All in the month in review
Even though I have written before 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.
All through March I wondered what I was going to be writing in this end of month round up. In the middle of the month, I was nowhere near my income target and I felt that a lot of the exciting business plans that I had dreamt up at the end of 2017 were getting left behind because I needed to use the time I had to work, rather than to build a business.
None of us know what life has in store, but when you’re a freelancer, you never quite know what work has in store for you either. By the middle of February I had hit my income target, but I was also grappling with the idea of pulling out of writing a commissioned article on a very difficult topic. My family and work situation changed at the end of the month, meaning I’ve had to re-evaluate the time I can dedicate to my freelance business.
After a hectic November and fairly busy December, January was really quiet for me. I didn’t feel much like pitching, instead I wanted to hang out with my family and have some down time. Towards the end of the month I started pitching, because I realised that even though I had invoiced for a good amount of money, not having lots of commissions means that a few months down the track, my bank account will take a big hit.
On the the first of December I decided I would take my foot off the gas, and only pitch stories that I really felt strongly about. Financially, the pressure was off a bit because October and November were such big months and so I started to relax. I had lunch out with my partner and friends, I went for long walks, I started to ride my bike again (hello quad muscles), and I felt rejuvenated. This is my last post for 2017, and one where I outline my yearly income for the year.
There’s no beating around the bush. I’ve had a massive month, and one that tipped my total commissions for the year over $100K. Much of that has been earned through feature writing for magazines and newspapers – something I never thought was possible. Especially given this is my first year of full time freelancing and until now I have never earned over $20K in a year from my writing.
Oh October, what did you do to me? By the middle of the month, I felt like I was in a slump. I only had a couple of thousand dollars worth of work commissioned and felt flat and fatigued. But by the last few days of the month, it was a completely different story.
2017 has been a bit of an experiment. This time last year my partner and I had finally decided that I would work as a freelance writer full time and he would be the stay-at-home parent. I promised myself that at the end of each month I would review how I was going - was I pitching enough? Marketing myself enough? Writing articles on topics that fascinated me? Was I happy? Most of all I wanted to make sure that I was trying new things in the writing world and this month I definitely have.
You might remember that I entered August in a bit of a spin – I had a heap of work to catch up on after going on a press trip and a family holiday back-to-back in July. In the first two weeks of August I had 11 feature articles for magazines and newspapers due. And the work kept coming. When I tallied up my income, I was stunned. It’s been a bumper month.
July didn’t quite go according to plan. A few days into the month I had a four-day press trip (or ‘famil’ as they are commonly called) and a few days after that I went away with my family for 10 days. If I had thought more, and prepared more, I wouldn’t have had quite the haphazard month I did have.
For people in the Southern hemisphere, last Saturday represented the ticking over to a new financial year. For me, it also signified the end of my first six months of being a full time freelance writer. I’ve received lots of positive feedback about my monthly reports, so I thought I’d lay it bare for you – this is what my income looks like after six months.
I have been lazy this month. I have felt little inclination to pitch or to chase work. For the second month running I have had editors come to me with articles they want me to write - #freelancedreams, right? But I think it's going to bite me on the bum in June.
When I went to write up this post, I opened my spreadsheet to check how many pitches I sent out for April and I was shocked.
I was feeling a bit flat at the end of February. I hadn’t hit my monthly income target and even though I had potential for recurring income, clients were taking a while to get back to me and things were dragging. But three months into the year, I’m starting to recognise a pattern.
I sent out a lot of pitches in January (24 to be exact) and was waiting on quite a few responses from editors. But I didn't quite get the responses I was expecting.
I always love reading about how many pitches other writers send out each month, how many commissions and how many rejections. So here it is. My month laid bare.