The importance of intuition (for editing consultants and freelancers)

Editors need good intuition to carry out their work because intuition plays an important role in the task of editing.

Freelance editing consultants need good intuition not only in order to do their job per se, but also so that they stay safe when meeting their clients. Editors also need enough life experience to be a good judge of character. This is especially the case for female freelancers.

Trust your intuition when editing

Editors need three things (at least) to be a good editor: knowledge/training in editing; experience in editing; and an innate ability, or intuition, about what “sounds right” – what is right – when it comes to the written word.

Knowledge and experience in editing without the intuition does not work. Intuition alone, without that knowledge and experience, does not work either.

A good guide as to whether you have an editor’s intuition is: if you really love and are passionate about words, and can’t stand to see words written in a clunky way or with spelling or punctuation errors, then you are intuitively an editor. All you need to be a real editor is the training/knowledge in professional editing, and industry experience.

Trust your intuition about staying safe

If you’re a freelance editor, you shouldn’t meet a client anywhere that is not a more or less public space, unless you know the person well, or unless you are sure there is no risk in doing so.

Female editors: if you do think it is not risky to meet the person in a private space, such as in your home-office, you should have a back-up plan or person in place, in case you end up with a client who may not be ‘safe’. Make sure you do not meet a person in their own home or somewhere secluded outside your office, unless you are 100% sure it is safe to do so. 

Where does your intuition fit, in all of this?

As a freelancer it is entirely up to you to decide whether or not to take on a new client. If your intuition radar is turned on, your intuition can tell you quite soon after meeting a potential client – via Zoom, or phone, or face to face –  whether they are the sort of person you want to work with, while your logical brain will tell you whether theirs is the sort of project you want to work on.

Your intuition can be a strong guide in working out whether or not it is risky to meet a specific client in a private space such as your office, or theirs.

It can also guide you in reviewing that decision; for example, if you are alone with a client and then you suddenly feel the situation may not be safe, you should always take action, as follows.

  • If you’re in your own office, ask your back-up person to come into the room, or hover nearby and make it clear to the client that your backup is on standby, so to speak. If your intuition tells you that you are now safe, you can continue your meeting. If it doesn’t, you should ask the client to leave, and if they don’t want to leave, use your back-up plan to make them leave.
  • If you’re in the client’s home or office, and suddenly their manner changes and this makes you feel unsafe, make an excuse (any excuse!) and leave immediately. And rather than meet that client in a private space again, suggest you both meet in a more public place (such as a library or cafe). That is, unless your intuition tells you that you don’t want to work with them in future.
  • If you’re in a public place (which is comparatively safe) with a client and your intuition tells you that you may not be safe, it is still best to make up an excuse and leave, because if your intuition is telling you a situation is not safe, it probably isn’t.
  • Wherever you are, if your intuition suddenly tells you that you are in danger, act on it immediately – usually the best thing to do would be to leave the situation.

Safety rules for freelance editors

Some people have stronger or clearer intuition than others. And intuition is not foolproof. Some people suffer from previous trauma and may be triggered to think a situation is unsafe, when it is actually safe, so their feelings of safety or lack of safety are not always based on the current situation or person.

When it comes to personal safety as a female freelancer, it is best to come up with a set of rules to ensure your safety and stick to them. Here are some tips about that: Female freelancers: how to stay safe.

Image: SW Kane.

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