I’m a Freelance Writer and This is What I Do

March 1, 2011

in blogging, writing

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).

Me at my first newspaper job, 2005.

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.

9 Comments - Add Yours!

  1. Lauren Post author

    Thank you! But now I’m thinking of that song, “You’re the meaning in my life, you’re the inspiration…” Haha.

  2. Matt

    Slightly jealous you got to meet @Camorose! There is such a great crew of you in Sydney, I’m itching to make it back over.

    Interesting to note how there is no quick path to finding success as a freelance writer – I do trust however you have plenty of advice. Perhaps you could articulate these into a 7 Ways to Find Success as a Freelance Writer – I bet that would do very well online. You know, list posts and social media go together like Glenmore Hotel beers & great views of the Sydney Opera House.

    Congrats on your success though – my ultimate goal is to work solely for myself, but at the end of the day I just want to be happy doing what I do – whatever that happens to be.

  3. Lauren Post author

    What a great comment, Matt. You know you’re on your way — I have much respect for what you’re doing with your career and blogging. You know, I keep reading list posts are bad 😉 Thanks for the suggestion, something maybe I’ll suggest in a tweaked form for another site.

    And you should be jealous — Christine is fantab! Too bad she’s going to Melbourne soon probably. We shall all meet again, someday. We’d love to have you back in Sydney soon.

  4. Megan D

    I know you put it a lot of hard work to get to the point you are now. You need to bottle up some of your motivation and sell that, too 🙂

    1. Lauren Post author

      Aww, thanks, Meggy! You know you were my motivation at “that one office” we worked at. Love ya!

  5. Laurel

    So nice to hear how you got started and refreshing to know that your success just didn’t happen overnight. I’ve recently moved to Germany and am embarking on a travel writing career, but unfortunately my intensive German courses don’t leave me with as much time as I need to really pursue it at the moment.

    1. Lauren Post author

      Thanks for your comment, Laurel! I think some people got put off reading how long I’ve been in the business–probably not 10 years, but you’ll need a good amount of experience and clips. Good luck to you on the writing and the German!

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