Looking Ahead

People gather in the red glow of headlamps to gaze up at the stars in Cedarville, Calif. in August 2022.

As the year winds down, I am doing something that many freelancers are doing: looking ahead to next year.

For me, I am trying to find the balance between my full-time job and growing my journalism into something more. While I want to continue with both, I am striving to find a good balance.

One way I am working towards an equilibrium of sanity is by selecting stories that take a bit longer to report and write while also paying a higher rate. This achieves two things: better storytelling on my part and less work overall.

In October, I nearly tripled my monthly freelance income goal and only had three projects. In June, I completed six projects but only made double my income goal.

In short, less work, more income. You know, quality over quantity.

Sounds odd. When the year began, I was on the prowl for a job. Freelancing was the ideal ticket with two little ones at home. However, the income stream did not pick up in time and so I found a full-time job.

When that happened, I wanted to continue freelancing but had a little more freedom in the work I took on. I set a goal of earning $1,000 a month for this year. To date, I have averaged $1,395.44.

Most of this is to determine how viable working from home can be for me moving forward. Right now, that figure is far to low to cover the family's expenses. Plus, I thoroughly enjoy my daytime gig, so I see no need to divorce this employment partnership.

Right now, I am not sure what it looks like. I look back on my work this year, the projects that never found a home, and the grants I did not get. I am in the process of applying for another grant, which will most likely roll into next year.

I know I want to cover more science stories and become a stronger science communicator. I interviewed an ecologist yesterday who was passionate about his work (pollinators) and could not have enjoyed the conversation anymore. It was a delight to learn about his work and how to think about translating the interview into a story that has a real impact.

That is my goal for 2023, impactful storytelling.

If I get the grant I am applying for, it will allow me to report on the long-term impacts on public health caused by wildfires.

I am reporting on a wildlife refuge now. The story may be the basis for a documentary film that could unfold next year.

If you have read this far, thank you. Please consider heading over to my website, Instagram, or Twitter to see more of my work.

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Richard Bednarski

With a background in Anthropology and Photography, I hold a Master’s Degree in Journalism. My goal is to illustrate the #ClimateCrisis through storytelling.