Freelance Writing: A Career From Anywhere

An island in the Mediterranean. A beach in Africa. The east coast of New Zealand. What do all these locations have in common? A recent call for assistance from freelance writers elicited replies from every one of these locations. In each of these and in many other remote places, I know of writers who are freelancing with a fair degree of success. Indeed it is possible for freelance writers to work from anywhere.

Consider my own recent experience. As the editor of the Worldwide Freelance Writer web site, I publish a newsletter that goes out to thousands of freelance writers around the world. I can recall one particular issue in the middle of 2002. I started planning the newsletter in the heat and humidity of Hong Kong. When the first draft came together I was in Indianapolis, in the United States. And by the time I completed the final copy and pushed the send button I was at a lakeside cottage in Ontario, Canada, with snow lightly falling outside.

Maybe you are interested in a freelance writing career but you worry about whether you live in a suitable location. Well, think again. Freelance writing is a job you can do from anywhere. It is true that if your home is near New York's editorial offices you may be able to use your proposal to some advantage. But many, many freelance writers are working successfully from more distant locations, and in many cases enjoying a better lifestyle in the places where they live.

Take Ron Irwin, for example. An American, Ron freelances from a small house on the beach in Cape Town, South Africa. The majority of his work is still for North American markets. Consider Vella Corinne, a native of Malta in the center of the Mediterranean Sea. From this island steeped in history – the Order of St John was based here and the temples are thought to be older than the pyramids – she writes travel and lifestyle features.

Writers in locations such as these, far from being at a serious disadvantage, can actually enjoy a number of benefits. For a start, these writers are in an excellent position to write about their own locations, the people and the culture. Also, the living costs are often less expensive than for reporters in major cities. And if that is not enough, how about fresh, clean air?

Writers working from remote locations typically live in a cleaner, more peaceful environment, and may live closer to outdoor and recreational activities. Vella reveals how she enjoys the warmer days: "Once I pack up my computer, I just head to the beach. my own time in a way that I could not if I lived in a busy city. "

Twenty years ago writers in remote locations were often frustrated by the slowness of communicating with editors on the other side of the world. It would always take months to receive a reply from an editor. Waiting for a response to a query …

Be Smart About Higher Education: Three Do's and Three Don'ts of Doing What Matters

Get heard up in the pursuit of higher education and commencement day comes quickly. The time at school is a process that hopefully has fond memories of meeting exciting people and developing friendships that will last a lifetime. Ideally, the coursework was rewarding and beneficial in preparation for a fulfilling career. The college experience is inclusive of these things, but the most rewarding opportunities can easily be missed.

The opportunities can take on numerous forms, but it starts with students asking: "What am I doing that matters?" What matters is some transcendent cause that is the right thing to do, helps others, and expects nothing in return. Usually people doing transcendental things are not only offering personal talents and time, but their treasure (finances) as well to help a cause, person or organization.

Graduate school for me had great experiences and challenges that built a lot of character being a young adult. However, out of all the experiences offered at college, there is no recollection of doing anything that really mattered. Took courses, learned a few things and did okay. Did fundraisers for the fraternity. Had fun at parties and made a lot of friends only one of which became a life-long best friend.

Graduate school included the above, but with additional experiences that took on a lot of meaning. Twice each week a poor nearby neighborhood was visited to distribute clothing and offer counsel and prayers. Helping people spiritually, emotionally, and physically was not convenient or comfortable, but it mattered.

Also went on a few mission trips. Making rounds in New York City to hand out hygiene packs and blankets to the homeless during the winter, so rewarding. Sweeping up the rolled teeth of kids in a poor Columbia South America village and seeing the joy on their faces for being relieved of the pain of toothaches, so rewarding. Crying myself to sleep after seeing the blank stare of a gamine or homeless street child in Bogota scavenging through a garbage can in the middle of the night, unforgivable.

Whether choosing to do something that matters locally, domestically, or on the other side of the world requires getting out of the comfort zone. Tests are coming up, papers are due, finances are short along with any number of good reasons not to participate in a transcendent cause. Funny thing is I vaguely remember any details about the papers, tests, and money shortages, but the aforementioned memories are vivid, priceless, and last a lifetime.

What does it take to begin getting involved in things that matter?

Three do's

  • Have the right attitude . Being all excited is part of it, but ambivalence, confusion, and fear are common. Attitude is a commitment to follow through and make the best of whatever situation arises.
  • Do the right thing whether or not anyone is watching. Be intent on serving, giving, and accommodating fellow team members as well as those that are the focus of the outreach.
  • Be wise . Realize in extremely indigent