In my previous years of Libro work, December has been really quiet, as people seemed to feel they needed to leave me alone for Christmas. This was usually a bit frustrating, as the University where I worked gave us a lot of time off over Christmas and I was raring to get on with stuff with nothing to get on with. This year, I knew I had Jury Service starting in early January, so I thought I’d be able to take advantage of the downtime to get a bit of rest, get some work done on my Iris Murdoch project and pre-write all the blog posts I needed to cover the time I’d be out of the office.
It didn’t quite work out like that! I’d have been even busier than this if two big writing projects hadn’t slipped back (through no fault of my own, just circumstances). I had Christmas Day off, but apart from that I worked pretty solidly. As we all know by now, I left my library job on 12 December, and I actually corresponded with a potential client the evening of my leaving do – I must have done a decent job with the good old Blackberry, as I ended up booking in the work for that week! I then went on to a mixture of pre-booked and just-in-time work for various clients, old and new …
Edited some articles for a local academic who’s a non-native speaker, including putting the documents and bibliographies into the specific format demanded by the publications for which they were written. Also edited English translations for two agencies, one in China and one in Poland, and did the usual checking for my long-term translator client and my French HR consultant who’s writing a series of blog posts.
I transcribed quite a lot this month: a long webinar for my novelist client (more of her later) and I had a large project for an agency, transcribing presentations given at an international conference by non-native speakers of English (on the whole: things got a bit faster when I got the odd British or American presenter, but it was all interesting!).
I wrote some web text and a downloadable “dos and don’ts” piece for my retail shelving client and had a chat on the phone with their new SEO people as I’ll be writing more web content for them in the New Year.
I proofread a PhD thesis and several essays and dissertations, both for my direct clients and the ones I work for via a larger student proofreading company. I’ve got a couple of coaching clients booked in – I proofread their work but also make suggestions on how they can improve their written English, write out lists of common mistakes they make, etc., throughout their course.
Of course, that’s what we call proofreading, but isn’t really – I did also do a proper proofread on a long sectionof a big document outlining responsibilities and guidelines for the updated manual of a professional body, comparing the new version with the older one to make sure they matched but any dates were changed appropriately.
And I did a final line-edit on a novel by a successful self-published author. I had to read the first novel in the series so I could check for continuity, noticed the odd issue in that one and ended up doing an edit on that book, too, so I spent much of Christmas Eve and Boxing Day concentrating on fast-paced religious thrillers set in various catacombs and other exciting places – not traditional Christmas fare, maybe, but very interesting!
I did manage to work half days in the week between Christmas and New Year, more or less, with just some student work to get on with. And my lovely regular clients are all aware of the Jury Service and keeping things as light as possible for these two weeks.
In the end, December was a very busy and successful month, which encouraged me to think that yes, it was a good idea to leave the Library after all! I had my best month yet for income, which meant I nearly met the biggest of my three targets for the calendar year – so I set some ambitious ones for this year, too.
Things were a bit quiet on the networking front, it being the festive season, but I did have time for some socialising, and I also started my new blog, which is going to chart my experience as I take Libro full-time.