Sometimes you just have to close your eyes, take a deep breath, and jump in with both feet.
exactly kind of what I did last Friday when I quit my day job (which sounds drastic, but in reality I was only working 5 hours a week) so I could focus solely on what I really wanted to do: freelance copy editing and proofreading. The relief I felt upon giving my notice was immense – and short lived.
The weekend flew by. Our two kids, both in college, ended up coming home for the night on Saturday, so there was lots of activity and little time to ponder my future. Then Monday morning rolled around, and as I was sipping my first cup of coffee and pondering my third Wordle guess, it hit me:
I was unemployed. Unemployed by choice, yes, but still unemployed.
Okay, I’m being a bit melodramatic. One, my husband makes a very comfortable living, and we don’t have a ton of debt. Two, the few hours I had been working as a cashier and buyer for a very small grocery store barely qualified as income. Three, I do have some freelance copy editing work coming in. The fear of being unemployed wasn’t really based on money, or lack of.
It was the fear of the unknown.
My first instinct was to start applying for jobs: copy editing jobs, content writing jobs, proofreading jobs – any jobs that had contained some aspect of editing, writing, or proofreading. As I scrolled and scrolled through available openings on LinkedIn, Indeed, and Glassdoor, I became more and more discouraged. Nothing appealed to me. I didn’t want to write SEO-driven web copy, or proofread newsletters for medical professionals, or head up an editorial department at a marketing firm (not that I’m qualified to do that, but the search algorithms were sure I’d be a “top applicant”). The thought of spending another year, month, or even one day doing something I didn’t love made my head throb.
Then don’t, I said to myself. Figure out what you do want to do, and then figure out how to do it.
So that’s what I did.
Thinking back, I can’t remember exactly how I finally narrowed it down to the specific job I wanted to do (yes, I know it was only yesterday, but my brain has been on overdrive for the past twenty-four hours). But once I found it, every cell in my body cried out “Yes! That’s it! What took you so long?”
Here it is: I want to be a trade book copy editor and proofreader.
Oh, you may be saying. That’s it? Isn’t that kind of what you already do? I was expecting something more…well, exciting.
On the surface, it may seem like it’s not really different from the copy editing and proofreading I’m already doing. However, copy editing and proofreading a manuscript requires a different skill set than copy editing and proofreading website content or social copy. A manuscript is much, much longer than a web article or a Facebook post, meaning it requires one to focus for longer periods of time and to be able to recall minute details. As someone who reads voraciously, reading and catching errors as I read is my dream job.
And you know what? I’ve spent most of my working life supporting the dreams of others. It’s high time I focused on my dream – and made it my reality.