The year was 2008. The degree was a MFA in dramaturgy and theater criticism. Not a particularly great time to be finishing any degree program, let alone one in a field with about one job per few hundred applicants. When I finished my program, my plan was to become a theater critic. The only problem there, and it was a pretty big one for someone with massive student debt and a desire to eat and clothe herself: critic jobs are a few and far between. Some pay a pittance and only let you review a few shows a month, others offer no payment but the thrill of seeing a show for free.
Welcome to Content
If you had told me six years ago that I’d end up becoming a relatively successful freelance content writer, I wouldn’t have known what you were talking about. The rise of web-based publishing, blogging and writing platforms like WriterAccess allowed me to have a career I didn’t think possible at the time. The only catch—there was still almost no demand for theater writers in the brave new world of content writing.
Finding Things to Write About
From time to time, I read personal finance books in which the author admits he or she fell into finance writing. The same is also true for me. I had an interest in personal finance, stemming from being a broke college and then graduate student. I read a lot about budgeting, avoiding credit card debt and stories of people who paid off their student loan debt in record time. Although I didn’t know it then, reading about personal finance and budgeting was paving the way for a new writing niche.
Around the time that I was finishing my degree, I was finding new interests, too, in part to ease the stress of studying and in part because that’s just what happens when you get older. I rekindled a lifelong love of sewing and crafts and found myself exploring gardening. These hobbies also gave me more things to write about.
Although just a small amount of my income comes from theater-related projects these days, I’m able to use what I learned when pursuing my degree in my career as a freelance writer. Dramaturgy relies on research. One of my professors was constantly pushing us to dive deeper in our research. It was annoying at the time, as nothing ever seemed good enough, but now I see the value in it.
Writing quality web content also relies on research. And research is more than just searching the web. It means hitting the library, seeking out experts and in some cases, heading to museums to learn more about a topic. Earning that masters taught me to dive deeper, to go beyond a basic search for information. It’s a skill that comes in handy as a writer everyday.
Being an efficient and effective researcher is a must for any writer. If you’re able to take the time and learn more about a subject for a writing assignment, you’re likely get more assignments in that same area. Using skills you learned in one area of your life and applying them to other subject matters will help you succeed as a freelance content writer, no matter what topics you cover.
Amy F is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.