Now that’s what I call working out loud

31 Jul 2020 | Freelancing

Do people often ask you what you’re working on at the moment? No, me neither. But it could still be useful to write it down.

Last year, I experimented with Weeknotes. I’ve just discovered a similar concept – a “Now” page that says what you are doing at the moment.

I came across this via Helen Sanderson, who describes it as “Part of my ‘Working Out Loud’ practice”, but it seems the idea’s been around for a while. It seems to be partly about accountability and partly about time management. And partly, according to the bloke who kicked it off, because “People often ask me what I’m doing now.”

In the interest of transparency (yes, I’ve been thinking about my Brand Values), what I’m doing at the moment is not what I usually do.

Normally I’d be telling you about my latest client project, but I don’t have one. A big website migration I should have been working on this summer fell through, because of COVID-19, so I’m under-employed in terms of client work. I’m not ashamed to admit it, because I know a lot of other people are in the same boat.

There are always peaks and troughs when you work for yourself, and I know by now how to manage them: work ON rather than IN the business, and appreciate an improved work/life balance.

So my current “now” looks like this:

  • Marketing: I’m updating my branding and website. Or, paying people to do so who are better at design and development than I am.
  • Creative writing: I’ve almost finished my Work In Progress.
  • Personal stuff: making my house and garden look better; taking the time to enjoy them. It is summer, after all: the time when we used to have holidays.
Close up of a garden plant - alchemilla mollis.
I’ve been spending a lot of time in my garden.

Also this month, I got a free trial of Amazon Prime without asking (grrr). There’s a name for this: dark patterns.

I don’t even use Amazon normally, for ethical reasons, but sometimes you have to (a book I wanted is published through Amazon).

What I’ve been reading

Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez: This groundbreaking review of the “gender data gap” is fascinating and annoying in equal measure. Among the reviews on the publisher’s website is this comment from Nicola Sturgeon: “It should be required reading for policy and decision makers everywhere.” She’s right.

The Rhythm and the Tide by Mike Badger and Tim Peacock: Mike was the founder of cult Liverpool band the La’s. I get mentioned in the book.

The Freelance Introvert by Tom Albrighton: I couldn’t resist a title like that. Also, Tom is a very engaging writer.

What I’ve been watching

Staged: This socially-distanced mini comedy series, starring the wonderful David Tennant and Michael Sheen, was clever, inventive, beautifully acted and a joy to watch. I watched it twice, to get the benefit of the running jokes and to see what theatrical references I could spot (Hamlet, Waiting for Godot).

In other news

LinkedIn has added a new feature that lets you add an audio clip of your name, for the benefit of those who might not be able to pronounce it.

Kamal Arkinstall is one of those who have taken advantage. as she explains in an interesting post about identity and authenticity.

And yes, I’ve already seen marketers suggesting you use this feature to sell yourself. But that would be tacky, wouldn’t it?

Q Magazine has folded, another media business ended by the pandemic. The event reignited the discussion about whether we still need music journalism these days. I have argued that we do, and I still stand by that.

My ex-colleague Tim Smedley’s book Clearing the Air is out now in paperback. If you appreciated the reduction in air pollution during lockdown – and you’re wishing it was part of the “new normal” – this is a must-read.


Close up of a garden plant - alchemilla mollis.

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