The boy with the blue crayon
I remember when I first fell in love with writing. I was probably eight or nine years old and it happened after I woke up from an unusually vivid dream. I remember feeling this urge to record it as soon as I realized I was no longer dreaming. For some reason I knew I didn’t want to forget it so I scrambled for something to write with. I ended up scribbling it down on the back of an old homework assignment with a blue crayon. A writer was born.
When I became of age and decided I wanted to get a real job, writing wasn’t a viable option. Everywhere I applied insisted on at least some professional writing experience or a related college degree. Needless to say I went to college and eventually convinced a local paper to let me write movie reviews for them. No pay, just the opportunity to see my writing published.
It wasn’t until I was in my twenties that I was offered a position in the marketing department of a big title and escrow company. I had to develop their marketing materials, online tools, and write an ever-expanding series of how-to instructions and training manuals. Not impossible work and the fact that I was writing was a dream. I didn’t know any better. Still, I showed up every day in a suit and tie, attended daunting business functions, and basically remained a slave to the clock.
By the time I figured out that I was actually losing money, the real estate market changed and I was forced to change as well. It was then that I began my career in freelance writing.
I got my first paid freelance job ghost writing a book for a local businessperson. He knew me from the escrow company, so it wasn’t a hard sell. After that, however, our world of endless opportunities seemed to have nothing left for me. Nobody seemed to understand the value of having a writer create new content for them.
Determined to plant roots in this industry, I asked a small local paper if I could review films for them as a way of beefing up their entertainment sections and they agreed. I was paid $20 a week. Encouraged, I found a few other outlets that were willing to pay for my reviews and during the process stumbled on a website that paid you to maintain a regular column on their site. This place was a nightmare. They were very willing to publish your work filled with ads but made it almost impossible to collect your pay.
This led to a company that handed out writing assignments to anyone that would take them. Not the best company and the pay worked out to around minimum wage but I didn’t care. I was writing.
From this momentum I was able to make a decent part-time salary and even publish two books using self-publishing technology. Now I am in control of my writing creatively and with the use of social networking, they are selling.
Eventually, I was recruited by Scripted.com’s CEO Sunil Rajaraman to write a series of articles for one of their clients. What I ended up with was a great company, with a variety of ongoing assignments, and of course better pay. To date I haven’t struggled to find work and getting paid is a pleasant relief.
I’m hooked and I can finally say, “I love freelancing.”
The combination of both writing freelance and publishing my original work is not only paying a nice chunk of the bills, but it’s satisfying that little boy with the blue crayon.