How much work should you do as a freelancer?
I can't shake the feeling I should be doing more...
In last week’s newsletter, I touched on some of the differences between remote work, versus self-employment. One of the major differences is there’s nobody holding you accountable — and those of you who’ve been here for some time will remember that accountability is my New Year’s resolution principle. In the first newsletter of 2021 I wrote: “I want to own every single decision I make this year and be able to justify each choice I make to myself.”
Fast forward six months and I’ve found myself in a remarkably different situation to how I started the year. But my accountability principle tracks: I know exactly why I decided to quit my job, and even now as the financial reality of the decision sinks in, I’m content that it was the right decision to make. Now, as I adjust to being unemployed and freelancing ‘full-time’, I still need to be able to justify how I spend my time.
Last week was my first full week of full-time freelancing. I sent more pitches than any other week so far this year. I read three books, which means I’m now back on track with my Goodreads challenge (I’m aiming to read 52 books this year). I did some editing for The Indiependent. I also did some exercise for the first time in a while. I had time to relax and watch the football, as well as spend some time with my boyfriend. I should be pretty content with that in terms of productivity, but I can’t help but shake the feeling that I should be doing more.
When you don’t have a manager hovering over your shoulder asking for some market research by close-of-play or a weekly team meeting where you discuss what you’re all working on, it can be hard to determine what a realistic output should be. Because I didn’t get any commissions this week, I didn’t actually have to write any of the pieces I pitched. I didn’t pitch any more ideas because I was like ‘if these all get commissioned, I’ll have my work cut out actually writing them’. But now I know that going into next week I don’t have to be so cautious — knowing that not every idea is likely to get commissioned, I can pitch even more ideas in the hope that at least one will get picked up.
I’ll admit, I also spent a lot of last week waiting to hear back about a second-stage job application that I felt went really well. They’d told me they would contact me at the beginning of last week and so I spent a lot of hours refreshing my inbox, hoping for good news. Then I spent a lot of time on Wednesday and Thursday deliberating whether or not I should follow up. Eventually, I chased Thursday afternoon, only to receive bad news last thing on Friday.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get the role, which means that I’ll be job hunting for myself in the weeks to come alongside freelancing. It feels a bit strange putting together a list of jobs for others to apply to knowing that I will be putting in applications for some of them myself, but I guess that I should have faith in my own abilities. May the best man/woman/non-binary person win, right?
… in editing
… in writing
Pitches: 10 (4 new pitches, 6 re-pitches)
I got two rejections, one on the basis that a staff writer was already writing something similar (completely fair enough), and another on the basis that it was a pitch on a Netflix movie and although it came out recently the publication only runs stories on Netflix films during the week of release due to how quickly the entertainment slate changes. At least I got replies! I also got two editors’ out-of-office responses, which is pretty unlucky but again, can’t be helped.
Articles written: 1
Articles published: 1
I wrote a silly ditty about how boring being unemployed is over on Medium: ‘Woman plays concerto on world’s tiniest violin’.
… in listening/watching
There’s a new episode of Indiependent Thinking out now! Join the site’s Opinion editors Jacob, Tara and Olly for juicy takes on the Matt Hancock drama.
I watched Good On Paper on Netflix, which is based on Iliza Shlesinger’s experience of dating a man who lied about who he is.
… in reading
I read two brilliant books by Jon Ronson, recommended to me by people of the Twittersphere: So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed and The Psychopath Test
I also read Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup, which is such a great account of the rise and fall of biotech company Theranos by journalist John Carreyrou
Finally got through the excellent New Yorker piece by Ronan Farrow and Jia Tolentino on Britney Spears’ conservatorship — what a damning read: ‘Britney Spears’s conservatorship nightmare’
Loved David Mitchell’s The Guardian piece ‘So nice of Matt Hancock to quit — his only thought was of us’
Also for The Guardian, I thought Louisa Young’s piece on alcoholism in media was very thoughtful: ‘Time to face the brutual truth: there’s no glamour at the bottom of a glass’
I liked this Aurelia piece by Katie Tobin about the experience of travelling to Paris alone and broken-hearted
Annie Lord courting controversy here with ‘Can there ever be sympathy for cheaters? Some refections on being the other woman’ for Vogue
It was hard not to be fascinated by Alexis Nowicki’s Slate piece ‘“Cat Person” and me’
Saddened by Felicity Martin’s Dazed feature on ‘What it’s like for musicians whose labels won’t release their music?’
Tomorrow at 8.00pm, former The Guardian foreign correspondent Hella Pick will be talking to Emma Graham-Harrison about her extraordinary life and career — get tickets for £5 here.
COJO Against COVID project and the Solutions Journalism Network offer a free masterclass on constructive journalism on 21 July, from 12.30-3.00 pm. Register here.
Edinburgh: STV is hiring a production journalist
Harrogate: Techbuyer is hiring a content writer
Newcastle: JPI Media has a journalist role available
Newcastle: Reach PLC is hiring a breaking news reporter