Ricky Woods is a retired English teacher who has been writing, editing and proofreading for many years. She fell in love with academic editing and her freelance skills include article research and writing, story writing, ghost writing, creating language material for English FAL; developing study courses in a range of subjects and, of course, editing which includes academic work, blogs and web articles.
Describe yourself in two sentences.
I like to think of myself as a lifelong learner. Particularly if it has anything to do with words: editing, writing, reading.
Please tell us more about what you do and how long you’ve been a freelancer.
I have just retired from almost 40 years as a high school English teacher. The freelance editing began by chance about 12 years ago when a fellow Toastmaster (who knows my English background) asked me to edit his wife’s PhD. It was a serendipitous occasion! I am seldom happier than when I am making my way through someone’s thesis or article (except when I am reading a good book).
What does a day in your life look like?
Since the retirement has literally just happened, I am still in a kind of holiday mode, but it is already picking up pace. I am sure it is going to be far easier not having to balance what had effectively become two full-time jobs.
Where/how do you find inspiration?
I really enjoy editing, so it’s not something I have to force myself to do. For a change of pace, I do a bit of copywriting for some local websites. I am looking forward to having a bit more time to garden and exercise.
What advice do you have for other freelancers?
Someone I respect greatly in PEG (Professional Editors’ Guild) said that one needs to spend the time when you are not working by promoting yourself. I must admit that I have not done much of that but have relied on word of mouth. This year, for the first time, I had so much work that I was passing it on to colleagues. So, in terms of advice: join groups of like-minded people; participate in the discussions; don’t get involved in pettiness. Above all, be patient. The work will come.
How long have you been a Safrean, and why are you a member of Safrea?
About four or five years. I recall deciding to become more deliberate about getting myself upskilled and that was part of the process. During Covid, I attended as many webinars as I could. Safrea also started having monthly coffee meetings, which I attended. It’s great to realise that you are part of a group because what we do is often quite solitary. Networking and friendships are very important.
What is your work/life motto?
I don’t think I have ever put this into words, but I have a notion that ‘my word is my bond’, so I don’t ever deliver work that is sub-par. I take pride in what I do, and it has paid dividends in terms of returning customers.