Robyn Anakin Veary is a full-time text editor and author, to put it simply. She loves to assist writers of all disciplines, genres, and levels of experience with improving their writing through educational and (hopefully) helpful text editing.
Please tell us more about what you do and how long you’ve been a freelancer:
I am a text-editor by title and by blood! I became full-time in 2015 after realising that teaching was not my vocation. I provide a variety of additional writing-improvement services: proofreading, formatting and typesetting, manuscript assessment, reference checking, audio transcription, and as of this year, indexing. I enjoy learning, so gaining these skills was a treat for me and a boon for my business. I am also a self-published author, which is the other half of how I spend my days. I have been writing since I was 12, but I only finished my first novel in 2016. I self-published that, threw myself completely into editing, and only really started writing full-time in 2021.
What does a day in your life look like?
While working from home provides freedom for one’s days, I find that routine helps me to be productive. At the beginning of each week, I write down the projects I have on the go and the tasks I need to complete in that week to keep those projects moving forward. From there, I assign three to five activities to each day, so I never get to my desk in the morning wondering what I need to do that day. I’ve already made the decision, so I can start working immediately.
I work from home, so I could wake up and start whenever I like, but again, routine is better for me. I roll out of bed and get dressed around 05:45; and by 06:00, the coffee is on. Then it’s regular morning things, such as painting, drawing or reading, until about 08:00 or 08:30 when I start working. I eat breakfast when I’m hungry and work until 13:00, when I take a long break. This, as often as I can manage it, includes a walk or a stint in the garden to weed or tend to the veggies. I aim to be back at the desk by 14:00 or 14:30, and then I work until I can’t work anymore. The day’s work could be for my text-editing clients or on my latest writing project or, as is the case now, both.
Where/how do you find inspiration?
Inspiration is like perspiration: it comes when you put in the work. Over the last three years, I have realised that inspiration is less important than effort because it is the effort that brings ideas and motivation, not the other way around. That said, moments of inspiration strike often while I listen to music, baking, or in my dreams (I have action-packed dreams, one of which inspired my latest story that I’m planning on publishing in the next month or two).
What advice do you have for other freelancers?
The advice to do one thing that scares you each day is advice I find unhelpful. Rather, each day, complete a small task as early in the morning as you can. Finishing is a skill, just like writing and reading. The more tasks you finish, the better you become at completing projects (Oh, and the boost to the self-esteem cannot be overlooked).
How long have you been a Safrean, and why are you a member of Safrea?
I’ve been a PEGger since 2015, and I learnt about Safrea around that time as well; but being so focused on editing, I didn’t look into Safrea until last year! Can you believe it? The benefits of being a Safrean and the inexpensive membership fee made it a no-brainer, and it made me question why it took me so long to join. Since becoming a Safrean in April 2023, I have discovered there is still more that I gain by being a member. My favourite thing is definitely the access to the webinars because, as I’ve mentioned, I love to learn.
What is your work/life motto?
Which life? Which work? When I was sixteen, my motto was: “It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities,” because making choices and being okay with them is difficult, especially when one is sixteen. When I was twenty-one and starting to work, it was: “The future is scary, but you can’t just run back to the past because it’s familiar.” Gotta love that Robin Scherbatsky wisdom! Nowadays, my maxim for everything (just about) is: “Done is better than perfect. Perfect is the enemy of the good,” which reminds me to strive for completion, not perfection.