I unknowingly began my career as a freelance professional when I was in the fourth grade.
My first short story was creatively titled, “Tales of a Third Grade Brother” – which I completely stole from Judy Blume’s “Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing.”
I read the story in front of my class. They seemed to like it. I thought I was becoming a true professional; the genuine article. In reality, I was just beginning. I had a lot left to learn.
Being a Teenage Freelance Professional
Writing is a process. And, as I struggled to determine how I was going to become a famous pop star and actress by the age of sixteen, I overlooked my talent by squandering it. I wrote my school papers and penned the occasional half-manuscript, but my mind wasn’t there yet. I wasn’t ready to admit that my singing and acting skills were a dime-a-dozen duo.
But writing? Well, by the time I hit ninth grade, I knew writing had the ability to take me further. So, mercifully, I began to pursue the written language instead of the art of performance.
Throughout the next four years, I did nothing but write. I joined the journalism program at my high school. I wrote a mediocre play during my sophomore year that my drama teacher allowed me to direct and produce. I wrote two books, both of which are now in remission. My play, a demonic interpretation of the events that took place on Roanoke Island in the late 1500s, has long since been rewritten and forgotten.
But it was a start. And, as I continued, I wrote short stories, academic papers, production scenes, spoken word poetry, song lyrics, and articles. It quickly became my life.
Discovering the Field
At the time I started, freelancing wasn’t exactly a well-documented field. It used to be something you figured out for yourself. It was a path you created, mostly because there were so many different ways to go about it.
Freelancing hit me over the head quite unexpectedly. I was thirteen when I started asking my parents for a part-time job. I wanted money to go out with my friends and I was sick of scrounging up quarters whenever I wanted to go see a movie. They told me I was too young. They told me I needed to focus on schoolwork; that there wasn’t a need for me to work when they supplied everything for me.
They were right, but that didn’t stop me. I went online and found a website called oDesk (now better known as Upwork). After taking a few tests, verifying my identity, and connecting a bank account, I was an official freelance professional. My first task? Ten articles about hot tub covers. My client paid me one dollar upfront, and nine dollars when I finished the job.
It was a long, slow climb to the top for a young, teenage girl. I doubt you’ll start with a job that small. There’s someone here to tell you that you deserve better.
Dedication to the Craft
Seven years later, I’ve written hundreds of articles on dozens of subjects. I’ve written handfuls of eBooks, several full-length novels, eCourses, poetry, plays, song lyrics, and technical pieces. If you can dream it, you can do it. And that makes the time I spend on each project worthwhile.
When I’m not reading, I’m writing. When I’m not doing either of those things, I’m thinking about them. It’s a constant indicator that I want more – and being a freelance professional gives me more.
I sincerely hope it will do the same for you.