All in meet the freelancer
I’m going to call it. This is one of my favourite Q&As with a freelance writer. You know when you interview someone and they are so passionate about their work that you want to do what they do? Well, after this Q&A with Benét Wilson, I actually started wondering if I too could write about aviation. And perhaps more astonishingly, this conversation with Benét almost (almost!) had me reconsidering my anti-niche stance.
It sounds like a dream career for a freelancer - writing for big name publications like Conde Naste Traveller, penning guidebooks, working as a photo editor for GQ, creating corporate communications for AMEX, while also fitting in time to volunteer each week. This kind of workload made me wonder how British writer and photo editor Katie Silcox does it all. I asked her in this Q&A, and I think you’ll agree, her responses are fascinating.
The word ‘inspirational’ gets thrown around a lot in the disability space, but I have to say that freelance writer, blogger, editor and disability activist Julie Jones absolutely inspires me. I first met Julie on a famil in Thailand last year as part of the Australian Society of Travel Writers’ conference. We spent lots of time talking about the number of people who want to travel but can’t because of a multitude of barriers - societal, not their own. It’s not easy advocating for accessible travel in a space where travel writing is often portrayed as white sand, glimmering water and ten course degustations. But Julie’s blog and now, her new magazine, are breaking down some of those barriers.
I’ve heard so many horror stories about freelancing platforms and ‘content mills’, that I was intrigued when award-winning writer Amy Suto got in touch to say that she was regularly using Upwork and making good money from it. I hope you enjoy this Q&A with Amy - it definitely got me seeing Upwork in a new light.
If you’re a freelance writer who spends any time on LinkedIn or Twitter, you’re likely to have come across John Espirian. John is known as the relentlessly helpful technical copywriter for a reason - he always seems happy to help. A guru on all things LinkedIn and blog-related, John is generous with his advice (you don’t want to miss his top three tips for LinkedIn), so I was thrilled when he agreed to be interviewed for this Q & A.
Long before I met Neha Kale at this year's Emerging Writers' Festival in person, I had read her work. I was full of admiration for her eloquent and evocative writing, and how Neha manages to master a range of styles, from personal essays to profiles and food articles. In person, Neha is just as her writing suggests - thoughtful, articulate, honest, passionate and willing to explore topics that rarely get highlighted in the mainstream media. I hope you enjoy this Q&A with Neha - it's one of my favourites.
Olivia Gagan is the kind of writer that many people aspire to be - she's a full time freelancer living in London, having written for titles such as The Times, Psychologies and The New York Times. Olivia cut her teeth working as a journalist for trade media before making the decision to go full time as a freelancer. She transitioned to full time freelancing in such a smart way; by building up her savings, drawing on her existing networks, establishing boundaries and learning about running a business. I hope you enjoy the interview - there's absolute gold here.
If you've ever scrolled through a real estate website and wondered about the person behind the beautifully written and enticing blurbs about your dream house - wonder no longer. Meet Donna Webeck - freelance property copywriter. To say Donna is passionate about property is an understatement - she lives and breathes architecture, design and real estate, and it shows in the way she runs her freelance real estate copywriting business. Her enthusiasm for property is infectious and inspirational - imagine if we all felt this way about the work we do?
Libby Hakim is a quiet but extraordinary achiever - a former lawyer, Libby now works full time as a freelance copywriter, SEO writer and digital content specialist. She's an incredibly versatile writer and is just at home writing technical white papers as she is penning an article about how tidying may just change your life. I was so thrilled when Libby agreed to be part of this Q&A - she spills the beans on the benefits of writing for agencies, why she resisted writing about the law and her advice for those dreaming of being a freelance writer.
Megan Blandford is one of those freelance writers whose byline you see everywhere. Her articles regularly appear in glossy magazines, newspapers, websites and blogs. Megan is versatile too - she can turn her hand to writing about almost anything; from health and business to travel, food and property. My decision to become a full time freelancer was partly inspired by Megan. She was the first person I knew whose husband looked after the kids while she made a good living from freelance writing.
Ginger Gorman is utterly committed to exploring issues that many of us would shy away from. As a social justice journalist Ginger has tackled everything from parental sex abuse to gender diverse teenagers to confronting those on the Internet who troll her. Ginger injects such sensitivity and empathy into her articles that it makes it hard to lift your eyes from her pieces. Her writing is a true example of the difference that journalism can make when writers deeply care about the issues they writing about and truly collaborate with their interviewees.
Ever since I decided to ask Jenny Valentish some questions for my blog, I've been trying to work out what I'd say in this introduction. But the truth is, I don't think you can put Jenny or her writing into a neat 100-word summary. Jenny's writing reflects her - it's erudite, funny and often unexpected. And as you'll read - she's also incredibly generous sharing her experience and advice with other freelance writers.
To my mind, Cat Rodie is a freelance writing legend. She has the knack of spotting an innovative spin on an old topic and easily sees how fresh research could translate into a compelling article. I spoke to Cat about getting her start as a freelance writer, her pitching schedule, how she has broken into some of the biggest magazines in Australia and yes, how she aims to write one online article a day.
There aren't too many people telling the stories of rural Australia the way Kate Stark does. As she says, "My focus is on telling the stories of agricultural Australia and I think there is certainly a growing thirst for knowledge ... people want to know more about where their food comes from, whether that be for health reasons or simply because they are willing to be more mindful about agricultural impacts on the earth."
It's hard not to look at Nina Karnikowski's life with a certain level of envy - she travels the world, meets fascinating people and gets paid to write about it. It's a hard slog though, as anyone who has done any travel writing can attest. Here Nina shares how she became a travel writer and how she maintains her discipline.
I first read one of Diana Hubbell's articles in Virgin's Voyeur magazine. It was an article about the revitalisation of Oktoberfest. Her writing was instantly captivating and I wanted to know more about the freelancer who used to be editor of Travel + Leisure.