Or at least to Kia Thomas Editing. Today is the official first birthday of my business (Where’s the cake? No cake? Why is there never cake?). So it seemed like a good day to start this blog, and for its maiden voyage, I’d like to share some of the things I’ve learned in this terrifying, amazing, stressful, fulfilling year.
- People are awesome.
Kinda knew this one already, of course, but during 2016 it was confirmed for me over and over and over again. This time last year, I had absolutely no idea how to set up an editing business, and for me, who likes to do everything *right*, that not-knowing was absolutely terrifying. I had worked for the same company for 11 years, and now I was going to be completely alone.
Except I wasn’t. I dipped a toe into the waters of the editing community – the forums, the Facebook groups, the editing corner of Twitter – and the people there grabbed me by the hand, pulled me in and helped me learn to swim. I’m constantly amazed by the kindness and generosity that editorial professionals show to each other. No matter how stupid you think your question is, or how absurd your worry, there’s always someone there to give you an answer, some advice or a virtual hug. To my edibuddies – thank you, all of you.
- I am a good editor.
I mean, I had a suspicion, otherwise it probably would have been a somewhat unwise career move. It’s easy to doubt yourself though, especially when you’re relatively new to the field and everyone else seems to have an intimidating amount of experience. I went into my first editing job with a massive amount of trepidation. And the client was thrilled with my work. I got another job, and that client was happy too. Then came more work, and more satisfied clients. I’ve had great feedback so far, and even though I’ve still got an awful lot to learn, with every training course I do, every manuscript I edit, with discussion I take part in on Facebook (well, nearly every discussion; editors get sidetracked into talking about nonsense as much as any group of people on the internet), I get a bit better and feel more confident.
- I am not yet a very good businessperson.
I never really wanted to run my own business, but here I am, doing just that. It’s a lot of responsibility and a lot of work. I’d be perfectly happy to sit in my little office and edit novels all day long, but to get those manuscripts, you’ve got to get out there and find the clients, and that is not my strong point. I hate doing marketing. It’s that imposter syndrome thing – what if I tell everyone I’m really good and they should hire me, and then someone discovers that I don’t know what I’m doing and points at me and laughs and I can never show my face again? I need to get over this though, because I have bills to pay. And because, actually, (2).
- I’ve got a really long way to go.
I am nowhere near where I want to be. Which is living on a luxury tropical island while Tom Hardy brings me wine and crisps. Or, failing that, confident that I can make a consistently decent living as an editor. I’m doing okay financially, but I want to do better. I’m good at what I do, but I want to be better. And both of those things are only going to come with time, patience, hard work, marketing (yay! *sarcasmface*), training, more time, more patience and more hard work.
- But that’s OK.
I’ve always been the kind of person who wants to do things brilliantly, right now, and if I can’t I give up. One of the hardest parts about going into a completely new business is realising that (deep breath) I am going to make mistakes. I’m going to do things the wrong way (which is weird, because I’m never wrong. Ask my husband), and I’m just going to have to live and learn, because I’m not giving up this time. I love this editing thing. It’s awesome.
I’ve learned some other things too – that working at home means that I now dress up (i.e. put jeans on) just to do the school run, that Microsoft Word cannot ever be entirely trusted to do what it should, and that commas are evil little buggers that want to make you cry. All in all, it’s been a very educational, and very fun, year. Here’s to the next one! And on my next birthday, someone had better bring me cake.