8 Signs You Should Be a Freelance Editor (Not a Writer)

Editing not Writing

Do you ever question whether you’re truly cut out to be a freelance writer? I hate to be the hair in your spaghetti (we can all agree that hair in your food is the worst thing ever, right?) but, well, you know – maybe you’re not cut out for it. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a freelancing career that involves words. Maybe you should become an editor instead. Here are some telltale signs that you should be a freelance editor, not a writer:

1. You Find it Hard to Write on Demand

Another day, another uninspiring article to churn out, amirite? And maybe it’s not even that the article’s uninspiring. Maybe you just don’t have the brain power today. You just. can’t. get. the. words. out. It happens to all of us, sure. But does it happen to you a little too often? Is it a daily, or at least several times weekly, occurrence? If so, you may have a problem. Fortunately, with editing the words are already there. Your job is simply to make them better.

2. You Think Writing Should Only Be Done When Inspired

Do you think writing is something you should do when you feel inspired? Do you believe that’s how the only stuff worth reading is produced? Does having to be creative on a deadline suck the fun out of it for you? Or, worse still, do you end up writing crap when you’re not in that magical writing mood? If you don’t want to write unless you feel like it, making a career out of it is probably not a wise move. Perhaps you’d be better off working with ready-made words, a la editing.

3. You Write Slowly

If you’re a slow writer, I’m guessing you’re either not enjoying the work you do (which in itself is a sign that perhaps you shouldn’t be a freelance writer), or you’re too much of a perfectionist and it gets in the way of you making progress. Either way, this probably means your hourly rate doesn’t amount to much. That, or you have to charge exorbitant prices to allow you to make a living (though I’m guessing it’s the former). So – would you be better off editing? Would you be faster at it? And would you therefore make a better living from it? Besides, the aim of the game is perfection when you’re editing, so your perfectionist tendencies won’t be a hindrance – they’ll be what make you a good editor.

4. Freelance Writing Interferes with Your Personal Writing

If you spend all your working hours completing writing assignments for clients, do you have any creative energy left over for your own writing? You know – the stuff you really want to write? You can’t write every hour of every day. But maybe you can write for half of them, and edit for the other half. (Alright, if you want to be realistic about it, you can also throw in a little time for sleep, food, and Netflix binges.) I’m not promising it’ll be any easier to write your own stuff if you choose to follow an editing career over a writing one, but hey, it might. That really depends on you.

5. You Notice Typos EVERYWHERE

Are you the type of smug bastard who leaves comments on blog posts when you spot a typo? (Okay, okay, this can be helpful. But you’d better be nice about it! *shakes fist*) Or are you just inwardly smug when you catch a typo in a book you’re reading? If you want to put your typo-centric superiority complex to better use, becoming a freelance editor could be just the thing.

6. You Hate Doing Research

The beautiful thing about editing is that the research is already done for you. (Well, and the writing.) So if you despise researching stuff on topics you’re just not that interested in, or if you find it challenging and overwhelming to organise your research into something structured and readable, you can forgo it altogether by becoming an editor instead.

7. You Are Crazy Pedantic About Grammar

Does it bug you that I just wrote ‘crazy pedantic’, when technically it should be ‘crazily pedantic’? Help people correct their annoying mistakes by becoming an editor! (Although admittedly you’ll need to find the balance between being a grammar nazi and retaining the author’s voice. Good writers learn the rules of grammar so they can break them in style, you know.)

8. Your Favourite Part of the Writing Process is Editing

Do you find it a struggle to get the words out in the first place, but find your flow as soon as it comes time to start redrafting? Then… isn’t it obvious? That editing is already your favourite part of the process? Sooo, why not just do that, eh?

Want to Become a Freelance Fiction Editor?

So – how are you feeling? Is any of this ringing true to you? If so, I have just the thing! I’ve joined forces with my trusted friend, kickass editor Sophie Playle of Liminal Pages, to create Start Fiction Editing – a course to help you build a fiction editing business from scratch. Its focus is 100% on fiction, rather than non-fiction, so if your idea of a good time is locking all the doors, brewing endless cups of tea, and reading novels all day, it could be for you.

The inaugural class commences on 1 June 2016, and as I write this there are only 3 places remaining on it. We’re running the inaugural course at a highly discounted rate of just £199, though up until 1 June, you can also register for the next session of the course (beginning on 3 August) for that same price. After that, the price will be going up to at least £299.

Check it out at StartFictionEditing.com, where you’ll find everything you need to know about the course, including who it’s for and what’s covered.

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