Proofreading, copy-editing and dreaming about vegetables during lockdown: the sequel

Well, it’s three months since my blog post about how I’d been doing since the lockdown started in March. The subtitle to this blog post is deliberately tongue in cheek, because the update is that not a great deal has changed. I’m still doing virtually nothing in terms of socialising in person, apart from seeing one friend for a socially distanced walk once a week. Visiting my parents has become incredibly difficult since the weather turned autumnal and Solihull entered a tier 2 and then a tier 3 lockdown. This means that we’re not allowed to enter other people’s homes or socialise in their gardens, of course.

On a more positive note, the proofreading and copy-editing work has continued to flow in since the short-lived hiccup early in the first full lockdown, and until today I’ve been pretty busy. I’ve been working on a really good variety of things, which is one of the things I like about my proofreading work. Here’s a taste:

  • an article about setting research agendas in relation to oral healthcare
  • a dystopian thriller
  • an article about French women’s influence on British culture in the early twentieth century
  • a Regency romance
  • an article about Twitter and the Gezi Park movement
  • a PhD thesis about Margaret Atwood’s novels
  • news releases about new medical software manufactured in Switzerland

It’s been great getting my teeth into all of this work – apart from paying the bills, the work keeps me distracted to quite a large extent from all the worry and stress of the situation that we’re all having to deal with right now.

Vegetable news

My new hobby of vegetable growing has come on in leaps and bounds. I successfully grew lettuces and coriander over the summer, with successive planting so there were always leaves to pick for my sandwiches at lunchtime. I picked the final (admittedly bedraggled and a bit slug eaten) one today (11 December).

My autumn planting went well too. I’ve planted onion sets and garlic, which should be ready to pick next spring or summer. And I have 10 rows of spinach on the go. The spinach has suffered because of too much rain and some slug damage, but I enjoy picking a handful of leaves when I want to and adding them to what I’m cooking straightaway. And my kale plants are looking pretty healthy. The main issue with kale is being able to eat it quickly enough – how many recipes can one successfully cook with kale?! If I’m going to all this effort to grow vegetables, though, you can be sure I’ll do whatever it takes to eat them, even if we have to eat kale stew twice a week for the next six months! I’ve discovered a great recipe for making a very hearty pesto with kale, so that’s been a regular feature over the last couple of months.

Meetings with colleagues

I’ve continued to organise our local group Zoom meetings of the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading with Jenny Gibson. These have been really great and it’s been so good to chat about work with familiar and new faces. We’ve had a couple of new members join over the last few months, which is always something we welcome. It’s good to share our experiences with people who are new to proofreading and editing and for them to share their previous work experiences with us. Editorial professionals are a pretty varied bunch who come from all sorts of work backgrounds, and it’s always interesting to hear about people’s journey to the freelance world.

After we changed the clocks in October and and we started drawing the curtains earlier and earlier, I decided I needed a new hobby. I decided to have a go at embroidery again, which is something I did when I was about 10 but haven’t touched since then. I’ve warned my friends that if they’re not nice to me I’ll inflict some clumsily embroidered gift on them at Christmas. I’m thinking probably something that I’ll frame and therefore expect to be on their living room wall the next time I visit (in some post-lockdown ideal world when I’m actually allowed in). I’ve really enjoyed the slow pace of sewing and have found it very therapeutic and relaxing.

So although there’s nothing revolutionary to report in my sequel blog post, all is well in my small world. The fact that I so enjoy my work is such a help and I’m aware that I’m fortunate to be in this position. I tackle each day’s grammar issues and comma tangles with great enthusiasm – weirdly, they really do brighten up my day (when I’ve sorted them out, that is!).