Freelancing by accident? LFB welcomes you!
Some are born freelance, some achieve freelancing and some have freelancing thrust upon them. But now of course there’s a lot more of the “thrusting upon” going about than ever before. So this is to say "welcome!" to the scores of recently redundant staff journalists who are transferring into London Freelance Branch (LFB), perhaps less than joyously. Don’t get low and lonely: come and join us.
In NUJ freelancing there’s a long tradition of regarding notional competitors as colleagues and that’s how you’ll be greeted if you care to come to a London Freelance Branch meeting (Friends House, 7pm, every second Monday of the month except it’s a week late in April because of Easter; see the back page of the print version of the Freelance or the LFB website meetings page for details).
Also you’re invited to LFB’s next New Members meeting - approximately every three months, this is a networking session for people who’ve come into the branch over the previous year. Watch the Freelance for details.
And you can avail yourself of the news, facts and info that the LFB website - www.londonfreelance.org - the Fees Guide and the Rate for the Job section might prove particularly helpful. (There’s a guide to navigating the LFB website’s 3000+ pages on the FAQ page) Then, to plug yourself to the world, you can enter yourself on www.freelancedirectory.org.uk, and the union runs several training courses aimed at new freelances: details at NUJ Training.
You may prefer to stay with or move into a specialist branch - London Broadcasting, Book Branch, London Central, Press & PR, for instance, whatever’s best for you. But you can still plug into one of the many email networks the NUJ supports: Quality Street for journos on former broadsheets, nbt (Next Big Thing) for music journos, UKSubs for… you guessed it. See the networks contacts page for details.
When you find yourself in trouble there’s the Freelance Office at the NUJ HQ - national organiser John Toner, assistant organiser Pamela Morton, administrator Andrew Dixon. They’ve seen it and (mostly) solved it all before. See here for their contact details.
None of the above minimises the difficulties of earning a living at the moment, freelance or staff. We’re all up ordure creek groping around for a paddle. But at least we’re in it together, whatever it is.