Category Archives: News

A new year update for 2021

Fireworks

Nobody needs another blog post about how weird 2020 was. Nor about how weird the start of 2021 has been already. But, in short, totally weird.

Now, onto the rest of it all.

What I’m up to

I continue to work hard. Most of my work is writing, proofreading and editing. Last year, I proofread four full-length books and many, many job applications. This may be symptomatic of how many people lost their jobs in the midst of the international crisis. Interestingly, I didn’t proofread as many essays and theses last year as I usually do; perhaps due to the same.

Fireworks

Fireworks

In terms of writing, most of what I do currently is ghost writing blog posts for business clients. Usually SMEs, these businesses know that their website needs a blog that’s regularly updated, that demonstrates their expertise and that is relevant to their clients. They also know that they either don’t have the time or expertise to do it or they simply lack the will.

Not everybody relishes being faced with an empty document and needing to fill it up with juicy content.

Thankfully, I do.

Then, editing. This has divided into two main areas, for me. The first is sensitivity reading / sensitivity editing. I can read your work to check for areas you might have gone wrong in terms of disability and / or LGBTQIA issues.

This is a new service for me to offer but it has been taken up by several writers and editors, including the editors of Florence Given’s “Women Don’t Owe You Pretty”, which I did both a disability / mental health and LGBTQIA sensitivity read for.

The second area of editing that I focus on is that I am editor in chief of Global Comment, an excellent website that showcases the writing of journalists around the world. This involves working with freelancers and commissioning work – one article is published every weekday – and managing a commissioning budget. I then edit each piece, upload it to WordPress and do all the bits and bobs that need doing there, then promote it on a range of social media sites. I also keep on top of a weekly email list for the site.

In addition, I have been on the comms team of the Sheffield branch of the Women’s Equality Party for the last few years. This mostly involves managing the branch’s Facebook Page but also includes consulting on any other areas of communications that arise.

What’s new

I’m currently involved in a new and exciting project with Disability Sheffield, an organisation I volunteered with about ten years ago. They received a pot of funding to hire someone in a comms role to make Covid information more accessible to a disabled audience. They gave that role to me, and I am relishing the challenge.

I am passionate about fighting how inaccessible much of the formal communication from the UK government has been, and I am passionate about providing the best, most well-researched information to disabled people who need it. This role is perfect to address those things.

Before I even knew the role existed and that I was being considered, I was running a campaign in my local branch of the Women’s Equality Party to write to the minister responsible for representing disabled people about inaccessibility, so the planets aligned perfectly.

As I am only a few weeks into this role, I am currently asking a lot of questions so that I can make sure that I provide information that people actually want to know (rather than what I assume they want to know). It is also vital that I provide it in formats that people can access, within the limits of the budget and practicality. So I have started by creating and promoting a survey. If people want to know about vaccines and they want it in Easy Read format, I can do that. If they want to know about Covid support bubbles in image format, I can do that. And so on.

The role runs until the end of March and I am thoroughly enjoying it so far. The work is intense but important and I’m meeting new people, as well as reconnecting with staff who are still there from when I was a volunteer all those years ago.

What’s next

Some of last year was a bit quiet, work-wise. Understandably, of course. A lot of SMEs were closed or working with skeleton staff so it makes sense that blog content or a website rewrite weren’t at the top of their priority list.

This year has begun with extreme busyness; there’s so rarely a happy medium with freelancing! But I’m enjoying having a bulging to-do list and am always keen to do more and hear from people who I can perhaps help with content creation or editing or even non-profit comms.

 

Something interesting…

After all the fun we had making the A Little Bird Told Me podcast, when Lorrie then went on maternity leave, I felt a podcast-shaped hole in my life. So I set up Freelance Confidence where you can find podcast episodes, blog posts and an email newsletter with top freelancing advice.

But after choosing to take a medium- to long-term break from the Freelance Confidence podcast, I decided that if I could find a niche that was not at all work related, it could function nicely as a side-hobby and hopefully I would associate it more with fun again.

So I thought about what I look for in a great podcast (for I have a serious podcast habit!) and decided I preferred interview formats to solo shows, and that my main criteria was that a podcast, its topic or its guests and host should be interesting.

It was that complicated. And it was that simple.

So, the Interesting People Podcast was born. I have had the time of my life interviewing people who have pushed themselves to pursue immense achievements, and others who have daily lives that are fascinating for others to hear about.

And, if you’re interesting, apply to be on the show! Other guests have said it was a great experience, so listen to a few episodes and fill in the form to apply.

January in Review

January Cottage

January Cottage (Photo credit: jenniferworthen)

Wow, January has been a busy month! And, as a freelancer, this is always a good thing. May the rest of 2014 follow the same pattern!

I wrote some really popular articles for Feminist Times and Disability Intersections, and it was great to see such positive responses via social media.

