Things have been pretty quiet on my blog lately, for several reasons.
Although I hadn’t planned to, I worked throughout the summer last year, combining work and childcare, working evenings and weekends. Then I attended the Society for Editors and Proofreaders’ annual conference in September; I was ill while I was at the conference, which I wrote about here in my last proper blog post.
When I returned home after the conference, I had a couple of weeks left to complete a training course I’d started before the summer and hadn’t had time to work on, so I got busy with that.
My son had also started school full-time in September. Suddenly I had six hours a day to myself and I expected to have loads more energy as well as time, but that wasn’t the case. Parenting is hard for everyone, but as an introvert, making yourself available to someone 24/7 for the best part of five years is particularly draining (I am not alone). So I realised it was going to take me a while to adjust and that I desperately needed to catch up on some me time – a couple of months to recharge and regroup, mentally and physically.
Relax, re-energise and reorganise
I spent a couple of weeks with my feet up, watching daytime TV. Now, it is possible to learn from daytime TV. Just watch Hotel Inspector, Four in a Bed, or Come Dine With Me if you need any tips on how not to run a business or how not to behave around other human beings.
Once I began to feel better, I started to focus on my business again. It was time to get organised. I'm lucky to have my own space to work in, with a lockable door; although, the main purpose of the lock is to keep the door shut, as it has a tendency to swing open if anyone so much as breathes near it.
(Not my study door)
I’d worked out that part of the reason I’d been feeling overwhelmed was because my study had become rather cramped, so I started by de-cluttering. Some of the clutter was boxes of stuff still unpacked after our house move three years ago, or things I’d been putting aside to give to charity. The rest was mostly paperwork – old household bills, insurance policies, MOTs, etc., going back several years. I used to regularly sort through and shred or recycle such paperwork but, since having a child and moving house, I'd let things pile up. Sorting through three years or more of that lot took some time, but it was worth it.
Then I invested in a new set of drawers, the same depth and height as my desk, which extended my desk space as well as my storage space. That meant I was able to get rid of my old desk that I'd been hanging on to, which freed up room for a bureau that used to belong to my grandmother, and that now houses all my editorial reference books.
Since doing all this, I have been working so much more efficiently because I have more space to spread out and because I can find things more easily. It’s true what they say – tidy house, tidy mind.
My reorganisation was complete just in time. I had accepted a couple of smaller jobs between September and November, to keep my business ticking over, but as it was now early December I expected things to be quiet until the new year. However, since then it’s actually been one book after another, and I only took a few days off over Christmas.
In February I decided it was time to invest in a new desktop PC, as my laptop was beginning to slow down and it was also starting to seem too small for what I need. I bought a Dell and I’m so happy with it. I can work faster and I feel I can spend more time at the computer now I have a bigger screen and a proper keyboard.
In spite of all the snow recently, I could feel spring approaching and that it was time to draw up my business plan for 2018/19. It basically consists of training courses. I started one course two weeks ago, which I’ve almost finished, and in that time I’ve also attended two webinars; I start a new four-week course on Easter Monday, and if I have the time and energy after that, I’m planning on taking a few more courses this year! They are mostly focused on fiction editing.
A lot of my work over the last 18 months has been proofreading or copy-editing fiction, and it is an area I would like to specialise in, but I feel it’s important to get the training to consolidate my experience, so that I can be certain I’m offering the best possible service to my clients.
Once I've completed my training, I'll be updating my website to list the courses I've taken and to reflect my new specialism.
I’m back to busy times again. But from now on I’ll be making sure to factor in some me time, no matter how hectic things get.