It's been awhile since I really sat down and evaluated myself and my work progress. So here's another stab at it.
FINDING WORK FOR MYSELF
I have gotten better at this. I still have a lot of downtown, which is uncool, but I'm getting really good at re-pitching stories, respinning stuff I've already written in an attempt to resell and reuse that research. I also took a training class for a local volunteer radio program, so on down weeks I'm going to commit to writing radio stories. I won't get paid, but who can't use a little radio writing exposure?
I would say this is an overall improvement, but I am still reticent to feel satisfied until I've come to a place where I don't have downtime. I want a steady stream of paying work, ether. And I will not rest until I have it. (Unless rest counts as internet surfing, which is technically story research, right?)
EXPANDING MY PORTFOLIO
I've done really well in this aspect. I started writing for online publications, done more corporate work, branched out into other markets. I'm still working on this and sending out cold letters of introduction, but I'm happy with what I've done here.
FINDING MY NICHE
I feel really settled into the fact that I love to write about health/fitness, food, and the environment. I've been really lucky to get lots of story assignments that generally combine 2 of those 3 aspects. This is working well for me, but still leaves space for me to write about other things for various clients.
WRITING FOR NATIONAL PUBLICATIONS
I wanted to feel depressed about this, but earlier this week I landed an assignment in a major national pub. Granted, it's a dinky 175 word piece, but it's a national clip and I'm stoked about it. I will have an additional piece in Ode, too.
On the unlucky side, some of my local clients are drying up. I need to use this setback as an opportunity to push for more national exposure. I'm doing a good job getting this via internet work. It's that lofty print magazine goal that hovers over my head and calls to me. I want you, Rodale. I want to work for you and write for you. I must keep working and get ready to be there.
EARNING A LIVING WAGE BY MY PEN
I exceeded my financial goal for 2008 by $3,000. This is exciting. Because I am a worry wart and because I have a baby inside my body, I can't help but panic about 2009, mostly because I'm not off to a good start financially. I'm making it. Getting by, if you will, and even saving a Simolean or two, but a living wage (to me) means being able to buy maternity pants without having to trade all-you-can-eat crabs with the rugby team. I'd feel better if my income were more steady. I know this is the life I chose and the anxiety and cashflow drama is generally part of the freelance career.
But I take what I learned from Michelle Goodman seriously and want to rise above the ebb and flow, making what I do a viable, steady business that I can love without as much anxiety over my bills. Corey says I'm not being patient with myself and that businesses take years to get established. He might be right, but since when have I ever been patient about anything?
Given sporadic income spurts and periodic downtime between gigs, I'm still giving myself a B. Always room to improve!