I’m Karen Marston: blogger, novelist and freelance copywriter based in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Untamed Writing is where I talk about life as a writer: how to write better, how to make money from it, how to actually do your writing instead of just thinking about it and hating yourself. That sort of thing.
I’ve written copy for agencies, startups, established businesses, entrepreneurs and non-profits. I’ve lectured about copywriting at Edinburgh College and advised students on their projects. I’ve grown a blog (hey, that’s this one!) with a loyal audience who say things like ‘Karen’s personality makes me NOT stop reading her articles. I even had a phase when I marathoned her whole archive.’ I’ve worked one-on-one with hundreds of people online, helping them launch their own freelance writing businesses. And I’ve just started writing my first novel, which took me by surprise. It’s a space adventure, which did not take me by surprise.
I can’t promise to change your life with my endless wisdom. I know how to do what I do, and I have fun doing it, and I share what I learn with you guys. That’s kind of it. HOW ANTICLIMACTIC. I know, I know, but seriously, I just try to do work I enjoy and that feels right and to make enough money to live the life I want.
How the Hell I Ended Up Here
I lurched into the world of freelance writing in 2012 after a decade of working crappy menial jobs, mostly in pubs. I’d been thinking about it for a while because I wanted to make a living from my laptop and be able to live anywhere in the world. (I eventually tried the digital nomad thing and it sucked.)
I started out writing shitty SEO articles for even shittier pay. We’re talking £5 for 500 words. But even that was enough to quickly replace my part-time barwork income. So I quit my job after two months.
I sent out a lot of emails pitching my services to agencies in those early days. And it wasn’t long before those agencies started responding and asking not if I would write shitty SEO articles for them – but if I would rewrite their own websites for them, in that conversational, entertaining voice that came through in my emails.
That’s when I realised that maybe I had a special kind of talent that went beyond just jamming words together in a logical order. I could… write stuff people enjoyed reading? That they’d read all the way to the end? Made sense, since I’d been doing that since I was 15. In a LIVEJOURNAL. Remember those? So that’s what I credit my voice to: half a lifetime of writing ridiculous stories to entertain my friends.
I created a new website, complete with a blog and everything, and I let my voice flow through it uninhibited. I didn’t hold back or worry about looking professional. And people read it. They enjoyed it. They EMAILED ME about it. That website was Untamed Writing. Yes, the one you’re on right now.
It was supposed to be my own freelance writing portfolio, but it didn’t take long before I was blogging about the freelance life, writing craft, and other things that are not useful to potential copywriting clients. It took me waaaay too long to realise I should move my copywriting services to a dedicated site and devote this one to all things writing, but eventually I got there. And, well, here we are. Hi.
Some Random Crap About Me
Things I like:
- Making the most of this shitstorm called life
- Doing meaningful, creative work
- Books books books, all the books
- Getting annoyed about gender stereotypes
- Ignoring unsolicited advice from idiots
- Devouring stories set in space
- Breaking the rules when the rules are dumb
- Being unapologetically myself
Things that irritate me:
- People who say they’re going to do something and then never do it but still bitch about it
- The person who has owned karenmarston.com since the beginning of time
- The fact that some people say passionpreneur unironically (OH HOW I WISH I WAS KIDDING)
- Asterisks in swear words, because seriously what is the fucking point?
- The passive-aggressive bastard emoji or, as you probably know it, the winky emoji
- YOU, not noticing that my logo has a wolf in it yet, goddamnit
- ‘Life coaches’ who are clearly not over their own shit yet
If this page has got you feeling like you want to high-five me, come sign up for my emails. You will like them.