Tag Archives: denver freelance writer

Reflections on one year in business

© rockvillephoto - Fotolia.comA year ago today, I was in the process of setting up my social media accounts, ordering business cards and reaching out to nearly everyone I knew to announce the launch of my new business. I had wrapped up eight years as editor and content developer at my old job and, after 16 years of working for other companies, I was ready to branch out on my own.

Starting my own business took a lot of courage, and I had to summon all my inner strength to trust that the work would come.

I was fortunate to know several people who had launched freelance businesses before me. Each of them assured me that the market needed business writers and editors. They said I would be amazed at how doors would open up for me once I took the leap of quitting my job and announcing my new practice.

I am thrilled to say that they were right.

In the past year, I have had the great pleasure of working with clients in diverse industries. My clients have included businesses in commercial real estate, banking, hospitals and health care, nonprofits, law firms, a dental practice, engineering firms and restaurants. I have written website copy, blogs, brochures, social media posts, newsletters and feature articles. I have edited annual reports and a novel. It has been an amazing year full of interesting work.

As I look back on my first year in business, I am struck by a few key realizations:

  • I am doing work I love
    Starting a business can be daunting because you don’t know what you don’t know. From legal and tax business filings to marketing and self-promotion, I faced a lot of unfamiliar territory as a new business owner. However, I have confidence in my skill as a writer and editor. Not only that, but I love the work. Having the ability to do that work and to serve my clients well is at the core of my business, and it is what keeps me plugging away at the operational side.
  • Variety keeps me ticking
    I started out thinking I would target clients in a particular industry, but I decided early on not to hem myself into that narrow niche. I am so glad I didn’t. I have realized that I absolutely love researching and writing about real estate one moment and writing about a restaurant menu launch the next. Variety is what keeps my creative juices flowing, and I always look forward to the next client project as a result.
  • People are cool
    As an writer and editor, it is often necessary to close the door, put my head down and focus on the work at hand. I thrive in those focused moments. On the flip side, as a business owner, it is necessary to get out into the world and meet people. That has been one of my greatest joys from the past year: I have met such interesting people. I am glad that I get the opportunity to branch out into the community and connect.

So, as I step into year two in business, I feel a strong sense of accomplishment mixed with anticipation for what’s next. I am a little more confident and a lot more brave. I know what to expect, but I am ready for the unexpected.

Mostly, I am thankful for the people who have guided me along the way and the clients who have partnered with me this past year. I so look forward to the next year of interesting work.

Amy J.V. Atwell is a Denver-based freelance writer and editor. She works with businesses to grow their brands through high-quality copy and content. Read more at www.heirloomcommunications.com.

Notes

by Amy J.V. Atwell

writer's notebooksAs a writer, I feel somewhat helpless and vulnerable without a notebook and a pen.

If I am having a meeting of any kind, I always arrive with a notebook. At events and conferences, I might alternate between taking notes and tweeting. Actually, more often than not, I take notes and then tweet using my notebook as a reference.

Clients and colleagues might be surprised to learn how often I write what they say as direct quotes. Journalism training dies hard, I guess.

I left a meeting yesterday feeling perturbed because I hadn’t brought the right kind of pen. Oh, I had a pen. I always have at least two pens in my purse – a blue one and a red one. Always. However, the blue pen I had yesterday was a ballpoint. Ugh. No brilliant note-taking can happen with a standard-issue ballpoint pen. No, only a fine point rollerball or a superfine felt-tip sharpie will do. In blue. Or red.

I know what you’re thinking: “This chick is cuckoo.” Yet, all the writers among you are nodding your heads in agreement. Am I right?

Oh, sure, in this age of technology, I could use Evernote or some other app to help me take notes. I do have a note-taking app on my phone, and it is incredibly useful for capturing those brilliant (I hope) brainstorms that happen in the grocery store or when I am out to dinner. (Don’t worry, I sneak off to the ladies room to type my notes in the latter case, dinner companions none the wiser.) Yes, I use and embrace technology, but there is something about the act of writing in my own messy hand – with a good pen. It helps me remember the conversation. Re-reading those notes later can take me back to the time and place where that discussion occurred.

This blog’s photo depicts my professional notebooks from the past three or four years. I could open a page in any of them and tell you which project and which colleagues were associated with it.

That’s why Ben Casnocha’s blog, posted on LinkedIn earlier this month, hit home for me. That note-taking is attached to learning is a given for me. I was flabbergasted to read that only two people in the audience at an event were taking notes. I suppose I am too busy taking notes at these things to notice that others aren’t.

What are your personal note-taking and note-keeping quirks?

Amy J.V. Atwell is a Denver-based freelance writer and editor. She works with businesses to grow their brands through high-quality copy and content. Read more at www.heirloomcommunications.com.