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In a couple of weeks, it will be one whole year since I launched this newsletter. In many ways, I can’t quite believe it. It feels only a few weeks ago that I was writing down a rough content plan of the topics I wanted to cover and the people I wanted to interview. I just had to find the nerve to go for it.
As I started writing my first few posts, I remember reading a blog post from Substack on how pressing ‘send’ really was the hardest part of creating a newsletter. Oh, and how true that was. It remains the most nerve-wracking part of my week but also the most exciting. Hearing back from readers or seeing my writing being shared on Twitter makes me feel that it’s worth it and that the subjects I’m covering are helping others.
Connecting to other freelance parents has always been one of my main drivers and reasons for writing to you each week. In March 2020 when we had only just entered the nightmare that was Covid-19, I felt really lost. I knew how salaried people were being affected, but I didn’t know too many freelancers – let alone freelance parents. I craved the camaraderie of knowing that other people shared my fears (that the pandemic was going to completely ruin my carefully crafted career) and that they too were also having a slow few months. And that inevitably, it would all be ok.
But by writing this newsletter, I started to create that network. From imposter syndrome, to losing confidence after maternity leave, to dealing with money and difficult clients, I thought that if they'd affected me, surely there were others that would benefit from hearing from other experts and seasoned freelancers discuss them too?
It's been great to hear when these topics have really resonated, and in some cases, helped you make new contacts too.
Aside from work, the last year has been a rollercoaster for me personally. I went through three rounds of IVF that made me feel terrible, one miscarriage and five months of hellish nausea and sickness when I finally did get pregnant. It felt like a marathon and one that I could only pray would end in a finish line. I remind myself of how much it’s taken to get here every time my baby son, who’s due in August, kicks me in the ribs.
For those of you that have subscribed for a while, you’ll remember the newsletter I wrote when my second IVF attempt didn’t work. I remember many friends texting me and saying what a brave thing it was to do. But in all honesty, it didn’t feel brave. It just felt honest.
Who better to understand what I was going through than several hundred other parents? And of course, you understood. You really, really understood. Your response and support brought me so much comfort – from the kind words that you shared, the mutual understanding, and even a meditation recording that one of you emailed me. I loved and appreciated it all. I was glad I was also able to give some of you the opportunity to talk about your own experiences too. In some cases, for the first time with anyone who wasn't your partner or family.
Miscarriage and infertility really does affect so many of us so why shy away and pretend that it doesn’t? Comfort, for me anyway, really does come from sharing and saying truthfully, ‘no this is really, really hard actually and I’m not going to pretend it’s not’.
There will only be a few more weeks of the newsletter before I take a bit of a break to have my baby, but I can’t wait to return renewed and motivated to continue growing this community. This time, with a new experience under my belt: juggling two small children with a freelance career. I’m nervous and excited about the ride but feel far less alone this time around – and that’s all down to you.
My hope is that The Freelance Parent also helps you to feel less alone too, and that yes, you really can enjoy a brilliant and fulfilling career while working on your own terms.
Thank you everyone for reading and opening this email each week. Here’s to another year!
Until next time,
Before you go…
Freelance writers, have you entered The Freelance Writing Awards?
Entries are now open for the inaugural #FreelanceWritingAwards! The first media awards to celebrate freelance writing talent in the UK. Judges will be looking for editorial submissions that display brilliant writing and originality, as well as having clear expertise and a unique freelance quality. They have 19 (!) categories that you can enter including freelance writer of the year, commercial writer of the year and lifestyle writer of the year. You can also nominate other writers who you admire and even your favourite newsletters. Just saying :)
This is the first awards of its kind, so don’t be shy. Enter your work here and get some recognition for all of your hard graft.
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