Seasoned Scripted Writer Pam Sornson has been on the Scripted platform for four years and has quickly become a go-to writer for Scripted customers and staff alike. She shares a bit of her life, her experience as a freelance writer, and how she balanced it all in this month’s interview.
Tell us a little about yourself. How long have you been with Scripted?
I have a natural affinity for the written word, which was helpful while writing many legal documents over the years, including briefs, articles, and legislative proposals. Needing a less stressful occupation than lawyer, in 2016, I found an outlet for my writing skills with Scripted. There, I’ve been able to broaden my scope of enjoyable topics to learn and write about (Technology! Healthcare!) while working with Scripted’s terrific editing and support team.
Where are you from and where are you operating currently?
I’ve lived in the Pacific NW for almost 30 years, by way of San Diego and Canada before that. At the present time, all my clients are U.S.-based (California, New York, Florida, and Texas). I’ve also written extensively for EU and Australian clients on all kinds of topics from the GDPR, the evolution of the European Union itself, China’s manufacturing centers, global environmental concerns, etc.
Are you still practicing law? How did you become a freelance writer?
No more law practice, for a variety of reasons, one of which was to maintain my mental health! I also wanted more control over what I did with my time, and with whom I worked, and I wanted to be my own boss. (Despite the ‘glamor’ of managing a ‘private practice law office,’ ultimately, the client and the court are the final arbiters of a lawyer’s calendar.)
I started my freelance writing career by joining some of the various online writing mills. They paid not at all, but I learned how the publishing portals worked, how to engage with remote clients, and began deciphering my personal writing style. Previously, it had a decided ‘legal’ perspective. Once I had a series of published works completed, I used those to move up the mill ladder to find better quality writer/client brokerages.
When I found Scripted, I was thrilled at the pay scale, as well as the high quality of their editors. And this company attracts the best quality clients, too, I’ve determined. They do good work and they’re willing to pay for equally high-quality content that reflects their performance.
Are there any tools you use to keep your quality so high?
Grammarly is my best tool. When I began, I knew I could write but I hadn’t previously been concerned about plagiarism. Grammarly’s spelling and grammar filters keep my writing clean and the plagiarism filter keeps it honest. I also use thesaurus.com fairly frequently. Regarding sources, I try to only use corporate sources, never personal websites, even if those are by professionals in their field. Media sources are the best (NYT, LAT, Reuters, The Guardian, Brookings, etc.).
What is your approach to proposals? What have you found that works best?
Nope. No idea what works best. Sometimes, my pitches fly; most often they go nowhere. My best practice at Scripted is to build a relationship with companies who just want me to write their stuff. And it really helps that the Scripted staff will recommend me, too. I think my personal writing style doesn’t fit everyone, which is fine, but when it does, they really like it and ask for more. Also, I write to a fairly high standard in terms of subject matters (law, technology, politics, etc.) which is also often beyond the needs of many companies seeking online written content.
How have you been able to balance your work as a freelancer with the rest of your life and the state of the world?
That’s the best thing about freelancing. My time is my own. I like to keep busy and make a living, obviously, but my best writing times rarely fit the 9-5 mode. I try to keep writing projects to 3 to 4 per week (1000+ words per), which gives me time to do the research on one day and writing the next. I find if I gather my data and let it ‘stew’ in my imagination over-night, the actual writing flows much quicker than if I tried to write it immediately after ingesting all that new information.
When I’m really organized, I’ll take on enough to keep me busy for 8-10 days at a time, then I’ll take a 3-4-day break and go do something fun. And I’m always aware of when I’m not in a state of mind for writing. It’s like a light goes off. When that happens, I’ll stop and do other things. It’ll be back on either later that day or the day after.
I really appreciate the calendar flexibility that writing provides for me.
What tips would you recommend for writers who are new to the Scripted platform?
Invest in a writing platform like Grammarly that covers the basics of spelling, etc., so you can focus on the creative aspect of your content. Scripted clients are sophisticated and expect their writers to offer a similar level of professionalism. Those backup platforms help you achieve that.
Write about topics you enjoy. When I was starting out, I wrote about anything, and sometimes was really, really bored with it! Now I write about the things that interest me and that I understand. Also, if you want to become known for content on a particular topic, start reading and writing about that topic. Every post is a lesson, which lets you build on your knowledge base, which will help your future writing projects. That’s how I got started writing about technology. I knew nothing about it at the beginning, but now I can write intelligently about platforms, programs, cloud, etc.
Are there any projects you have outside of Scripted that you'd like to plug?
As a ghost writer, my work has been published by the Forbes Tech Council and on HuffPost, so I know I provide excellent quality for my clients. Outside Scripted, I’m responsible for all the website copy and content at CompEx MSA, which administers Medicare Set Aside accounts. I’m also editor and chief content strategist for the Pulse newsletter, the bi-monthly periodical published by the Economic and Workforce Development department at Pasadena City College.
I’ve enjoyed developing a diverse clientele and am very happy that writing is paying my bills and allowing me a wonderful lifestyle with very few hiccups. I can’t see me stopping any time soon! Thanks, Scripted, for seeing my talent and providing me with such a wonderful platform!
Need an excellent technology or healthcare writer for your business? Hire Pam S. today!