2019: a year in review

So, another year draws to a close, and what a year it has been! The turn of the year (and in this case, the decade) is always a great opportunity to take stock, reflect, and think about the challenges to come.

I could not be happier with 2019 from a work perspective. I have continued to build productive relationships with a couple of key clients, who are now firmly in the ‘long-term’ bracket. One in particular really gave me my big break in freelance work six years ago, and enabled me to see that it could indeed be a viable career option. I will forever be grateful to them.


There have also been new clients, including individual authors and overseas organisations who do fascinating work in cultural fields. Since my days teaching English as a second/other language, helping non-native English users to improve their language skills has always given me great satisfaction, so these collaborations have been very rewarding.


I have also added a good number of academic books to my portfolio this year. This continues to be an area that never ceases to provide projects of great interest, and in particular I feel really at home now working within humanities and social sciences.


On the subject of academia, I have also enjoyed helping a few master’s and PhD students with their papers. This has enabled me to put into practice the skills and knowledge learnt on the latest training course I completed early in the year with the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP), on proofreading theses and dissertations. It can be a tricky field to work in with all the ethical considerations around the degree to which you can intervene with assessed texts, but it’s a service I really enjoy providing and hope to do more of in future.


However, on a related note, if I had to note any negative from this year, it’s that while having taken on so much work has been great for business (and the bank balance, with a wedding and house move to pay for within a month of each other!), it has meant that I have perhaps neglected my personal and business development. While I completed one training course, as noted above, there is always the nagging feeling that you could be doing more; it's vital as a freelance worker to take the initiative to keep things fresh, both in skills development, awareness and knowledge of the field, and presenting yourself as a vibrant and active business.


I’m disappointed not to have made it along to the meetings of the SfEP local group I have attended for a few years, which while not exactly local to me these days has always been a source of useful discussion, networking, and a rare chance to socialise with fellow editors. Similarly, I have rather neglected this blog, which I hoped would be another way of making me think more about the work I do rather than just ploughing ahead and just doing it.


So, if I have a goal for 2020, it is to make more effort to balance work and development, be that more training, more regular attendance at SfEP events, more blogging, or even just more reading and research on the latest developments in the field. I’m confident that that will ultimately be the most successful way of growing my business in the long term.

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