the month in review

November – the month of realisations

By December 4, 2019 7 Comments

I’m not someone who puts aside much time for reflection. It’s ironic because my PhD thesis was about the lack of reflective practice in particular educational environments. While I love the idea of reflection and believe wholeheartedly in it, I’ve fallen into the ‘too busy’ trap. My brain is so full with work, family, home life ‘stuff’ that even taking 20 minutes out of my day to sit and reflect seems too big. But this month, I’ve had some opportunities to really consider a couple of nagging issues. And so I want to share these with you in November – the month of realisations.

IN TERMS OF FEATURE ARTICLES FOR MAGAZINES AND NEWSPAPERS, THIS MONTH I:

Pitched: 4

Commissions from pitches or query letters (including from previous months): 2

Rejections: 3 (including rejections from previous months)

Offers: 4 (where the editor approached me with a commission)

FEATURE ARTICLES FOR CORPORATE AND B2B CLIENTS – THIS INCLUDES SPONSORED CONTENT (I DON’T PITCH THESE):

Offers: 8

Overall number of articles filed: 19

Lowlights of November

It’s been the first month in a while, but I don’t think I had any major lowlights in November.

I usually keep a list of my ups and downs throughout the month so I can be sure you won’t miss out on any juicy rejections or embarrassing mistakes I make.

But I’m happy to report that this month, for once, I’m lowlight light.

I always say that mistakes are where the growth is, so I wonder if this means I’ve stagnated this month?!

I did have one lowlight, which you can read about below in the highlights … (that’s weird I know).

Highlights of November

Without a doubt, the highlight of my month was my trip to Thailand with Urban Adventures.

As lots of you know, I had a bet in September with my partner and son that I wouldn’t be going overseas before the end of the year, but all that came crashing down when I accepted a famil offer.

Urban Adventures are part of the Intrepid Travel family, but offer ‘day tours with a difference’.

The appealing part of this famil was that our group would do six ‘urban adventures’ – from seeing Bangkok by bike and spending time with monks in Chiang Mai, to doing a cooking class with people from an incredible charity.

I had secured one commissioned before the trip and had pitched two other ideas, which I hadn’t heard back about.

Unfortunately (here’s the lowlight), I couldn’t write my commissioned story for a couple of reasons, so had to go back to the editor and let her know.

So then, I panicked because I was on a trip and suddenly was without a commission.

But I followed up with the two editors I pitched about other article ideas (the cycling in Bangkok experience and the monks story) and happily both stories got commissioned.

I’m now waiting to hear back on my third pitch from the trip.

This trip gave me my first big realisation of the month. Like I said in one of my Instagram posts, when people ask what kind of travel writing I do I always find it hard to answer.

I love writing about food, sustainability, human interest and social justice stories, but that never fits neatly into a simple answer.

But this trip gave me exactly the kinds of stories I love to write.

And in some ways, it sounds so silly, but it’s travel with purpose. Travel with meaning. Travel with heart. Social justice and social enterprise stories from people and communities around the world.

If I can write those travel stories, then I feel like I will have found my spot in the world.

AND I learnt to meditate from a monk. What could be better than that?

And every night before bed, I’ve made time to reflect and meditate.

Turning down famils

I never really thought I’d be in a position where I was turning down press trips, but in November I was invited on four press trips. I said no to three of them either because (yes) I didn’t want to lose my bet, they weren’t the right opportunity or they clashed with my Thailand trip.

It’s never easy saying no, but I am getting better at it. Slowly.

And I actually think it’s about making sure that the trips you take are a good fit for you.

Informal business coaching

Each Friday morning I’ve started meeting up with a local business coach. It’s a pretty informal, mutual arrangement where we use the two hours to talk about our businesses and our plans.

The other week I was talking to her (at her, really) about the online course I’m launching and why it’s taking so long.

And I had a big realisation.

Yes, I’ve had big tech issues switching from Squarespace to WordPress (and to be honest, I could still do with some help), but why am I dragging my feet when my content is all done and ready to go?

