Monthly Wrap-Up: March 2021

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Well, here we are again at the end of the month and it’s time for another wrap-up! I hope you’ve all had a happy, healthy, and productive March. I’m glad to see the days getting longer, feel the sun getting warmer, and enjoy the slight easing of lockdown restrictions in the UK this week.

In personal news, my partner was vaccinated on Friday (a quick and simple process, no side effects!) It’s going to be a while before I get my jab, but him getting it means we already feel a bit safer. We’re still being cautious for now, as I hope everyone is, but that light at the end of the tunnel gets a bit bigger and a bit closer every day.

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

A Change of Blog Focus

When I started this blog a few months ago, I wasn’t really sure what I wanted it to be. It’s been a good place to get some of my thoughts out, but it’s also been a bit unfocused. I’ve been thinking about it a lot, and I’ve decided that what I really want to do is make it a space focused on wellbeing for the freelance community.

That means I’ll be writing more about mental health, self care, boundaries, money, and other wellness topics, and focusing less on “how to” style writing/editing/journalism content. There’s so much of that out there already, and I don’t feel like I can really add much to that conversation that hasn’t already been said. But if there’s a blog that exclusively or primarily focuses on the health and wellbeing side of freelance life, well, I haven’t found it yet.

So I need to decide what to do with my existing content (probably keep it but maybe archive some of it) and rejig my categories and tags a bit as well as how I promote the blog. But yeah, that’s going to be the focus moving forward. Got any ideas for topics you’d like me to cover? Let me know!

Writing and Freelancing Things

I set myself some ambitious targets this month, and fortunately I managed to hit most of them. I entered two fiction competitions, one with a brand new story and one with an older piece that I tidied up and tweaked.

Last week, I also met with my PhD supervisors to discuss next steps. We’re working towards the upgrade (half way mini viva thing) now, which means I’ll be writing up a lot more of my research over the next few months. Exciting times!

Something else I did this month for the first time in forever was set aside an afternoon to do nothing but work on my novel. I wasn’t sure how this would go, but it was an absolute joy and I wrote over 4000 words. I’ve been working on this piece on and off for a very long time (like, over a decade) and I oscillate between almost throwing it out for good and being convinced it’ll eventually be the best thing I’ve ever written. Just putting aside time to work on it made me fall back in love with it all over again.

Pitching Stats

After last month’s high acceptance rate (which actually increased after I wrote the wrap-up post due to a couple more acceptances trickling in late,) this month’s was… well, pretty abysmal to be honest. I set myself a target of 15 pitches for this month – here’s the stats:

  • Pitches sent: 15
  • Commissions landed: 0
  • Rejections: 6
  • No-responses: 6
  • Still waiting to hear: 3

Yeah, not great. I’m intending to follow up a couple of the no-responses once more, but I’m not expecting anything to come from it. A follow-up sometimes yields a confirmation that they don’t want the piece, but very rarely leads to a commission (at least for me, other journos say differently.)

Well, they can’t all be good months. Onwards and upwards.

Monthly Favourites

My purchase of the month for March was a ridiculously bright and colourful rainbow tie-dyed hoodie. I live in a Victorian house and it gets very cold, even with the heating on, so wrapping up warm is a must. My new sweater was a custom piece by Lindsay of The Hippie Dyer and is an absolute joy to wear.

My top read of this month was the extraordinary Being Lolita by Alisson Wood. It’s a memoir about Wood’s abusive relationship with her teacher in her late teens, and to say it’s devastating is not overselling it. In many ways it echoes Kate Elizabeth Russell’s bestseller My Dark Vanessa, only Wood’s version is something that really happened. Though it was incredibly painful to read, it was also a story of a young woman finding her voice and rescuing herself from the clutches of a vile, abusive man.

TV-wise, I’ve been watching Tiny Pretty Things, a twisty drama/mystery set in an elite ballet academy in Chicago. It took a while to get going (the first couple episodes were meh) but I’m now about half way through season 1 and finding it compelling watching. My partner and I have been watching the Amazon series The Expanse together, which is a must-watch for fans of gritty sci-fi.

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

And that’s it for March! See you soon with the new and revamped Procaffeinating content plan.

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