Not a reference to the large hadron collider, but it might as well be.
My pitches are all currently vanishing into nowhere right now. Unfortunately, this is the freelance's lot and I know enough not to take it personally but it's still frustrating. One particular story I've been trying to sell for weeks. It's topical, it has the right amount of sleaze attached to it and it raises serious questions about the conduct of a certain section of the press. One editor was kind enough to respond fairly quickly with a "no, it's not quite right for us" but the other one is resolutely ignoring me. I wish this ed would just mail back and say no.
I'm trying to place another story, a health one, with a mag I've written for a few times already. Despite follow-up mails designed to elicit a firm yay or nay, this ed is ignoring me too. Grr.
It seems to be the season - other freelances I know are also being blanked. It's not personal. And times are hard right now in the industry as publications tighten their belts - the credit crunch means less advertising being sold, means fewer pages, means fewer slots to fill. And staffers being "let go". One staff colleague lost their job last week. I hope this person won't be the first of many amongst my circle. My local paper's pagination has been slashed - not that I write for it, but it's an indication of tougher times to come. It's now so thin I'll have trouble lining the cat's litter tray with it.
I'm lucky that I have enough non-journalism work (other writing jobs and copy-editing) to keep me going. A number of colleagues today were talking about the stock-market turmoil in the wake of the collapse of Lehman Brothers and asking me for advice (finance is one of my specialisms). Undoubtedly some of them are going to hit a rocky patch as the economy stutters. It's definitely the time to diversify - I already do that, but some freelances I know are looking at teaching part-time or taking on bar work temporarily, just to pay the bills.
My own plan, by Xmas, is to move into new areas in my fields. I had a tentative offer to do some pro-blogging today - I don't know if anything will come of it but it's definitely a time to expand my expertise. And as I'm planning to move again soon, I'm also considering new training in InDesign so I can take on in-house shifts as well.