An award, a long drive…and a breather!

By Caitlin Kelly

Time for a break, my dears!

This evening, in D.C., I’ll be receiving an award for my cover story — ooooh, glamorous! — in Arthritis Today, about what it was like to stay active and athletic, despite 2.5 years of constant left hip pain, before I had it replaced in February 2012. Here it is, if you’re interested.

Hip dysplasia with arthritis
Hip dysplasia with arthritis (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We’ll stay with friends in the area and I have a business meeting and then we drive to coastal Virginia to stay with friends of my husband, from when he was a photographer in the White House Press Corps for eight years. Jose is the photo editor of the New York Times business section, with six meetings every day, responsible for finding photographers all over the world to shoot assignments for the section’s stories. So he, too, is very ready for a break.

Location map of Virginia, USA
Location map of Virginia, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Eat, sleep, read, repeat! The only writing I plan to do is blogging and working (a bit) on my book proposal, hoping to finish the damn thing so I can send it to my agent.

It’s been an insane few months, and while I’m grateful indeed for a steady freelance income, I’m fried. Last week I had four stories due in four days and attended two all-day conferences, where I learned a lot, especially about social media.

In addition to which, I’m pitching ideas to people almost every single day and following up those pitches — and chasing payments that are always late.

I did get a terrific email from someone I met recently, introducing me to a potentially hungry new market, the BBC’s website, which actually pays well. Yay! So I have that to look forward to when we get back.

In May, I’ll be speaking locally about my book, “Malled: My Unintentional Career in Retail” and in June doing a panel with three other freelancers, which I proposed, with Gorkana, a public relations group in New York.

The challenge of working for yourself is that no one ever gives you a raise or a bonus. They almost never say “Good job. Thanks!” because they’re too busy and our business just isn’t one for a lot of back-slapping. So I asked one regular client for a raise, and she’s giving me a 20% boost. It’s only an extra $200 per story, but I’m damn glad to have it, since so many places simply refuse — even after decades at the same rates — to offer more.

The good part of working for myself is that I can take off whenever and wherever I choose, as long as the bills are paid. So I’ll have these 10 days, come back to New York for a week, then head to Tucson, Arizona for two weeks, where Jose is teaching The New York Times Student Journalism Institute. If you’re a college student studying journalism, join the Hispanic Journalists Association, stat! You do not have to be Hispanic…if you are chosen for the Institute, you’ll get two weeks’ working with NYT staff, a stipend and an all expense paid trip to Tucson.

I’ll still be blogging here, so stay tuned.

27 thoughts on “An award, a long drive…and a breather!

  1. Congratulations Caitlin. Enjoy your award and your down time. And I didn’t know your husband used to be WHPC. I wonder if he and my bro ever crossed paths. My bro’s first assignment was White House Correspondent, back when Bush was in office. One day I was listening to a Rose Garden press conference on NPR and I heard Bush call my brother’s name, adding “Nice sunglasses.” Bro said “Thank you, Mr. President”, then asked him some really tough question. I literally screamed with excitement. 🙂 Have fun!! And thanks for being a constant inspiration.

  2. Congratulations! We brought the kids to DC this week (perks of homeschooling) and are having a great time. Enjoy eating, sleeping, eating, and repeating!

    On a separate note, my first book, Red Circle Days, was just published this past week. I’m looking for ideas on how to promote it. I’ve covered social media and just interviewed with Judyth Piazza on The American Perspective. If you have posted any helpful information on this topic, will you please point me in the right direction?

    Thank you.

    1. Congrats on the book. I’ve got 1,300+ posts, so I can’t remember what I’ve written on that specific topic. But I suspect I have…maybe check the archives under writing?

      After I’ve settled in, I may have some time to look further.

  3. Congratulations! It sounds like things have been bustling but that it’s all paying off for you! I hope that everything continues to go well!

    (Also, thanks for the tip about the Hispanic Journalists Association. I’ll be checking that out after I post this comment. 🙂 )

  4. Even given that the trip includes a few moments of potential excitement it sounds like you’ll be ready for the breather. I hope you enjoy every moment of it and savour the freedom the break offers you. Hugs x

  5. First congrats. And then, I am so happy that I stumbled upon your blog. I am just getting started on doing my own thing. I am quite used to firing on many cylinders at once but somehow this is different when I have so many varied projects at once and I am the only common thread. (I’m mixing my metaphors.)

    I admire that you can and have kept so engaged in such a variety of projects!

  6. Congratulations, Caitlin, on your award – they are nothing to sneeze at. Will be looking forward to anything you put on the screen in the coming weeks. Is the Journalism Institute at U of A? And, good for you getting a raise.

    1. Thanks! Jose and I plan to photograph the tiny crystal pyramid he got for his Pulitzer win (!) with the massive (foot high plus) glass thingy I got from AAOS. Too silly.

      Spent this afternoon reading in the sun on the dock. Bliss!

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