As of this moment, I am a full-time freelancer. I’ve just left the job I’ve had for seven years and entered the world of the vagrant scribe.
Wait, what? You had a job?
Yeah, I’ve been working at Cancer Research UK, leading a small team of information officers. This blog, and all the various things I do on the side have purely been a nights-and-weekends affair. Now, they’re moving from the periphery to the centre. It’s a bit like taking off a clamp and losing a foot in the process. I say goodbye to meetings, sign-off, commuting and office politics, but I’m also leaving some truly amazing people and some really good friends.
You’re just jumping on the bandwagon, aren’t you?
So what are you doing to do?
The basic plan is to sit on my sofa in a dressing gown, watching daytime TV and stuffing my face with crisps do more of what I do on the side: writing and talking about science, and about writing and talking about science. I’m working on four features at the moment, a few smaller but regular projects, something fun for Radio 4, a few talks, a spot of teaching at City University’s Science Journalism course, and more.
You don’t say. It’s a tough market. The pieces I collate in the weekly links are constant reminders of the sheer number of amazing science writers out there. And I’ve been led to believe that freelancing is not just about fast cars and untold riches. (It’s about unbridled power too, right? Right?) That being said, this is absolutely what I want to do and I think it’s a good time for it.
Will the blog continue?
Yes, absolutely. There shouldn’t be any dip in the frequency of posts, and if anything, I hope to make it better. The blog is a proper part of my income now, and any help with promotion – emails, Reddit submissions, tweets, shares, whatever you prefer – would be appreciated.
What would Peter Falk say?
And just one other thing…
A massive thank you to everyone who has given me invaluable advice about this, including Rebecca Skloot, David Dobbs, Jonah Lehrer, Carl Zimmer, Maggie Koerth-Baker, Frank Swain, Steve Silberman, and others I’m undoubtedly forgetting. But most of all, thanks to my wife Alice for her unerring support.