how-to-be-a-freelance-writer-camryn-rabideau

The Story of Camryn Rabideau, Freelance Writer

As a writer, my main selling point is my ability to put stories into engaging written form, and what better way to show off my skills than by telling my own story? Here’s what you need to know about me, Camryn Luna Rabideau, before you decide to hire me as your digital storyteller.

Alternatively, you can just look over my traditional CV, but this way is much more fun. I promise.

Oh, To Be Young and Confused

When I think back on high school, it’s funny that the one advanced course that I didn’t take was English. I toiled away at AP Chemistry and Calculus, but I had no interest in taking an advanced writing or literature course. The thought of writing essays on the symbolism of the pickles and doughnuts in Ethan Frome didn’t appeal to me.

It’s not that I didn’t like reading and writing—in fact, those were two of my favorite pastimes. I just needed more of a creative outlet for my writing, and unfortunately, there’s no such thing as AP Storytelling, which is a shame, IMHO.

Camryn-Rabideau-Freelance-WriterMy unintentional avoidance of writing continued into college. You see, my bachelor’s degree, which I earned from the University of Rhode Island, is actually in Fashion Merchandising. I can’t really tell you the logic behind that decision—I was 17 with no idea of what I wanted to do with my life, so I picked a major that seemed fun and creative. I liked the content well enough, but when I was a junior, I completed my first internship at Providence Fashion Week and quickly realized the fast-paced, cut-throat industry wasn’t a good fit.

So there I was—19 years old, in a major I didn’t want to pursue, without any desire to tack another year onto my college career. I decided to stay the course and finish the degree I had started, but I started using my “free electives” to taking writing and journalism courses. That’s when everything fell into place.

The Inciting Incident

I graduated from college a semester early—thanks, AP Calc!—and I used those five months to simultaneously complete two editorial internships: one at Rhode Island Monthly and the other at Grace Ormonde Wedding Style magazine. I supported my editors in researching, writing and editing stories for publication in both print and digital formats. A photo by Christopher Sardegna. unsplash.com/photos/CMOa3H1SXG0

These internships were invaluable in shaping my love for storytelling. It wasn’t such a buzzword back then, but I quickly became addicted to the task of putting someone else’s life and accomplishments into writing. It’s quite invigorating.

The Rising Action

I was so enamored with the process and the feeling of accomplishment that even after I moved to Boston and started my first job as a writer for content marketing agency Brafton, I continued to pick up freelance opportunities with Rhode Island Monthly whenever I could. Content marketing is interesting in its own way—the analytics and strategy are fun puzzles for a math nerd like me—but when you’re mass-producing content, you don’t have the time to make each piece of writing your baby.

During my time at Brafton, I moved quickly from my writing position into a Lead Editor role. I’ve always had a natural grasp on grammar, and that makes for a good editor. I worked on the lifestyle team with around 10 writers to produce and hone content for dozens of varied clients. Overall, I was at Brafton for a little over a year before I moved into an Associate Editor position at another content agency called Skyword.

I missed that je ne sais quoi that came from telling a particularly touching or thrilling story.

At Skyword, I spent my days working with freelance writers and editing content for big-name technology companies like IBM and RSA. The experience had its own perks and challenges, but I soon found myself longing for something more. I had stopped freelancing for lack of time, and I missed that je ne sais quoi that came from telling a particularly touching or thrilling story.

At that moment, the stars aligned, and one of my favorite websites, a professional female–focused digital publication called The Everygirl, was looking for contributing writers. I applied and was accepted. I didn’t know it then, but that was the moment I started down a new, wonderful path.

The Story That Changed My Life

passionThe climax of this storyline was when I pitched a career profile on contemporary poet Mirtha Michelle Castro Marmol. She was fascinating to me, and I wanted to learn the nuances of her story and share them with other aspiring creatives. Long story short: I interviewed her. I wrote it. It changed me.

That was the moment I knew storytelling was my true passion. I was so proud, so elated, so inspired by that experience, and I wanted to do it again and again. So I figured out how I could become a freelance writer, and spent the next several months working to put all the pieces in place. Then, I jumped.

Here I Am. There You Are.

That brings us to the present. My career to date, told in 800 words. I skipped a few parts, but I’d be happy to elaborate if you ask.

Today, I’m living my dream. I write for several digital publications, including InStyle and Martha Stewart, telling stories that make people laugh, cry and sometimes roll their eyes.

I take on traditional copywriting and copyediting jobs, as well—variety is the spice of life, after all—but no matter what I’m working on, my ear is always to the ground, listening for the next story that’s going to blow my mind, consume my senses, and render me incapable of sleep until I’ve shared it.

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