Welcome back! That is, if you went anywhere. I've found the end of August to be a busy time in the world of freelancing. I was working right up to the holiday weekend wire on Friday (in part because of source that had dropped out of a NEED IT NOW story and could only be interviewed late Friday morning).
I did come back from somewhere last week: Courage Camp: A Master Class on the Business of Freelancing. What an experience! I spent four days in the mountains of Colorado teaching (along with two other instructors) about two dozen people about how to make their freelancing business soar. I've taught freelancing a lot, from one-class seminars to one-credit classes, and this was by far the best thing for freelancers I've ever been a part of. I have strong suspicions the camp will be offered next year – if it is I will surely be writing about it in this space.
The entire camp was under a "Cone of Silence," which means what happened in camp stayed in camp. This let everyone talk freely about their experiences in this job, and also about their worries and hang ups. It got emotional more than a few times. But I do want to share one thing, which isn't exactly a secret.
We talked a lot about what Christie Aschwanden, who runs the camp, calls "tasty buckets" – the things that you need filled in order to be happy with your career. I was an instructor so I didn't have to write mine out, but thought about it anyway. Here are my tasty buckets:
1. Financial Security
2. Interesting Work
3. Making People Cry
When I say I'm having my best year freelancing ever, it's not just financially (because I am there too) but because I'm filling up all of those tasty buckets.
If you're at loose ends about freelancing, or feel like you are just accepting what comes your way and need to steer the ship instead, maybe think about your tasty buckets. They might point you in the right direction.
I think the bylines below indicate that tasty bucket work (a LOT of people told me they cried in reading about me and my mom – great success!)
"How Brittany Ran Her 'Marathon' With 50,000 Extras" for The New York Times
"Running With My Mom: What We Talk About When We Talk About Running" for The New York Times
"Geohazards on the Horizon" for Michigan Tech News
"What Will HIPPA-Compliant Voice Assistants Mean for Providers" for HealthTech
"Technology Helps Find New Suppliers, But It's not the Be-All and End-All" for Supply Chain Dive
"Feel Like You're Being Stalked?" for The New York Times
"How to Protect Intellectual Property" for CIO Dive
"How Digital Art Classes are Blazing New Trails" for EdTech
"Technology Permeates the Cold Chain Warehouse – But It Has Its Limits" for Supply Chain Dive
"'100-Year' Floods Will Happen Every One in 30 Years, According to New Flood Maps" for Princeton University Engineering
"Want to Honor the Birthday of the National Parks? Hit the Trails" for The New York Times
"The Long Road to Injury Recovery" for The New York Times
What I'm Reading
- A Kind of Paradise by Amy Rebecca Tan. What a lovely middle grade (I think?) book! If you love libraries, it's a good read, even if you're not a kid anymore.
- The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton. This was…long. Too long I don't know if it was worth the really good 230 pages.
- I'll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara. Ugh. What a heartbreaking book, both because of how this guy got away with murdering women for so long, but that McNamara didn't live long enough to see him caught.
- Betty and Friends: My Life at the Zoo by Betty White. Was this mostly a picture book? Yes. Did I care? Absolutely not.
- Go for the Goal: A Champion's Guide to Winning in Soccer and Life by Mia Hamm. I read this 20 years after it was published – interesting thing to do given the USWNT World Cup win.
- Hello Stranger by Lisa Kleypas. I don't really like the term "self care" but reading romance novels is what I do to take a break from…well everything.
- The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver. I'd already read Pigs in Heaven and had no idea it was part of a series! I found this at a Little Free Library, and now I know.
- Girl Meets Boy by Ali Smith. An interesting myth retelling.
- Paddle Your Own Canoe by Nick Offerman. I listened to this as an audiobook. What a great driving companion.
- No Man's Mistress by Mary Balogh. See what I said about Hello Stranger.
- The Shawl by Cynthia Ozick. A heartbreaking novella that made me think a lot about what trauma does to people, and the long lines of how it affects their lives.
- George Washington: A Life by Rob Chernow. Thank GOD I am done. Well, I didn't mind listening to this 41-hour audiobook in seven day chunks at a time (I would get it for seven days from the library and then go back to the line to wait for it again), but that's a long time to spend with one person. It did make me look differently at running through Valley Forge. I will be taking a bit of a break before listening to Chernow's Grant book though.
- Always Be My Maybe. This was very cute! I liked it very much. It also made me try white fingernail polish this summer.
- The Spy Who Dumped Me. It was…okay? Funny and inoffensive so that's that.
- Into the Spider-Verse. Honestly the best movie of last year. I have tried to get everyone I know to see it. It's now streaming. Get to it!
- Summer in February. Broody English movie if you like that sort of thing.
- Glow. Are we going to get another season of this show? I hope so.
- The Princess and the Frog. How did I not see this before? I liked it!
- The Good Fight. AHHHHHHH. I was at my dad's this weekend and we watched as much of this as possible. I heard it was good, but IT IS SO GOOD. Take away the Alicia/bad husband story line and everything just zips a lot faster. I need to watch more.
- Ballers. Another one I watch at my dad's because he has HBO. I got a lot of season 3 in while I was there.
- The House Bunny. This movie is so good and silly and fun.
- The Good Place. I'm re-watching the third season in anticipation of the fourth season. Sad face emoji here. But after re-watching Parks & Rec again and feeling how they maybe went one season too long, I can understand ending it here.
Until next time!
Jen A. Miller