Can a Freelance Editor Support a Family? Guess We’ll Find Out!

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Though, of course, we’re hop­ing we won’t have to try it for long.

About a week ago, my hus­band learned his graphic design job was being moved out-of-state (and he was not offered the chance to tag along). Of course, we went through a whole range of emo­tions — a bit of relief, as things had got­ten com­pli­cated at that job; but mostly, as you might imag­ine, anx­i­ety and ner­vous­ness, not only about find­ing a new job but also about the likely need to move and about how close we are now to the new school year (could this not have hap­pened back in May or June? Really??).

'Will Work for Cheese' photo (c) 2009, walknboston - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

As we sorted things out more, we came — quite quickly, actu­ally — to the per­spec­tive that so many peo­ple have lost jobs lately, so why NOT us? Why should we be any dif­fer­ent? And my mom pointed out that we really don’t have to try to make all the pos­si­ble changes at once; we live close enough to the metro com­mu­nity where my hus­band will likely find new work that he can join a num­ber of oth­ers from our lit­tle town in com­mut­ing, at least for a school year, and we can ease our kids into a move next sum­mer, if we so choose, rather than rush­ing things. That real­iza­tion helped a ton.

I am delighted that my free­lance copy­edit­ing busi­ness — still less than two years old, but hav­ing ben­e­fited from some awe­some men­tors, col­leagues, and clients — is doing well enough to con­tribute siz­ably to our house­hold income. I’m grate­ful to my devoted clients who keep call­ing on me to help pol­ish their writ­ing, and refer me to other writ­ers or busi­ness­peo­ple who need my expertise.

Of course, the lovely thing about this kind of work is that my con­nec­tion with clients goes far beyond exchang­ing ser­vices for money. In many cases, my clients have also become my friends; that hap­pens as you read another individual’s most per­sonal work and visit with them on the phone not only about gram­mar but also about grand­chil­dren, not only about their words but also about their world. And as I have lent them emo­tional sup­port along with pro­fes­sional sup­port, so, too, I know, will many of them lend me emo­tional sup­port dur­ing this up-in-the-air time.

Another thing I fully appre­ci­ate about my busi­ness is that it is almost exclu­sively con­ducted over the inter­net, which means that, if we do end up mov­ing, that change will not upset these grow­ing client– and colleague-relationships. Whether I email them from Hen­drum or from Fargo, 45 miles away, or from Sioux Falls, 275 miles away, or wher­ever… we’ll still be con­nected as closely as ever before, thanks to the won­ders of the inter­net and this “small world” in which we now live and do business.

So, thanks for your sup­port, every­one! If you know of any graphic design open­ings, please let us know. And in the mean­time, I’m con­fi­dent that, with some belt-tightening, we’ll dis­cover that a free­lance edi­tor can indeed sup­port her fam­ily, if she needs to — at least for a while.

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