the month in review

My monthly income report for September

By October 7, 2020 7 Comments

My partner is a pragmatic, methodical sort of chap (the kind who unpacks suitcases as soon as we return home from a trip). Last week he told me that he’d read 14 books this year ( yes, he keeps an annual tally).

Do you know what I said?

“Bloody hell, it’s only March. How have you read so many books?”

And then I realised. It’s not March. It’s the end of September.

Each time this year when I’ve sat down to write my monthly income report I wonder where the past month (and indeed the year) has gone.

September was a strange old month.

It was one where I felt utterly inspired by the writers who are taking my course Write Earn Thrive.

I felt buoyed by their successes, the way they are trying new strategies and techniques and how they are navigating freelancing in amidst of the pandemic.

But I also felt foggy – I’ve found it hard to concentrate and to manage the seemingly relentless demands of home life, remote learning for my kids and work life.

(Although I did find this article on ‘COVID brain’ reassuring that I’m not alone).

Early in the month I felt like I was at breaking point with the amount of work that I had taken on and so I did something I’ve never done before in order to cope.  I’ve written more about this in my ‘lowlights’ below.

In terms of feature articles for magazines and newspapers, this month I:

Pitched: 6

Commissions from pitches or query letters: 2

Rejections: 2

Offers: 0

In terms of feature articles for corporate, B2B clients and sponsored content (I don’t usually pitch these – the clients come to me

Offers: 33 (30 of these articles were 350-word articles for an online site)

Filed: 22 (10 of these were the 350-word articles)

It’s been an unusual month in that no editors came to me with offers of work.

But a previous corporate client circled back to me and offered me a batch of 30 mini-articles for their online site.

I’ve written these types of articles for this client before, they’re fairly straight forward and well paid (over $1/word), so that boosted my income dramatically.

Highlights of September

I pitched three travel stories (remember those?!) in September and two got commissioned.

I did so much travelling last year (five international trips plus lots of domestic) but I must admit, I’ve really relished the slower, quieter pace this year.

Travel (and travel writing) feels like it’s going through a real reckoning (although that might be too harsh of a word) at the moment.

I’ve got a few webinars and articles lined up so that I can learn more about decolonising travel writing and community-based tourism.  

So, with my commissions, it felt exciting to dive into writing about destinations where I’m not going to have to hop on a plane and where I can take my family. The first trip will be early October and the next later in the month.

And both places are in the state where I live that I’ve never been to before.

Always learning

I also feel really glad that I’ve got such engaged readers of this blog.

After my interview with Alex Shea, one of my readers got in touch to let me know that I’d made a mistake.

I’d referred to George Floyd’s murder as “George Floyd’s death” which, on first glance, may seem like the same thing.

But it’s not.

His murder wasn’t a passive act – it was homicide and this reader got in touch to let me know about my error. This was such an important reminder to me that my language and the words I use can either disguise the truth or shine a light on it.

And it also brought home to me that I’ve got some serious work and unlearning to do in order to be an ally and actively anti-racist.

Lowlights of September

Oh people.

Towards the start of the month I was up to my eyeballs in work.

Because my son was home from school, I was responsible for remote learning for him three days a week. 

This means I only had two days a week to write.

In typical Lindy fashion, I overestimated how much I could get done and underestimated the time I’d need.

I had committed to writing three (desk-based) travel articles for an editor. 

But it became clear to me that I had over committed.

So, I did something that I’ve never done (or at least I can’t remember ever doing).

I let the editor know she’d have to assign the pieces to another writer.

It was still a fortnight out from the deadline, so I knew I wasn’t leaving the editor totally in the lurch.

And I suggested a brilliant writer I know who is actually much more qualified to write the articles than I was.

Thankfully the editor was really understanding, but it’s a horrible feeling that you’ve let someone down, or not been able to do what you said you’d do.

A resource I’d recommend

I really enjoyed dipping into this list of 30 resources for freelance writers (and no, I promise it’s not just because it mentions me) – I discovered some webinar series that I didn’t know about as well as new (to me) newsletters and communities for freelancers.

My income for September

I was working very part time in September, so as usual, I set my income target at $5K.

Due to the offer of 30 articles from one of my clients, I came in well over that.

I had $13,093 worth of writing work commissioned.

In September I invoiced for $17,522.

My expenses for September

Contractors/accountant fees: $840

Travel: $647 (This was for accommodation for a travel story – I could have approached the owner to see if they would host me but I felt like these small regional operators probably need every dollar they can get at the moment)

Superannuation/pension contribution: $800

Miscellaneous (this includes things like subscriptions, stationery items etc): $62

Expenses total for September: $2349

How was your September? What’s your Q4 looking like?

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