So, I’m No Longer A Freelance Writer

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Six summers ago I’d just celebrated my birthday in NYC, I was closing out my fourth year as a middle school English teacher, and as they say in Philly, I was feeling some type of way. On the outside, my life looked pretty good–I traveled during breaks, I had a “good” job, and I was getting ready to enjoy yet another summer off. Inside, however, I felt stuck and on the verge of depression.

Then I went to therapy.

And while I spent those first few sessions (ok, month) in tears, soon, I came to the conclusion that I wanted to do something else with my life. My therapist asked what I had in mind, and the only thing I could think about was to write.

Writing had alway come easy for me and, way back before I became somebody’s mama and was bogged down with student loans and Visa bills, I would daydream of writing for the Source or Vibe or Honey. But writing didn’t pay the bills–or so I thought–so I put it out of my mind as an option.

Until that summer. Desperate and looking to do anything else besides spend the rest of my life teaching kids how to write five paragraph essays, I told my therapist about my desire to be a writer.

His only question: What are you going to do about it?

From that moment on, I tried to break into writing solely because I wanted to have something to report back to my therapist. I wanted him to be proud of me, and to think I was making progress, so I worked on getting my first clip.

By August, it happened, and as they say in films, the rest is history.

These last few years have been amazing. They’ve been filled with tremendous highs (hello cover stories) and super challenging lows that made me question my decision to quit teaching to pursue writing. But no matter how difficult things got, I knew they would eventually work out. At least I hoped they would.

As fate would have it, I rang in my birthday recently not just celebrating a new year of life, but also a new job.

After nearly six years in the freelance trenches, hustling up (literally) thousands of clips and robbing Peter to pay Paul, I now have a full time job: Senior Editor & Writer, Entertainment and Culture (digital) for EBONY.com and JETmag.com.

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While the whole thing is super exciting, I won’t lie, I was also a bit nervous about accepting the job.

Let me keep it 100. The prospect of a regular, every two weeks, paycheck was a huge factor. Freelancing is hard, some months I’ve been flush with cash, and others, I’ve been barely getting by. So having regular income is a huge plus. But beyond that, and more importantly, taking this job helps me hit another of my goals: being on staff at a publication I’ve read my entire life.

Moreover, aside from the venerable history of EBONY & JET, this position comes with way more responsibility and is just further confirmation that I made the right decision when I walked out of my classroom, turned out the lights, and never looked back.

I’m still learning the ropes of the position–and believe me, I have a lot to learn–but I’m excited about this next adventure, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

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  • MissSuccess

    Britni – Congratulations! I smiled while reading this. Not for any of those difficult moments or the hardships, but because I’m proud of you and have *been* proud of you from a distance. Yes, we’ve worked together in the past on stories, me for one of my clients and you for the many publications you wrote for.

    But beyond that, I would draw inspiration from reading your many bylines and watching as you were getting bigger and bigger assignments and feature opportunities. I drew inspiration from you going from 0 books published to now having a whole series with more on the way. I drew inspiration from you when you started teaching others how they could break into the industry and make *their* own writing dreams come true.

    Now, another one of yours is coming true. Congrats again! You deserve it!

    • BritniDanielle

      Aw man, that was so sweet. Thank you, and your hustle inspires me as well!

  • Taria Walker-Faison

    This is AH-mazing and SO inspiring!!!! Thank you for sharing this! Wow! Wow! Wow! You took a leap and your only method of transpiration was faith and you got there!

    • BritniDanielle

      Thank you!

  • Chasity Cooper

    Many congrats! Ebony/Jet family is super lucky to have you. I’ve been so inspired from your story from the beginning and this is just proof that with hard work, faith, dedication and perseverance you can surpass your own expectations.

    Congratulations again! :D

    • BritniDanielle

      Thank you! Faith + works does work :)

  • http://www.whatalexwrites.com WhatAlexWrites

    Congrats!!! So excited for and semi-jealous of you, lol.

    • BritniDanielle

      LOL I’ve been there. Thank you!

  • http://www.thehauteblogger.com/ Erin Baynham

    Absolutely wonderful news, Britni! Thanks for sharing your story with us.

    • BritniDanielle

      Thank you for reading it!

  • A Fro

    Congratulations!! Looking forward to seeing your work, all in one place!

    • BritniDanielle

      Me too! lol Thank you.

  • iluv2globetrot

    Excellent news congratulations to you!!

  • Joe Beckett

    Congratulations!!! Your skills, insight, passion, and consistency makes your transition (at least to those who follow you) a well deserved leap. I look forward to reading future articles by Britini Danielle and experiencing your glorious transformation! Well done!

  • http://www.shawnakayelester.com Shawna-Kaye Lester

    Congrats, Britni. You’ve consistently inspired me since 2009!

  • Shawanda James

    Congratulations Britni!! Now I don’t feel so guilty anymore. :)

    About 3 months ago, I decided to accept a full-time position as a Web Content Specialist for a major cruise line here in Miami, FL. The steady paycheck was a huge factor for me. I realized that not having to worry about when I was getting my next paycheck has freed me up to be more creative and focused, because I’m not so stressed by the constant grind. I love the work I’m doing now, and the door to freelance part time is still there, if I feel like doing it. So I think it’s proved to be a win-win.

    Wishing you an abundance of success!!!

  • Adiba Nelson

    I read this in tears because i am you…i mean…well, this story is my story. I quit a job to focus on writing. Some months are good and some months not so much. But I am striving, and writing my butt off. I don’t have the dream ending yet, but I will. I know I will. Thank you for writing this. It gives me hope, inspiration, and confirmation that I’m on the right path.

  • http://www.senicanaturals.com Ben.ar.dett

    Congratulations on your new position and following your passion.

  • Raqiyah DIXON

    Congratulations! Been following your work for a long time. And took the write pitch course. Continue to shine! And thank you for being so open and sharing of your journey.

  • ishaashley-knight.com

    Discovering you, is just what I needed today. We are all so busy with jobs that more often than not are roles we take on for stability and because they are deemed as ‘good’ jobs. Yet when we want more than that we find ourselves feeling unfulfilled and in need of change. Your courage is inspiring. Congratulations on your new job role. Bring on the challenge!