Interview with Kylie, eco-friendly freelance writer!
Brain-pickings from Kylie, a woman who is creating her own success with her freelance writing career. She’s a smart cookie, so read on.
Hi Kylie! *sets a mug of coffee in front of you* So nice of you to join us today. I’m sure the audience is dying to know a little (or a lot) about you and what you do.
Hi! I have my fingers in a lot of different pies, but most of my time is spent freelance writing. I work mainly with clients in “green” and natural health fields doing various types of writing. Most of my projects are creating web content for blogs or SEO link building, but I also write product copy, newsletters and try to meet whatever needs I can. I also have a few bloggy side projects, plus I promote natural beauty products an independent consultant for alex + von!
How do you jump-start your creativity? Is there a certain time of day, a place, or activity that seems to help you come up with ideas?
I find it impossible to really “jump-start” my creativity, though a way to do that would absolutely be welcome! I mainly try to schedule around when I know I do my best work, which is early in the morning and late at night. Coming up with ideas for what to write about used to be a problem for me, but now what I’ll do is open up Word or whatever blog platform I have an idea for and either save a document with just a headline and some notes or a blog post draft as soon as ideas come. This has worked really well for me, since whenever I’m not sure what to write about, there are usually a few outlines I have “laying around” that I can just beef up and publish.
Was it hard for you to decide on your niche, or did it come naturally?
It came very naturally… I’m really passionate about green and natural living, so I obviously love to write about it! When I started seriously marketing myself as a freelance writer, I found that I was most likely to get work when I had highly relevant samples. So, after working with a handful of clients who needed green/natural health content – and absolutely loving every minute of the work – it just sort of clicked.
Who are your mentors, the people you look up to, or those who have influenced you in your life or career?
I don’t really have any mentors, but two bloggers that have been really influential to my life career are Tsh from Simple Mom and Jenn from All Freelance Writing. Jenn offers really solid and practical career advice for writers and I love that she tells it like it is. Tsh blogs about making life simpler in general but also has written a bit about how her family operates and how they run the business side of her blog, all of which has been really inspirational to me.
What things get your through a tough day, those days where you might feel like throwing in the towel?
The Bible. My husband. Chocolate.
What are some things you know now that you wish you would have known three, four, five years ago?
I wish that I would have managed my time a little better in general and realized that success is built little by little.
What words of advice do you have for someone who wants to do what you do for a living?
Specialize! Pick a niche you’re truly interested in and learn as much as you can about it. Get a blog up and start pitching clients. The thing is, when people are looking to hire freelance writer, they are usually bombarded with pitches from people who write generic, fluff content. I know this, because I have managed projects where I was responsible for hiring a writer and have seen what awful pitches come through! It happens each time and it’s ridiculous! If you can actually demonstrate to a client that you have unique expertise to bring to the table, you are so much more likely to get work. The amount of work I had coming in exploded when I started applying this.
Do you have some tips for people who need to balance their work and that non-paying job (unless you count hugs and kisses as currency) known as parenthood?
I am fortunate to be in a unique situation where my husband is home a lot as well, so we can trade off chunks of time to get things done while the other is one attends to the little one. I am so grateful that this is the case, because I know that a lot of writing parents do not have this luxury! My tip in that case is to try to get as much done in the early and late hours in the quiet parts of the day, but I say this knowing how exhausting small children can be! I always try to remember that when I start resenting that I don’t have more “work time,” my priorities are out of order.
What is the last book you read, and would you recommend it to us?
I’m embarrassed by how rare it is for me to read books these days. I can’t even keep up with my RSS reader! The last book I read, though, was The Art of Earning by Tara Gentile and it was fantastic. I read it straight through and it really changed my perspective about how I think about money. I don’t know if I agree with absolutely everything, but she definitely offers a fresh outlook that I think pretty much anyone could find something to take away from.
Are there any fictional characters you’re particularly fond of, or ones you identify with?
White Oleander is one of my all time favorite books, and I really relate to Astrid, the main character. The book follows her journey from home life with her dark, self-absorbed poet mother through a series of foster homes to life on her own. I really relate to the way the book shows the different identities she holds… she is literally a different person in various parts of the story due to everything she goes through. I feel like that’s true for me, too, since I can look back on parts of my life and feel very far away from who I once was.
Thanks again for joining us and answering these questions. Please give us a few links so we can follow you home, and/or some helpful sites you would like us to check out.