A rare morning

Michael Thorn
3 min readDec 14, 2021
Photo by Richard Horvath on Unsplash

…no freelance deadline outstanding.

So, a rare morning when I have no freelance deadline outstanding.

I began freelancing on Upwork soon after the start of lockdown in 2020. My busy life of two or three trips to London per week, for book events (ACHUKA) and test shooting for model agencies (photography), alongside occasional visits to schools as a trainee teacher tutor, came to an abrupt halt.

The university’s education department had to rush through online study units for the trainees who would not be able to be in school, let alone attend lectures on campus. I was asked to proofread the materials — and rather enjoyed it. It brought back the time when I had picked apart an OFSTED report and identified so many grammatical and spelling errors in it that the Chief Inspector at the time, Chris Woodhead, personally apologised to the school’s headteacher.

I can’t remember now how I discovered Upwork, but I joined, quickly began to pick up work, and have been proofreading and editing for a few hours a day ever since. Recently I have been mainly editing PhD papers and discovering that scientists write much cleaner prose than researchers in the humanities, who seem to think that being erudite involves either writing very long sentences that have no syntactical logic, or very short sentences with multiple citations arbitrarily attached. It’s all enjoyable, though, and the content is, in the main, fascinating.

I’ve also worked on a Canadian’s coming-of-age memoir, a YA fantasy, a crime adventure trilogy, a short story anthology, a series of online articles about the history of Hinduism, and a wide range of blog posts.

I’d like to do more long-form fiction in 2022 but, as a freelancer, you take what comes. And one thing’s for sure — I can’t see the previous, pre-Covid pattern of my life returning. My photography, in particular, has been forced into a new direction (but that’s a subject for a separate post).

ACHUKA—my long-running website promoting the best children’s books available in the UK—ticks along, albeit without the in-person attendance at book launches and prize presentations, although I dare to hope that that particular aspect of my life will return some time in 2022. ACHUKA was launched in 1997 so will be 25 years old next…