Jodie Blaney got her start in the educational book publishing industry about fifteen years ago. While she worked mainly in sales and marketing, she began taking on editorial work as well, assessing books for the post-secondary market and working as an editor for an English as a Second Language textbook. From there, she began working on a freelance editing career, and decided to go independent a few years ago.
She says she was “drawn to freelancing because I really wanted to manage my own time, and to work independently on projects; and to just approach my work on more of a project management perspective.” And because she also works as a visual artist, she finds freelancing allows her the scheduling flexibility to “expand on the other creative side of myself.”
When working on academic editing, she likes to have two things close at hand: a reference sheet for punctuation and quotation marks, and a guide to academic formatting, such as an APA guide or Oxford style sheet. “Have them just right on your desk so you can reach for them,” she advises.
Today, Jodie works mainly in creative corporate copywriting for websites, creating content, sales landing pages and marketing materials, with a particular focus on sales and marketing. She also provides ghostwriting services and manuscript completion. One of her favourite jobs so far was working with a client to complete a first novel, by helping to flesh out and develop the characters. She enjoyed the experience of essentially co-writing a novel, and getting to help someone determine the ending of their book and expand on their characters.
For Jodie, the best part of freelancing is getting to work with a large network of clients on project-based work. She particularly enjoys cultivating a long-term relationship with her clients. “For me, I just really like the flexibility to manage my time, manage my customers, and I find it very challenging.” She finds, however, that sometimes the required research can prove difficult, especially for very technical pieces or unfamiliar subject areas.
To those who are considering getting into content writing for websites or article writing, she recommends creating a brief outline of the project first, that you can provide to a client for approval before you begin delving into the actual piece. “Create a kind of framework that you can agree upon and then go into detailed writing, rather than kind of having to go back and revise everything.”
She also recommends to those just starting out in the profession that you focus on building up a portfolio as soon as possible, even if it means taking “jobs that maybe aren’t in your ideal rate to begin with, but to have faith and confidence that you will be in high demand if you put in the work early on.” Instead of always worrying about your hourly rate, “look at your income in a big-picture way, what it works out to monthly or yearly; don’t get fixated on the hourly.”
You can learn more about Jodie on her website, Blaney Writing Services.