Monthly Wrap-Up: February 2021

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Heart on grass, for February 2021 wrap up post

“I’m going full Hamilton on this, because i am the definition of young, scrappy and hungry!”

– Sutton Brady, The Bold Type

Somehow we’ve already arrived at the last working day of February! In this lockdown life, time has little meaning any more, but I’m still amazed at how fast it keeps going by.

Let’s dive into the monthly wrap-up post, shall we?

The obligatory pandemic bit…

This week, the government here in the UK have announced their “roadmap out of lockdown.” Anyone who knows me will know that I’m a big ol’ unapologetic leftie and have precisely zero love for Boris Johnson or the Tory party as a whole. I was almost – almost – pleasantly surprised to see that this latest plan seems to make a glimmer of actual sense. Except for the fact that they’re sending kids back to school far too early and, while I have every sympathy for what children and parents have gone through this last year, I can’t see how this isn’t going to turn schools into the superspreader centres they were back in the autumn.

So yeah, I’m sitting back and watching it all play out and trying to reserve judgement. Hopefully with the vaccination rates as they are, things really will start to calm down and we’ll have our lives back by the summer as the government has implied. In the meantime, please consider this a reminder not to get complacent and to keep being safe. There’s light at the end of the tunnel!

Writing and Freelancing Updates

Looking back at the goals I set at the start of the month, February has been a mixed bag. I set myself a goal to enter two fiction competitions, and I managed that with one completely new story and one revamped older story.

I also had to submit 2000 words of PhD work to my supervisors this month, which I did this week. We’re hoping to complete my upgrade (half-way mini viva) before the end of 2021, though the exact timeline is a little up in the air right now.

Another thing I’ve done this month is pretty much completely wind down a large client project. It was a great opportunity over the last few months and I’m very thankful for that, but it was time to focus on different things. So from the start of March, I’ve gained back a bunch of time that I’ll be putting towards other things (self-care and having a life as well as work!)

Pitching Stats for the Month

As I mentioned last month, I’m sharing my pitching stats as both an accountability exercise and to show any new writers reading this that rejections are really normal! Everyone gets tonnes of them, even writers and journos with decades of experience. It’s just part of the game.

I set myself a goal of 20 pitches for February. I didn’t quite hit that number, but that’s because I got more acceptances than I anticipated. Yay! Here they this month’s stats:

  • Pitches sent: 11
  • Commissions landed: 4
  • Rejections: 1
  • No-responses: 1
  • Still waiting to hear: 5

(By the way: I count something as a “no response” if I haven’t heard back within two weeks and after a follow-up, unless it’s a really timely piece in which case I’ll assume it’s a no if I haven’t heard back within 48 hours.)

According to my Google sheet, assuming that none of my outstanding pitches turn into commissions that gives me an overall acceptance rate of 36.36%, or exactly double last month’s 18.18%.

Publications

I’ve had a few pieces published this month! Check out a few of my faves:

  • I wrote about bisexual visibility and Jen Atkin (Miss Great Britain 2020) coming out as bi for the Independent.
  • I wrote about the #MeToo movement and my observations from studying it so far for Metro.
  • I wrote about the phenomenon of “girlboss” and why I find it demeaning and sexist for Best Kept Business Secret.
  • I wrote about saying no to clients for Business Insider. (This one is paywalled but I’m sharing it in case any of you are Insider members!)

Monthly Favourites

My purchase of the month for February is my super shiny new computer! I ordered a mini desktop back in December but come mid-February, still no sign of it and no delivery date. So we ended up cancelling the order and purchasing the component parts, and my wonderful partner built it for me. (I helped. A bit.) Pro tip: partnering with your tech guy is highly recommended!

I’ve been rewatching American comedy/drama series The Bold Type this month. It follows three friends who work for Scarlet, a fictional women’s magazine, and it’s my ultimate comfort-watch. Partly because it’s hilarious, partly because it offers both great queer representation and a wonderful take on female friendship, and partly because Jacqueline Carlyle is goals.

The Bold Type meme with Jacqueline Carlyle quote
(Source)

I’ve been reading more slowly in February than I did in January. My current read is actually my favorite of the month so far: Followers by Megan Angelo. It’s a Black Mirror-esque dystopian thriller about the social media age and the lengths people will go to become “internet famous.” I know there’s a big twist coming and I haven’t guessed it yet, so I’m excited to see how it plays out!

Cover of Followers by Megan Angelo, for February wrap uo post

What have you been reading, watching, buying, and loving this month?

And that’s it for February! See you soon, folks.

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