My Life as a Writer So Far

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Writing has always been a passion of mine. In fact, one of the writing highlights from my childhood was being a runner-up in an essay contest. Over the years, writing has evolved into an even larger part of my life. From writing essays to fictional stories to blog posts, I’ve written for my own enjoyment, for clients, and have even found a small amount of success.

When I was in the fourth grade, I was a runner-up in an essay contest for Veteran’s Day called “What Makes America Great.” Putting the essay topic aside along with the fact that my views have surely changed significantly since I was nine years old, winning the contest wasn’t all it cracked up to be.

As a runner-up, I had to do something terrifying. I had to read the essay during an assembly in front of my entire elementary school. This was so scary to me that I couldn’t do it. Another student read my essay while I sat listening in the audience with the rest of my class. I was still introduced as the essay author which resulted in plenty of stares from my classmates. I sat staring at the floor with a burning red face until that speech was finished being read. I’ve come a long way since that fourth-grade experience. While 9 year old me surely wished that the essay author had remained anonymous, looking back, I’m glad it wasn’t.

A few years later in middle school, I wrote a novel. It filled nearly two 70-sheet spiral-bound notebooks. I spent hours, days, even months covering each page front and back. Unfortunately, my younger not-so-smart self threw away that work of art. I wish I still had those old notebooks. With a lot of rewriting, the story could have really turned into something.

After middle school, my writing really slowed outside of school work. I tried to keep a journal a handful of times, but journaling has never been satisfying to me. I’ve owned many over the years and have even committed to writing in them for different periods of time. The motivation eventually fizzles out. The journal gets stuffed into a drawer and eventually thrown away, never to be written in again.

I finally decided to give blogging a shot after tossing the idea around for years. At this point in my life, I hadn’t written anything in years and was realizing that I missed it. What did I have to lose?

My blog was open enough to be a journal, often inspired by life events and travel. Blogging kept me writing on a somewhat regular basis which helped keep the creative juices flowing. Once I started, I felt encouraged to write. Even though there were weeks where I only published one blog post, there were often other posts in progress. It was common for me to have a number of partially completed posts saved as drafts.

I quickly found that blogging was a lot of work. I didn’t realize how much work it would truly be until after I started. I hadn’t taken into account time on social media, constant adjustments to my website, and of course, SEO. My “free time” was generally spent working on content, social media, or tweaking my website.

Despite the unexpected workload, I loved my blog. What started out as a hobby, quickly grew into a whole lot more. I learned so much over my three years of blogging, some of which I was able to put to good use when I decided to try my hand in freelance writing.

During a period of time when I was extremely unhappy with my job situation, I jumped into freelance writing. I had been blogging for about a year at that point and while minimal, it was still writing experience that I could showcase. After researching freelance jobs, how to find them, and exploring a few different websites, I settled on Upwork. Being entirely new to freelance and Upwork, there was a learning curve.

Over the first several months, I tweaked the overview section on my Upwork profile countless times. Not to mention I had to learn how to submit a proposal. I had no idea if the details I was including in my cover letter would catch the eye of the person reviewing the dozens of potential submissions. It’s safe to say, I was going at it with little preparation. Miraculously, I was able to snag a few writing gigs and even found two long-term clients in my two years on Upwork. I must have been doing something right!

Personally, I found Upwork to be useful. For someone new to freelance writing, it’s a great platform to learn the ropes, gain experience, and try it out to see if the freelance world is right for you. It’s certainly one of the many options to explore for the freelance community.

Even after my job situation changed for the better, I still continued writing for just one client on the side for another year, though I did have to make the decision to end another contract. The biggest takeaway from my Upwork experience is knowing that I CAN do this.

Over time, I came to the decision to shut down my blog. Additionally, I ended that last Upwork contract. I didn’t have the time to invest in writing for clients since my work situation had changed. As a result, I found myself once again in a writing slump. The only way out? To start writing again of course!

I decided to give Medium a shot and wrote on that platform for a couple of months. Personally, I wasn’t a fan. The readers are other writers – while that’s fine, it’s nice reaching a wider audience, not just Medium members. Non-members can only read 3 stories per month which greatly limits reach.

So here I am nearly a year later, writing my heart out on a shiny new blog.


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