Technically it’s still January, so hopefully I can get away with posting this. If I’d been more organised, this post would have been ready to go on New Year’s Day. But surprise, surprise – I wasn’t more organised, so I’m just giving myself a pat on the back for managing it in January, at least.
Every year, I find it useful to look back and take stock of what I’ve achieved over the past 12 months – and, just as importantly, look at what I set out to achieve but didn’t manage. The former gives me a boost and the latter gives me a focus for the next 12 months.
At the beginning of 2017, all the members of my mastermind group (and if you don’t know what one of these is, have a read of my friend Denise Cowle’s excellent blog about mastermind and accountability groups) shared their goals for the year ahead.
Here are mine (in slightly condensed form, as I rambled on a bit):
- Improve my scheduling and productivity
- Achieve Advanced Professional membership of the Society for Editors and Proofreaders
- Investigate offering training to other editors and/or authors
So, how did I do?
Improve my scheduling and productivity
This is still a bit of a work in progress, but moving house allowed me to set up my own proper office as opposed to working from a corner of my living room. I also have grand plans to convert our summer house into a garden office this year. Having my own office has made it much easier to focus.
In terms of scheduling, I’m still trying to find the right balance. I tend to overbook as I don’t like missing out on jobs I want to do, but I’m getting better at saying no and allowing myself plenty of time for work.
Become an Advanced Professional member of the Society for Editors and Proofreaders
Nailed it! I actually sat down and submitted my application at the very start of January last year and was delighted to be approved. I’m very pleased to have my experience and training recognised, and I’m very grateful to the clients who kindly agreed to give me references.
Investigate offering training
I didn’t do as much of this as I had hoped. However, I did present a fiction editing workshop at the Society for Editors and Proofreaders conference in the latter half of the year, and I received excellent feedback from delegates. This year, I’m involved with conference again and I have some other projects in the pipeline, so I’m going to roll this one over for 2018.
All in all, I didn’t do too badly – I made decent progress on all of my goals and actually achieved one completely.
What about 2018? Here’s what I told my mastermind group I wanted to achieve in 2018:
- Increase productivity
- Develop training
- Take on some non-fiction work to add some diversity
This was rolled over partly from last year. My new office is helping already – I can now shut the door on the rest of the house and get solid periods of work done without interruption. I also have easy access to all my various books and resources I need for editing.
I set up my laptop to have a second screen so that even when I want to do some lighter work on the sofa in the evening, I can enjoy the increased efficiency of more screen real estate
I’m being more careful with scheduling to avoid overwork, but I’m also making the most out of the hours I have. I know that I can only do four-five hours of editing a day, but I can then use another one or two hours to do another form of work, be it formatting or reading a novel to critique it. That means I can take on different kinds of project at the same time and juggle those without the mental fatigue from working on the same thing for long periods of time.
Over the course of 2018, I’d like to see if I can squeeze out more projects overall without compromising on my wellbeing and leisure time.
I have some research to do to find out what knowledge I have that others will find useful. I have quite a diverse knowledge base when it comes to writing and editing, so my challenge is to find a niche in the market. I also need to think about what form training will take. I’d like to do some more in-person training at various events, too. I’ll be doing a session at the Society for Editors and Proofreaders conference again, but I might investigate more local venues and see if I have anything to offer.
Branch out to non-fiction
I’m a former journalist, so I already have a solid grounding in non-fiction work. I’ve already booked in two non-fiction jobs for 2018, so I’m already adding a bit of diversity. I still want to focus mainly on fiction, but I like to keep my editing sense sharp by working on a wide range of topics. Editing Globally (the international editing collective of which I am a member) has embarked on an ambitious new project with a major international firm, so I’m getting to flex my non-fiction editing muscles on this work too.
I’m feeling quite excited about the year ahead. I have lots of great jobs booked in, some for new customers and some for repeat clients. I am looking forward to making the most out of my new workspace and becoming more productive. I’m also glad I can now shut the door, physically, on work at the end of the day if I need to and enjoy some time with my partner and our dog.
Check back this time next year to see how I did!