How I Started Freelance Writing

Freelance Writing

Some years ago, I left the practice of nursing. Unsure of what my future held, I embarked on a mission. Every morning I was to be dressed and at my computer by 8:30AM to read about current events.

I read lots of online newspapers and one day, there was an article in the New York Times which didn't portray an accurate picture of what was still my profession, nursing. So I wrote a letter to their editor and explained why. Several days later, I saw something similar in the Washington Post and responded in kind.

Several days later, the phone rang: Both the Times and the Post wanted permission to publish my letters. I was completely untrained other than 10th grade English. Ah, to see your name in print!

Not long afterwards, a new nursing magazine was to make it's debut. I contacted the editor to make several article suggestions (was I bold, or what?). The editor thought that I wanted to write the articles that I suggested and assigned one to me. Wow, an assigned article, but I didn't strut too much. After all, they were probably hard up for authors.

But when that first article was published and I had my own byline, there was such a sense of pride that possibly I'd found a temporary niche. Some weeks later, a check arrived in the mail! Not only wasn't I expecting payment (we had no fee agreement) but I was now on search engines. Watch out world! Local newspapers published my work and my confidence grew.

Several weeks later, after drafting another article, I pitched an idea to the editor of an established magazine. She liked my query; that was the beginning of a relationship with her and her magazine that lasted nearly 9 years. I was critiqued, it was brutal but all positive criticism. She and her staff taught the ropes and gave me all sorts of tips. During that time, I submitted articles for her magazine, for other magazines and wrote copy for another magazine. I also edited a local paper's health column.

The money I made freelancing was just enough to buy groceries or take my husband out to dinner; definitely not enough to pay the mortgage. I know of several people who have great potential to make a living at it, others who do make a living as authors. But most are like me and freelance because they have such a passion for writing. They do it out of love.

Just a few days ago, the subject material of an article that I'd written in 2004 grabbed someone's attention. It was a magazine's cover story and I was particularly proud of that article. You'll never know if something you do today will garner interest, tomorrow!

Comments 21 comments

viking305 profile image

viking305 5 years ago from Ireland

Writing for a living is a wonderful occupation. I too cannot pay my mortgage YET! but I am earning some good money from it. Good look with your future articles


mylife=adventure profile image

mylife=adventure 5 years ago from Wisconsin

I just love to write and I could be happy to be paid the bare minimum and still be more than content because it's a passion that pays in more ways than just money. Great Hub!


Reynold Jay profile image

Reynold Jay 5 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan

Thanks for sharing this writer's story. And of course you are a great writer as that is easily seen in this article. Up 1 and beautiful. RJ


 5 years ago

This is a great inspiration, thank you for sharing!


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 5 years ago from Minnesota

I loved reading how you got into freelance writing. I can't imagine how exciting it was to see your name by an article. This is really a good hub because it let's us all know that we can do it too. I am so proud of you and your great accomplishments. Thanks for inspiring me today:)


teamrn profile image

teamrn 5 years ago from Chicago Author

If I inspired you, knowing that each day is a challenge for you, then my day is complete. although it's starting to cool down as the sun sets.

Yes, the excitement, the novelty about seeing your name in a by-line NEVER gets tiring and being able to "Google" myself and SEE references to my work is a never ending source of joy.


Midlife Magic profile image

Midlife Magic 5 years ago from Canada

I did not know you were famous. I like your writing style.


teamrn profile image

teamrn 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Midnight, I'm not famous AT ALL! I just like to write and the circumstances have worked for me to write when I want. If I had to rely on what I make per article, I'd starve! Thanks for the compliment about my writing style; quite frankly, I didn't know I HAD one!! I just write as I think-outt loud!


mareezy13 profile image

mareezy13 5 years ago from Chicago, IL

You have given me the confidence to go on. I am currently enrolled in nursing school and also interested in writing, whether it's about health care or other topics. There is so much material to work from being in the health care field, we could keep on writing forever!

