Did you want to know more about me?
Last week, Joeli from the Tech Editor Hub asked me a few questions about myself and my journey. Every week, Joeli posts a little getting-to-know-you Q&A with someone so that members of her online community, the Uncomfortable Creative Community, can get to know each other.
If you haven't heard of any of these things, you should check them out. Joeli convenes some fantastic courses on tech editing knitting and crochet patterns as well as grading. She also runs some fantastic coaching programs. Her online community, the Uncomfortable Creative, is a great place to meet curious knitters, tech editors, designers and other creatives.
You can read the full thing on the Uncomfortable Creative, or just keep reading below!
Before we get into the questions, please tell us a little about yourself.
I'm Sam Winkler, a tech editor, writer and designer. I live in Manchester (UK) with my partner but I am originally from Germany. Outside of knitting, I enjoy reading, gardening and hiking.
How long have you been running your business and how did you get started?
I was working on a postgraduate degree in 2017 when I realised I needed a more creative, less stressful hobby. I'd been a crafter before but that is when I got really into knitting and started thinking about my own designs. Eventually, I had to take some time off from University for stress and other health reasons and started freelancing as a writer, just for some income. Turns out, I really enjoyed it. Eventually, I started picking up tech editing jobs as well.
After my mom died in 2018, I again took some time off University and after much back and forth over the next year eventually decided not to go back. I started freelancing full time at the start of 2020 and primarily tech edit but also do some pattern writing and grading for designers, as well as general copy editing and writing.
What was one of the biggest wins and one of the biggest challenges that you’ve had in your business?
The biggest win in my business is every time I have a client come back and turn into a regular. It is truly the best sign that I am doing good work and that it is appreciated. It doesn't matter how big the edit, how successful the designer or how popular their patterns; if I can connect with someone to the level that they will want to work with me again I consider it a job well done.
The biggest challenge was just starting out, leaving the more traditional career path, trying to explain freelancing to family and taking all the risks. This is especially true because I always planned on getting a part-time job while starting out, just to have some regular income. I had some good leads for jobs, but then the pandemic hit and suddenly there were no jobs! Talk about baptism by fire!
What have you learnt about yourself since you started running your business?
The most important thing for me is the ability to set my own schedule and my own priorities. Once I was able to do that, I found myself much more productive and more engaged with what I was doing. I love the variety. Every pattern and every designer is different and there is something new to learn all the time. I am probably learning and growing more than I ever did in a formal education setting.
It also turns out, even in the worst of times, I am able to manage my health conditions so much better when I am able to work on my own schedule! I always leave plenty of wiggle room when I set deadlines, so that if I have an "off day", I can just take it off and take care of myself first. Other times, I don't mind working till midnight.
What's your relationship been like with discomfort/stepping outside of your comfort zone?
Sometimes I feel like even stepping outside the house is stepping outside my comfort zone and anything new always produces a lot of feelings of discomfort and anxiety. I used to often avoid anything new or different out of fear. Through time I have found that a more deliberate approach has helped me.
By cultivating a truly safe space, mentally and physically, I can make time to step out of it, whether that is to engage in difficult conversations, meet new people or learn new things. As long as I always know that I have my safe space to return to, I find it easier to allow discomfort into my life, rather than hiding from it.
Of course, this remains a work in progress as boundaries get blurred or I revert to old habits! I try to remember that there is always room for growth.
What are you most excited about right now?
I am really excited about all the possibilities for the future. My business is at a point where I don't have to worry about making ends meet but can instead focus on growing in new directions. I am not yet sure what that will be. My long term plans include writing up some of my own designs, some of which have been in the making for years! I also want to do more fiction writing and maybe dye some yarn. I love the freedom this career path gives me.