KOK Edit: Your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM)
KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) Katharine O'Moore Klopf

Friday, December 03, 2021

The Stages of Life and Being a Freelance Editor

My family and I are dealing with change, and two of the the things it will do for me are (1) decrease stress levels and (2) eventually allow me to get back to teaching editing courses and attending (virtual) editing conferences. I've missed teaching and intense learning so much!

My 86-year-old mother-in-law, who has dementia, has now been declared eligible for Medicaid* coverage, so she can get the constant support she needs in a long-term memory-care facility. This will be helpful for her, and it will provide reassurance and stress reduction for my family. I have been her daytime caregiver in our home for several years now, and things are at the point that we no longer feel that we can keep up with her care needs.

I'm posting this to let those of you new to freelancing know that your career in self-employment will go through stages over the years, and you can find ways to make it work.

Here are the stages that I edited through:

  • I began freelancing full time 2 weeks after my second child was born. I often ended up, when he was a baby, editing onscreen while he slept on my chest in a baby sling.
  • I had a third child 6 years later; baby-sling time again.
  • Had frequent #StetWalk** breaks necessitated by chasing toddlers around the house.
  • Took breaks from my computer to supervise homework sessions and to read with my kiddos.
  • Did parenting between editing bouts and during editing.
  • Relearned how to edit in total quiet while my kiddos were at school.
  • Lived through the kiddos' adolescence, years getting degrees, and years getting their first jobs, because they have lived with us as young adults and could always vent to me when they got home for the day or night.
  • Trained my retired in-laws, who lived with us, that "freelancing" does not mean "available to chat at every moment throughout the day."
  • Periodically got to lunch here at home with my mate, a cabinetmaker, who was self-employed for a time instead of being an employee who worked an hour away from home.
  • Took work breaks to assist my mother-in-law in providing care to my father-in-law, who had Alzheimer disease.
  • Realized that my exercise routine had become going down and then back up the stairs between the part of the house that is where my husband and I live and the part where my widowed mother-in-law was living, so that I could test her blood sugar three times a day and administer insulin, because she developed type 2 diabetes and felt overwhelmed at handling it all on her own.
  • Became my mother-in-law's daytime caregiver when it became apparent that she had dementia and needed me to make her healthy meals and needed supervision for daily life tasks.

And here I am, still editing. You too can do the tough things.

*Medicaid provides health-care coverage to Americans who qualify, including those with low incomes like my mother-in-law.

** https://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/what-is-stetwalk

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