Interview: Simon Woolley, Editor & Writer

In this series of posts we talk to residents and members of the co-working studio to find out about their work and how they ended up here. You can find more interviews here

Cluster: What do you do?

Simon: I'm a freelance editor and writer for consumer magazines and websites – mainly automotive, but I've also contributed to music and photography outlets. From April to September, I'm also involved with helping to organise and run a number of outdoor events across the UK.

Cluster: How long have you been doing it?

Simon: For 22 years, though I've only been freelance for the last four of those.

Cluster: What does your day-to-day work involve?

Simon: It depends on what stage of the production cycle I'm at, but I'm either researching, interviewing, writing, briefing, organising or directing photoshoots, subbing, proofing or signing-off pages — unless it's deadline, in which case, all of the above. Tools? It’s mainly an Adobe-fest — InDesign, Photoshop, Lightroom, Acrobat — plus Wordpress and, of course, the mighty pen.

Cluster: Tell us why you use a co-working space

Simon: I worked in very noisy, very busy publishing houses for almost 20 years – to go straight from that scenario to working at home in the relative quiet would have been next-to-impossible when I went freelance four years ago, and even now I'm not sure I could do it.

Cluster: Where did you work before Cluster?

Simon: At various publishing houses in and around the west country – the last was Future in Bath for nine years. I'm based full-time at Cluster now, unless I'm away on a photoshoot or off interviewing someone.

Cluster: Tell us something have you learned since working at Cluster

Simon: I've lived in Stroud for a long time and thought I had the measure of the place and the people, but I've met such a wide variety of different and interesting folk since being based at Cluster that it's completely changed my perception.

Cluster: What have you found challenging about being self-employed/working remotely?

Simon: 'Don't sweat the small stuff' is a terrible idiom. When it comes to running a business, I've found that the small stuff is the big stuff.

Cluster: Do you have any advice for people starting out self-employed or working out of the office?

Simon: If you need a business bank account, get the application in motion as soon as you can, and constantly chase the bank — it takes way longer to arrange than you would think. I had to phone up a client and ask them to withhold paying my first invoice because the account wasn't active in time, which was embarrassing.

Cluster: How can people find your work online?

Simon: I'm @fireproof_simon on Instagram and @simon_woolley on Twitter. Also check out @classicfordmag on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.