Untamed Writing? That’s the site where that chick makes a living from writing and teaches other people how to get started as a freelance copywriter too, isn’t it? The one where the lass who runs it swears just a little bit more than you’d expect a professional to be able to get away with?
Well, yeah. It is. Hi there. I’m Karen and I like to swear, but mystically haven’t done it so far in this blog post. (Bear with me; it’s only the second paragraph.)
Untamed Writing didn’t exist when I first started making money from writing. It wasn’t far behind, but it didn’t exist in the beginning. I had another site, and now that doesn’t exist.
My first freelance writing site was called Deft SEO – so named because I started out solely writing SEO articles. I threw that site together in under a day and it didn’t take long before it starting bringing me clients. I had to throw my hooks out and reel ‘em in, but land me clients it did.
The work was kinda crap though. SEO writing is pretty uninspiring, and really not all that well paid (unless you’re coming from a £7 an hour bar job, in which case £15 an hour seems like a magical wonderland). But it’s a great way to get started. Easy. Quick to find clients. Not too taxing or scary. That sort of thing.
Trouble was, I had this itch to be more than just an SEO writer. I didn’t start writing those bloody articles because I loved writing about airport car parks and heat exchangers, whatever the fuck they are. I started doing it so I could quit my job. My shitty shitty bar job that, yeah, paid £7 an hour and saw me working 12+ hour shifts until 2am, after which I’d traipse home, sweaty, sticky and disgusting, side-stepping streams of piss and women staggering along stilettos-in-hand.
I wanted to escape all jobs, forever, as well as all that other conventional bullshit that tends to hang out with them. Commuting. CVs and cover letters. Working arbitrary hours because someone said so. Doing what I was told. I didn’t want to have to deal with any of that crap, because this is my life, god damn it, not anyone else’s, and I want to do things how I want to do them.
I’ve always been like that. Wanting things my own way. (When I was a kid I used to march around on my birthdays declaring that I was the boss so we had to do whatever I said.) And as far as I could see, starting my own business that I could run from anywhere was the only way to do that. I tried some other stuff out, stuff that would give me a more flexible life and let me travel all over the world. Radiographers are needed all over the world, right? And how about teachers? Well shit, teachers get a fuck-ton of time off, don’t they? What about becoming an outdoor adventure instructor or something? But no. None of those were quite right.
I wanted complete freedom over my life. And I wanted to spend my time doing work I loved.
I harboured a romantic vision of myself as a writer. I didn’t know what I would write about, I just knew I wanted to do it. But – turns out – there are some things I like writing more than others. I love writing my own shit, for example, which is why I’m currently taking Amy Paturel’s personal essay writing course, and why I write in here a couple of times a week. And I love writing conversational copy with personality, which is what I do for my clients. But SEO articles? Nah, not so much.
As the months crept past and I decided that yes, this writing bag was for me, but no, this SEO article thing wasn’t, I knew I needed a new name, and that ‘writing’ should probably be in it, since, I now knew, that was what I wanted to base my whole business on.
I wanted a site that felt like my home. Where I could focus on the types of writing I enjoyed. Where I could truly be myself – expressing myself openly and honestly. And where I could share my experiences of freelance writing and running a business and the lifestyle it brings with others, in the hope that it would inspire you to do the same.
The really important thing to remember about a lifestyle like this is that the freedom itself is not what matters. It’s what that freedom allows you to do. For me, that’s things like going for a walk through the woods in the middle of a weekday afternoon just because it’s sunny and warm and I want to suck down some of that crisp fresh air. It’s heading over to Alaska and hiring a car for a couple of weeks, climbing a mountain or two (little ones, obvs) and moving on the next day. Fuck, sometimes it’s just going to the cinema on a Tuesday morning because that’s when other people are least likely to be in there (no kidding, a few weeks ago I had the entire screen to myself. IT WAS THE BEST).
It’s not saving for a mortgage deposit just because that’s what I’m ‘supposed to do’. It’s not doing anything just because that’s what I’m ‘supposed to do’. It’s not climbing a career ladder or picturing my fantasy wedding (is that a real thing little girls do?), nor getting married and settling down and having kids. None of that, because it’s not what I want. I didn’t want to live a tame life like everybody else.
I wanted to live life untamed.