Thank you to everyone who bought an ebook! Annie made it through surgery just fine and, in the best news:: it's not cancer! Just a gnarly growth around her eye that had to come out so she can continue to glare at me with full force. Your ebook purchases paid a chunk of the bill. I hope that you find tips therein that push forward your freelance career. Also some of you asked if you could give me money. No not necessary. If you don't need an ebook but feel inspired to do some good, you could instead buy something special for kids in foster care through One Simple Wish.
Onto business: this week I'm answering a reader question, prompted by a reader who had just read the books:
"You send out a lot of LOIs, and you seem extremely organized. Do you have a system for that? I'm curious what this organization looks like and how you manage it."
Reader, I hate to disappoint you, but my magical organization system is just…Excel.
When I started freelancing full time, I started a new file I labeled "Pitches," and created a bunch of columns of what I assumed would be pertinent information to track all my pitches and assignments. Over time, that one sheet became three. For pitches, this is what I track:
If I send a pitch, I put the topic of the pitch. For LOIs, I just put "LOI." I know what I mean.
And…that's it. I don't have a regular system reminding me on when to follow up on LOIs. Usually, it's "I have a gap in work right now, what kind of marketing can I do while watching a mediocre Marvel movie?"
I still use this same Excel file, 12 years later. This is helpful in many ways, including looking up if I've pitched someone at their previous job.
I know there are more technologically advanced ways to do this, but this doesn't have to be too complicated to work, and this system works for me.
"8 Early Warning Signs of Parkinson's Disease" for AARP
"3D Printing COVID Testing Swabs to Close a Supply Chain Gap" for AAMI News
"How Executives are Rebuilding the Tech Stack – With Efficiency In Mind" for CIO Dive
"100 Years and Counting" for Mines Magazine
"Broadcast Mentor" for Seton Hall Magazine
"Picture Perfect" for Seton Hall Magazine
"How We Learn" for Seton Hall Magazine
"Rene Marsh Builds Hope from Heartbreak" for Binghamton Magazine
"Continuing to Cycle On Through Brain Cancer Treatment" for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
"Engineering Support for Fellow Brain Tumor Patients, and For Himself" for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
"Follow the Leader" for Middle Market Growth
What I'm Reading
- Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams-Garcia
- The Bond King by Mary Childs
- Miss Dior by Justine Picardie
- Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and James D. Houston
- Because of Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn
- Psych 3: This is Gus. This is a good use of streaming: to show TV movies that extend the life of a beloved show, both because they can keep telling mysteries, and it seems these folks really like working together. Win win. I got a month of Peacock to watch the Boston Marathon, but I'm glad I was able to watch this too (and have gotten it for another month so I can watch the second season for Girls5eva).
- Restless. A two-part British miniseries about a spy, played by Hayley Atwell, during WW II. The show takes place during the war, and also the 1970s. Because spies never die, do they?
- The Chelsea Detective. The Brits sure do know how to do serial mystery shows, don't they? This one is about a down on his luck detective who is, of course, solving murders. I appreciate the format too: six episodes, hour and a half each. It just works, and doesn't stretch out the material to the point of fraying, as some American shows do. This and Restless are both on AcornTV, which I know I've banged on about since I subscribed at the start of the pandemic. The Fug Girls have a discount code for a 30 day free trial if you want to check it out. I'm not being paid to say this; nor do I get a cut. But I do like sharing discounts, and this streaming platform. If you go back through the archives of this newsletter, you'll see what I loved. It's a lot!
- Eurovision Song Contest. Wow. WOW. I have never watched this before and I figured sure why not. I loved it. What a weird thing, but also fun! My favorite was Moldova's, which involved a dancing accordion player. It's still in my head. This is the key part.
- Operation Mincemeat. The movie is wild, but so is the true story it's telling, which really happened: British intelligence wanted to trick Hitler into thinking they were going to invade Greece instead of Sicily in 1943, so they planted fake papers on a dead body and washed it ashore. I won't get into too many details in case you don't know what happened, but this movie was a delight, and included every single British actor on the planet. I think there's a law that no such movie can be made without Alex Jennings, who doesn't even have a big part! I loved it.