CfS reader Brian Roberts asks, “How did you get started in the business?”
To paraphrase that legendary Nike strapline, I just did it!I had contributed to the student magazine while at uni. And when I later embarked upon my career, I just started writing and sending off my work to various publishers.
After graduating, I fell into PR, which I thoroughly enjoyed, especially the writing element. For direction and to hone my skills, I started a home-study writing course through The Writers Bureau. I also began to write article for magazines and newspapers.
Then an amazing thing happened; one got published.
Spurred on by the feeling of being like a ‘proper’ writer, optimism ran high and so I left my PR job and headed off into the freelance writing world. I wrote more articles, and more of them got published. Hurrah! This was going well.
Soon I received a ‘Certificate of Competence as an Established Writer’ from the Bureau, which cemented the feeling of being the real McCoy.
It wasn’t long before I decided to concentrate my writing endeavours in the direction of the local and regional press, and so studied for and achieved a post-grad degree in journalism at the London College of Printing & Design.
Ironically, although this strengthened the business side of freelance writing, this resulted in me becoming keener on freelance sub-editing than writing. Still, I stuck with the writing and continued to get published in local, national and international newspapers and magazines. I wrote about topics ranging from health to women’s issues and business matters.
Many publishing credits later (and yet more study, in particular the rather fantastic copywriting course at The Institute of Copywriting), I expanded my remit to include web content, online marketing, marketing coaching, sub/copy editing and proofreading.
I’ve been earning a living with words for just over 14 years (yikes!) now – and I love it. Granted, it’s not an easy nut to crack (despite the glut of ‘gurus’ telling you how easy it is to earn a six-figure income in a year or so with copywriting; it’s just not realistic, or fair, to say that), but once you get some momentum going, it’s a great career choice.
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