Louise B. has been a full-time freelance writer for the past 10 years. Here’s how she got her start.
Q. How did you get your start writing? Do you remember your earliest work?
After working in the financial world since college, I needed a change and was answering all job ads that interested me. I saw an ad to work at a new magazine, which was something I had always wanted to do. At the group interview, there were about 20 of us. The marketing director told us about the job, which was commission only and involved selling advertising space. As I was leaving, I decided to hand the director my resume; I was happy to see that she started reading it immediately. She called me the next day and hired me after the second interview.
On day two, the owner made it clear he didn’t think I was up to the job. (Day one had been training.) Through a series of bizarre conversations with the owner over the next two days, I got a new job (salaried) as a writer and editor. Finally, I was using my degree in English!
This was my first paid writing job. Since it was a very small company, I was the only in-house staff member on the editorial team. My work involved writing articles, profiles of professionals, and display ad copy and other marketing materials.
Q. How did you decide to become a freelance writer?
My last full-time job was as a technical writer for a major pharmaceutical company. This was a year-long contract position. Even before I got this job, I had been thinking about moving from New York City to the Pacific Northwest. Once this job ended, I moved. Since I had hated my job, I was determined to never again work in an office cubicle. I found a company that offered writing work from home. After a lengthy and time-consuming application process, I was hired. I worked for the company for four years. I was now a freelance writer.
Q. What do you do to maintain your writing routine, especially during busy times?
I actually don’t have a writing routine. Each day is different. I try to focus on the assignments that are the most interesting to me, but if a deadline is looming I work on that article first.
Q. What tips would you offer to your fellow freelancers?
I don’t know if there are any writing tricks. My best advice freelance writer is to find one or two niches you are passionate about. This makes the writing seem less like work. Although I have written on a wide range of topics, some have been so draining that writing on them was almost physically painful. I think that, as a writer, you should have a curious nature and enjoy learning new things. I was once asked to write about interior paint, and after doing research discovered that it was surprisingly interesting.
Q. What is your favorite part about writing for Scripted?
My favorite part is getting paid. I also like reading through the list of unclaimed titles to find something that I want to write. Pitching ideas to clients is a great way for me to write on topics I enjoy.
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Photo credit: George Redgrave