Work has been mad lately – in a good way. I’ve been building up my portfolio of editing experience gradually over the last four years, but this year I seem to have hit some sort of critical mass, and for the last few months I’ve had more work than I could handle – sometimes quite literally. While this is fantastic from a professional point of view, it has made me reconsider the direction of my career and my work-life balance. Or rather, this last few months, my work-work-work-work-life imbalance.
I think most people know that as well as editing and writing I also work part-time in a school. This was – and it remains – necessary for mundane and boring financial reasons, but I realised before the summer that the combination of school and freelance work was leaving me with precious little time for myself and my family. If any at all.
So I took the decision to reduce my hours at school, and with the support of the Head and all three of my line managers (don’t even ask) I’ve dropped from five days a week to four. (Some might say that five days a week in a school isn’t part-time, but it counts as such with my employers. In any case, I’m now more part-time than I was.) So I now have a day a week at home, to catch up on editing and writing and my thoughts and the housework and all the other stuff that gets neglected otherwise. It’s made a massive difference (I occasionally have a weekend! Think of that!), which is good because the work continues to pour in.
I’ve worked with a lot of new clients over the past few weeks. Academics have worked with me and then told their friends, authors have sent me their books and then told their friends, and I’ve also started working regularly for E2Publish, a Norway-based academic ESL editing agency. Another regular client is continuing with his efforts to set up a similar agency in Germany, in which I’m taking an advisory role as well as doing some nuts-and-bolts editing, so life is pretty busy.
Over the next few weeks and months I already have two PhD theses and a couple of novels lined up, taking me through December, January and well into the New Year, and I expect to pick up other smaller jobs to fit around these long manuscripts. I’m also writing and researching the Norfolk book at the same time, and writing assignments for a work-based qualification that school are putting me through – how does the old saying go? If you want something doing, give it to a busy person? Erm, yeah. That.