Even though I have written about how it’s possible to be a part time freelance writer, I have to be honest and say that this month I’ve found it really tough. I’ve only worked about three days a week, but it’s been hard to fit all my work in. I had a press trip to Queensland in the middle of the month and five days later I headed off to present at The Launceston Freelance Festival. Those kind of opportunities are amazing, but there’s been very little fat in my schedule in April, so it threw things out a bit. Or actually, a lot.
April – a topsy-turvy month
In terms of feature articles for magazines and newspapers, this month I:
Pitched: 4 (this includes re-pitching ideas that have been rejected)
Commissions from pitches or query letters: 1
Offers: 9 (where the editor approached me with a commission)
In terms of feature articles for corporate and B2B clients: (I don’t pitch these)
Because last month was so busy and full on, I spent a lot of April writing and catching up on articles rather than pitching. That said, because I have built strong relationships with editors and clients I still had quite of work flowing in.
Highlights of the month
I went on a press trip, or famil as they are commonly called in Australia, to Tropical North Queensland. Before I went I had one story commissioned and am working to get more articles out of the trip to make sure it’s valuable for both me and the PR who hosted me.
But as well as the amazing food (if you’re ever in Port Douglas make sure you go to Harrison’s), beautiful accommodation and phenomenal experiences, one of the best things about going on a group press trip is meeting other journalists, writers and editors. Having the chance to share stories and experiences with freelancers and colleagues is so important and it felt like such a treat to have two full days with other travel writers and hear about how they were making freelancing work for them, what markets they were writing for and to hear their ups and downs.
I’ve also spent the last couple of days at The Launceston Freelance Festival where I got to meet several fab freelancers who I’ve never met online like Ginger Gorman, Sue White and Nina Hendy and others in the media such as Melanie Tait , who is one of the most genuine and open-hearted journalists I’ve met.
I was moderating a session with Ginger and Tracey Spicer about cyber hate and online misogyny. Tracey has been instrumental in uncovering sexual misconduct within the Australian media and entertainment industry, and after harrowing experiences of trolling, Ginger is now writing a book about the dark and dangerous world of cyber trolls.
Australian figures place the number of women in the media who experience trolling at 1 in 2. It was such a frank, open and often chilling discussion about Ginger and Tracey’s own experiences as well as the ways we can tackle this insidious and pervasive problem.
I also presented a session about the lessons I learnt from my first year of full time freelancing. It was such a great crowd – full of other freelancers – not just journalists – who were supportive, curious and so engaged.
I felt incredibly lucky to be included in such a great lineup of entrepreneurial freelancers, who are really making their mark and carving their path. And if you ever doubted how busy freelancers can be and their skills at multitasking you just needed to look around at the airport as we headed back to our respective cities – freelancers doing interviews on the phone, others catching up on emails, others writing blog posts (who, me?), and others finishing off articles.
Before I started full time freelancing I often felt that I didn’t need a physical community of freelancers around me – but actually, through my co-working space and this festival, I’ve realised there is absolute value in really connecting with others who are embracing the future of work – of being in the gig economy, digital nomads, location-independent workers (whatever you want to call it) – because we are each other’s greatest resource and support.
Another highlight of April was that one of the writers that I coach got in touch towards the end of the month and let me know that for the first time she had set herself a goal of reaching $5K in April.
She has been using my excel spreadsheet to set a target and track her goal and with four days to go, she was only $500 off her target. How good is that?!
And I have forged two new relationships with new publications. As you know, I always think it’s important to be putting yourself out there – pitching ideas, connecting with editors on LinkedIn and being proactive. Often it pays off.
Lowlights of the month
I’m still really struggling with balancing all my work and fitting it all in. Last year I got used to having the ‘luxury’ of time, but only having three days a week to work has been harder than I anticipated.
At lots of times this month I’ve felt overwhelmed by the amount of work I’ve had to do, and even though it’s all got done, my plan for May is to really ease back and rethink just how much work I can (and need) to take on.
I also had a bit of a stinging exchange with an editor that I work with about a due date for an article. I don’t think either of us was 100% right or wrong – but it has taught me to be very clear about expectations. She usually comes to me with work, but hasn’t since the exchange, so I do wonder if I’ve accidentally burnt that bridge.
I also want to carve out time for a creative project – I’m not sure what that will be – but something that feels nurturing. For the last year or so I’ve been in a reading and exercise slump and I want things to change. Do any of you have a nurturing side project? One that has no expectations, but just joy?
Despite my busy-ness and the stress of the last month, I have to say, I wouldn’t change it for the world. I have so much freedom and flexibility to create my own future and for me, that’s worth everything.
Income report for April
I was commissioned $7834 worth of work.
I invoiced for just under $8K.
Some people have been asking if I’ve got an income target of $100K this year.
I don’t really have a yearly income target, but my monthly targets now are between $5 – 7K. I’m still not sure how viable that is on three days a week.
As always, I’ll keep you posted.
And for those of you keen to know about the Katherine Sabbath cake deal (if you’re not sure what I’m talking about you can find out at the end of this post) – I hit my subscriber target and when I arrived home from The Freelance Festival my partner had Katherine’s amazing pop-up cookbook on the bench. I think he’s slightly regretting making the offer.
Now to choose the creation …
How was your April? What are your goals for May?