This is a bit scary to admit, but I realised when I was talking to my business coach that I’m afraid.

I’m afraid that it’s going to be a success.

Yep. You read right.

When I took the life-changing course on freelance writing*, I was pregnant, on maternity leave without any expectations from anyone.

When I started puddling about, pitching and writing stories, I didn’t tell anyone. I was just seeing if I could get my words published.

When I started this blog, I had no expectations that anyone would ever read it.

(And in fact, it still surprises me when I meet people or people email me to tell me they read my posts).

But now, now I have people reading my posts.

I have people emailing me every week asking about my course (hello, and I promise it’s coming).

People have expectations.

And even though I know my practical strategies for becoming a high-income freelance writer work, I still feel apprehensive about putting myself out there as an expert.

So, my friends, that’s what I’m working on in December.

Getting over this crushing imposter syndrome and getting this course to all of you who have been so patient.

My income for November

As usual, I set my income target for $5000 for November.

I came in over that, with $7761 worth of work commissioned.

I invoiced for $10,764.

How was your November? What’s December looking like for you?

*Yes, that’s an affiliate link, but you know me well enough to know that I would never promote anything that didn’t work for me.

7 Comments

  • K. Wright says:

    I can totally relate to the feeling of being an imposter once you realize people have expectations of you. One of my goals for next year is to write an e-book but I procrastinate on it so much because I don’t feel I’ve “earned” the right to give advice to anyone. It’s a hard mental roadblock to get over.

    Aside from that, I’m happy to say I exceeded my monthly (commissioned) income goal by $100! I just started using your monthly income spreadsheet so thanks so much for sharing that, it’s really helped. No big plans for December, just working to wrap things up before taking some time off at the end of the month.

    • lindyalexander says:

      It is a really hard hurdle to get over, isn’t it? Keep us posted with how you go on your e-book.
      I’m so thrilled to hear that you’re using the spreadsheet and that it’s helped you exceed your income goal, that’s so great. Enjoy your time off at the end of the month, I’m looking forward to that too!

  • Oh yes, Lindy, people do read you! And are waiting for your course indeed! 😉

    I’m far from being a high-income freelance writer and am sure I could benefit from your expertise. December is looking rather busy. I’m commissioned to write for a local Lyon metropolis magazine that I like, but they keep asking things from me and moving plans around even before the interviewing for articles has even started and am wondering how much money I’ll really be able to make off of this eventually.

    Have fun meditating each night! I’m looking forward to hear how that goes.

    • lindyalexander says:

      Oh Anne-Liesse, thank you for your lovely words.
      Oh dear, I’ve been in the same position with publications where the goal posts move continuously. I hope it all ends up okay for you and that you get well compensated!

  • Lauren says:

    Wow. That’s a huge breakthrough realization! And important to acknowledge.
    The fear of being successful is real.
    What do you fear most about being successful from your course?
    I need to email you about the course!

    I can relate to travel with a purpose. I’ve just spent 10 days in a volcanic island where it seems catered to tourists more than locals. ( Is: tourists and expats oblivious to the fact that in a place where it rains only a few times a year, you need to be super conscientious about water consumption. Locals know).
    What happens when places become targeted as a vacation destination? Definitely had me reflecting, and climate change weighs heavily on my mind wherever I am.

    • lindyalexander says:

      Thank you Lauren. And thank you for asking that question – it really made me think. I think my fear is around becoming a ‘teacher’ and expert rather than a practitioner. So many people teaching courses aren’t actually doing what they’re teaching and I don’t think I want to be like that.
      I feel so worried about climate change too, and am really wondering how (if) being an eco-conscious travel writer works. I saw that the BBC (I think) are launching a new platform/site next year where they are asking their writers to record their carbon emissions as part of the reporting process. I think that’s totally inspired.

      • Lauren says:

        Glad the question was helpful.
        It will be a new role indeed! I admire you that you want to be transparent and honest in your course. There are
        too many courses that focus on just making a profit, unfortunately.

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