The Pyjama Myth: The Freelance Writer's Survival Guide

By Sian Meades-Williams

Every single freelance writer is winging it. Sometimes they're even doing it while wearing pyjamas.

Wednesday, 26 May 2021

Here's what's happening now

The relief when you finish a huge project is palpable. Hitting send on the book manuscript felt exhausting and brilliant in equal measure. My to-do list was finally free of the thing that had been lurking on it for months! I could play video games without the nagging feeling of guilt dragging me back to my desk.

You've already had the email telling you that the book has gone into the development edit stage. What does this mean? It means an editor has spent the last few weeks poring over my 58,000 words and properly honing them. Giving them a bit more shape. Flagging every single time I use the word "really" (234, apparently). It's more than a lick and a polish (that comes later), it's about pulling out my themes and ideas, and making the book really shine (there's another really). After you've spent over a year staring at the same document, you need someone else to do this. You can't see your work any more.

Something's happening while you're waiting for that edit to come back (not just biting your nails because you're incredibly nervous about what someone outside of your early readers might think). You don't realise it, but you're preparing yourself for the next stage. You relax and rest, because goodness knows you need it. And you have some much-needed time away from your work so you can be objective about it again. I didn't realise until this week how important that breathing space was.

Yesterday the edits landed back in my inbox. And today I'm ready for them. I'm going in.


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