In a week, I’ll be in Columbus, Ohio at Science Writers 2014. On Saturday, Christie Aschwanden and I are leading an interactive session on career success, Building a Roadmap for Your Freelance Career.
This means that in addition to everything else that I’m juggling—directing backhoe traffic to remedy some water problems, collecting really big rocks that have surfaced during the digging, deploying the rocks in a landscaping project that was supposed to go down in April, shopping for a new car, keeping the old car running, staying on top of laundry and, oh yeah, all those work deadlines—I’m thinking hard about how to be a successful freelancer. Not a surviving freelancer but a thriving one.
During my morning runs and midday walks, I’m wondering how we can get 360-degree performance reviews when most of our harried editors don’t even have time to tell us what we did well or where we fell short on our last assignment. Zero-degree feedback is more the norm.
While putting my garden to bed for the winter, I’m ruminating on how to define success in a way that is relevant to freelancers. It must go beyond income earned, bylines counted and all that. But how do we measure the emotional satisfaction of a really well wrought essay? Or calculate the value of being able to drop everything to go have lunch with an out-of-state friend who is suddenly in town?
Lying in bed at night, when I usually soothe my insomnia with thoughts of future pottery projects, I’m considering marketing. The whole “build your personal brand” thing has gotten a bit tired but there’s a lot of value in staying visible to potential clients. It’s key to career success and advancement. But how do we do this without being a PITA?
I’ve still got a week to get my thoughts lined up for the talk. Please join us in person on Saturday to hear what comes from all my deliberation. And if you have a question about any of this, leave a comment below (or here) or send one of us an email. We’d love to hear from you. See you in Columbus.
Photos: the author’s hunting-season-approved running shoes and her PlannerPad by Anne Sasso.