Like so many others across the world, I have felt the pinch of lockdown and the general uncertainty surrounding COVID-19.
My day job is working part-time at a well-known supermarket. As a result of the pandemic, they have had to reduce their staff schedules – both now and for the foreseeable future.
This left me unable to rely on overtime to support my family, and after a week or so of scouring job sites, reworking my CV more times than I care to count, and selling everything that was not screwed down, I had an epiphany.
I sat and reflected on what my skill and my passion is, and how I could turn it into a profitable career. Many a brainstorm, doodle, and diary entry later, I realised I had this skill and passion right in front of me all along.
Being a self-proclaimed ‘Grammar Nazi’ at school during the nineties and early noughties does not do great things for your popularity. In fact, professing a love of words, language, and how to structure a sentence to a class full of bronzed Britney fans only manages to put a target on your back!
I was not a cool teenager. I was intelligent and philosophical, but painfully underconfident. I watched most of my peers with a quiet confusion, usually with my nose in a book. Whilst others were crying over Robbie leaving Take That, I was exploring the Shire with Frodo, falling in love with Mr Rochester, or waiting for my own Hogwarts letter.
One day, my ideas and daydreams flew out of my head and onto blank pages and I began to write. Stories, poems, reviews, lyrics, descriptive text – you name it, I wrote it!
From then on, writing became my therapy, allowing me to express myself in a way nothing else has.
Looking back, I should have followed this path right away, trusting my talent from the start. As it happens, when the time came to enter higher education, I took a Drama and Performing Arts course, choosing to battle my confidence issues instead.
Lockdown And Learning
Fast forward to present day me – COVID-19 hit, and I found myself with way more free time than I knew what to do with! By week 3 of lockdown, I’d had my epiphany and decided to take the leap into becoming a writer.
It was my partner who made me realise that just because the words come easily to me, it doesn’t mean my skills aren’t valuable. He has been working on a book series for a long time now, and by his own admission, cannot get it to paper. He knows what he wants, and can describe each moment in detail, but putting things down in writing is a struggle for him.
Suddenly, the path forward became clear.
My partner asked me to get more involved and become his ghost-writer. This then led to the discovery of proofreading and copyediting as a sustainable career opportunity.
For years, proofreading was something I had done for friends and family without always realising it. They have often sent me documents to edit – such as CVs, job applications, and even University dissertations!
When researching my new career, I found that although there were writing courses available to me, many successful copy editors started out how I intended to – with passion and a pen.
And so HayleyJaneEditing was born.
As of this article’s publication, I am still working my day job – because unfortunately dreams and aspirations don’t quite pay the bills! However, it’s exciting to know that this is only a temporary stepping-stone on the path to my true career as an editor and author.
So as much as COVID-19 has been a difficult time for us all, and I can’t begin to imagine the devastation some have experienced as a result of it, for me personally the past few months have given me the chance to finally pursue my passion.
And that is something I will always be grateful for.