The subject of what I do for a living does not often come up in detail on this blog. Many people left off somewhere 18 months ago when they read I got laid off from my job as a magazine editor. I said then that I aimed to become a full-time freelance writer.
And now I am one. Have been for a while.
I meet so many new people so often, whether in real life or on Twitter or through this blog, that I’m constantly repeating what I do. Due to the fact that so many terms like location-independent, minimalism and lifestyle design float around the Internet, I understand it can be hard to decipher exactly how someone is making his or her chedda. And while it’s easy to tell via advertisements who is generating at least a little bit of change off their blogs, it’s far more difficult to tell who’s living off them (as far as I can see, one of the few is Nomadic Matt).
When I tell people about what I do, many assume I just started doing it and use that misconception as a springboard for asking how they can do it, too. As Backpacking Matt noted in the No. 7 point in his recent post about getting more blog traffic, you must wait, young grasshopper. I can say this because it’s taken me a decade to get to the point of supporting myself full-time as a freelance writer.
I got my first freelance article published in 2001, after I’d just started college. By the next year, I had won a major magazine essay contest and been published in a book. I began freelancing on a regular basis in 2004 and then served as a full-time reporter for various weekly and daily newspapers in Philadelphia for three years. I started writing for the web in 2007, when I became an editor for a national health care trade mag, and was a regular contributor on AOL for 18 months. I’ve had one article published in a major magazine and several more reposted on sites like CNN and More magazine.
So, I’ve been around the block. I still aim for more, always, but I’ve amassed some street cred and have ample experience.
Today, I make a more-than-livable income through a mix of editing for content sites, writing about cheap products and blogging about travel and women’s news — most of my clients are U.S.-based. I also work on some ghost writing projects and travel guides. I try to do all this in a regular 9-to-5 fashion to keep myself focused and spend time with my boyfriend and friends who work corporate jobs when they’re home from work. Of course, I do get more flexibility and use it on occasion, like when I took a reprieve yesterday to meet Australia newcomer C’est Christine for lunch. Sometimes I work into the night and sometimes I work on weekends, like many other people with corporate jobs. When I go on trips, I do at least some work. The same applies when I host visitors.
There it is: what I do all day and how I survive as a freelance writer.