Thank you for keeping me motivated. :)


craig leman, M.D. 4 years ago

I was a member of your Dad's Rifle Company on Iwo Jima; 67 years today I was shot in the head, but I'm healing! I visited your folks back in the 1950s in Erie, and you visited me in Corvallis in about 1962. As a retired general surgeon, I worked with hospice nurses for years, and saw lots of patients with Lupus and fibromyalgia. I like your blog nd your second career. From my standpont, you are dloing great!!!!!!!!! Craig


teamrn profile image

teamrn 4 years ago from Chicago Author

Thanks so much Dr. Leman-Craig? It means so much to hear from a dear friend of my fathers that I'm doing well. I remember so much our visit to Corvallis-well, not the details at all, but I remember that we were there! Was there a white picket fence in the picture (possibly around your yard?) Shot in the head? So glad you're healing. Hospice nursing was a job I loved and pinched myself as I drove from home to home, "I CAN'T believe that someone is paying me to do what I love!." I worked in hospice until lupus was diagnosed and it robbed me of my career; now I'm on disability because of osteonecrosis ALL over; I just had a partial shoulder replacement. Fondly, Annie


teamrn profile image

teamrn 4 years ago from Chicago Author

Keep plugging away; nursing school is hard, but when you graduate, you have a wealth of knowledge about SOOO much that you can write about or teach!


teamrn profile image

teamrn 4 years ago from Chicago Author

Famous? I wouldn't call me famous! I'm published and that was probably because I got a break and was at the right place at the right time years ago!


teamrn profile image

teamrn 4 years ago from Chicago Author

Thanks so much Dr. Leman-Craig? It means so much to hear from a dear friend of my fathers that I'm doing well. I remember so much our visit to Corvallis-well, not the details at all, but I remember that we were there! Was there a white picket fence in the picture (possibly around your yard?) Shot in the head? So glad you're healing. Hospice nursing was a job I loved and pinched myself as I drove from home to home, "I CAN'T believe that someone is paying me to do what I love!." I worked in hospice until lupus was diagnosed and it robbed me of my career; now I'm on disability because of osteonecrosis ALL over; I just had a partial shoulder replacement. Fondly, Annie


teamrn profile image

teamrn 4 years ago from Chicago Author

I didn't know that this section was here, otherwise I'd have answered much sooner; sorry!. My income from articles was so low but it was nice to be published, and Google as me referenced a lot of places; kind of fun!


teamrn profile image

teamrn 4 years ago from Chicago Author

Thanks for liking my hub and truth be told just like you said, being paid the bare minimum Me contents because I was out there and I loved having my own byline and one time my article was the cover story.


teamrn profile image

teamrn 4 years ago from Chicago Author

Thanks so much RJ, Annie.


teamrn profile image

teamrn 4 years ago from Chicago Author

Yup, Minnetonka, it was great seeing way name and having my own byline. Seeing your name in print like that gave me such a rush and I think it's all due to an editor who just took a chance on me and coached me and coaxed me along.


teamrn profile image

teamrn 4 years ago from Chicago Author

Thanks so much Dr. Leman-Craig? It means so much to hear from a dear friend of my fathers that I'm doing well. I remember so much our visit to Corvallis-well, not the details at all, but I remember that we were there! Was there a white picket fence in the picture (possibly around your yard?) Shot in the head? So glad you're healing. Hospice nursing was a job I loved and pinched myself as I drove from home to home, "I CAN'T believe that someone is paying me to do what I love!." I worked in hospice until lupus was diagnosed and it robbed me of my career; now I'm on disability because of osteonecrosis ALL over; I just had a partial shoulder replacement. Fondly, Annie


LauraGT profile image

LauraGT 4 years ago from MA

Very inspirational, thanks!


teamrn profile image

teamrn 4 years ago from Chicago Author

Laura, thanks very much! But, I continue to need inspiration, because I'm not a 'born writer' nor did I go to journalism school- or training

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    ChilliWilly profile image

    ChilliWilly 5 years ago from Kaunas, Lithuania

    Very interesting hub. Thanks for sharing!


    teamrn profile image

    teamrn 4 years ago from Chicago Author

    Thanks so much Chilly; I think I was in the right place at the right time!! Now comes the challenge of LEARNING HOW TO WRITE.

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