Because of Covid I became a writer.
I mean I’d been a writer before, messing about here and there with short stories, sporadically starting — and then ending — blogs, working on books I never finished, writing down ideas for articles. But having a full-time job to pay the bills resulted in me just not fitting in the writing time very often. Many people have the self-discipline to work and write, but at the end of the day the last thing I wanted to do was sit in front of the same computer and type some more.
In the past when I wanted to do accomplish something, I busted my butt, worked hard, networked, researched and made things happen. But when I made the choice to become a writer, I didn’t really know where to start. Just as there are a lot of different types of writing, there are a lot of different ways to attack it. And at that point I just didn’t have the energy leftover after working all day to figure it out.
Then came the coronavirus.
My primary income for the last 10 years has been a transcription company that does primarily pre-editing transcripts for TV shows, as well as corporate videos and conferences. But when Covid hit and no one was doing interviews or group meetings, a lot of the work dried up. They were great about trying to get us 25% of our income, but that wasn’t enough.
Luckily last summer I’d stumbled on a site called Upwork. It connects freelancers to people who need work done. You pitch a proposal, and hopefully you get interviewed and hired. I had picked up a few regular gigs, mostly doing desktop publishing and some editing/proofreading, just a job here and there. But I hadn’t really sent proposals for any writing gigs. I just wasn’t really thinking about getting paid for writing from there at all.
But when Covid hit, I scrambled to get more paying gigs to supplement my lost income, scouring their job listings, and really started hitting all the decent paying writing proposals too. And I got hired to write a little listicle. That one paid only $10, but I pitched to it because it was a fun topic — ballet TV shows and movies. But more importantly, it was officially the first money I ever got paid solely as a writer. Then I got hired to write social media posts for a brew pub – my husband and I are foodies and he’s a brewer, so writing about beer and food is right up my alley.
And I kept proposing. And getting hired. A listicle about zombie movies that led to a bunch of different pieces for the same client. Another copywriting gig for an interior design company.
But I also knew there were many people I could learn from, so I joined a lot of Binders subgroups online, private Facebook groups for writers who specialize in different topics. Travel, Food and Beverage, regional groups, etc. And I reached out to friends who are also writers, who were very generous with their time and knowledge.
And so here I am.
Prior to Covid 0% of my monthly income came from writing. Now, my monthly income is 75% writing. All since March. I am now, officially, a writer as a means of employment. That feels very different than saying, “I’m a writer, but I haven’t finished the book yet.”
2020 has sucked so many ways. Coronavirus, racism, violence, wildfires, giant hornets. But for me, Covid-19 has been a breakthrough. A kick in the pants to do what I really wanted to do all along.
And the momentum is only beginning.