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Becoming an editorial freelancer

We’ve all heard those who say you shouldn’t try to run before you can walk. But whoever listened to them? The truth is you’re very unlikely to run before you can walk anyway, right. But there’s no harm in trying (bar experiencing the odd bump). If running is what you genuinely want to do, then run!

Personally, I think the same is true when I reflect on my transition into writing, editing and proofreading as a freelancer. It just came down to what I genuinely wanted from life. Yes, I had to ask myself where I wanted to be and how was going to get there. And it’s taken years for that vision to become clearer.

Under the banner of Ridgeway Editorial, I want to set ever-improving standards for the ways we communicate and publish ideas; I want to feel personal pride in offering first-class services; I want to have ownership of my work-life balance. For you it’s probably something quite different. But once you know, then there’s no greater motivation out there; there’s no more dragging yourself out of bed!

It was December of last year when an ad in one of my favourite magazines caught my attention. Unsurprisingly, it was about training as a copy-editor and proofreader. I was already proofing in my job but I didn’t know it was something I could specialise in. I thought it over, researched a little, then landed on the webpage for The Society for Proofreaders and Editors (or the SfEP for short).

Since joining in February, the SfEP has provided me with some fantastic guidance and training. It also has a thriving community of members who engage with one another online and at local meetings. Just last week I met with a great little group in Bristol and it was so encouraging to be with those who’d done it all before: the strength of your network is vital to your chances of success.

Of course, you also need to have a plan. But sometimes, as Robert Burns told us, even the best-laid plans can go awry. And I’d go further. They WILL go awry now and then. But that’s the fun in life (sort of). How would we be challenged if we could all just draw a plan and see it through without as much as a bump in the road? How would you ever improve? Be realistic.

With Ridgeway Editorial, I’ve started something that makes me feel energised and alive. And that’s the sort of service you can expect from me. Be sure to catch up with me on Facebook (@ridgewayeditorial) and Twitter (@FromtheRidgeway). Cheers, Rich.