2019 Year of Freelancing in Review

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

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.

I appreciate when other freelancers share their rates, so in the interest of giving back, here’s what I made from freelance writing in 2019.

The Breakdown

Piece Publication Amount Date Published
Fascists Were Once Again Outnumbered by Counter-Protesters—This Time in Wisconsin Rewire $300 Jan. 14
99% Chance of Magic Heartspark Press Children’s Collection $200 Jan. 21, 2020
Funding Hate Rewire $300 Feb. 26
Paying Taxes in America is a Miserable Experience. It Doesn’t Have to Be. Capitol Times $0 Apr. 15
A New Trump Rule for Federal Contractors ‘Encourages People to Discriminate’ Rewire $300 Aug. 13
Total Abortion Bans Are Overwhelmingly Unpopular in Every State Rewire $350 Aug. 30
“In Puerto Rico, LGBTQ Political Victories Pile Up. But Challenges Remain.” Rewire $350 July 10
Evers’ Climate Plans Don’t Go Far Enough, Evers’ Climate Plans Don’t Go Far Enough Capitol Times $0 Oct. 2
“In Texas, a Quiet Effort to Protect ‘Conversion Therapy’ Is Underway” Rewire $300 Mar 20
“Anti-Choice Apps Are Violating Google and Apple Privacy Standards” Rewire $300 July 24
Abortion Rights Foes Use Indiana Fetal Remains Discovery for Political Gain Rewire $300 Sep. 20
Some Anti-Choice Democrats Still Haven’t Backed Impeachment Inquiry Rewire $300 Sep. 26
Here’s What Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers Can Do on Abortion Rewire $400 Oct. 31
“In Illinois, Struggles Putting Pro-Choice Legislation Into Action Rewire $350 Nov. 22
These States Have More Abortion Clinics Today Than They Did a Decade Ago Rewire $300 Dec. 23
Total $3,750

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.

  1. 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.