A Day In The Life Of A Freelance Proofreader And Editor
Ever wonder what a freelancer’s typical day is like? Are our lives as flexible and laid-back as you’ve been led to believe? Do we really work hard?
Working from home may not be glamorous, but it’s a very rewarding and fulfilling way to work, especially if you have a family. A 2016 report by Freelancers Union and Upwork states that there are now 55 million independent workers in the US — that’s 35% of the workforce!
I’ve been a freelance proofreader and editor for over 11 years now, and I love it. Here’s a look at what a regular day working from home is like for me.
7:30 am Wake Up
The alarm or my son wakes me up. I get up, make coffee, and go cuddle with him for a few minutes until the coffee’s done brewing. When it’s ready I start breakfast and we do our morning routine of getting ready for school. Walking my son to school is one of my favourite parts of the day. It’s our special mommy-son time.
9:15 am Tidy Up & Check Email
When I arrive back home I’ll spend a few minutes cleaning up from the morning rush, then I’ll settle in with another cup of coffee to check email and social media. I reply to emails from clients, and answer questions from students in my High-Level Proofreading Pro course, and who are taking my free masterclass.
9:45 am Meditate & Visualize
I have a little morning routine that involves focusing my mind and centering myself. This is very important to me as it sets the tone for the day.
I’ll start by writing in my gratitude journal, and then I’ll write one page in my regular journal. Next I’ll do my favourite: visualization.
I find visualization to be very empowering and motivating. Sometimes I’ll visualize my day, but usually I like to focus on a specific goal I want to achieve. The proper mindset is a game changer, folks.
10:00 am Proofread & Edit
After that I’ll settle down in front of the computer and start my proofreading and editing work. I turn on some classical, meditative, or jazz music and set it to low—I can’t focus when there are loud noises or people singing.
I only have a limited amount of time to work in peace and quiet, so I make the hours count. I prioritize my projects by deadline, but if there are no rushes I’ll focus chunks of time on each project so I never feel like I’m behind on anything.
Typically I’ll start by proofreading or editing a blog post or article for a client, which I skim through first so I get a grasp of the subject and tone. I keep a notebook nearby so I can jot down any notes or issues that I want to research later or make sure I address.
Then I settle in to work. During this process I’ll get up occasionally to get some water, and will switch from working sitting down to working standing up at some point. It’s not healthy to sit in a chair for long periods of time.
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12:00 pm Lunch Break
At around noon I’ll stop for a quick lunch. Nothing that requires too much work or cleaning up, like a sandwich or leftovers. If it’s a nice day I’ll take a walk to a local place and grab something to take back home to eat, like a wrap or noodle bowl.
While I eat I’ll watch something on YouTube or scroll through social media, replying to comments and messages. A couple times a week I’ll look on job boards to see if there’s anything interesting.
Then I’ll take five minutes to write down my goals for the week or month. It’s another way I visualize and I find that it really motivates me.
I rewrite the same goals every day because the act of writing soothes me, and also to train my subconscious towards my intentions. I’ll keep it on a Post-it on my laptop or put it up on the wall of my work space.
12:30 pm Proofread Books
After lunch I switch to another project. This is my favourite: proofreading novels. I have consistent work with a few publishing houses, so I’m grateful this is a regular part of my day.
I like to make myself a cup of coffee or tea and get cozy on the couch with my laptop. I proofread all genres of fiction such as mystery, romance, science fiction, thriller, comedy, and drama. You can usually find me proofreading romance novels.
If I find myself getting too comfy I go to my desk and work. It’s happened where I was so cozy I started to get sleepy, couldn’t concentrate, and ended up putting the book away and napping instead. Sometimes I indulge—hey, part of freelancing is being able to take an afternoon nap every once in a while!
3:00 – 4:00 pm School Pickup & Socializing
I put away all my work and quickly tidy up our home. Then I head out to pick my son up from school. We usually stay in the school yard for a while so he can play. I also get to spend time chatting with friends—often it’s the only time I get to be social and interact with other humans.
4:00 – 7:30 pm Dinner & Family Time
When we get home I don’t do any work. What I love about freelancing is that my day isn’t a huge chunk of work time—I get to play and relax! This time is spent doing homework, playing or reading with my son, preparing dinner, and having family time before bed. If the weather’s nice we’ll go for a walk or play a bit of soccer.
On days when there’s a rush on a project I’ll let my son play on his own or let him watch a movie while I work, and dinner is probably delivery pizza or something I’ve frozen in case of emergencies.
7:30 pm Chill Time
My husband takes care of the bath/bedtime routine as it’s his chance to have quality time with our son. I usually take that time to relax by texting with friends, calling my mom, reading, or surfing the internet.
8:30 pm Work A Bit More
I’ll squeeze in another couple hours of proofreading a book or another project. At this point I don’t dare work in bed (tried it and fell asleep) so I work at my desk.
10:30 – 11:30 pm Blog Time
I spend an hour on my blog writing posts, designing images, replying to emails, creating quizzes, or doing other related stuff for Art of Proofreading.
11:30 pm – Winding Down & Sleep
My husband and I will spend time together by watching a show or playing word games on the iPad. I know we stay up late, especially for parents, but we’ve always been night owls so it’s hard for us to break the habit.
So that’s my typical day as a freelance proofreader! Not every day is like this, as sometimes I’ll have a writing project or am doing something for my site or business. As a work-at-home parent there’s a lot of flexibility, which is really nice considering I have to manage my work and family life in one place. It takes commitment to establish yourself as a freelancer, but if you do, the hard work will be worth it.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below how you would spend your day as a freelance proofreader.