Back to school

Anyone else got that back to school feeling? Yesterday I drove home from my last mini camping trip of the summer holidays against the alarming backdrop of leaves beginning to turn brown. Much as the onset of autumn makes me feel I might actually explode with melancholy, part of me secretly likes it. The part of me that yearns to buy a new pencil case, dig out my poncho and fingerless gloves (yes, my office gets cold) and get stuck into new work projects. Here’s what I’m looking forward to in the coming weeks:

  • Getting on with some interesting work projects I already have lined up, from art and architecture to tech and education, and extending what I do for certain clients. Having been freelance now for nearly ten years, I’ve experimented a great deal with types of work, from project management to copyright clearance. In the past year, though, I’ve been focusing on what I do best and what I enjoy most (copy-editing and proofreading, with an emphasis on the non-fiction subject areas I mentioned above) – which is good for me and also for my clients.
  • Continuing to track all aspects of my business and keep it working efficiently and developing in the way I want it to. Recently I’ve switched to managing my accounts online, which I’ve found extremely helpful, and I continue to use the free version of Toggl, which helps with crunching the numbers in terms of hours spent on anything. This year is shaping up well so far, and I’m sure thinking carefully about what I want to focus on has helped. (Assisted by my ‘mastermind’ group, which my colleague Denise wrote about.)
  • Planning the upcoming SfEP newsletter. I’ve been very involved with the SfEP for the past six or seven years, as an advanced professional member and mentor, as well as a director from 2013 to 2015. Recently I’ve been appointed editor of the newsletter, which is currently in development. The SfEP has been such an important part of my career that I’m always happy to help spread the word about the excellent work it does.
  • Aside from the day job, I’m keeping on with the creative writing. Looking back at what I’ve produced in the past couple of years, I know I’m improving – and I know that persistence is important, too! Here’s where I’m at:
    • Working on new short stories, and finding places to submit them.
    • Reacquainting myself with the first draft of the novel I finished earlier in the summer (which I made great strides on at an Arvon course a few months ago). I’m almost at the point where I’ve forgotten what happens, when I think I’ll be ready to go back and look at it again.
    • Planning for the next novel! At the moment I’m in that dreamlike state of having ideas bubbling away that may or may not go anywhere. It reminds me of internet dating – potentially exciting, yet also sickeningly disconcerting.

Whatever autumn brings (on the work front, at least), I’m looking forward to it.

Liz Jones has worked as an editor in the publishing industry since 1998, and has been freelance since 2008. She works with a range of publishing and non-publishing clients, and she’s got mixed feelings about the changing seasons.

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