For something I fell into by accident, it’s amazing how much I love freelance editing. I get to set my own hours, answer to no one but my clients, and work from wherever I want. (I’m writing this post in a bikini on my back porch. It’s 2:30 on a Thursday.) But what I love most about it is that I get to work with authors who truly value my skills, and when I finish a project, I feel good about it! I feel like I’ve accomplished something and helped someone get closer to their goals. I’ve contributed to the literary community in a meaningful way. I look forward to work, instead of punching a clock and waiting for the weekend. I wake up every morning excited for the day.
Of course, it’s not all sunshine and coffee. It’s a continuous hunt for work, and you never know when the well might dry up. But personally, I love having all the responsibility on my shoulders. It makes success so much sweeter.
If you’re thinking about taking the jump to full-time freelancing, or just starting a side hustle, here are a few things I wish someone had told me when I was starting out.
Many of us are workaholics, which can be a bad deal when you’re setting your own hours. Working 24/7 makes it difficult to lead a happy and healthy life. Not only will your mood and emotional health suffer, your productivity will also suffer. And when your entire business is online, technology presents a whole new set of issues. Everyone has different methods for combatting this. For me, it’s important to set aside “tech-free time”: no phone, no laptop, no tablet. That lets my mind rest and decompress. It’s also important to set aside time to be social, to be around family and friends. Some freelancers like to designate a certain space so they know they’re “at work” when they’re there. Others designate specific working hours. Since I like to be flexible in when and where I work, that’s not the best fit for me. But again, everyone is different, and it’s important to find out what works for you! Simply prioritizing self-care and paying attention to your personal health is a big step. Sometimes it’s difficult to tell when you’re pushing it too far.
My favorite office!
Victoria Griffin is an author and editor based in East Tennessee. She provides developmental and line editing for traditionally and independently publishing authors. Her short fiction has appeared in more than 40 publications, and she is represented by Sandy Lu of L. Perkins Agency.
She is the author of the workbooks Edit Like a Pro and Craft Your Query. She is also the owner of Blue Pen Publishing Services, which provides book design and branding services for independent authors. Email Victoria.