At the end of last year, I gathered together links to all the articles I’d written in this blog post. It’s time to do the same for 2019.
Last year was the first year I took pitching and freelancing seriously — I’d written a couple of ad-hoc things before then, and had previously worked on staff as a magazine writer — but, as I wrote in that post, I’d never before considered freelance writing anything more than an idea; a dream.
It took this blog post from the Australian writer Kate Walton to make me see that freelancing isn’t some great mysterious dream; it’s something you persevere with, and with luck and hard work, can make into a job.
That’s not to say I’m swimming in cash at the end of my second year of actually-trying-with-freelancing; truthfully, I’m far from it.
Looking at my invoices for this year, I’ve made $5,190 from freelance article writing (and, assuming all my invoices are paid up by the end of the year, should end up with $6,990), which is about a quarter of my total income for the calendar year. I’ve been lucky to hold two, one-day-a-week part-time jobs in communications and writing this year, which earned me half of my total year’s income of $28,823 (and freelance copywriting work, separate from articles, makes up the rest). Articles are clearly not a path to financial prosperity. But, as I wrote in this blog post last year, “freelance article writing is something I love doing — I find it challenging, terrifying, and deeply fulfilling — and a dream would be to do it full-time.”
For continuity and reflection, here’s an update on my pitching and publishing in 2019 — I’ve officially closed my pitch shop; won’t pitch any more articles for the rest of the year, and will update this page with new articles as they’re published only, no new pitch stats. Here goes.
In 2019, I:
Pitched 59 articles,
Had 18 pitches accepted,
Was commissioned for two articles without pitching, and
Published 17 articles across eight different publications, including Crikey, Southeast Asia Globe, Travel+Leisure Southeast Asia, Eureka Street, New Naratif, and the Lowy Institute’s Interpreter (but, assuming that everything gets published before the end of the year, it’ll end up as 25 clips from 13 different publications). Links are below.
Here’s how I went in 2018, if you’re interested. Overall, I pitched and published less this year than I did in 2018, but I pitched bigger places and I’m happier with my work and how it challenged me: for example, last year, I had 12 articles published with The Cusp and three with Uni Junkee. I loved writing them and am not disparaging lifestyle writing, but it’s something that generally comes quite easily to me — whereas this year, I terrified myself trying to write an opinion piece, a personal essay, and a news feature: none of which I’d published before. (I’ve also hit my goal of write something that isn’t about Timor-Leste with two pieces on cycling and swimming coming this month.)
I also focused more of my time and energy on finding commissioned website stories for organisations — started a couple of new copywriting projects, and cobbled together enough work to fund a return trip to Timor-Leste (incidentally, I made about $200 from that trip and covered all my costs, which I was thrilled about — read the pieces I published from that trip here). And I worked a couple of days a week in steady part-time jobs, which — combined with the important fact that I’ve been living rent-free at mum and dad’s since moving back to Perth in April — gives me the financial safety net and the creative freedom to seek lower-paid and less-reliable work that genuinely interests me, and to volunteer two full days a week at an organisation I love. I’m lucky and privileged to be in this position and I don’t take that lightly.
Oof. It’s been a big, fun, busy, interesting, hard, satisfying year. I’m quietly quite proud of the effort I put in here, and I hope it might help someone else starting to toy with the idea of pitching and writing freelance articles in the same way Kate’s post, two years ago, did for me.
Read what I wrote:
Timor-Leste’s first female pilot on patriotism and pushing boundaries, Southeast Asia Globe Online, 16 January 2019
Timor-Leste’s forgotten Chinese, The Interpreter, 16 January 2019
Timor-Leste’s budget collision, Southeast Asia Globe Online, 31 January 2019
Repopulating Timor-Leste, New Naratif, 8 February 2019
5 ridiculous mistakes I made on my first solo backpacking trip, AWOL, 10 February 2019
Perth beach bliss: Where to go to escape Cottesloe’s crowds, AWOL, 1 March 2019
Paradise awakens, Travel+Leisure Southeast Asia, May 2019
Timor-Leste’s missing oil millions, Eureka Street, 5 June 2019
How Australia trashed its legacy in Timor-Leste, Crikey, 26 July 2019
Children of independence, New Naratif, 30 August 2019
Timor-Leste’s future still shadowed by the past, The Interpreter, 2 September 2019
Timor-Leste draws a line. Will Australia respect it?, Crikey, 2 September 2019
A postcard from Dili, Global Hobo, 6 September 2019
Australia’s true relationship with Timor-Leste, Eureka Street, 9 September 2019
Why I returned to Timor-Leste, Global Hobo, 23 September 2019
Betting on black, Southeast Asia Globe, 23 October 2019
Re-conceiving barlake, New Naratif, 1 November 2019
- What I wrote in 2018, icymi
- Kate’s original post, the format of which I’ve copied here
- My writing website, where I upload clips
Thank you for reading! These articles, this post, this blog. Bloody lucky.