I am dyslexic. In high school, I was told to lower my expectations for college and informed that I would never be able to become an attorney (a dream I had starting in middle school).
Apparently my diagnosis outweighed my grades.
(I’ve always been a good student, but a painfully slow reader.)
I raised a big middle finger to all of that, went to college, graduated early, finished law school, passed the bar exam, and practiced at a firm in Boston.
Until I realized that I fucking hated being an attorney!
(Sometimes doing something to spite others doesn’t quite work out how we want it to!)
I spent some time as a consultant and then worked in the nonprofit sector and for marketing and advertising agencies. None of it was the right fit, but it was “good enough.”
It was while I was working for a nonprofit organization that I met my first editor. She taught me everything I know about being a freelance writer, from pitching to writing articles for publication to making sure you get paid for your work. She also got me my first editing job.
I loved it.
But it wasn’t a *real* job, right? It was just a thing I did on the side.
Fast forward to January 2020. I quit my advertising job right before the world shut down. (I hated that job.) I planned to start a content marketing business. I was working with a business coach and groaned about how much I hated marketing.
Um. Yeah. That’s a problem.
He asked me to tell him about a project I enjoyed working on, and I told him about my work as a freelance writer and editor and a client I had the last time I tried this whole self-employed thing who ended up writing for a trade journal and how much I loved working with him and helping him choose the right publication, figure out what to write about, how to write and structure the article, how to pitch the publication and build a relationship with his editor, and how to use the article to help him get meetings with the people he wanted to get meetings with.
My coach looked at me and said, “Okay. So why don’t you do that?”
I had no idea what he was talking about.
Finally, light dawned on marble head and I realized that many folks don’t know how to start writing for business magazines, trade journals, or association publications. There’s this big shroud of mystery around it, and very little advice for business owners who want to write to connect with an established audience. I spoke to a few editor friends and a bunch of consulting colleagues.
Yep. This could be a thing.
So, what excites me? Spending my time with brilliant people who know a whole lot about a field I know very little about. Watching brilliant people develop their writing voice as they fall in love with writing. Allowing people to go deep with their insights so they can be of service and not simply “drive profitable consumer action,” as the folks at the Content Marketing Institute would say. Reading. Learning. Writing. Teaching. Celebrating others when they get published, and letting them know that the hoards of humans will not actually knock down your door just because you got a piece in some fancy-ass publication. Showing them how they can use the article in that fancy-ass publication to build their authority and reputation and credibility. Building my alumn community so they write and edit an article every single month (because as much as I love learning, the doing is what actually gets results).
That’s the shit that excites me.
- This reply was modified 2 months, 3 weeks ago by Erica Holthausen.