I am back from my summer ramble. I had a wonderful time. A big difference on this long trip and those I've taken in the past is that I did zero work. Nothing. Nada. Zip.
I know too many freelancers who are afraid to take time off because they think they'll somehow upset their editors, or lost out on a ton of work, or be pushed off an editor's assignment sheet forever. If you're a good writer, who turns in clean copy on time, they're going to want to keep you. Reasonable people also understand that we need time off too. If they're resentful of your vacation, then do you really want to be working with them in the first place?
Case in point: the only emails I answered on my one-month trip were from editors offering assignments. I wrote back letting them know when I'd be available, and if they could shift the deadline to when I returned.
Out of the five assignment offers, I only lost one. And then just this week, that editor came back to me with an assignment for the following issue. Score!
While I had a few pieces to work on, my August book of business was still looking a little light (like I said: no work while away, and that included no marketing). So I did two things that usually work for me:
- Sent emails to editors I've liked, letting them know that I'm back from vacation and looking to fill up my late summer/early fall calendar. That knocked loose four assignments, with four more promised by next week.
- In those same emails, I also asked those editors if they knew someone who could use a writer like me. This is a great marketing tactic because if this editor knows you and likes your work, it's a built in recommendation, and you don't have to go hunting down a target for a cold pitch. Tacking that additional "pass my name on" sentence lead to introductions to two more people, and one new assignment with a new to me client.
I know I've said it before, and I'm sure I'll say it again, but tapping your network is usually a much better way of drumming up work quickly than cold pitching. I have done some pitching too, and got one small assignment that I've already filed. Not bad, especially because it's about something I wanted to write for a while. But pitching alone was not enough to fill my calendar. Reaching out to people I wanted to work with again was a better time investment.
"Are Sexually Transmitted Diseases Becoming More Infectious?" for Clinical Laboratory News
"The Big Stay: Why Workers are Opting to Stay Put Instead of Jumping Ship" for HR Dive
"How CIOs Select Their Inner Circles" for CIO Dive
"How Fern Hollow Collapse Illustrates Poor Bridge Maintenance" for Construction Dive
"Why is Worker Productivity Trending Downward?" for HR Dive
"How Bad Code Evades Quality Controls" for CIO Dive
What I'm Reading
The Silver Swan: In Search of Doris Duke by Sallie Bingham
The Celebrants by Steven Rowley
Gumption by Nick Offerman
Magnate by Joanna Shupe
We Could Be So Good by Cat Sebastian
Open Season by C.J. Box
A Place in the World by Frances Mayes
Midnight in Cairo: The Divas of Egypt's Roaring '20s by Raphael Cormack
Rosewood: A Midsummer Meet Cute by Sayantani Dasgupta
What I'm Watching
- American Pain. Want to be furious at the people behind the opioid crisis? This one is for you.
- Endeavor. Another one of my UK mystery shows comes to an end. Alas!
- The Other Two. I'm a bit bummed this is over, but reports on a toxic set means it's time to go (I can't believe this is still happening, but I can't believe actors and writers aren't getting the little they're demanding right now either).
- The Bear. I'm one of the many people who said they didn't need a second season, but this was pretty good.
- Righteous Gemstones. I really want to know how much money HBO (or Max or whatever) is putting into this show. Those stunts are NOT cheap. Also, the show rocks. It's so weird, but in a good way.