Work-wise, the first half of 2020 was very different to previous years, and probably the most varied and interesting since about 2017-ish.
Not long before the pandemic struck, I decided to step aside from my role as in-house comms director at Public Digital. The team there kindly allowed me to stay on as a member of their affiliate network.
That meant I had more time to seek out more freelance work of my own. I announced my availability on March 10:
… and got an encouraging range of replies. Lots of people seemed to be keen to work with me.
A few days later, the world changed and lockdown began.
After a week or so of shock, anger, denial and so on, I settled down to a new work pattern, based entirely at home of course.
A varied list
I’m delighted to say that since then, I’ve worked on loads of client projects, large and small, some through Public Digital and some not. Pandemic aside, it’s been a particularly rewarding, interesting and exciting 6 months.
Most of that work is client-confidential, so I can’t say much about it.
I’ve worked with:
- 1 digital agency
- 2 different non-profit international organisations
- 1 fellow freelancer
- 1 English local authority
- 1 UK government agency
- 1 recruitment company
- 1 business in the healthcare sector
- 1 non-profit in the education sector
I can talk a bit about that last one. It was I’m A Scientist, a decade-or-more project run my local friend Shane McCracken. I worked with Shane’s team to slim down some of the organisation’s web pages and make them more user-centered. Towards the end of the project, I wrote some content guidelines that the team could apply in future, when I wouldn’t be around.
It was a short project but great fun, largely thanks to the enthusiastic welcome I got from the team and the pleasure of seeing live web pages being edited on the fly, as we worked.
Training and teaching
Another thing I can talk about is my partnership with Content Design London. In May I ran a free 1-hour webinar, titled “Working in the open for lone voice content designers.”
The follow-up to that will be a 1-day training course, running for the first time in mid-July (not far off – sign up now if you’re interested, spaces are limited). It expands on the advice I gave in the webinar, and gives people a chance to share and discuss their own ideas.
CDL is another great team, and I’m very grateful to Sarah Richards for putting her faith in me and encouraging me to think about doing some training in the first place. Thank you Sarah, you’re a superstar.
This 6-month block has been full of exciting new things to do and think about, full of new people to meet and new projects to deliver. Some of it has involved writing, some of it has involved teaching people writing techniques. Quite a lot of it has been encouraging teams to write collaboratively, and change their approach to writing to make that easier to implement.
Work-wise, it’s been great. I’m having fun; pandemic permitting.