Why The Freelance Lifestyle Suits Editors Down to The Ground

Why The Freelance Lifestyle Suits Editors Down to The Ground

“I have a fear of poverty in old age. I have this vision of myself living in a skip and eating cat food. It’s because I’m freelance, and I’ve never had a proper job. I don’t have a pension, and my savings are dwindling. I always thought someone would just come along and look after me.”

Jenny Eclair: Comedian

Although this is quite a humorous look at the world of freelancing, it actually smacks quite a lot of the truth in terms of how people view the world of being a freelancer and, by default, a freelance editor.

Of course, the freelance lifestyle always is quite appealing to people, especially after they’ve spent two hours in traffic trying to get to work, eight hours slogging away at a job that they don’t really like, and then another two hours battling the traffic trying to get home in the evening. The thought of a 30-second commute to work after having leisurely gotten up at 7 am sounds incredibly enticing and almost devoid of stress.

However, the freelance lifestyle isn’t for everyone. But, language professionals – such as editors, writers and proofreaders – are very suited to adopting this work-from-home (or wherever else they happen to be) lifestyle.

But why is this?

Editing is a solitary profession

The very nature of editing requires supreme concentration and attention to detail. The editor in a publishing or marketing environment is the last step in quality control. Before the magazine, brochure or website goes live, they come in to make sure that what goes out is perfect. If the product goes out with mistakes in it, it’s their head on the chopping block – no one else’s.

This means that to hone their concentration, editors need a particular environment that suits their needs. Some concentrate very well in noisy environments, which means that they’ll probably function well in an open-plan office environment, or something similar. However, if they need dead quiet to concentrate, they’ll want to control their environment, which is something that they can do well at home.

An editor is a self-starter

An editor knows that he or she has a certain amount of work to do and a deadline by which they need to do it. It doesn’t matter when this work gets done – as long as it’s done on time.

So, whether the editor likes working in the dead of night, early in the morning or during business hours, they can adjust their working schedule according to when they put out their best. And if they are a freelancer, their working environment is wherever they are so it’s easy to complete work when they want to.

Freelancing promotes creativity

Editing is, believe it or not, a highly creative field. Although the editor isn’t creating prose or marketing copy themselves, they are taking what another person has written and are teasing out the meaning from it. They are looking at what the author is trying to say, whether or not the meaning is coming out as it is intended to, and are suggesting ways in which this sense-making can be enhanced.

Remember that it is NOT the editor’s task to be prescriptive. Although we do make use of red correction marks to show our suggestions, it is up to the author to accept or reject these changes. Ultimately, the editor is not the author and it is up to them to preserve the author’s voice at all costs.

Contact Lia Marus

I am an editor and have over 10 years of experience in the field. I am classically trained and can integrate this training into all genres. My rate is R45 and I only charge you for the pages that I make edits on. So, for example, if you give me your thesis to edit I won’t charge you for your contents page, list of tables or figures as these are automatically generated.

Want to have a chat about how I can help you editing wise? Please follow this link.

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