As another year draws to a close, I am pleased to reflect that it’s been another largely positive one for me and my little freelance enterprise.
Undoubtedly, one significant highlight was attaining Advanced Professional membership of the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP). As I enter my tenth year since I changed career tack and decided to pursue editorial work full-time, it feels great to be able to say that I’m now at the highest rung on the CIEP membership ladder. Putting together my upgrade application, while a little nerve-wracking (does that self-doubt ever fully go away?!), was also a nice opportunity to reflect on all my work to date; I’ve amassed literally thousands of hours of experience now, as well as a range of interesting training, and rather touchingly, a number of happy clients who were more than happy to act as referees. Having successfully been able to demonstrate this combination of skills, experience, and training has been a huge boost to my professional confidence, and I really feel like I'm finishing the year firing on all cylinders.
However, I am fully aware that reaching the highest level of CIEP membership in no way means that I have ‘completed’ editing. It may be a cliché, but we are all constantly learning – or at least we should be pushing ourselves to do so – and I fully intend to seek out whatever continuing professional development opportunities I can find. I’m a firm believer that CPD is absolutely vital, not just to learn brand-new skills, but just to keep up with developing trends and ways of working, and not to let your existing working standards stagnate and slip.
In terms of the actual work I’ve done in 2022, it’s been brilliant to have had more involvement at the further reaches of the publishing process than I usually would. I’ve worked on several titles at a slightly earlier stage than I often do, as the works were still in development – in particular, a political memoir that was going through early drafts and development as I provided my editorial input, and then another enjoyable project for an organisation publishing their first ever book, who were grateful for the advice and tips I was able to offer as well as the copy-editing of the actual text itself. Meanwhile, I also undertook several proofreading projects for a publisher; genuine proofreading of books isn’t something I’ve done a huge amount of in the past, so I found this really interesting and enjoyable. It really does demand a different set of skills and mindset to copy-editing, and it’s been brilliant to be reminded of that.*
Of course, it hasn’t been 100% plain sailing: I suffered what must be high on most freelance workers list of fears – a complete computer breakdown! Luckily, the folks at my excellent local computer shop (shout-out to AU Computers) were able to quickly diagnose and fix the problem, and I didn’t lose much in the way of working time or, more importantly, any working documents. I always back up my work using a cloud service, and this incident proved just how important it is to do that, as it was the hard drive on which I save work that had failed and had to be replaced. If you’re not in the habit of backing up your work, I strongly suggest making that a New Year’s resolution!
A big thank you, then, to all my clients, both of long-standing and more recent discoveries, for a fantastic 2022, and to all of my editorial brethren for always being on hand with inspiration and ideas. Here’s to a happy and productive New Year!
*For more information on the differences between editing and proofreading, and the various stages of the publishing process, take a look at this handy page on the CIEP website: https://www.ciep.uk/about/faqs/about-proofreading-and-editing/