How I fell into being a full-time writer

When I decided I wanted to try my hand at being a writer, I really had no idea what I was doing. The idea of writing for others was (and still is) very appealing, but I didn’t know how or where to start.

I thought I should style myself as a Copywriter because that would encompass all sorts of writing. Much in the way I started out as a Blogger and had no clear niche or direction. (I still have no clear niche or direction with my blog, but I’m okay with that.) 

But as a writer, I’ve come to realize what sort of writing I want to do, and am good at doing. And it’s definitely not Everything. So I’ve narrowed myself down to Content Writer, and even that is a very broad area.

I’ve been writing pieces of content for Kingstonist since Nov 2018. It sounds like a long time when I look back at it now, but in the early days my contributions were sporadic and family oriented. Take a look at some of my earlier pieces:

More than a year later, after the pandemic came on full force and I was home (unemployed) with my daughters I thought I could take this writing gig further. I could write content for local businesses, providing valuable content for their business niche. All I would need to do was learn about the businesses and their products and services and we’d be “in business”, so to speak. But the businesses I wanted to support (read: small, local, independent) often didn’t even have a nice website, let alone a set up for this sort of content or blog articles.

Don’t get me wrong, I can still do this, and I did do some content writing through a few agencies, but that felt so impersonal and I wasn’t able to connect with the businesses directly. I didn’t like it.

Through it all I was still writing for Kingstonist, and now was being assigned some articles that were still of interest to me – happenings at the library (or on the library’s website), info about Bellevue House’s renovations, more St. Lawrence Parks fun stuff – Pumpkinferno and Fort Fright, and other local events or charity organization information. 

I tried really hard to find some local businesses that wanted to have articles created for their website. I had a few soft “that sounds like a good idea” replies when I reached out, but no one was ready to take the plunge.

So I wrote some articles for my own blog about how having a blog on your business site can help your website exposure, and will draw more traffic to your webpage. You can see those articles in my Content Writing section, if you’re interested.

As we were gearing up for back to school I was virtually “pounding the pavement” looking for jobs. I wanted to keep writing for Kingstonist in the way I had been, but I had to get back to a steady income as I had maxed out my CERB. I had a few things in the “maybe” column when the lovely Kingstonist folks reached out and told me that were able to offer me full-time employment. I was completely blown away!

It’s still not the content writing I had imagined, and I am still able to freelance on the side, but I love what I’m doing now. The news sometimes gets overwhelming, and writing up COVID case after COVID case absolutely brings me down, but the uplifting articles and the chance to bring awareness to charities and not-for-profits with my writing is completely worth it.

As I wrote about last month, my desire to write “on the side” has lessened, but this website and blog aren’t going anywhere. And I hope to find new and different ways to support other local businesses on this blog, as well as on Kingstonist, and on their own websites, should anyone need the sort of content I want to create.

I’d love you to stick by me through whatever transition is coming this year. I feel like big things are possible, and networking is absolutely the way to get things done. Using this space to share about my life and family, and also about local goings-on (once we can get back to those) will continue, but I plan to add on some local business support articles, and keep learning more about content writing, how I can do it better, and how it can support business models while we’re still spending more time online than in person.

Care to join me on this journey? Sign up to my email list to be in-the-know, and be sure you’re following me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. (I have two profiles on FB and Insta: @modernmomslife and @jessfoleywriter – connect with both!)

Jess

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