Guest Post from Julie Ellis: Living to Write and Writing to Live

I have never wanted to do woman working on laptop at homeanything but write, but unfortunately I also have had to eat. So I spent years teaching English and journalism and assessing other peoples’ writing – never really having quite time enough for my own passion. Even summers were spent teaching at the local community college, for I always needed the extra money, as a single mother of two.

Finally, when the last child had graduated college, it was “me” time. Now, I am not a risk-taker, but, with a newfound independence (the dog had also died), I sold my house, found a studio apartment, and informed everyone that birthday and Christmas giving might be suspended – I was now a “starving” author!

Many earlier book “starts” were pulled from file drawers, and the writing began at a furious pace. Three months later, the first book was in the hands of agents all over the country, and the rejection letters began to show up in those self-addressed envelopes that we all know will be coming. As my savings dwindled, it became clear that some form of part-time employment was in my future. It would not, however, be teaching, because lessons plans and grading essays would be an admission of defeat!

Boldly, I entered the world of freelance writing. I signed up with online freelance clearing houses; I placed an ad on Craigslist; I took ads for writers from Craigslist. Gradually, the business slowly dribble in, and I found myself spending dividing my days (and nights, when there are really urgent deadlines) cranking out articles, blog posts, web content, etc.

At first, it felt as if this whole freelance gig was a little bit like “selling my soul.” This was not my intention when I left traditional work-life! Now, however, my perspective has changed, and, for other aspiring authors who need to earn money “in the meantime,” let me offer this perspective:

  • Freelancing allows me to accept or reject assignments as I wish. If money is “tight,” of course I take as many as possible; if I am really “on a roll” with my own writing, however, I cut back. My freedom is still intact.
  • I am learning so very much! For a great deal of the freelance writing, I have to do some research (all of which can be accomplished online), and the result has been a huge broadening of my knowledge base. There is so much “out there” about which I knew nothing! And, in the process, I have generated lots of new ideas for my own writing!
  • I don’t have to get out of my PJ’s or sweats for whole days sometimes, and recently I even donated all of my former “career” clothes to Goodwill. The rest of my life has “casual” written all over it.

Recently, a small publisher sent me a contract for that first novel that received only rejections a year ago. So encouraged and enthusiastic am I, that the sequel to that book has begun. Validation is such a sweet thing!

About the Author:

Armed with a Master’s in Journalism and strong wanderlust, Julie Ellis set out to explore exotic places, financed by her freelance writing. She is now a regular blogger for Premier Essay and sells feature articles to English-speaking publications around the world.

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