An Author Writes About Her Journey to Freelancing Success

Jordan RosenfeldWriters inspire me. They have the courage to face their fears on a daily basis. They deal with rejection about the most personal thing-their writing. Being a writer myself, I know the pain and joy that comes with the territory. That’s why I was beyond excited when contributing editor and columnist for Writer’s Digest magazine and fiction writer Jordan E. Rosenfeld invited me (!!!) to chat with her over tea and dreams. Come and be inspired with me.

What turned you on to writing?

I wish I could actually pinpoint the moment, the inspiration, but truthfully I’ve been writing since I learned how. I really do subscribe to that idea that everyone has a special talent in this life, and that some are lucky enough to find it. Mine is writing. It’s ALL I’m good at (well, and its offshoots, like editing). What I wouldn’t give to be good at sports, or a master chef, or a visual artist! But writing seized me. I have journals I kept that begin at age 8, which is also when I started writing stories. I do come from a family of avid readers, so perhaps that’s where the seed was planted. All I ever wanted to do my whole life was write.

How did you get your start as a freelance writer?

Through the back door, my favorite route! I had co-edited/produced a women’s magazine with a college friend. That gave me my first “clips.” After that, I was lucky to be on the end of a call for writers for a local newspaper after I graduated from college. I wrote a ton for them, then for the magazine they launched and by then I’d gotten my training wheels off and decided I would approach bigger (and better paying) publications. I just widened my “local” focus a little bigger and so on, until I landed my first national publication (which was Writer’s Digest magazine).

 

Does the fear and anxiety that comes with writing ever go away? If not, how do you deal with it so that it doesn’t sabotage your writing?

I would say that the fear/anxiety changes over time, and is different for every writer. In the beginning there’s more fear around impressing your editors. Later on, if you become established, there’s more fear about keeping a steady flow of assignments…and I don’t know that the fear of being found to be inadequate ever fully goes away. For me, the crucible of deadline pressure always wins over the anxiety. And strangely, since my first child was born 16 mos ago, I don’t experience nearly the same level of anxiety that I once did. I think children make you realize there’s more serious things to be anxious about than an article!

Do you think in this economy it’s still possible to make a living as a full-time freelance writer?

I want to be Ms. Optimism, but I have to answer honestly that I don’t know. I think if the writer is savvy about how publishing is changing (i,e. the transition from print to online), uses social networks wisely, blogs and does about 4x as much “hustle” as several years before, then yes, probably. I think every freelance writer needs to have several layers of projects going at all times, though. You have to be able to multi-task. For me, I also edit manuscripts, and teach online classes as well as write.

You’ve told me that “you don’t have to be somebody special to be a great writer,” but what do you think is necessary to be not only a great writer but a successful one?

You must be: Blindly persistent. An auto-didact (a self-teacher). Flexible. Resilient. Willing to keep learning and changing as needed.

Anything you’d like others to know about yourself or about your services?

Well, I’m rather fond of these online writing classes that I teach. My most popular class is called “Fiction’s Magic Ingredient.” There’s still room in the November, 2009 session! They’re mostly teaching fictional techniques, but I’ve got some non-fiction classes in the works. Also I do edit fiction and non-fiction manuscripts and come with references.

Thanks Jordan! Check out her website for more information and inspiring posts on writing.

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10 comments

  1. Kemari says:

    Great post. I agree, Jordan is very inspiring.

    I have found that other writers have inspired me as well (when I let them and don’t block myself with doubts).

      • Kemari says:

        There are so many…some are published, and some are writer friends who haven’t quite made it to publication yet.

        My favorite writer is Jeanette Winterson. Her language is so delicious. She is a huge inspiration.

        Also Joyce Carol Oates. Sarah Addison Allen (another one of my favorites). Emma Donoghue (Room was amazing). John Green. Marcus Zusak. I don’t even know if I could name them all. They span so many genres, too.

        And of course, like I said, I have writer friends who write in all different styles. I don’t get inspired just by their writing, but also by their determination. By their passion for it.

        I have found that if I keep myself surrounded by people like that, I will stay inspired. πŸ™‚

        • Brandi says:

          Oh a lot of great recommendations for me! I love finding out about new writers. Kemari, you are on point about surround yourself with positive peeps. They are like water to me. So important.

  2. Kemari says:

    Oops. I hit submit before I was done.

    I was going to add that your blog and writing also inspires me, even more so when you write about what or who inspires you. πŸ™‚

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