They say the first few weeks after Christmas are the most depressing days of the entire year. So as you sit hunched over your keyboard nursing a steaming mug of mud-like coffee, you might welcome the odd spot of workplace banter.
It does exactly what it says on the tin, bringing interesting and humorous comments made by newsroom colleagues direct to your desktop. Stunners like number 70: “Sure wish we knew what the hell we’re talking about” are sure to resound with every demotivated reporter in a mid-Monday slump.
Phew. I’m back, after a Christmas break in which my immune system saw fit to relax and welcome in a stinking cold, thwarting any grand plans I might have had about coming up with irresistible feature ideas, sorting out my contacts book and getting my accounts in order.
It was almost like the cumulative mental stresses and strains of 2008 congested in my head only to be blown out with gusto as 2009 arrived. Which brings me onto my next point – Happy New Year.
Ah, New Year, a time for reflection, reinvention, and of course, New Year’s resolutions. This time last year I was resenting being back at work – now (like many people in this country) I’m thankful to have any work at all.
So, as I dust off the last of the mince pie crumbs and attempt to wean my body off regular doses of red wine, cold turkey, Quality Street and every other kind of oral fixation I seem to have developed whist watching re-runs of Home Alone and the Antiques Roadshow, here are my top five, ever-so-slightly over-ambitious but necessary New Year’s, New Freelancer’s Resolutions / Commandments:
1. Thou shalt stop procrastinating. Any time I feel inexplicably compelled to tune into 80s videos (read: Foreigner, Toto and Chris De Burgh) on YouTube, or sneak into the kitchen to prepare a strangely frugal yet hybrid snack made from the collective ingredients of my kitchen cupboards, I will resist. I will use spare time wisely: chasing invoices, brainstorming ideas, reading other features and researching. Twittering however, and other genuine modes of online networking, will be self-permitted and encouraged.
2. Thou shalt aim high. I must remember that my experience, expertise and capability are precious – and will not be tempted to sell myself short or write for free. Because thou is worth it, right?
3. Thou shalt be more persistent. I will make sure I’m being proactive about pitching and will not be afraid to bang on doors – everyone else is doing it, after all.
4. Thou shalt diversify and leave thy comfort zone. Surely there is money to be made writing about all sorts of esoteric subjects I haven’t thought of yet?
5 Thou shalt blog, like there’s no bloggin’ tomorrow. Because it’s quick, effective, a great way of joining the debate and networking. I’ll be one of those bloggers with a book deal before I know it…
So, I’ll keep you updated as to how I get on with those – and why don’t you share any you might have with me? Right, I’m off to Dubai for ten days in an attempt to mix pleasure with work. Tune in next time to find out how I got on…
Well, we could have brought you ‘Flocking Around the Twitmas Tree’, ‘We Three Nings’ or just a straightforward end of the year list (if only to add to our list of lists), but instead we chose this: your sing-along treat to round-up 2008 is the ‘Twelve Days of Online Media Christmas’ (hyperlinked to relevant stories, but bear in mind it’s a selection of picks and not comprehensive…).
On the first day of Christmas my feed read’r brought to me … An editor in a law court
… Nine strikers strikin’, Eight maps a-plotting, Seven pipes a-mashing, Six sites out-linking, Five Tweeeeeetin’ friends, Four journo forums, Three web gaffes, Two arrested hacks, And an editor in a law court!
On the eleventh day of Christmas my feed read’r brought to me … Eleven papers packing
… Ten blogs a-blooming, Nine strikers strikin’, Eight maps a-plotting, Seven pipes a-mashing, Six sites out-linking, Five Tweeeeeetin’ friends, Four journo forums, Three web gaffes, Two arrested hacks, And an editor in a law court!
On the twelfth day of Christmas my feed read’r brought to me … Twelve sites a-starting
… Eleven papers packing, Ten blogs a-blooming, Nine strikers strikin’, Eight maps a-plotting, Seven pipes a-mashing, Six sites out-linking, Five Tweeeeeetin’ friends, Four journo forums, Three web gaffes, Two arrested hacks and an editor in a law court!
It’s the season of good will, so here’s a plug for two worthy events:
In aid of Leonard Cheshire Disability, newsreaders Nicholas Owen, Emily Maitliss and Katie Derham will take part in a fundraising Christmas concert.
Music at the event, which will be held on Thursday December 11 at the Royal Festival Hall on London’s Southbank, will come from the London Chamber Orchestra, London Philharmonic Choir and stars of stage and screen.
Tickets are priced from £10-£50 and are available from the Southbank Centre on 0871 663 2500 or can be booked online.
To raise money for charity Greenhouse, the ES is auctioning off a host of meeja-related prizes from dinner with editor Veronica Wadley, lunch with Robert Peston to accompanying Sir David Frost to a screening of Frost/Nixon.