Meet the Woman Who Changed my Writing Life
Photo by Lynsey Weatherspoon
*Note: This post contains an affiliate link for a program I believe in wholeheartedly
I’ve been writing professionally since 2009, but it wasn’t always a joyful process.
I was taking every assignment I could get my hands on from any newspaper or magazine that would have me because I wanted to write something for someone, anyone. I knew I wanted to write pieces I was passionate about, but didn’t know how to position myself as a professional on things like books because I was young and didn’t have much experience besides a lot of enthusiasm and self-education. I was frustrated, confused, and on the brink of burnout.
Then I met Javacia Harris Bowser. It was 2011 and I was 21; still in college and trying to find MY voice. Not the voice I had to write in to ace my academic papers in college and not the voice the podunk newspaper I was writing for wanted me to have. Javacia founded a group called See Jane Write and led workshops and organized guest speakers to share their expertise about all kinds of writing––journalism, creative writing, copywriting, and more.
She had one resounding piece of advice: start a blog. She said it’s the gateway to opportunities.
“But, Javacia,” I would say. “I don’t have anything to blog about!”
This is laughable to me now that I’ve been running Off the Beaten Shelf for 5 years. And just as Javacia promised, my blog has opened the door to so many opportunities for me both personally and professionally. I’ve been interviewed for comments on things happening in the publishing industry (including on Publisher’s Weekly and NPR national), I’ve been hired for freelance projects, and I’ve made friends, as well as professional connections that have turned into friends. I’ve been asked to review books by Big 5 publishers and connected with authors I admire. And did I mention being hired for freelance projects by people who found me through my blog? That means my blog is helping me grow my freelance business and making me money.
The best part is that it’s all work I actually enjoy. I’m not just taking whatever comes my way anymore. I’m purposefully crafting a freelance life and business that brings me joy.
People ask me all the time how I blog, freelance, and do creative writing and the answer is that it’s with Javacia’s wisdom and encouragement and that of the community she’s built through See Jane Write. I’ve been following her for 8 years and it’s made ALL the difference in my writing life.
That’s why I’m so happy she announced her e-course, See Jane Freelance.
In the course you’ll learn:
journalism jargon so you can confidently speak like an industry professional
why you should blog and how to get started
how to never run out of story ideas
how to find publications that pay
why writing for local media outlets could be your key to success
how to pitch like a pro
how to conduct research and interviews
how to network with other writers and why you should
why writers should think like an influencer
social media tips and tricks for writers
how to write clean, compelling copy that will make you an editor's favorite writer
how to turn your life into a story that sells
how to manage your money and your mindset
PLUS, you'll get access to exclusive interviews with editors and fellow writers discussing a variety of topics including:
how to write for your favorite websites
how to pitch to city magazine editors
how to sell a story to a major national magazine
how to break into writing for trade publications
how to nail down your writing niche
how to supplement your income with copywriting
That last interview is with me! I’ll be sharing some tips on writing for businesses to help you make money and keep your freelance income stable.
I’ve been following Javacia’s advice for 8 years and she’s never led me astray, so if you’d like to enroll in See Jane Freelance, use code MANDY19 for 25% off. The course is already super reasonably priced––you could make back your investment in just one or two freelance projects.
If you have any questions about the course just let me know and I’ll be happy to answer anything you want to know.
Enroll before the October 1st deadline. I hope to see you in there!