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2021 Year in Review: The Highlight Reel

I wish I could’ve read myself this blog post back in February. When I was extra panicky about my life choices and pretty convinced I was about to call this business thing quits.


I started the year with one single project in January.


Then, in November, I handed in 27 deliverables. Holy. Guacamole. What happened?


It’s easy to feel like the transformation happened overnight, but it was a slow, painful, and scary process.


I know these Year in Review posts feel like an excuse to applause for yourself, but I want to get in the habit of celebrating my small wins and hopefully inspire you to do the same.


After this seesaw of a year, you’ve made it. I’ve made it. We’re still pushing through and that’s something to celebrate.


I’d like to spend more time being grateful and less time wishing I were further along. Wouldn’t you?


Good. So let’s do this thing.



Freelancing by the numbers


I know some freelancers like to share their revenue numbers as a way to motivate others, but I won’t be doing that. I’m trying to learn how to not define my value or growth based on the numbers in my bank account.



(Maybe I’m also embarrassed I made about the same as I did in 2020, but what does that matter, anyway?).


Anywhozee. Here’s my year by the numbers:

  • Word count: 81,091

  • Client voices: 22

  • Scripts: 13

  • Newsletters: 10

  • Case studies: 14

  • Blogs: 33

  • Social captions: Too many to count?

I can’t believe I wrote enough for a novel. Over 81K words. That’s like writing 33 ten-page college papers. Or about the length of the novel Normal People by Sally Rooney.


I’m so surprised and proud to see these numbers. I was also lucky enough to step into the shoes and write for 22 different brands and business owners this year (what!!?).


I’m trying to remind myself not to worry about what the writers next door are producing. And I’d love for you to do the same!


Take stock of how much you created this year without wondering how you stand compared to other writers and business owners. Gather your data so you can be present, grateful, and find some appreciation for how far you’ve come. (It worked for me, at least!).



Some life highlights


I will say: life was not all puppy cuddles and hiking trips. It was a bit of a mess, so please do keep in mind these are the highlights and not a reflection of the whole story.


Here are 5 things I’m grateful for this year:


Living in Florida for a month

I feel super lucky for this one. We drove down to Florida and lived at our in-law’s for a month. We didn’t get in the pool as much as we wanted to because work was really busy, but we loved getting to walk Luna in the sunshine and get some much-needed vitamin D after over a year of being mostly indoors.


One thing I learned: work is still work. Even if you’re surrounded by palm trees instead of snow.


Getting married a second time


How many brides get to wear their dress twice? Last year, we had a small ceremony outdoors and a sweet reception at my in-law’s with our family. This year, we spent an entire weekend with our favorite people and got to dance the night away on our one year anniversary (+ 1 day). I am so very grateful we got our dream day and everyone stayed healthy and safe.


Buying a house

Over the last five years, we’ve traveled from Boston/New Jersey to Connecticut pretty much every single month. There’s always a birthday or holiday or reason to get together with family (and we’re not complaining!).


After spending half of 2020 looking to settle down in New Jersey, we finally accepted our fate and moved back to our home state. (That rhymes, so obviously it was meant to be).


Weekend in Maine


No electricity, no running water. What on earth… What was I thinking? I was really nervous about finally saying yes to this 5-year-long standing invitation (seriously, I say no every year). But sitting by the lake, hiking, and laughing with some of my best friends was well worth it.


Grateful to finally live close enough to see the ones we love more often!


Easy holidays

No more Tappan Zee Bridge (I will always call it that). No more duffle bags and futons. We got to do Thanksgiving without driving all over the place or sitting in 7-hour Sunday night traffic. I know moving was the right choice :)



Some business highlights


Choosing my niche

On a personal level, I was feeling frustrated when podcasts didn’t have links or articles to supplement their episodes. Sometimes I wanted the information, but I didn’t have time to listen to an episode.


Then, earlier this year, one of my clients asked me to turn her podcast into a bundle of blog posts. I had my Eureka! moment.


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Making podcasts more accessible to audiences of different needs and preferences? COUNT ME IN. Now I write blogs and show notes for podcasters in the ethical and sustainable business space.


Parting ways with my nonprofit job

Deep, deep inhale. This was the hardest choice I had to make this year: I parted ways with one of my first-ever monthly retainer clients. ⁠


For two years, I worked in communications and marketing for a startup nonprofit. That meant wearing A LOT of hats, including: ⁠

  • Content strategist ⁠

  • Writer⁠

  • Designer⁠

  • Social media manager ⁠

  • Email comms manager ⁠

  • Event planner ⁠

….and more. ⁠I am so inspired by the work of Friends of NYC-NFP and the support they provide to women experiencing poverty. Feeling a personal connection to their work made it even harder to part ways, but I knew I needed to focus on growing my business.


I’m so grateful to have been a part of the team and can’t wait to see how the organization continues to grow.


Getting help from a virtual assistant

As my business expanded, I knew I needed some support on the administrative side. I’m Type B when it comes to my own work and I needed someone to keep me on track.


I hired Davey and Daphnah at The Eco Helper and I’m so very grateful! Without their help, I wouldn’t have stayed consistent on Instagram. I wouldn’t have made as much headway towards my business goals either. Thanks, y’all!!!


Leading a workshop

Wowowow. Zack at The Podcast Man invited me to share writing techniques with his clients and I had such a wonderful time! We had a great conversation about what SEO really means, how to have empathy for your listeners, and writing tricks to make all that so much easier.


I’m thinking I want to do more speaking engagements in 2022, so if you know of anyone looking for a workshop on how to edit with empathy, send ‘em my way. (Maybe I should try out some podcast guest speaking too? There’s an idea…).



A few of my favorite things


Albums:

  • Now, Not Yet - Half Alive

  • Landmark - Hippo Camus

  • 151a - Kishi Bashi (an oldie but I’ve had on repeat lately)

  • In These Silent Days - Brandi Carile

  • Folklore - Taylor Swift (yes I’m still obsessed)


TV Shows:

  • The Sopranos

  • The Nanny

  • What We Do in the Shadows

  • Only Murders in the Building


Books:

  • The Lowland - Jhumpa Lahiri

  • Fault Lines - Emily Itami

  • Good Talk - Mira Jacob

  • Somebody’s Daughter - Ashley C. Ford

  • Broken Horses - Brandi Carlile

  • Beartown - Fredrik Backman


Meat-free meals:

  • Buffalo Chickpea Wraps

  • Lentil Tacos

  • Tempeh Banh Mi

  • Cuban-style black beans & rice


I miraculously hit my book goal for the year (find me on Goodreads). If any of these are your favorite things too, send me a message on Instagram. Always a fan of book and meatless recipe recs.



So long, farewell 2021


This year reminded me just how short life is. How important it is to stop, be grateful, and spend as much time with your loved ones as possible. You’ll never look back on your life and wish you worked more. Let’s play more, shall we?


For 2022, I’m excited about our family trip to Florida, trying out cross-country skiing for the first time, and sneaking in more New England weekend trips.


Suprise to no one, I’m already looking forward to spring and summer in our new home. I can’t wait to experiment with gardening and creating a nice outdoor space for evening hangs. Also entirely THRILLED to go to the beach as often as possible.


Here’s hoping I read this post in 2022 and don’t cringe too much.



P.S. I always love reading Year in Review posts. Even before I became a full-time content writer, I’d look up to other freelancers and feel inspired for the year to come. Shoutout to Kat Boogaard and Kaleigh Moore for inspiring me to write this post (and inspiring me as a writer in general!).