How I Got Started in Freelance Copywriting

Spoiler: It wasn’t on Upwork

Kitiara Pascoe

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I studied English and Creative Writing at university and nowhere in my degree did I receive guidance on how to earn a living. Zilch.

We had a class on writing pitches to editors — which I now know was far too convoluted and is not the way I’ve gotten magazine and newspaper commissions since — but that was it.

For someone who majored in creative writing, graduating without a clue about how to make an income from it wasn’t particularly helpful. So by the time I was 21 and fresh out of university, I had never even heard the word copywriter.

Dabbling

I started working for a bookshop because if I couldn’t write for a living, at least I could be surrounded by books. I was sent proofs by publishers, got to talk about books all day and read everything I set my hands on when the shop got quiet.

I learnt more about the publishing industry from working at that bookshop than I did in my three year degree. It wasn’t the university’s fault, they’d never advertised the course as something that’d teach me such things, but at the same time I can’t help but feel it seemed like a yawning gap in the syllabus.

After a while I thought I’d better get a ‘proper’ job which, at 22, I saw as…

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Kitiara Pascoe

Outdoor Adventure Writer | Author of In Bed with the Atlantic (Fernhurst, 2018) | New book coming 2024 | kitiarapascoe.com | Youtube: https://bit.ly/3uQPWh3