• Trish Lockard

Reflecting on My Freelance Editing Career in Fewer Than 500 Words

The author and editor is smiling while holding up a copy of a book she edited.
Trish reading her first freelance editing project

When did I start my business as a freelance editor? I could not believe my eyes when I looked at the date of my first blog post, My Promise to You, for Strike The Write Tone—May 7, 2018. How is this possible? Time has flown.

My first year as a freelance editor was, let’s say, inauspicious. I did a few small editing and proofreading jobs for local friends and worked daily to build a modest social media presence and tweaked my website to the point of insanity.

My second year, 2019, wasn’t much better, but a good friend decided to write a nonfiction book using NaNoWriMo as her inspiration. Either because she had professional trust or simply out of the kindness of her heart, she hired me to help her with a substantive edit and, ultimately, a copyedit. The work served to boost my self-confidence and we were both pleased with my services. (Check out my Client Testimonials page for comments by Terri Lyon for her book What’s On Your Sign.)

Here comes 2020—an overall super-crappy year. But, for me, I found steady work with a memoir publisher. I was given the chance to do copyedits, proofreads, manuscript assessments, and a ghostwriting project, which pushed my writing skills to previously untried limits. Despite a pandemic and a year of social isolation, I was kept busy developing my skills and keeping the lights on.

Then came 2021. A new phase of professional opportunities presented itself. I became a freelance editor and manuscript diagnostician (I mean, I write manuscript diagnoses, as this publisher calls assessments) for a large hybrid publisher in Austin, Texas. Since the beginning of the year, I’ve worked almost nonstop for them and my levels of professionalism and confidence have skyrocketed. I’ve written more than a dozen diagnoses, and edited memoirs, a 570-plus-page economics book, and one by a Yale psychology professor on the reasons for the rise of mental illness, a subject close to my heart (read my About Me page). While I still love memoir, the variety is stimulating. And educational!

This post has no point really. It’s almost a fancy-schmancy journal entry reflecting on my three-year freelance career, of which I am proud. As the seniors say, I’m no spring chicken. Why do I say that? Because I’m a senior myself. And I began a new career after 12 years as a technical writer and 30 years of retirement. I love what I do. I love my work. What a nice thing to be able to say.

Because I’m a mom, a senior, and a lay mental health classroom instructor, I bring a measure of empathy, open-mindedness, and patience to my work that even the most seasoned professionals seem to recognize and appreciate. Being an editor can sometimes feel a little like being a therapist, especially with memoirists. It’s the most pleasant way to combine my skills with my passions.

I love my work. Thank you for making this possible.

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