Keeping inspired helps me to focus on a fast-approaching deadline, or to rekindle my passion for editing after a lengthy assignment or long run of jobs. Anyone who thinks that Christmas time means a holiday for freelancers has never been a freelancer! This can be one of my busiest times, as people shift things off their desks before the holiday season and my inbox begins to burst with the gifts of queries and projects.
So, why do I love what I do?
The answer is simple: variety.
In the past year alone, I’ve edited and proofread books about cats, Year 12 study guides, wholefood cookbooks, conspiracy novels, doctoral theses and journal articles on subject matter as diverse as tourism, nursing, literature, architecture and psychology. I’ve also written magazine articles and website content. It’s difficult to become bored when you never know what the next job will be or where it will take you, be that a culinary, literary, technical or creative adventure.
The answer is also: environment.
I work in among the rainforest trees outside of Bellingen, in northern NSW. It’s a green world, filled with the sounds of birds and the flowing river. I try to let environmental principles guide my work habits – my computer is powered by solar panels, any printing is double-sided and only when necessary, and working from home means no lengthy commute by car. The concepts of care and custodianship that come with living on a property are reflected in my editing craft. My goal is always to provide my clients with the best possible version of their words, by taking custodianship of their manuscript and caring for the words so they blossom.
The answer, finally, is joy.
It’s easy to find joy when you take pride in what you do, when quality is your mantra. It’s going to sound cliché, but I find a real sense of satisfaction when I read a beautiful piece of writing that an author has laboured over – poured their blood, sweat and tears into – that I can help make really sing. I’ve fist-bumped the air when I’ve read a well-crafted argument, squealed in horror at a perfectly drawn character, and laughed out loud at acerbic dialogue. It’s humbling to be privy to someone else’s writing process.
What better job is there than when you’re taken on a journey into someone else’s imagination or painstaking effort and get to guide them on their way?