Reading

2021: a year in books

Photo shows a woman standing in front of a brick wall, a book held in front of her face. Caption reads: 2021 a year in books ruthdawkins.net

I love reaching the end of a year and taking a moment to look back through the books I’ve read.

Starting my @ruthreadsbooks Instagram account that I use as a reading diary has been a bit of a game changer. I still keep a notebook to record everything I read each year, but having the visual prompts of the front covers is a great way to jog my memory about the books I’ve enjoyed the most. Continue reading “2021: a year in books”

Copywriting

Copywriting for CSIRO

Photo shows a black background with a pencil on the left, and the text 'Three recent pieces I've written for CSIRO'

The last few months have probably been the busiest I’ve had since starting work as a freelance writer.

I keep thinking I’m going to get a week or two away from my desk, but every time I near the end of one project, another opportunity pops into my inbox. It’s a really lovely problem to have, and I’m feeling very lucky!

Most of the writing I’ve been doing has been behind-the-scenes work for clients. Some ghostwriting, a few websites, and lots of fact sheets and brochures. Not so much editorial work recently. Continue reading “Copywriting for CSIRO”

Copywriting

There’s gold in them hills

 

My latest post for CSIRO’s Resourceful magazine went live last week.

It’s all about the work being done to accelerate mineral analysis on Australian mining sites. We’re finally rolling out technology on Earth that has been used on Mars for years!

If you’d like to read the article, head over to the Resourceful pages on CSIRO’s website.

 

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Photo by Anne Nygård on Unsplash

Copywriting, Feature Writing, freelance life

A New Year: Open for Business

Decorative flat lay with the text 'Happy New Year' in the centre

You know you’ve been busy when you don’t get a chance to write a ‘Happy New Year’ blog post until the first week of March.

It feels a bit late to be posting a detailed roundup of the projects I worked on during 2020, so I think I will skip that annual tradition other than to say thank you so much to all the clients and editors who chose to work with me. Continue reading “A New Year: Open for Business”

Copywriting, Feature Writing, freelance life, Writing

February 2020: Back to work!

View of desk from above with caption 'Back to work'!

After a long and lovely summer holiday which included a trip to Hawaii for a family wedding – lucky me ­– I’m finally back at my desk.

Even after six years living in Tasmania, I haven’t quite adjusted to taking a break in January. For all my friends in the Northern Hemisphere, the turn of the year marks that moment when they start to feel energised with new ambitions and resolutions; whereas here it simply marks the start of a month off.

That means when February does roll around, and school goes back at last, it can feel like there’s an awful lot to catch up on. Continue reading “February 2020: Back to work!”

Copywriting, Feature Writing, freelance life, Writing

My freelance year: the good, the bad and the ugly

black background with caption 'My freelance year: the good, the bad and the ugly' by Ruth Dawkins

Another year just about done!

2019 has been a very busy one here, so I thought I’d finish it by sharing a quick post with you about the good, the bad, and the ugly of my year in work. I am a big fan of being transparent about the highs and lows of freelancing, so that others who are considering making that jump have a realistic sense of what it entails. Continue reading “My freelance year: the good, the bad and the ugly”

freelance life

How to deal with disappointment as a freelancer

Woman sitting alone looking out to sea, captioned 'How to deal with disappointment as a freelancer'

Disappointment is part of life when you work as a freelancer – whatever your industry.

Even within the narrow field of writing, opportunities for disappointment abound. There will always be a pitch that is rejected, an editor who doesn’t respond, a client who thinks your rates are too high, or a project that just doesn’t turn out quite right…

In order to succeed as a freelancer – and for the sake of your mental wellbeing – it’s important to accept that you will encounter disappointments both big and small. The best way of dealing with disappointment looks different for everyone, but I’m sharing some of my own strategies below.

This is a timely post, because last week I heard that I hadn’t been successful with a grant application. Even though the news was expected and didn’t come as a surprise, it was still disappointing to have it confirmed, and since then I’ve been working through some of these steps. Continue reading “How to deal with disappointment as a freelancer”

Copywriting, freelance life

Working from home as a couple

Work desk with books, pencils and glasses. Captioned 'working from home as a couple... here's how we do it.' by Ruth Dawkins

My husband and I have just survived our first year working from home together.

Actually, let me rephrase that. My husband and I have just finished a fantastic first year working from home together.

I’ve been a freelancer working from my home office for almost ten years. The amount of work I’ve taken on has increased as my son has grown older and spent more time away from me – first in childcare and then at primary school. But throughout that time I’ve had the chance to put systems and processes in place that maximise my efficiency, and I’ve developed the required discipline to ignore the piles of laundry that always need putting away and instead sit down at my desk, day after day. Continue reading “Working from home as a couple”

Copywriting, Feature Writing, freelance life

How to get out of a writing slump

Image of crumpled paper in a bin and wording 'How to get out of a writing slump' by Ruth Dawkins

Write a content calendar, they said!

Plan a year’s worth of blog posts in advance, they said!

So, I did, and yet somehow it’s May 7th and I’m only now publishing the post that I’d planned for early April… I’ve had two big copywriting projects on the go, both of which required me to work through the school holidays, so when I did have spare time it felt much more important to spend that with my family rather than tinkering away in the back of my website.

However, school is now back, my diary is a little more under control, and I’ve got a chance to share this post that has been sitting in note form in my drafts folder for several weeks.

Somewhat ironically, given how busy I’ve been, I decided that in April I would write about how to get yourself out of a writing slump. Continue reading “How to get out of a writing slump”

Feature Writing

SBS feature on Antarctica

Screenshot of SBS news piece on sexism in Antarctica by Ruth Dawkins

I was really pleased to have my first piece published with SBS a couple of weeks ago. I’d written a couple of pieces for their lifestyle section – SBS Life – a while back, but never for the news section.

Timed to coincide with International Women’s Day, it was a reported piece about the gendered barriers to conducting Antarctic fieldwork, pegged on a study that was led by researchers at the University of Tasmania.

Even though the word count grew significantly from the initial commission – from 1000 words to 1600 – there was still a huge amount that I was disappointed to leave out. It was fascinating and very inspiring speaking to a number of women who work in Antarctic research – some in humanities and social sciences, others in biology and climate science – and I hope I can do a follow up piece further down the line.

If you’d like to read it, it’s here: SBS News – Even in Antarctica, women are experiencing sexism.