This week, meet writer Leigia R from Palm Coast, FL! 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.
What inspired you to make the jump from attorney to full-time freelancer?
The birth of my daughter changed everything for me. I already had a 15 year old daughter and an 18 year old son when my younger daughter was born in 2008. I was able to be home with my older children when they were young because I was in law school at the time and I wanted to give their sister the same time and attention. At the time I was running my own solo law practice as a criminal defense attorney which meant working 12 hours a day, six days a week. That schedule works with teenage kids but it would have meant letting someone else raise my new baby, and I wasn’t going to let that happen. Something had to change.
For me, my daughter was more important than the money and prestige that came with being a lawyer; however, I still had to figure out a way to generate some income, as we could not survive without my contribution to the finances. I started browsing the want ads and trying to figure out a solution when I ran across an ad for a writer—BINGO! I have always loved to write and with an English major for a mother I learned the importance of being able to write well at an early age. The rest, as they say, is history.
You mention a lifelong interest in astrology in your profile! What’s kept you interested over the years?
As you might imagine, people had a difficult time putting “lawyer” and “astrology” in the same sentence. That is, until they realized that I was using astrology to pick juries—and winning trials! After that, most of my colleagues reluctantly conceded that maybe there was something to it after all.
I became interested in astrology as a teenager and taught myself how to calculate and read charts. In undergraduate school I minored in astronomy which provided a scientific background for my interest in astrology. I have always been fascinated with the cosmos and with people. Astrology allows me to combine the two. I view astrology as a tool that provides insight into a person’s character and personality. It’s like adding a piece to a giant puzzle in much the same way that knowing whether someone was an only child or was the middle child in a family of ten tells you something about the individual.
Do you think you’ve found a good balance between parenting and writing—and, if so, what’s the secret?
If I knew the secret I would write a bestseller! For me, my children always come first—everything else has to revolve around them. My oldest has been out on his own for about two years now and my older daughter is in her second year of college but still living at home. I am now a single mother again which adds to the balancing act, but it also provides the motivation I need to succeed in my new career.
For me, parenting and working requires a team effort. My older daughter helps with her sister when mom is on a deadline, but for the most part I work at night when my little one is asleep or during the three hours a day when she is at pre-kindergarten. I frequently sacrifice sleep but it’s worth it to be able to spend my days with my daughters being a mother. Personally, I feel I am blessed to be able to be a single mother and still be a stay-at-home mom. Although it takes some creative time management, being a freelance writer allows me to support my children while still actually being part of their lives.
Where do you find you’re most productive?
I am a social person by nature so I know better than to try and work anywhere but at home without distractions! Getting out of the house and setting up shop at the local Starbucks works for some writers, but I would never get anything done. Likewise, though I live five minutes from the beach, I learned early on I can’t work there either. For me, it’s sitting on the living room sofa after the girls are asleep with my dog curled up next to me.
Got any tips for the other writers here at WriterAccess?
First, I have to plug WA because it truly is a great company for a freelance writer to work with—and I have worked with some that are not. Picking good clients is crucial to success as a freelancer.
Second, stick to what you know and/or are passionate about when you pick assignments. It takes twice as long to write a short article on a subject that you know nothing about or that does not interest you as it does to write a longer piece on something you are knowledgeable about or that interests you.
Finally, don’t underestimate your value. The need for writers will likely continue to grow for the foreseeable future. That means you have a valuable skill and offer a valuable service. If you are just starting out, you will need to work your way up to a respectable fee; however, once you have paid your dues, you should re-evaluate your worth and start asking for fees that are commensurate with your experience, education, and skills. Most of us will never get rich writing, but I found (much to my delight!) that I could make a respectable income as a writer once I started asking for what I am worth.
Leigia R is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.