This week, meet writer Kelsey P from St. George, UT! Check out our blog every Wednesday for a new interview with our super talented and very interesting WriterAccess writers. For more featured writers, visit our Writer Wednesday category.
When and how did you decide you wanted to become a freelance writer?
I began my freelance career about six years ago. Though I’d always loved writing, most of my work had taken place during college and the majority of that had been in lab write-ups and biological research papers. While almost all of my courses during my final two years were science related, I also enjoyed the odd literature or English class and from time to time I would have the opportunity to indulge in a little creative writing. As I was often flattered to have my pieces featured in one of our college publications, perhaps that could be considered my first true foray into the world of freelance writing.
I spent most of my life after college teaching various science classes in junior high and high school and didn’t begin writing again until after my son’s first birthday. My first true job was for an online wedding publication and I found that the more I wrote, the more I enjoyed it. Though I now have three children, writing continues to be a passion that I find time to squeeze into each day.
According to your profile, being a parent of three is a big part of your life! Got any tips for balancing family and freelancing?
Since I consider being a mom my full-time job, I usually write while my oldest son is at school and my little kids are napping. I also cram quite a bit of work in after their bedtime. As a freelance writer, I’m careful to take assignments that I know I can turn around quickly. On occasion, I’ll pick one up that has a 48 hour time limit but generally I try to take the jobs I know I can finish before the day is over. That way if I end up with a sick child or someone accidentally shatters a glass all over the floor (again), I’m not stressing about all the assignments still sitting on my reserved list.
Do you have a favorite niche?
I don’t know that I really have a niche; I kind of write a little of everything. My passion, though, is fiction. I honestly love to get an assignment where I can just cut loose and use my creative writing skills. A while back there was a client that wanted a bunch of articles written using a series of insurance words. They didn’t care how they were used or what the article was about, they just wanted the words included. I really enjoyed making up all kinds of random stories while fitting in the keywords. My two favorites involved a cat and an oven (no worries cat-lovers, nothing bad happened to the kitty), and a toaster flying through a window.
Since those jobs are often few and far between, however, I normally enjoy writing about science, travel, and kids. I guess I still have a bit of the wedding writer left in me because I love to pick up those jobs too. I became involved with an online business and startup magazine about a year ago and while I have no formal education in the area, my practical experience has earned me a good number of business writing assignments as well.
What’s been one of the biggest challenges in your writing career?
Writer’s Anxiety. At least that’s what I call it. I’m not sure if it has an official name but it’s that feeling I get when I’m staring at an assignment and I’ve freaked myself out about the possibility I might not be able to come up with anything. It’s not exactly writer’s block; I don’t really get stranded in the middle of a project. This comes before I’ve even typed a single word. I’ve found through years of painful experience the only way around that problem is just to sit down and write anyway. I’ve discovered that the longer I put it off, the more gigantic the assignment seems to get until I’m positive I’ll have to crawl back to the client and admit there’s nothing in my head but butterflies and sunshine. It’s a pretty image perhaps but it’s also completely devoid of anything useful. At any rate, I believe it’s something I will deal with the rest of my writing life but I’ve found I can overcome it one word at a time.
How would you advise other aspiring writers?
Dive in. Your writing style and abilities are living, breathing things. They adapt, they grow, they change, they improve. If you wait to be perfect at it before really giving it a try, I guarantee you’ll wait forever. Perfection is a pursuit. You get closer to it with each article you write, each rejection you overcome, each new project you attempt. In short, you won’t know what you can really do until you’re out there doing it, so make today the day you begin.
Kelsey P is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.