Doing what you love (2021 in review)

While 2021 continued to be difficult in the world at large, for me professionally it has been another strong year. I do feel lucky and privileged to be in this position, and am extremely grateful to all those who’ve helped along the way.


One of the most pleasing things this year has been getting the opportunity to work on several titles in areas that I have personal interest (namely, literature and sport). I have come to really enjoy my work within the social sciences and humanities in general, but it’s hard to deny there’s an extra little frisson of excitement when tackling a topic you are passionate about. It ought to be everyone’s dream to do a job that they love, and editing on a subject that fascinates you often doesn’t really feel like work.


The debate over whether you need expert knowledge of a subject for copy-editing or proofreading work in that area is an interesting one. Of course, with a level of cognisance comes a greater likelihood of spotting factual errors. However, I would say there’s an also an argument to say that coming to a subject with fresher eyes is sometimes really helpful – if something doesn’t make sense to you, then there’s a fair chance it’s not being explained as well as it could be. In my experience, authors are really grateful for those probing queries that make them really think in detail about how they’re presenting their arguments.


As always, the relationships with my clients, both new and those of long standing, are one of the things that makes this job such a pleasure. Several authors this year have done me the great honour of including me in their acknowledgements – not something I ever expect or take for granted, and does tend to make one feel rather humble. It’s also fascinating to work with people in such different fields, not least my work with several UNESCO-affiliated organisations involved variously in education and safeguarding intangible cultural heritage. The way these groups dedicate themselves to such interesting and important activity is really inspirational.


As well as client relationships, once again the continuation of the CIEP local group meetings has been a wonderful part of the working year. While I’m sure we all miss the old in-person meetings, being forced online by the pandemic has actually had the benefit of offering the possibility of more regular meetings. It’s always a joy to catch up with fellow members of the editorial community to share stories and ideas, and in our group we give thanks as always to Helen Stevens (Saltaire Editorial Services) for facilitating and hosting.


If there’s been any downside to this year, it’s that I feel I may have rather neglected the non-working side of things, watering the roots of my little freelance enterprise as it were. I will certainly aim in 2022 to take a more holistic approach to things in terms of promotion, professional development, and so on. While 2021 has been extremely positive with a very constant flow of work from a range of sources, I am well aware that none of that can be taken for granted, and I must proactively look for ways to learn and grow.


All that remains is to thank my clients and editorial colleagues for a fantastic working year in 2021, and hope for more of the same (plus maybe a little more normalcy away from the desk!) in 2022.

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