So it has come to this. If you are an editor, you are probably either looking for a job or will soon be. And the prospects are uniformly grim, even for a world-famous author like yrs trly. The work is gone. Well, that’s not quite right. The full-time, health-insurance kind of work is gone– but that doesn’t mean that editorial labors are forever vanished, to Bangalore or the archives of obsolescence.
Nope, text still needs someone to futz with it, and people still need editors. Sometimes. They have discovered that they don’t really need to keep them around all the time, though– where’s the immediate profit in that?– and so the field has largely become contract work. As someone who may have little other career skills to her name besides editing, you may be thinking dark thoughts at this point. Stable employment is a sweet thing, only truly appreciated (like most sweet things) when lost.
Oh, but be cheery, my literate friend! The life of the freelancer is ultimately the life of an adventurer. Once you pick up the right entrepreneurial tricks, you will discover that being a free agent has its perks. Sure, you won’t be able to afford to get that molar crowned anytime soon, but you are free to seek competing bids for your time and talent. You are effectively building a small business with little overhead, as the product emanates directly from that shapely brain of yours. (Such ridges!)
Eventually, as positive word of your brand spreads, you’ll be able to take work more in alignment with your interests, rather than just the work that will keep the lights on and keep the PBR stocked in your fridge. And you may just end up with better opportunities than if you’d stayed chained at the copyediting desk of HVAC Monthly for several more years.
We are being shoved out into the cold plains of competition and commerce, my friends. Might as well have some fun with it. And as far as the health insurance goes… Psst, you can sign on with Mediabistro and then get a shitty plan for as low as a hundred-spot a month. The teeth will go, and forget about prescriptions, but death and dismemberment can at least be forestalled.