Ellen Baragon has been writing all her life. So when she was forced to leave her job as a newspaper reporter due to illness, freelancing seemed a natural way to make money during the long recovery process. A desire to be her own boss drew her to the field, but also the flexibility of being able to write anywhere and the variety of subject matter make freelancing appealing to her.
“I think that for me the best thing about it is that you are exposed to a lot of different fields,” she explained. “You meet a lot of really interesting people. And that makes it an adventure, every day.”
She reflects back fondly upon selling her first story, right out of journalism school, which she says is one of her favourite memories of her freelancing career: “I wrote a feature story and sold it right away to a paper. And that was extremely exciting.”
Of course, not all jobs come so easily and even after years of experience, finding work can still prove one of the biggest challenges of the profession. “You can be a decent writer and have the skills, but selling yourself, it’s uncomfortable.”
Her trick to nailing down a story lies in writing the lead. Figuring out the hook or central idea can sometimes be the hardest part, but once captured in that lead sentence or paragraph, it can set the tone and encapsulate everything that’s to follow. “Then you’re good to go — it’s just a matter of telling the story,” she noted.
A devoted Mac user, she favours Microsoft Word for her work, admitting that she can’t imagine not having that program. Along with her writing, she’s also a photographer and videographer, which are important to her because they’re also part of the storytelling process.
You can view samples of Ellen’s work, including her photographs and videos, on her professional website, ergocreative.ca.