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The one major thing I haven't accounted for as a freelancer...

The one major thing I haven't accounted for as a freelancer...
By Jewel Wicker • Issue #13 • View online

My family is going to be so upset when they read this…
I went freelance three years ago because I thought I’d fallen out of love with journalism and my job had become unhealthy for me. I was working nonstop and taking off for even one day gave me anxiety that I’d come back to triple the work. I’ve told this story many times before, but I woke up one morning and thought I was having a stroke so I went to the hospital. I was just having a complex migraine (I have many of those) that was exhibiting itself in a new way. Test results showed there wasn’t anything new going on in my brain, I was probably just stressed.
Being freelance has afforded me the amazing opportunity to be able to have a flexible schedule where I can take care of myself, but I reflected recently and realized I haven’t been doing a good job of this. Outside of the time I’ve taken off for health reasons, I can’t think of a single day when I put my OOO on this year unplugged completely from work. That’s ridiculous and, quite frankly, it’s unacceptable.
At the AJC, my mentor and managing editor would remind me that I worked for a billion dollar company. They weren’t hurting when I took all of the PTO allotted to me. As a freelancer, it’s up to me to make sure I’m incorporating time off into my schedule and financial plan. In December, while work is slower, I plan to really map out OOO time for myself for 2021. I also have more than a week worth of time off scheduled between now and the New Year. I can’t wait to spend my downtime watching documentaries, critiquing true crime podcasts and attempting to put a dent in the stack of books on my nightstand.
If you’re a freelancer who has incorporated OOO time into your annual professional planning, I’d love to know what it looks like. I’m looking forward to having some structure in this area of my career instead of just winging it like an amateur.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT (a few of my bylines from the past two weeks):
It felt great to snag the Sunday Living cover in the AJC earlier this month. I love being freelance, but being able to work with my former colleagues at the AJC is always fun.
For this piece, I talked to Earthgang, Rodney Carmichael of NPR, Killer Mike and others about the history of Black music as a form of protest and the anthems that were released this year amid civil unrest.
I talked to the founders of Clubhouse and music industry insiders about Clubhouse. I’d love to be able to write more about the app in the future, but this is a good introduction for anyone who hasn’t been familiar with the new invite-only space.
I got to speak with southern Black organizers and remind the nation that mobilizing here looks the same way it does elsewhere. You just have to, ya know, actually invest in our communities.
I profiled the ever elusive Playboi Carti for GQ, but don’t DM me and ask me when he’s dropping his album. I don’t know. No one knows.
Talking to SAINt JHN on Zoom the day after the election was such a fun reprieve. This profile is pegged to the release of his new album, While the World was Burning (out now).
-This amazing mix of Atlanta classics from DJ Wally Sparks.
-Tis the season for my favorite pop culture moments:
Patti LaBelle- Where My Background Singers?
Patti LaBelle- Where My Background Singers?
Remember when Beyoncé knocked down a Christmas tree and her first instinct was to check her nails?
Abby Phillip Is Next-Gen CNN by Katherine Rosman for the New York Times
I’ve been so happy to see Abby receive the praise she so rightfully deserves.
Inside the Unstoppable Rise of Verzuz by Gerrick Kennedy for GQ
I think Verzuz is going to be one of the cultural moments that sticks around in some capacity even after the pandemic ends. I’m happy Gerrick was able to write the oral history about the formation of this series.
Super-predator: The Media Myth That Demonized a Generation of Black Youth by Carroll Bogert and Lynnell Hancock for The Marshall Project
Reflect on the creation of this racist term and debate it amongst yourselves on the Thanksgiving zoom.
We found nearly 300 uses of “superpredator” in 40 leading newspapers and magazines from 1995 to 2000. Fewer than 40% of these articles criticized the term. Here we show mentions from 1995 to 1997, when the phrase appeared most often.
The Substackerati by Clio Chang for Columbia Journalism Review
I obviously have a Substack but I’ve been weary of claims that the platform is going to change the media industry. This piece does a great job of asking many of the questions I’ve had in the past few months.
[J.P. Brammer] appreciates Substack for what it is. “If there wasn’t a flood, you wouldn’t need to build a dam,” he said. “You wouldn’t be like, ‘Oh, I love this dam.’ It’s sort of something you have to do to get by.”
Why drill and trap are the soundtrack of this generation’s protests by Nicholas Vila Byers for Scalawag Magazine
I’m really happy Nicholas wrote this piece about the protest music that is often forgotten or overlooked.
Did you enjoy this issue?
Jewel Wicker

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