Oh man, there are a BUNCH MORE of you on this newsletter because it’s a new freelancing quarter AND it’s New Year’s Resolutions season and everyone except me vowed to pitch a ton more in 2020. That’s great news! It’s the most wonderful time of the year because editors are back at their desks and they are THIRSTY FOR YOUR PITCHES. Get at the 2020 List of Twitter Calls for Pitches/Submissions ASAP because there are already seven pages of tweets and we are not even into double digit days of January yet.
I have been spending my 2020 getting back into the swing of things: My day job is undergoing some huge changes, I just started practicing with a different roller derby league, and most of my remaining energy is spent ignoring the trash fire that is the 2020 news cycle. I’m also not drinking because I had a liiiittle too much of a last hoorah/margaritas night on New Year’s Eve and, as I mentioned last newsletter, alcohol makes me feel kind of terrible now! The silver lining is, this has been the easiest dry January I’ve ever participated in.
I’m also planning a wedding, but honestly my heart is not 100% in it (the planning part, not the getting married part). How is it that, the second you’re engaged, you’re expected to become an expert event planner? I thought Chuck and I would save a ton of money by getting married at his dad’s farm, but it turns out you need a million rentals from 18 different vendors to build a temporary shelter for you to get hitched in/around and that shit ADDS UP. Plus, I thought I knew how much good wedding photography might cost and I underestimated that by like, half. And I’m a creative who knows the value of a creative service!! That’s the area I am most determined not to skimp on, but who knew it’d turn out to be more than a third of my budget.
Anyway! At least we have a venue and a date set. I’m taking a break for a bit before my head explodes. TELL ME ABOUT HOW YOUR 2020 IS GOING INSTEAD.
But enough about that – Let’s move on to the matter at hand:
What I’ve Been Making for the Internet
Over at Clintonville Spotlight, my final piece for the paper was a follow-up about some cool renovations done to a local children’s center. Now they have the resources to assist 20 publicly funded children who urgently need daycare their parents are unable to afford. I teared up a lil bit interviewing the pastor of the church next door when he talked about the community kicking in to foot the bill.
There is a new 20-minute episode of Texas Forever, the Friday Night Lights podcast I do with Liz Juranek! Liz and I met up in person in Chicago last month with plans to talk about “John Carter,” a movie that lost Disney so much money that Taylor Kitsch’s career has never recovered. It was terrible so instead we took a Buzzfeed FNL character quiz and talked about marriage, divorce, and John Travolta. We’ll be back recapping season 4 of FNL sooooon!
Again: Despite vowing to take a freelancing break in 2020, I'm back on my creative coaching bullshit again. Lemme help you get a plan together for your 2020 creative projects!!! After my last newsletter I got a bunch of DMs from new freelancers asking for advice which I am happy to send. However, if you want to take it up a notch, pay me for an hour of my time so we can go over some pitches and do some heavy lifting together!
What I’ve Been Reading
WHOOPS, I forgot to read much in the last two weeks. SEND ME SOME GOOD READS. I haven’t read many essays lately, tbh.
In the meantime, hey, look, it’s a nice story about West Virginia! I’m glad BELT Magazine took the time to write about this beekeeper on Wheeling Island.
I finished Red, White and Royal Blue mere DAYS before Harry and Meghan decided to take a step back from the royal family. I started the book on Audible months ago but honestly didn’t like it because the main character was kind of mean and snarky. But! As December 31 rolled around and I realized how few books I finished in 2019, I managed to get the rest of that one in under the wire. And it was GREAT! The main character got a lot more likable as the story unfolded, so, my bad.
What I Loved This Week
I finally watched Booksmart and it was as fun and good as everyone said it was. The script is available for free online if, like me, you’re working on a comp feature and want to give it a read!
Even though I don’t write for Apartment Therapy anymore, I still love their annual January Cure, during which they send you a daily email with a small task meant to help you whip your apartment or house into shape in the new year. Sometimes it’s something simple like cleaning out a single drawer that’s been bugging you, and on weekends they send more time consuming assignments, like taking everything out of your pantry and cleaning it up. Get the emails here.
On a much more somber note: A former teammate of mine was killed in that terrible bus crash in Pennsylvania this past weekend. Acid was one of the best roller derby skaters I ever shared the track with, and she was generous with her knowledge. Known for her swift footwork, she once stayed after practice to show me and my fellow rookies the off skates drills she did to get those fast feet of hers. She will be missed. There is a Go Fund Me (thankfully, now fully funded, after two days) for her to help fray the costs of her funeral. She was only 35.
A photo I took of Acid at a teammate’s wedding in 2018
The 2020 List of Twitter Calls for Pitches/Submissions Google Doc is up to date! Again, it has been an EMBARRASSMENT OF RICHES since the new year started, with editors pumped to have first quarter budget money to offer you for your excellent writing, so GO FORTH AND PITCH.
If you’re interested in one freelancer’s (strictly part time) finances, I tweeted this short thread about how much I made each year between 2015 and 2019, and how many paid bylines I had in how many publications. 2016 was a very good year for my side hustle and almost nothing else!
Okay, that’s all for this installment! Hit reply if you like this newsletter and I’ll write you back. Or, hit forward if you’ve got a buddy you think would be into it. Later, folks!
About me: I wrote a collection of essays about love, loss, and roller derby. Buy a mini version of it for less than five bucks. I’m currently based in the Mid Ohio Valley after having lived in Chicago and Portland for a few years. Follow me on Instagram (@merylkwilliams) and Twitter (@MerylWilliams) for social media posts about wondering at what age kids finally stop spilling everything handed to them, the horrors of bridal expos, and how my favorite bachelor podcasts are smarter than me because they all gave up on the franchise.
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