How we doing? Not great? That's OK. It's a terrible time. I've been writing a lot about how to manage ourselves during a pandemic and all the experts say the same thing: it's not normal. We're all figuring out how to get along.
Quick note: My ebook, How I Made $135,000 in One Year of Freelancing, is now half off. Use code STAYHOME to get it for just $5. Because I want you to stay home if you're not an essential worker. Stay home!
Thanks again to everyone who has reached out after I shared my struggles with anxiety. I am doing much better. A combination of therapy (over video), new medication and meditation (maybe? I dunno. I've been using the Calm app) have helped me even out. I gifted myself AcornTV so that I have plenty of British/Canadian/Australian shows to keep me company. I also signed up for a membership to Libro.fm, which gives me audiobooks while at the same time supporting InkwoodNJ, my local bookstore. I'm still not 100% (who can be?) but I'm able to get through the day without stopping to sob multiple times.
I should probably get back to the whole freelancing thing, right? I want to go back to this Jennifer Goforth Gregory post from March 13 about why freelancers should reach out to clients right now.
I did some of what Jennifer recommended: I reached out to all of my current clients, and every hospital, healthcare system and research institution I have written for in the last five years (I did not follow up on every LOI I've sent because I was in the middle of really bad anxiety then and just sending those first batches of emails took a lot).
I'm glad I did. My regular clients immediately had me shift gears to cover the pandemic. Two clients I hadn't written for in some time responded with notes along the lines of "thank goodness you reached out we have stuff we need done right now." One even said he was thinking about who to assign a complicated piece about testing to when he saw my email. "You know more about this than me, I'm glad to hear from you." I also reached out to a company I'd had back and forths with last year because I know the editor personally and she posted on Instagram about how much work they had to be done. I'm now writing two pieces for her a week.
Result: March 2020 was my second highest billing month of my 15 year career, and I was only able to work half time for two weeks of the month.
I am not saying this to brag. Not at all! Please don't think that. When I started changing my business in 2018, I had my eye on a potential recession, not a global pandemic. And I *do* feel guilty about it. But I have been referring work I can't do to other writers, and helping my "baby freelancers" as I call them, on what they can do right now.
That's also why I'm writing this, because I want you to know that work is out there. It's just a matter of figuring out where it is. It's not crass to reach out. You are trying to keep your business alive, and editors need writers to cover this right now.
I normally save clips for the end, but check out this one from CIO Dive. It's about the ERP market. The analyst I interviewed talked about who is going to be making investments in technology right now. A lot of companies are going to be pushing forward instead of pulling back. I hope that article, and the clips of what I've been writing below, give you some ideas of where to look for work.
My friend Ilima Loomis wrote about how she's been pivoting too. It's worth a read.
What questions do you have for me right now? I am not taking on any more baby freelancers right now (I just don't have the brain space), but I can take questions for future newsletters. What do you want to know?
"The New Rules of Running Now" for The New York Times
"6 Biographies of Women to Read While You're at Home" for The Lily
"Planning Should Replace Forecasting as Coronavirus Uncertainty Clouds Outlook" for Supply Chain Dive
"ERP Confronts a New Reality in 2020" for CIO Dive
"How Labs in the U.S. are Responding to COVID-19" for Clinical Laboratory News
"How to Work from Home If You've Never Done it Before" for The New York Times
"How to Manage Stress Eating (or Not Eating)" for The New York Times
"Doffing the White Coat" for Brown Medicine
"Can Shellfish Owners Cash in With Nutrient Trading?" for Global Aquaculture Advocate
"What Does a 'Stay at Home' Order Mean for you?" for Sharecare
"Why are Database Migrations So Complex?" for CIO Dive
"Could Data Privacy Legislation Affect Your Higher Ed Campus?" for EdTech
What I'm Reading
- The Words I Never Wrote by Jane Thynne. Yes, here I am talking about Jane Thynne again. This is separate from her wonderful Clara Vine series, but I still recommend it. It's about two sisters separated by WW II.
- Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love by Dani Shapiro. I love her podcast Family Secrets, so it made sense to listen to this audiobook. Her voice is so soothing. It's also a fascinating story.
- Davy Crocket and the River Pirates. Thanks Disney+ for bringing these old movies back to my life.
- Ladies in Black. A fun historical melodrama set in an Australian department store in 1959. I loved it.
- Frank & Gracie. Boy this show is weird, but not in a bad way.
- Iron Man. I know I've said this before, but: so much rested on the success of this movie. It really is well done.
- Murdoch Mysteries. I first saw Murdoch Mysteries when I stopped overnight on a road trip through Canada. It was on an American streaming service for a while then disappeared. I though the show was over. NO NO! It is still being made! Bless AcornTV for bringing it back into my life. It's quirky and fun.
- Miss Fischer & the Crypt of Tears. THIS is really why I got AcornTV – a movie from a series that I loved. If you haven't watched the series itself, please do. It's wonderful and fun and oh the costumes. It's a good distraction. The movie was pretty good too!
- The Detectorists. What a weird, wry show. It starts out good but keep twisting in ways I don't expect. I love it.
Until next time,
Jen A. Miller