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Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Resolutions Check-in - 2020

Well, 2020 was not a year for keeping resolutions, was it. But we'll check in anyway.

10) Drink 6 glasses of water a day. 

I will give myself a point. I drink 5 to 6 glasses of water a day. And I am still dehydrated. WHY. 1

9) Exercise consistently 5 times a week.

Nope. I averaged just over 4 times a week. We'll try again. 0

8) Get my nails nice

I started biting my nails again, lol. 0

7) Contribute to election integrity in ways that are tangible and meaningful before the election

I did this. I wrote articles, coordinated a book about voting machines, did a video series on voting in Georgia and headed a student voter guide project. 1

6) Fix three things about the house

I fixed the driveway, the fence, and the back wall of the house (got rid of the door and the wood rot). 1

5) Make $100,000 and/or get a full-time position somewhere.

I did not. I made $91K and I almost got a full-time job, but I did not. 0

4) Publish 30 pieces

Published 26. Close but no cigar. 0

3) Go somewhere overseas.


2) Meditate for 30 minutes a week and see one friend a week.

Nope. I started doing this. And I was doing incredibly well. Then the pandemic hit. So. 0

1) Read 12 books.

I read 2. But this year I swear to God, I'm going to read. 0

3/10 better luck next year.

For my kids and I, I resolve the following:

5) Help them navigate tween-teen years, be someone they can trust and love.

yes. 1

4) Read to them every night.

Nope. I started this, but it got away from me. 0

3) Save $10,000 more each for them.

Killed it. I saved nearly $18K each for them. 1

2) Do something with them every day.

I mean, yes? Because we have to do school every day? .5

1) Have them do chores every day.

Again, I did not do this. 0

2.5 of 5.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Freelancer Numbers - Year 6

This is my fifth full year of freelancing (I started a half year before that), but since becoming a freelancer, I've also done adjunct (freelance) teaching, and taught more than full-time so I'm going to show salary with that included and without it. Just like the past few years, teaching took up a bunch of my pitching and writing time, but also gave me a steady paycheck that I could (mostly) earn from home. And I get to teach students about journalism and how to do it! For me, this step was worth it. Of course, this year, I stepped over into too much, teaching a double course-load (8 classes) last semester. So my freelance numbers are abysmal. I'm going to change that this year. Less teaching, more writing!

I want to add that when I started this money tracking, I was not making very much, and I liked being transparent to show other people the journey.

I also took on a part-time job as a program manager for a remote newsroom. So, between that and teaching, I pull up to 80 hours a week, working.

Please keep that in mind. It's not sustainable. Don't do this. There is only so much a person can do, be kind to yourself.

This year, I made $91,756 total.

I made ~$62,500 from teaching, down from $76,000 teaching last year.
Remember, I added a job in there, which covered another $19,500
Therefore, I made only about ~$9,000 writing this year. 

Again, I hope to change these dynamics next year.

I want to give you a rundown of the totals for the last five years, just so you can see the trajectory.

2020: $91,700
2019: $94,600
2018: $77,900
2017: $65,600
2016: $48,000
2015: $23,000
2014: $6,000

My lowest income month was June at $4,670.
(Last year's lowest income month was September at $4,430.)

My highest income month was January at $10,532.
(Last year it was February at $13,112. This was an all-time high)

On average I made $7,641 a month, which is $1,910.
Last year I made $7,882 a month, which is $1,970 a week.

Remember, though, I still have to do my taxes on ~$29,000 of this.


We'll focus now on just the writing. To get that $9K, I published 23 pieces this year, which is up from the year before when I published 21.

My highest number published in a month was June with 4 pieces published.
I had several months where I didn't publish anything, which is not great for a freelancer.

In terms of publications, I published in 13 different places, down from 16 last year, including websites, newspapers and magazines.

The most pieces I published for one place? 3 which is the same as last year down from 7 the year before that, and down from 15 the year before.

The lowest I wrote for was $50. 

The highest check for one piece I received this year was for $2,500--for a piece in a college alumni magazine.

On average, I made $391 a piece this year, lower per piece than any recent year. In fairness, I have not been paid for SEVERAL of my high-number pieces, each coming in at $1,000-$2,000. So, a truer number, actually, is $473 a piece for what I've been paid, or, $630 a piece, when my accounts are squared.


Let's talk pitches, rejections and acceptances. To publish my 23 pieces this year, I sent out 72 pitches this year.

I was rejected outright 29 times. 
I was accepted 16 times (I was commissioned for some of these pieces, which doesn't count in the pitching process). 
I was ignored 27 times (which is a silent rejection, obviously).

So, my percentages work out like this:

Accepted: 23% of the time (same as last year)
Rejected: 40% of the time
Ignored: 37% of the time
Total Rejected: 77% of the time.

I was accepted 23 percent of the time, and rejected 77 percent of the time. THIS HAS BEEN CONSISTENT FOR 3 YEARS NOW.

Keep trying! Keep going! We can do this, freelancers. It is possible.


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