Ladies & Gents:
Hello at the almost end of the year! I am planning on doing a breakdown of my 2019 freelancer income, but that's going to come in early 2020. I want to give a complete picture, not one missing a slice of the December pie. I also am going to try to do pie charts. Pie charts! We'll see if I can figure that out.
Also thank you to everyone who responded to my short newsletter. I think I'm going to write a white paper based on how the last year went. I won't charge much for it, and I'm not going to break my back to get it done by a certain deadline. So stay tuned for more.
I know a lot of writers share their favorite pieces of the year about now, and I've done that in the past, but I want to highlight just one because it is, without question, one of the best pieces I've written in the last few years: "Running with My Mom: Nowhere to Go But Up" for The New York Times.
I picked this one for a lot of reasons:
- I wrote it less than week after my grandmother died (suddenly). This was phenomenally challenging. I turned in a first draft to my editor with a note along the lines of "I DON'T KNOW IF THIS MAKES ANY SENSE!" It did – it was barely changed.
- I didn't have much of a choice. There's always a sub waiting in the wings in case I can't write a column, but since I had pledged to update readers on my mom's progress, I wasn't going to leave out her most important training race.
- This is also the benefit of having a weekly spot in the paper (or newsletter, or online, or whatever you want to call it). I didn't have to pitch this idea around. I knew I had a spot for it if I wanted to write about all that had happened, and I did. I am so grateful they let me bang on about running every week. I started writing for The New York Times in 2006, and this is by far the most fun I've had on a project with them. They started running it online this year (instead of just in a newsletter) and I am so grateful they made that move.
- I knew after that training run that my mom would be a-okay for the marathon (to the point that I didn't know what to say because the race itself was uneventful! Which is how I started that piece).
- It's about running, but not really about running (which the whole sport is, at least to me).
- It resonated with a lot of people.
- I just liked it.
And sometimes that last one is the only one that matters.
"Wi-Fi Security: How to Secure City-Wide Wi-Fi Networks," StateTech
"Squeaking Across the Line for the Olympic Marathon Trials," New York Times
"Private Cloud Evolves as Public Cloud Steals the Spotlight," CIO Dive
"How to Manage a Remote Workforce," Financial Management
"Podcasts to Keep You Company While Running," New York Times
What I'm Reading
- The Scarecrow by Michael Connelly. I am still on my new three year (?) quest to read all of his books. I missed this one while working through the Bosch series. It's OK. Not my favorite, but if I'm going to complete the cannon, I need to read it all.
- The Diplomat's Wife by Pam Jenoff. She's a local writer and I was so-so about her first book, but was told they get better. And they do. I liked this.
- Ordinary Girls by Blair Thornburgh. I made an effort to read more middle grade and YA this year, and this was a knock out selection. I loved it.
Also if you're looking to do something good at the end of the year, here's an easy task: go give books you loved five star reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, even if you don't buy your books through Amazon. Publisher and agents look at these things (and as someone who fired her agent this month – more on that in 2020 – I'm feeling that need for a spiffy rating right now). So go go, bless authors with five stars!
What I'm Watching
- Robin Hood. Hot fox. Hot fox! Also, shorter movies might be the way to go in the future. I feel like this, and Sword in the Stone, were just the right length, especially given the bloat we saw in movies this year.
- Knives Out. I 100% loved this and also 100% bought myself a version of the Chris Evans sweater and wore it yesterday (it's sold out, but there's about 1,000 articles out there listing other options)
- Hell or High Water. Hell of a movie. It should have gotten more awards.
- The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. I didn't hate it, but I didn't enjoy it as much. It's worth it to me to look at the settings and clothes, but the next season should probably be its last (also, through a broker, I was asked to send photos of clothes I would consider selling to the show. They did not buy any! Boo).
- Rise of the Skywalker. I am not as invested in the Star Wars universe as a lot of people are. I didn't hate the movie, but I'm disappointed they sidelined the Rose character.
- Murder, She Wrote. I need more gifs of Jessica Fletcher running ASAP.
Jen A. Miller