In 2019, I covered far-right extremists, spoke to LGBT activists in Puerto Rico, sold my first piece of fiction, and looked at states that actually added abortion clinics in the 2010s. The previous year of freelancing involved a lot of dusting off my reporting skills; 2019 was much more about growth and learning new skills.
A lot of discussion about money and success in media elides the privileges people have. While I don’t have a partner supporting me or an independent source of wealth, being a white writer who grew up in a middle-class household definitely means there are some obstacles I simply don’t have to deal with. Another caveat: freelance writing isn’t my primary source of income, as the total earned ($3,750) might have suggested. I make most of my money as a private tutor1. I tapped into some savings as well.
Looking ahead, I want to do more data-driven reporting, branch out to more outlets, and write more in general. Luckily, I’ve made progress on all three of those already, as we’re already eight weeks into 2020.
I don’t think there’s the same value in being transparent about my tutoring earnings (maybe I’ll feel differently next year), but I will share that my usual rate is $35/hour. That rate is what I usually charge students, not the rate I take home, so it doesn’t factor in taxes, the fees tutoring platforms take, or other expenses. Nonetheless, it is higher than the minimum wage, the proposed $15/hour minimum wage, and the various living wage estimates. ↩