Freelancing in interesting times

I’m finishing off my last few commissions for 2012 – I thought I’d finished yesterday, but Freelance Santa dropped off some last-minute work, a present that’s very much appreciated – and I can honestly say this has been one of the weirdest years I’ve had, work-wise.

There’s a famously sarcastic curse: “may you live in interesting times”. It’s certainly been an interesting year for freelance tech writers. Some much-loved magazines have closed (thankfully the people on them have found other gigs), many new titles expect everybody to contribute their efforts for free, and online cesspools such as Mail Online have crashed the tech reporting party because Apple stories generate enormous amounts of traffic. And like every freelance with a website, I’ve been approached by 432,728 PR companies wanting to publish their editorial on this blog.

I really didn’t think I’d end 2012 still working as a freelance – the summer was particularly worrying – but I’m still hanging in there, doing a bit of copywriting, a bit of blogging, my weekly BBC Radio Scotland thing and lots of magazine and online work.

I’ve been writing for some interesting new launches – if you haven’t already checked it out, the iPad magazine Tech. weekly [iTunes link] is essentially The Week for technology, so you can read that and get hard information instead of spending loads of time wading through linkbait headlines, and Creative Bloq is a cool mix of design advice, inspiration and stuff to drool over – and while many great magazines have folded, old favourites such as .net, MacFormat and Official Windows Magazine continue to do really nice work both in print and in digital form.

Then there’s Techradar, whose mix of fast facts, expert analysis and taking the piss – guess who does a lot of that last one? – is doing astonishing numbers. I’ve never worked on a daily newspaper, but Techradar’s internet-speed deadlines give me the kind of adrenalin rush I imagine print hacks get from going to press.

I’ve been doing this since 1998, and one thing’s remained constant throughout: I know how lucky I am to be able to do what I do. Journalism, whether print, online or broadcast, is an exciting industry full of really cool, creative people, and it’s a joy to be part of it.

If I’ve worked for you or with you this year, or if you’ve enjoyed reading or listening to anything I’ve done, then thanks. You’re awesome.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

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