Today we’d like to introduce you to Meredith Boe.
Meredith, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I knew I wanted to be a writer early on, but I didn’t really go for it until college. I studied writing and publishing in graduate school, and started working for a book publisher. All the while, I wrote prose, poetry, and critique, and started to get published.
Then, a couple of years ago, I started working a corporate job to try to pay off student loans. The full-time hours really started to get to me. I didn’t have much time to work on creative projects. And more importantly, the 40-plus hours of my week were spent doing something I didn’t care about at all.
I decided to start taking small writing and editing projects on the side so I could one day quit the full-time gig and be a freelance writer. I had my full plan created by May 2017, including the savings I’d need and the number of clients I’d need to build up.
Over the next year, I met all of my goals. And in May 2018, I quit my full-time job to go off on my own. I had four steady writing clients by then, and over the next two months, I’d get three more.
Now, I support myself in writing and editing. And full disclosure: I make more money than I did working for a corporation. I can work from anywhere, as long as I have my computer. I can set my own hours. I can work on creative projects anytime I need a break from professional obligations.
Best of all, I don’t have to spend two hours a day commuting to a job I don’t care about. It’s been almost four months now, and I haven’t regretted my decision for a minute!
Has it been a smooth road?
Taking such a big risk wasn’t easy. Work sometimes still bleeds into my evenings or weekends. But that usually happens when I spend part of my day doing something fun, like going to the beach, working on a creative project, or volunteering. So, it’s worth it, to me. When I’m doing something I want to be doing for work, it doesn’t usually feel like I’m working “after hours.”
That being said, the work is not always sunshine and rainbows. There are days when I don’t feel like working, as with any job; even if you love it. Writing for a living requires a lot of focus and precision, so my editors can tell if I have an off day! It’s hard.
It’s been a long process of learning how to manage both time and money. It’s completely different than having a set schedule and getting the same paycheck every two weeks. It takes a while to get used to it.
And, it takes a lot of commitment and organization skills to manage all of this while meeting every deadline.
Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
As a one-woman show, there’s not too much to say about my business itself. I work out of a home office most of the time, and manage everything myself, including income tax reporting, expense tracking, scheduling, etc.
The services I provide are mostly copywriting and copyediting, and I’ve started doing grant writing work for local nonprofits, which is something I’d like to focus on moving forward. I also do small projects related to career searching, like resume and cover letter services.
My copywriting clients range from content marketing agencies to small startups to attorneys to news publications. I get to write on a wide range of topics, and I do a ton of research, so I almost feel like a journalist on that end.
The copyediting I’ve done thus far has usually been for more academic publishers, though I have helped several startups improve their website copy.
I’m most proud of the writing I do about women in the workplace. I write for two different clients who provide advice and in-depth articles for females who either run their own businesses or are looking for upper-management positions.
What sets me apart, I think, is my background in poetry. I think playing with words and sentence structures help me deliver more engaging, spicy prose for clients. Even if I’m writing about tax law or retirement savings, I still use the knowledge I have from creative writing classes. Audiences like a good story and they like a well-written article that incorporates interesting structural devices.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
Oh gosh, there’s so much I love about Chicago. It’s one of the best places in the country for food, beer, and coffee, I think. The street festivals are always a blast, and summer weather is amazing. (I won’t mention winter.) There’s always something to do, even if it’s just walking down Milwaukee to people watch or finding quiet in one of the nature preserves.
Something you can love or hate about Chicago is that it has a really interesting yet problematic history. As far as crime (obviously), politics, and segregated neighborhoods, both racially and economically. So, those things can be hard to deal with living here sometimes. It’s not always clear how to help or what the right answer is.
Last photo by Emily Jane Powers