Despite all that stuff about English degrees leading to flipping burgers, after leaving university I had the good fortune to run my own magazine with friends while temping at a local TV channel and then to work as deputy editor for a regional magazine. Since graduating, I’ve managed to hold down full-time editorial roles.
Until that is, I moved to London, did a maternity cover stint at my dream magazine – spent five months making contacts, gaining industry leeway and vital experience – only to find there were no permanant jobs going at the end of it.
Luckily for me, my most recent employers have been kind enough to give me shift work (a godsend if you can get it), which has given me the security to make a go of freelancing.
And so, just as the country entered recession and editorial budgets everywhere were cut, I have been thrown into the world of freelance journalism.
Suddenly I went from the safety of the office, its databases, reputation and regular income, to the forlorn makeshift study in the corner of my communal sitting room (because who has room for an office in London?). It was time to abandon Outlook for Twitter and to change from being the one receiving, commissioning and yes, I’ll sheepishly admit, occasionally ignoring freelance pitches, to the one doing the pitching.
In this blog I’ll chart my progress as I endeavour to make a living (albeit a meagre one) off my own back, the freelance way.
It won’t be so much of a ‘how to start out as a freelance’, but more of a collection of stories, anecdotes, and hopefully a forum for people in a similar boat to share ideas, advice and opinion. Welcome to the world of the newbie freelancer.
So as the invites from PRs for lunches turn miraculously into ‘I’ll be at that canapé reception – catch you then’ and the chill-inducing tone of commissioning editors everywhere sings out bluntly ‘never heard of you’ – I’ll be sharing it here, with you, along with (hopefully) the odd triumphant tale of why freelance is the way to go…
Rosie Birkett is a freelance journalist and sub-editor who specialises in food, hospitality and travel. She can be contacted on rosiebirkett1 at hotmail.com. She also blogs at thelondonword.com and at fiftyfourfoodmiles.wordpress.com. You can follow all Rosie’s freelance updates here.