In July I celebrated six years as a freelancer. Over the last six and a bit years, I’ve got pretty good at working from home, and navigating what freelancers refer to as the ‘feast and famine cycle’. But 2020 has been a freelance year unlike any other. In March I made £3000, in June I made £0, and then in October I made £6000. This really has been feast or famine on steroids.

I’ve also, for obvious reasons, been very bad at keeping my work blog updated – although you might have noticed that I quietly gave my entire website a redesign, at the same time as I was busily (and much less quietly) redesigning and relaunching my Hysterical Women blog. It’s fair to say it’s been an interesting, varied and unpredictable year, so here’s a quick look back at what I’ve been up to during 2020.


January

I wrote for Refinery29 about the many ways having periods can affect your sleep.

I busted some myths about HPV for The i newspaper, with help from Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust.

I also looked at how medical innovations could transform cervical screenings, for Stylist.

And, for The i, I looked into the practice of denying patients treatment on the basis of their BMI.


February

I wrote for Patient about how to plan for a pregnancy when you have mental health problems.

I spoke to cancer patients, for Refinery29, about being ghosted by their friends after a cancer diagnosis.

The The i newspaper I wrote about cervical ectropion – the most common cause of bleeding after sex, which most women have never heard of.


March

I wrote for The i about the Menstrual Health Coalition’s report on heavy menstrual bleeding.

For Refinery29, I wrote about managing my own mental health relapse.

Also for Refinery29, and in partnership with Always, I wrote about the bedtime period rituals of women working nightshifts.

For The i, I looked at the challenges facing charities as coronavirus struck the UK.

Also for The i, I looked at the impact of coronavirus on abortion services.


April

In April I wrote a couple of pieces for Patient – one offering advice for how to cope if you feel suicidal during lockdown, and another exploring the impact of Covid on autistic people.

I also did a bit of student proofreading, and played a lot of Animal Crossing: New Horizons.


May

I spoke at a virtual panel event as part of the Eve Appeal’s Get Lippy campaign, discussing the white space in accurate, accessible women’s health information.

I also proofread a couple of student dissertations.

Otherwise, paid work was very sparse, so there was a lot more Animal Crossing.

 


June

During Cervical Screening Awareness Week, I wrote for The i about how the Covid pandemic has strengthened the case for at-home cervical screening tests. I also spoke to high-risk patients who’d struggled to access cervical screening via their GPs during lockdown.

Also for The i, I spoke to a woman whose rare molar pregnancy developed into cancer.


July

I wrote for The i about how the pandemic has changed women’s plans to have children.

I announced the relaunch of Hysterical Women, and started work on redesigning both that website and this one.

With the easing of lockdown restrictions, my cat sitting work also started to pick back up again over the summer holidays.


August

I wrote a guest post for Patient Safety Learning’s hub, exploring why gender bias remains a threat to women’s health.

I wrote for The i newspaper about the reality of postnatal incontinence, and its links with postnatal depression.

I also spoke in a virtual panel event for Tortoise Media, discussing sexism in medicine.


September

I wrote for Refinery29 about the importance of pelvic floor exercises, for prevention as well as cure.

I interviewed womb cancer survivor Stacey for The i newspaper, as part of Gynaecological Cancer Awareness Month. I also worked on a big copywriting project for Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, which was published in November.

I launched #ShitMyDoctorSays on Instagram, and relaunched the Hysterical Women blog.

I wrote for The Telegraph about how doctors are still dismissing women as attention seeking.

And I was shortlisted for a Medical Journalists Association Award for Case Study of the Year.


October

Hysterical Women published Black Women’s Health Matters – a mini series in partnership with Modibodi.

I wrote for Refinery29 about what we know (and don’t know) about the ‘love hormone’ oxytocin.

For The i, I spoke to cervical cancer survivor Alisha, as part of Teenage Cancer Trust’s #BestToCheck campaign.

I wrote for The Telegraph about Nadine Dorries’ comments blaming endometriosis patients for being ‘fobbed off’.

Finally, for Refinery29, I spoke to Alicia about the reality of living with faecal incontinence as a result of ulcerative colitis.


November

Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust published the copywriting work I did for them earlier in the autumn, which involved rewriting two of the information sections on their website.

Hysterical Women published two more sponsored posts, in partnership with organic period care brand &SISTERS and mental health TV app Wakey.

I also started work on a number of new copywriting projects, one for a commercial client and two for charities that are close to my heart.


December

Hysterical Women co-hosted our first event, with The Femedic, discussing how to close the gender pain gap. We were joined by panellists Dr Omon Imohi, Dr Hannah Short and Dr Katy Vincent. You can watch the replay here, on my IGTV.

My latest Google Arts & Culture project – which I’d been working on with the Natural History Museum, on and off, for much of the year – finally launched. Fantastic Beasts: The Wonder of Nature is a digital version of the NHM’s new Wizarding World-inspired exhibition.

Finally, for The i, I wrote about hyperemesis gravidarum – a severe form of morning sickness – and how the legacy of thalidomide leaves many women struggling for treatment.

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