For Feminist Times I wrote, “Intrusive entitlement: disabled women as public property”, about the way that many people feel that they can touch, grab and inappropriately question disabled people about their lives.

I also wrote a long-form article for the exciting new online magazine Disability Intersections about food snobbery and how many people judge what others eat, without taking into account the many different personal circumstances and societal oppressions that can make this difficult, in March of the Food Snobs.

I’ve also been working on some large editing projects: two very different full-length books, which has been a great experience and it feels great to whip a piece of work into shape and have the privilege of being a trusted second pair of eyes for a client’s hard work.

I have, as always, been busy with ghostwritten blogging and content work for regular clients, and I have proofread and edited lots of CVs and job applications. The insecure job market means that people are really keen to make sure they put themselves in the best possible position when they apply for work, so they are sending their work to me in record numbers to make sure their documents are error free and present them in the best possible light.

The podcast is going from strength to strength, and I also blogged about the benefits for small businesses of offering things for free. I have finally got round to updating the list of work I have had published online in the last 12 months, too, including commissions for Access Magazine and my posts at The F-Word. This is always quite a skewed representation of my work because so much of what I do is ghost writing that I can’t claim as “mine”, so the work that goes onto this page is just a small proportion of my actual published writing.

Finally, I did my dreaded tax returns via the HMRC’s self-assessment site. Ugh! There’s a reason I’m a writer, not a numbers person!

So the first month of 2014 is pretty much over and done with, and it’s been a good one! Here’s to a fabulous February.

NaNoWriMo, NaBloPoMo, NaWhat?

English: Beibin Park, Bad weather. ‪中文(繁體)‬:...

English: Beibin Park, Bad weather. ‪中文(繁體)‬: 天候不佳的北濱公園。 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In a bid to get some work done on my own sites, I have decided to undertake the NaBloPoMo challenge this November, which involves publishing a blog post a day for the entire month. I spend so much of my time doing paid writing for other people’s websites that my own can get sadly neglected at times, so I am using this challenge as a way to start populating my own web properties, too.

Other writers are embarking on NaNoWriMo, a challenge that captures the imagination of thousands of people across the world as they try to write a 50,000 word novel in a month, and although I don’t have the time or energy to do that this year, we did publish a podcast episode about how to go about it, and I suspect I will be taking some of my own advice from that when it comes to sticking to the NaBloPoMo challenge, too.

November seems to be the month when a lot of these types of challenges kick in, and they are not just related to writing. Plenty of men use the month to grow a ‘tache, for instance, and my hatred of the hairy facial features is not eased by their proliferation during this month each year. However, it’s not for me to say how others present their faces, so I just try to be tolerant.

Thinking about it, November is a good choice for this kind of thing. Spending every day writing thousands of words of a novel or finding a topic for a blog post would be considerably less attractive if it was preventing us from chilling on the beach on a summer’s day. However, the weather here today makes me happy to be inside, typing away: the blustery, freezing wind and soggy clouds are foul, and I am not at all aggrieved at being indoors, writing this instead.

A month-long challenge seems, to me, to be the perfect length of time. If it went on much longer, I would lose any impetus I had to keep going, and if it was shorter it wouldn’t feel like much of an achievement. If I can blog or add a page to one of my websites every day for 30 days, that will be a whole lot more new web content and when I start flagging I can remind myself that 30 days really isn’t a big deal. I am hosting my NaBloPoMo blog at 21 Day Challenges, where I will post every day to highlight what I have published that day. It was a site set up with great intentions a few years ago, and then entirely ignored as full-time freelance writing has kept me incredibly busy.

So, feel free to head over there and subscribe to keep an eye on how I get on with my daily blogging challenge. The more people I have keeping an eye on my progress, the less likely I am to give up halfway through!

Mailing List, New Site and Recent Writing

Red Leaves

Red Leaves

I’ve had a busy time with work these last few weeks, which is great. An amazing variety of assignments have come my way, and that element of the unexpected makes sure I’m always learning new things, not to mention being kept on my toes.

You can always keep an eye on my recent writing on my Freelance Writing page which I update regularly. I have quite a few articles up on Constant Content, and most excitingly I was published on the Guardian Comment is Free website talking about negative attitudes towards disability.

As you can see from my Constant Content articles, I write a lot about social media and SEO. I have started a new site specifically to focus on that, so you can also find me on SocialMediaWriter.co.uk now. I’ve been particularly writing about Pinterest the last few weeks, and you can find me on Pinterest here, if you are a fellow addict.

I have also set up a mailing list. Please sign up if you would like to be kept informed on what I am up to, what I am writing and special deals on my writing prices. Mails will be sent at intervals of 2-4 weeks, so will be occasional and I won’t fill your inbox up. So, don’t miss out – sign up now!