s Quiet was both eye-opening and affirming), and often found it hard to concentrate in the large, open-plan office where I worked. I’d often have to put my headphones on and listen to quiet music or white noise. Funnily enough, I have to do the same thing at home, as complete silence is too quiet. And although I have the company of my lovely cat, Olive, working alone all day gives me more energy and headspace to socialise in the evenings – I love attending literary events such as launch parties, author talks and interviews, and generally socialising with other bookish people. If you happen to see me at one in the future, please do come and say hi!
Thank you for reading! Next time… What’s on my desk? Top five tools for editors and proofreaders