Tuesday, April 7, 2009

In the Beginning...

I’m a full-time freelance writer. Yeah, I didn’t think these people actually existed either, until I decided to give it a whirl. Here’s how it happened. In May 2007, I’d had enough of the cubicle world in the big bad NYC. I opted to move back to the Midwest (although I do admit NYC is the best city in the world. I loved it there!) and try for another job.

I didn’t immediately decide to go full-time with the freelance thing. I was already writing and editing for a teen magazine website and loving that. But it wasn’t established enough to pay me full-time. So I continued editing for that site and job searched. Job searching was horrible, especially since I’d decided to move to a city where I had no contacts in the journalism field. Oh well, I was determined to make the most of it anyway.

I thought about going back to school, but writing has always been my passion so that seemed silly. I took a part-time job working as a sales associate at a women’s clothing store and continued to edit for this teen pub and job search. To be honest there wasn’t much time to job search and really Monster, HotJobs, etc... are really just a job-searching waste of time. Has anyone ever found a job that way?

A year went by. One day I decided enough was enough. I was going to try and find more freelance gigs. I started checking JournalismJobs, MediaBistro, Ed2010, and CraigsList daily. I applied for dozen of jobs daily for the first couple weeks. Most of them were just crocks that ended up inviting spam into my e-mail account and did little more. A couple were legit and I managed to get a response back. I pursued those that seemed legit.

I first landed an assignment writing for a young professional pub, that of course no longer exists. But it paid well and got me into the game. I then started guest blogging for an online beauty publication. I found the more jobs I took, the more I ended up stumbling across. While trying to rack up the freelance jobs I kept my writing skills at peak performance levels by submitting articles to Helium.

True, a lot of them have flopped and that is something all writers need to be careful of. I pitched an all-things kitchen site, got my pitch accepted to only be told a week later the site wouldn’t go live for at least a year. Fail. I pitched a green real estate site and was brought on as a writer, blogger, and editor. But the site took literally 6 months to even get off the ground and by that time the job had bloomed into a nearly non-paying work-intensive position that wasn’t smart to pursue.

When word got out to my friends and former colleagues that I was freelancing, a previous employer contacted me about a year-long position. I took the gig without a second thought. I got to be full-time freelance, work from where I wanted and do what I love. Nearly simultaneously, I landed a job as an editor for a new hip-hop magazine based out of Atlanta.

So now, I write as a guest beauty blogger, I edit/write for a St. Louis-based teen magazine, I write/edit for a commercial real estate publication, I edit a quarterly hip-hop magazine, and I guest appear in a number of other publications.

Will all these gigs last forever? No. Will they last till June? Hopefully, but who knows. That’s part of the adventure and part of the fun of what I do.

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