Thursday, September 20, 2018

Life As A Freelance Writer

This sums up life for me.

I once read that the best writers write what they know. That piece of advice has stuck with me throughout the years. I unexpectedly came into my daycare profession and I was unexpectedly good at it. Soon, I had people asking me for tips and to share my tricks to get kids learning and involved. That got me into the blogging business.

As one can figure, it's tough to make money with a blog. I honestly didn't get into blogging for money or finding future work. I got into it because it was easier to share what I was doing with my daycare, plus, I soon realized it was a great stress reliever for me. I've always loved writing and suddenly I was getting to do it for fun. I was combining two of my passions into "work." I wrote what I knew and that got the ball rolling into a side-career of freelance writing.

I soon got email requests from other blogs and websites that wanted me to contribute to their content. I began accepting more and more writing assignments, at first for free (typically this involved sending them already published pieces on The Kidsperts and giving them permission to use them) and then eventually I received paid writing projects. I (usually) took on whatever projects I could to build up a writing portfolio and gain experience.

These days I'm picky about what projects and assignments I take on. Some of these are time sensitive and I have just hours to write something (or as I say "throw shit together"). Other projects I have several weeks or months to write so I can do proper research. Either way, my laptop is carted around my favorite work spots in my house: the right side of the big red couch in the living room, my dining room table (I've worked through many family dinners), the deck in the backyard that overlooks the backyard, and occasionally I wind up in my office (that's a rarity however).

I rarely seek projects out; I wait for others to contact me and give me a topic to write about. From there, my assignments vary greatly on who has hired me and their expectations. Most projects I'm free to write what I'd like as long as I get the key points in. Some projects are picky and I have to watch how many words are in the article, copyright issues, and the tone of the article(s). 

Most of my weekdays involve a ten hour daycare day, followed by a night of writing. If I didn't love writing and use it as a source of stress relief from my days with kids (however, let me take a minute to acknowledge that some writing projects bring stress as well!), this would not be an ideal second career for me! This blog that you're reading, that so many of you have followed to see our daily lives, serves as a portfolio for my writing and a portfolio of my daycare career, my life as a parent, and most importantly, a recording of our family. 

Because one simple piece of advice stuck with me since eighth grade, I have been able to build a second career as a freelance writer. Having more than one career can be hectic, especially when I have multiple projects that require my undivided attention (multi-tasking is a must in my life). I've learned many valuable lessons since my eyes have been opened to the freelance world. I have had to put on my business pants to go over contracts, because who wants to sign a bad deal? I have had to learn to negotiate pay and project guidelines. These are lessons that I wouldn't have otherwise. I doubt I'll ever be able to make this a full time career choice (unless I was comfortable with a huge pay cut, which, I'm not), but for now, it's just what I need and want.