How I Built a Successful Freelance Writing Career after Losing My Job as an Agency Health Worker

The following is a guest post by Trevor Emdon

In 2008 the banks around the world tumbled like dominoes and my phone stopped ringing. I suspect the two were connected, although as an agency health worker it was hard to see how hospitals could cut back on staff.

The Economy Brings a Career to a Screeching Halt

Whatever the reason, my wife of eight months and I had the conversation you’d expect any couple to have under those conditions. It consisted of a single, horrible rhetorical question: “What are we going to do?

Running through Savings

Panic had not yet set in, but it was on the horizon. Our money was leaving the bank faster than it was being replenished: a clear recipe for disaster.

There was, of course, no answer to the question. Jobs were becoming scarcer than usual as the world’s economies spiralled downwards. Besides, even had there been one, by the time I’d gone through the application, interview, credential-checking and all the vetting, we’d have been spent out.

We would look at each other and drop the subject. Then we’d cross our fingers and look at the silent phone.

What else was there to do?

The third time we had the same conversation I noticed we were stuck in a loop. It was breakfast time on a Saturday. The phone had remained menacingly dormant for a whole week.

What are we going to do, honey?” asked my lovely new wife.

The “honey” at the end tugged at me. There was a hint of desperation in the love and the look that went with her question. And she had every right to ask. Somehow I sensed this time that a shrug would not suffice as a response. Frankly, it wouldn’t have satisfied me either.

I held onto a breath, buying time. I made the extra seconds count.

Rethinking a Career Path

I suddenly saw that we had been looking at the problem in a straight line. We needed a new angle, that was all.

In a flash, I recalled my training as a psychotherapist and saw that I could bring that experience to bear on thisHow One Freelance Writer Made the Transition from a Job. It was, after all, no different to any other problem.

Looking my wife straight in the eye, I replied, “Honey, we’re asking the wrong question.”

What on earth do you mean?” she said.

I stirred my coffee and took a sip. “Well, we keep asking what we can do. But there’s nothing we can do to make the phone ring – that’s out of our control.

She nodded, waiting for the denouement.

I was on a roll now.

We need to take control of what is available to us – and that’s our state of mind,” I continued. She was still confused, but I could see I had her attention.

How should we do that?” she wanted to know.

Let’s ask a better question. ‘What are we going to do?’ is coming from a background of fear, isn’t it?

She nodded. “So?

So let’s come from a different place. Let’s ask first, ‘How shall we be?’”

She was willing to play along, although I could still see doubt in her eyes. “Okay then. How shall we be?”

Let’s be creative, playful and resourceful,” I responded.

All right.”

I told her that we should both spend twenty or thirty seconds recalling moments when we’d had fun, or something that had made us giggle … anything would do. To help, we turned the radio up a tad louder and had a little jig around the kitchen.

It may have looked silly, but we weren’t asking for the neighbours’ opinions. Besides, it did the trick.

We froze, like kids playing musical chairs. “Well?” she said.

Well …,” I said. For a fraction of a second I thought nothing had changed. Then I heard myself blurt, “You know what? We don’t need the phone to ring. We just need an income.”

Agreed,” she said. I could feel the anticipation in her, but I knew in that moment we were no longer in that “loop.”

There are millions of ways to make an income,” I told her. “All we need to do is think what other resources we have that people would pay for.”

And that’s when it hit me.

A Freelance Writing Career is Born

I could write!”

I’ve always loved working with words. And here we were with a computer and an internet connection just waiting to be hooked up to my writer’s brain. Shooting a “take that!” look at the phone, I rushed to the laptop and registered an account with Elance.

It took perhaps forty minutes to complete my “writer’s resume” for the site. I closed the computer and we got on with our day.

A $1,000 Writing Contract!

The next morning I checked the computer with no expectations. But there it was – a private invitation for me, with my psychotherapist’s knowledge, to accept a thousand dollar contract to write some specialist material.

My writing career has never looked back since that day. I have ghost written literally hundreds of pieces for numerous clients, as well as my own self help, personal development and law of attraction programs. I guess I must be doing something right.

Oh no. I almost went the wrong way around that again. I must be being in the right state. Out of being arises all the doing.

So I guess my advice would be, “Don’t do writing, be a writer.”

Get more advice about regenerating your writer’s mojo in this Inkwell Editorial article.

About the Author: Trevor Emdon is a British success coach and author trained in everything from psychotherapy to metaphysics who one day woke up to realise he was happy, in love and successful. His biggest disappointment is that far too many people want more from life but are afraid to go after their dreams. Amongst other things, he has written “Words From Thin Air,” a self-help program for writers, which can be found here.

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    1. […] How One Freelance Writer Made the Transition from a Job There was, of course, no answer to the question. Jobs were becoming scarcer than usual as the world's economies spiralled downwards. Besides, even had there …  […]