Hello dear readers! I know, I know, I sort of vanished from this blog for the last couple of months. I’ve had a lot going on in my life, both good and bad, but today I wanted to tell you a little about one of the really (reallyreallyreally) good things–my first paying job as a writer!!!
A few months ago, through the blogs of other writers as well as the recommendations of friends, I discovered a website called Geekdom House that produces an online magazine called Area of Effect. I heard that they might be looking for an additional writer for the magazine–or would at least be willing to keep my information on file for future positions–so I went ahead and emailed them an application per the specifications on their website.
Much to my delight, the editor replied and gave me the chance to write a guest article for Area of Effect. I eagerly agreed, sent her some article pitches, then worked my tail off crafting an article from the pitch she liked best. It was hard work, but I was pretty pleased with the final draft when I emailed it back.
It took around a month to hear back about my article. I was excited enough at the prospect of getting one article published, but when the editor responded, she not only said she loved the guest article, but offered me a regular Staff Writer position! I was (and am) overjoyed, and I jumped at the opportunity. My first article, originally meant to be just a guest post, went live on May 17, 2017.
As a Staff Writer, I contribute at least one article every other month, but when I have time, I often write more. In July, I ended up contributing three articles.
I loved the idea of writing for Geekdom House from the first time I found their website. The writers are Christians, and our articles are about deeper themes found in popular culture, or “fandoms.” Area of Effect is Christian-based but is not a Christian magazine per se. Instead, its goal is to connect the secular and Christian worlds by talking about pop culture through the lens of personal experience–which can include Christianity.
For example, one of my recent articles talked about the new Spider-Man film, Peter Parker’s struggle with self-worth, my own similar struggles with the issue, and how I’ve come to find my self-worth in Christ.
Area of Effect also has some “Fun Friday” pieces, which are shorter articles just meant to be nerdy and silly. I did one recently called “Why Severus Snape Would Make a Great Therapist,” and I was cracking myself up while I wrote it (hopefully the readers found it as funny!).
And there you have it–the story of how I got my first paying writing job. While my end-goal as a writer is still to write novels and screenplays, not to be a freelance writer, I couldn’t be more thrilled with where I’m at. I’m a big nerd (if you couldn’t tell from my cosplay page) so the chance to talk about my faith in the context of my fandoms, in the company of other Christians, is an absolute dream come true.
Like any job, though, writing has its ups and downs. It’s pretty awesome when I get to read a good book or curl up in front of a nerdy movie “for work” (hey, I gotta be familiar with the subject matter!) but, don’t get me wrong, the job definitely has its challenges. Experienced writers will tell you that writing is the best and worst thing you’ll ever do.
When I wrote my Spider-Man piece, I was so excited that I churned out a decent draft in twenty-four hours. Then, after I got my editor’s feedback and went to edit it, I spent four straight hours agonizing over how I wanted to change it–cutting passages here, adding sections there, and generally wondering what I’d gotten myself into. But, the article turned out much better for all that hard work, and nothing could beat the feeling of seeing it go live on the Geekdom House website.
So, what clever writing advice do I have to share from all this? I guess it would have to be, look for opportunities. Search around, read some blogs from other writers “in the same boat” as you, or with similar interests. See where they’re writing and find out if the same place could work for you. If you’re able to talk to them personally, ask for some guidance about places to apply. Take a class in marketing your writing, if you’re able to.
Freelance writing is not an easy career to pursue. From my personal experience and the experience of family and friends, I can tell you that it is not always a reliable source of income nor will it make you rich. But, if you can find some good writing opportunities to do on the side, you might just end up with a job you love and the public writing exposure you need–and then, you just never know how far you’ll go.