Freelance Pod returns with a live show featuring author Gemma Milne

Hi all,

Freelance Pod has returned after a bit of a break! We’re on Season 2, Episode 40 (I like long seasons, apparently) and the podcast is now going monthly.

Should I stick to a weekly newsletter during the lockdown, though? If so, should I call it something else? Hmmm…

This episode is the live recording of the podcast at the Boulevard Theatre, Soho in November 2019. Wow, that truly was a simpler time…

But first - how are you?

I’m almost nocturnal (really fighting it!), tired a lot of the time and much of my work is hanging in the balance (the teaching) or drying up (the writing). It’s a really difficult time, and financially pretty worrying. I do have some links below, to government and accountant advice on accessing financial help and tax deadlines, that should help.

I’ve got myself a mini-trampoline, resistance bands and YouTube videos to keep me active at home, and I’m popping out for a fast walk / slow run every few days. Turns out freelancing is very good preparation for social distancing! My nightstand is piled high with books, and I’m wondering if the world is telling me to let go of work for a little bit and relax.

There’s a particularly gorgeous spring happening in London (of course there is), so I try to make the most of mornings on my east-facing balcony to soak up the Vitamin D.

(Btw if you need more calming views of blue sky like that, check out this Twitter thread from Lemn Sissay)

One last thing: make sure you get on the Nextdoor app. It’s coming into its own now that we’re all stuck in our flats in our atomised local communities. It’s also full of really bizarre things too, so ignore the conspiracy theories and fake medical advice, and just try to concentrate on what’s useful for you, and what’s helpful for the most vulnerable people in your neighbourhood.


The podcast is BACK

Author Gemma Milne - whose first book Smoke & Mirrors: How Hype Obscures the Future and How to See Past It is published on 23rd April and available for pre-order now - sat down onstage with me to talk about pitching and writing a non-fiction book, career changes and how hype distorts science and tech reporting (pretty relevant right now).

Listen now!

Gemma’s got lots of great advice for branding yourself online, bouncing back from redundancy plus getting started as a conference speaker, a job that took her around the world until very recently. More than one member of the audience called her inspirational in the bar afterwards, which is never a bad thing!

Here we are a few weeks before the show at The Ned, where I pre-interviewed Gemma in order to figure out how to shape the show. It feels like a very long time ago now!


How about you?

Has being stuck at home pushed you into doing something creative? Or even just helpful? Let me know - would love to share what you’re up to here in the newsletter, and on social media!

A few examples:


Some lockdown Resources

  • Laura Oliver and a couple of other freelance journos have set up a Slack channel to share work and other opportunities going at this difficult time - come and join us for a bit of solidarity!

  • Podcast jobs over here on podjobs (via podnews)

  • The next Rise and Shine podcast panel is about how to get guests on your pod. I’ll be a panellist, and we’re going to do it via Zoom and YouTube, on Thursday 26th, 7-9pm. More details and the link to watch will appear on the Twitter feed

  • My accountant just emailed over this helpful info for the self-employed:

    Income Tax payments

    Income Tax Self-Assessment payments due on the 31 July 2020 will be deferred until the 31 January 2021. This is an automatic offer with no applications required. No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged in the deferral period.

    Universal credit

    Self-employed people can now access full universal credit at a rate equivalent to statutory sick pay.

  • Here’s the official line on self-employment and Universal Credit, plus Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)


What I’ve been up to


Internet life is real life, (for) now

That’s it for this newsletter, stay safe and well!