By Rachel Edidin on February 19, 2014
Well, no–not quite. But this Saturday marks my first anniversary as a freelance editor and writer, and I am celebrating early by signing the contract for my editorial dream gig*–both of which seem like good occasions to sit back and take inventory of the last twelve months.
On February 22, 2013, I left my job at Dark Horse Comics to go freelance. I had laid infrastructure in place, but I really, really didn’t know how and whether my plans were going to work out.
A year later, I’ve hit every single one of my five-year goals.
That’s not that remarkable–one of the things I’ve learned over the past year is that I chronically underestimate myself, and I particularly tend to underestimate both my professional reputation and the commercial value of the services I offer and the skills I bring to them. But it is exciting. It means I’ve got a solid foundation to build from. I have long-term contracts that give me the freedom to pick and choose individual projects that interest and challenge me, and for the first time since I started working in publishing in 2006, I feel like I know exactly who and where I am professionally. I’m doing exactly what I want to be doing.
There’s a popular illusion of lone-wolf freelancers, but the reality is often just the opposite. Quitting my job at Dark Horse was terrifying, but I did it confident that I had an amazing safety net supporting me. If it weren’t for those people, I wouldn’t have jumped in the first place–and I certainly wouldn’t have had covered so much ground since.
Thank you, so much:
The friends and colleagues who have supported, advised, and cheered me through this process; in particular, Douglas Wolk, who, when I was in the middle of a frustrated and miserable job hunt, sat me down and gently pointed out that while the job I wanted might not exist in the want ads, I had the skills and resources to build it myself; Laura Hudson, who went out on a limb to bring me on at Wired; Dylan Meconis, Katie Lane, Kate McMillan, and Greg Ruth, who are collectively responsible for about 90% of my professional polish; as well as my parents, Katie, Kel, Cameron, Indy, Jen, Jenn, Kory, Sfé, Graeme, several Chrises, everyone at Periscope, and many, many more;
My clients, who have trusted me with their creations and stuck with me through the inevitable slips and missteps that came with finding my footing as a freelancer;
The Dark Horse gang, who taught me a tremendous amount about editing comics and bowled me over with their support and encouragement when I decided to strike out on my own after seven years in the fold;
And, above all, Miles Stokes, who has encouraged, supported, and put up with me through every fathomable sort of chaos, panic, and crisis professional or personal; and continues to be the best partner in life and crime any human could ask for.
*Well, one of them. I have a lot of editorial dream gigs. But this one is very, very high on the list.