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Reflections on 2020

What more can be said that hasn’t already about this strangest of years?

In many ways, as a freelance editor, working conditions have been essentially unchanged; but the pandemic has still sent ripples through my work, with several ‘urgent’ requests to proof Covid-related material for swift publication.

Overall, it has been a very pleasing year work-wise. As well as developing my working relationships with my existing, highly valued clients, I’ve begun to work with some great new ones.

I have been lucky to have been offered some really interesting projects this year. You never want to pick out favourites, but getting to copy-edit the memoir of a high-profile former diplomat was a fascinating highlight. I also enormously enjoyed the challenge of what I think is my heaviest involvement in a single project – a book produced by a UNESCO affiliate on traditional martial arts – seeing it from copy-editing the submitted articles all the way through to proofreading and checking the final layout.

One extremely exciting development was the awarding of chartered status to our professional body, which as a result is now known as the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP). Membership has undoubtedly been one of the key components of my editorial career, and I can only imagine this new status will offer a further boost.

Outside of working time, I’ve also completed what I’m sure will be some invaluable training. Like many people, I’ve been using Microsoft Word for more years than I care to imagine. Also like many people, I’d only previously scratched the service of what the program is capable of. However, CIEP’s invaluable Editing with Word course unlocked all sorts of wonderful tips and tricks (‘hacks’ doesn’t seem entirely appropriate, given we’re talking computer usage!), and gave me the confidence to utilise more of the features that can help one to work far more efficiently.

If there has been any disappointment this year professionally, it’s that the downside of being so busy in terms of workload meant that I’ve been unable to join (in person, and since lockdown via video conferencing) the meetings of the lovely CIEP West/North Yorkshire local group. It’s such a great way to feel like you’re not living and working in your own isolated bubble, and that you do have colleagues of a sort, so it is definitely one of my aims for 2021 to make more effort to participate in more meetings.

In 2021 I will, as always, seek out continuing professional development opportunities – it’s always imperative to keep raising your personal bar as regards skills and experience. We can only hope that the world around us is a little kinder to us in the next year.

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