A guest post by Maxine Knight

It has been 4 days since I decided that, “Yes! I’m gonna do this!” And make an attempt at starting out as a freelance writer. Over the years I have done bits and pieces, reviewing literature, press releases and most recently content for my start-up business website www.thefabricmerchant.co.uk (shameless plug).

 My motivation? There are 24 days until I return to work after maternity leave and I have a stabbing tension headache that has been increasing as my return date draws closer.

 I have always liked the idea of freelance writing, and have formed many a romantic daydream in my head of writing from a rural French chateau, overlooking a glistening moat.

 These “daydreams” don’t actually happen in the day, usually they happen in the early hours of the morning from my shared ownership house in Bristol, whilst I breastfeed a baby that looks like she has woken up from an all night bender.

 I know the French chateau thing isn’t reality ….yet!

 So, decision made, the next question was, “What to I do next?”

 Well, I started out by typing this obligatory search term into Google:

“How…to…become…a…freelance…writer.” Then quickly added, “…And…get…paid…lots…of…money.”

 As you can imagine, a host of blogs and courses came up. I started to feel overwhelmed and thought maybe I should just look for a generic job on the REED site instead.

 And with that, I spiralled for an hour.  How will I make ends meet, my grammar is appalling, I have two young children under 5!!!! Mortgage, nursery fees blah, blah.

 1 hour closer to my return date.

 Luckily for me, I had an ace up sleeve, that “ace” being Emma Rowlands, co-founder of “Learn Freelance Writing”. Emma was the one that brought writing back to the forefront, but I never thought it was something that I could generate enough money to buy a weekly shop with let alone quit work and make a decent salary from. Yet, there she was …doing it!

 With her wealth of experience, instead of now having to sift through a mound of sites, I could just nag my “ace”. In return, I immediately get my answer along with some great tips for good measure. After joining, I visited the Facebook group, introduced myself and immediately saw some awesome job posts. 

 …I have to pitch! It just got real, and really quickly.

 For some reason pitching gives me the same feeling as asking someone out on a date. I’ve never actually asked someone out on a date because of my yellow belly disease, but the cold sweats, the churning in my stomach etc. Pretty sure it feels the same.

I go back to the Learn Freelance Writing Facebook group and read a couple more posts. One of the members is in the same predicament and then posts that she sent her first pitch! I feel inspired and motivated all at once.

 When I finish writing my pitch I realise…it’s not that bad.

 I used one of the templates provided which cut out about 2 hours worth of researching formats.

 I gave myself a target of 3 jobs over 2 days.

As my finger hovered over the button, I took one last look up at my calendar and the big “X” which marked my return back to work… and I pressed send.