I’ve mentioned before that I still plan to do editing on the side (how much, I’m not quite sure) and thought it would nice to sum up what I’ve learned about freelancing in the past few months I’ve done it.
First, I learned that I am not perfect. I’m not as quick an editor as I thought I’d be, or as careful. I had a real wake-up call when one of my dissertating clients became very upset because my proofreading was sloppy, and she was right: I caught a lot, but I missed a lot. It was a rush job, and I was really nervous about not finishing in time, or charging her too much, so I didn’t attend to it the way I needed to. I made it right as best I could (apologies; refund) and chalked it up to learning the ropes of a freelance business, but I still cringe to think of the time I wasted and stress I created for her. I decided to pull back on proofing jobs, and not take any rush jobs until I have enough experience to quickly and professionally proofread to a much closer level of perfection. I’m doing a few volunteer jobs for friends, and I think that will be helpful to figure out the right pace and if I’m really any good at proofreading at all.
Second, I learned that I really want my editing to be pleasant. I don’t want to read stuff I don’t want to read, ever. I spent enough time in grad school to have done a lifetime of required reading, and want everything I read — even reading I’m paid to do — to bring me some kind of joy. So I may take on fewer academic clients than I’d originally intended; partly because taking on someone else’s graduate work, even in a supporting role, is extremely stressful. I worry and hurt for my clients. I don’t know if I want that in my life, while working a full-time job and raising a family and trying to accomplish my own goals. And partly because I don’t love reading every dissertation ever written. Sure, I can get really into literary disses, and if it’s about student athletes and literacy I might even read it for free, but I’m not sure how enthused I can get about making a few hundred dollars reading 300 long, technical pages about science leadership in middle schools (or whatever, I’m tired so I’m not firing on all cylinders here). Thus, I’m leaning towards taking on developmental editing projects (which I’m very good at — ZERO client complaints so far, many kudos — and can do much more quickly than proofing) for self-publishers and others I know, or academics whose projects are in a developmental stage with a topic that I feel up for.
This all might change as I get more experience and try new things. And somewhere in here, I really need to do some paperwork to track all of my income and clients and stuff (that’s really, really easy to ignore and I don’t want it to bite me when tax time rolls around). Regardless, I’m excited that I’ve had ANY clients, and hope I can continue to grow and improve my services.
With that… BED!