How I became a freelance journalist (and other FAQs)

Last week I was interviewed by Essential Writers, the website where writers (and aspiring writers) share advice and experiences. Judy asked me how I got started in journalism, how I got that important first commission, and how I handle the ups and downs of freelance journalism.

From my Essential Writers interview:

What inspired you to become a writer?

I always had my head in a book as a young child and wanted to be “a journalist”, although I’m not sure I knew what that meant. I love being creative and also the freelance lifestyle and even the challenges of being my own boss.

How did you find your first writing job?

I’d been made redundant from my event job in London and moved out of London at the same time. It was time for a change. I was also a few months away from my first Channel swim. I knew that, if a pitch for a first-person piece about Channel swimming couldn’t get my foot in the door of sports journalism, nothing would! (Thank you to 220 Triathlon for accepting that pitch!)

Did you face much rejection initially?

I face more rejection now, actually, because I’m braver about pitching outside my comfort zone these days. I deal with it by learning from it and moving on quickly!

How did you come to specialise in writing about triathlon and other sports?

Triathlon and other sports are a huge part of my life so it made sense to write about them. I know the technicalities, the history and the athletes very well, and can write quickly, fluently and with real passion. I went freelance around the time that triathlon and open-water swimming exploded in popularity in the UK, which helped.

If you fancy reading the interview, here’s the link.

Here are a few blog posts about my work as a sport and fitness journalist: sport and fitness journalism online, my favourite commissions (so far!) and some examples of my work from May 2010.

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6 Responses to How I became a freelance journalist (and other FAQs)

  1. How interesting! Thanks for sharing this information. Its always good to hear from people who have been through the process.

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  2. Its interesting how very often a redundancy stimualtes you to think out of the box and re-evaluate what you REALLY want to be doing. Its a difficult leap to go freelance when you have a salary pumping in every month!

    Thanks for sharing.

    Matthew Simmons
    Interim Marketing Director and Consultant

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  3. […] SEVEN Fitness journalism Perhaps a lot of people come here hoping I hold the key which will unlock the door to freelance journalism. I don’t, I’m afraid, but I am always happy to give my advice and my story to anyone over email, and I have done several times. Perhaps that’s an idea for a blog post, actually. In the meantime, I was interviewed by Essential Writers about freelancing in the sport and fitness niche. Here’s the interview. […]

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  5. […] fitness journalists and bloggers – The importance of quality content for fitness professionals – How I became a freelance writer (and other FAQs) – A few fitness copywriting examples – And a and a few more […]

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