A housekeeping note: The sidebar was getting a little ridiculous, so I’ve removed and rearranged some of those widgets. Notably, editing- and writing-related links, site search, and links to a few of the top posts and pages on the site are all in the footer. I’ve also deleted the Work History page and folded that information into the Editorial Services page.
I’d been taught all my life to organize my résumé in some kind of chronological order, listing my skills and emphasizing a continuous, focused work history. (Freelance résumés can be structured a little differently. For examples, see the EFA’s excellent booklet Résumés for Freelancers by Sheila Buff, and of course my own résumé.) So when I started writing the pages of this site, even though I wrote a page that focused on my services and projects I’ve edited and proofread in the past and posted a downloadable PDF résumé, I still felt the need to write some kind of chronological story about my work history.
However, my site stats told me that visitors didn’t really look at the Work History page. The majority of site visitors land on my post Don’t get suckered: National Association of Professional Women. When those visitors want to know more, they usually click over to Editorial Services.
So I shortened the story and tucked it into a page where it would more usefully convey information. I’ve been freelancing full-time for a year now, but some changes are still taking time to sink in.
I’m so excited about the way my business has been developing since I’ve been focusing on it full-time. I sent a book off last Friday, I’ve had projects in smaller pieces before and since, and I’ve got another couple of projects coming in the next week or so. This week is a bit of a lull so I’m looking for new clients and trying to build up my ten true fans.
The flexibility of freelancing is fantastic, for one thing. I was able to spend Tuesday driving to a distant post office to pick up new business cards, drop off a few bins of stuff at the new house and check out the slate tile going down in the kitchen, take my daughter to a play area and let her burn off some energy, and generally stay out of the old house during a scheduled showing. (I can’t underestimate how useful my smartphone is, either. I was able to accept a couple new assignments while on the road.)
Some of the tools and fun things I’ve been using for the past couple of weeks: Toggl, for tracking time on projects and business tasks. New dictionaries and style guides to build up my reference library. The subscription to Merriam-Webster Unabridged is worth it just to stop those annoying autoplaying videos, and Words Into Type should be interesting because I was trained in proofreading by a former linotype operator, so I learned a lot of old ways of doing things. A wireless keyboard, which will be most useful in my office at the new house, since my “office” right now is a laptop on my kitchen table and the laptop’s keyboard works fine.
And with that, it’s time for lunch! (I won’t describe what I’m having or post a picture of the plate. Not on this blog, anyway.)
As of today, Last Syllable Communications is 100% of what I do!
To recap: I used the couple of months before my previous job ended to start my business, take care of paperwork, try out systems for file management and scheduling, talk to prospective clients, and not least of all, complete a few projects. Now I’m starting this phase with a handful of lovely clients and ongoing projects, an understanding of how I work and what my needs are, and a manageable to-do list.
At the moment I’m feeling a little bit at loose ends because I’d normally be getting ready to head into the office. Instead I’m about to settle my daughter down for a nap, and then I’ll review some testing materials and plan dinner (I’ve so missed cooking).
The new routine will take some getting used to, but it’ll be a good change. I’m very excited!
The end is in sight! Yesterday was my last full day at the office. I have partial days today and tomorrow, but no more late nights. No more days like Monday, where I started working at 9am to meet a deadline, worked through till 1pm when I went to the office, got home around midnight, and put in another couple hours’ work on some straggler pieces of the same project. Then I did much the same thing on Tuesday.
When I was starting to get my business off the ground, I saw that long days like that were coming, and I so did not want them. I wanted to line things up but not actually have to fit projects in around an otherwise full work week. As time went on, though, it became clear to me that those long days were the only way to do it — at least if I wanted to keep momentum going into full-time freelancing, instead of drifting along and waiting for things to happen. I didn’t want to get into a routine of bumming around home and procrastinating and kinda maybe sorta doing things sometimes. I wanted that first day to be a productive workday. And the second day, too. And the third day, the fourth, the fifth, and on and on.
So I’m very excited about having a slate of projects now. However, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t more excited to be finished at the office and ready to get on with my work.
I hope you had a wonderful holiday, readers! My Thanksgiving was lovely. I cooked entirely too much food but we did get to have pie for breakfast and turkey sandwiches for lunch afterward (but not too many days afterward). I spent a little time relaxing and a little time working and it was just what I needed.
I have a million ideas and thoughts and plans.
With this house, nothing is turning out quite like I expected. Like, I had this whole setup in mind for my desk, and then my mother-in-law offered a rolltop desk that she’s not using (yes, please!), so now I’m rethinking how to arrange the furniture in my office and where to put my printer and maybe using a different color paint (no, most of the walls are still not painted). In a couple more months, either those details aren’t going to be particularly important or I’ll be able to change what bugs me, but right now it’s stressing me out.
I had lots of good ideas about scheduling my work time, but the implementation is not going so smoothly. I will more than likely have late nights and early mornings for the next couple of weeks. Sleep is very important to my own particular good health and I’m not happy about losing sleep. I’m counting the days until I won’t have to schedule my work around a different full-time job anymore.
There are classes and webinars I want to take, books and articles to read, things to think about and ponder and attempt and tweak…
But it’s not time for that right now. It’s time to dive in and do all that work. Which frustrates me, but them’s the breaks.
Some of the things I’ve been reading lately:
The Business of Editing: Evaluating a Manuscript. Gives tips for evaluating how long it will take you to edit a manuscript. Includes lots of promising-looking links (that I still have open in tabs for later perusal).
Writer Beware: Editors. Explains what different types of editors do, what they don’t do (or can’t do — no guaranteed best sellers here), and what factors writers should consider when they’re thinking about having their manuscript professionally edited. This is tailored to fiction editors since it’s from SFWA, but if you’re not sure whether your manuscript needs a copy edit or a developmental edit, or if you’re tallying up the cost of editing and wondering if your investment will be money well spent, there’s good advice here.
The Subversive Copy Editor Blog. I’m a couple chapters into the book and it’s been worth every penny. Its companion blog made it into my blogroll right away. (The most recent post is advice to a new copy editor who wants to know how to come back from overediting.)
The EFA sells several booklets that look like good resources for freelancers. I’m eyeing a couple of them.
Freelancers: What to do after your training. Create an online presence, see yourself as an entrepreneur, and other advice. I’m on the right track, according to this list!
2012 Freelance Industry Report. Charts, graphs, and other data on freelancers’ attitudes, work habits, prices, and lots more. I admit, I haven’t read this yet, but it’s highly relevant to my interests.
Yesterday was the big day! Paperwork has been completed and filed and notarized, even. I am officially doing business as Last Syllable Communications, a sole proprietorship in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
I’ve put in an enormous amount of effort to get to this point, long days and working naps and a whole lot of reading studying and learning, and I’ve just gotten to the starting line! There’s lots more work ahead, but I’m excited for it. Going freelance has been tremendously, well, freeing so far. I’m finding my voice, dreaming big, and just bubbling up with joy at all the future possibilities.