Name: Caroline Allen
Job title: Travel Writer & Author
Time in current role: 7 years
Why did you decide to go freelance?
I decided to start my freelance career because I wanted more flexibility. I’d been working in PR most of my life, although I still wrote books and articles alongside this job. I found though that because of the long hours and commute, I had minimal free time to work on my passion which is writing. I’d get home and feel so tired, so I’d end up just crashing in front of the TV. Last year I was asked if I’d be interested in ghostwriting a book, and that’s what kick-started my freelance career.
What are the key functions of your role?
My days consist of a lot of writing. I’m working on three books at the moment and I like to aim for 1,000 words for each per day. One of my books is a ghostwriting project, so I spend a lot of time liaising with the person I’m writing it on behalf of.
Talk us through your typical working day
Every day is varied which is why I love it, but typically I wake up and have breakfast, then I’ll be at my desk between 8am and 8.30am each day. I work best in the mornings so I choose to do all of the longer writing tasks then.
I usually start on my historical guidebook because that takes up the most brainpower. From there I’ll move on to my ghostwriting edits and finish off with my own fictional novel. I try to go a bit easier on myself in the afternoon so I’ll work on pitches for editors of publications I’m interested in writing for or I’ll focus on my blog or YouTube channel.
Your favourite part of the job?
Getting to write. Whether it’s an article, a fiction or a non-fiction book it doesn’t really matter to me. I love being able to jump into different worlds; I easily get lost in my characters lives and that’s such a fun thing to be able to do.
…and the part you could do without?
The financial side of things. I love working for myself, but sending out invoices, arranging my tax return and chasing money is definitely something I could do without. I find it really time-consuming and that’s time I’d rather spend writing.
How would your clients describe you in three words?
Organised, punctual and creative. I know this because they say it to me quite often!
Plans for the future?
I’m currently working on a new website which will feature a lot more content. Alongside the launch of my website I’m going to create e-courses encouraging people to write. The sort of topics I’ll cover will include creating your characters, planning your plot, a chapter by chapter guide etc. When I first started out I was desperate for these types of courses but a lot of them would cost thousands of pounds. I hope my low-cost option makes writing more accessible to everybody.
Do you have any advice for other aspiring freelancers?
Never underestimate the importance of marketing yourself. Whether you’re working for yourself or within a company, people who successfully market themselves will always (rightly or wrongly) be rewarded with more opportunities. Start a YouTube channel, a podcast or a blog. Make sure you’re active on all types of social media and keep up-to-date with new ways of marketing yourself. It might seem laborious but it’s one of the best things I’ve done. LLY