It’s great that many prominent freelancers are sharing their #FreelancePies – we certainly need to open up the conversation about money. In this post I’m not going to disclose my total income, but I’ll show you what freelancing was like for me since I left my last stable job. I’m doing this to contribute to helping people who aspire for a career in writing to plan realistically. Also, I’m going to show this post to friends and anyone who holds some romanticised impression of freelance journalism. Obviously, my experience doesn’t represent an average freelance journalist in any country. It’s just, well, a slice of the industry.
Plaques, memorial gatherings, tourist itineraries and pilgrimages – many practices in everyday culture are about pinning lives to a specific place. When someone famous lived or died near or in a place that is now a commercial establishment, the history of that famous person will be immediately taken up to attract more people. But in London, writer Francesca Wade found a square that accommodated not one but at least five famous lives, and it doesn’t appear like it’s been exploited for tourism. The catch is, these famous people were all women.
Wade’s phenomenal research, which apparently took three years, fleshes out the lives of five writers as much as it is possible, with many letters and diaries deliberately destroyed as these women tried to curate the way they will be remembered. The book (see The Guardian’s review here) was included in the list of compulsory literature for my non-fiction writing diploma course at Cambridge in order to show us an example of using research. Last week we were also offered an opportunity to meet Wade herself and ask questions.