346. No Starving Artist Life for This Freelance Writer
Jennifer Bradley Franklin
With a byline in a new national magazine already under her belt at age 19 as a journalism undergrad, and visions of a career as a professional writer, Jennifer watched as the planes hit the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001. The economic downturn that followed did not bode well for her magazine career–journalism jobs were nowhere to be found. Yet her passion for writing would not go away!
Jennifer Bradley Franklin is an Atlanta, Georgia-based multi-media journalist, storyteller, editor and author. She has ridden a camel in Morocco, dug ditches in a remote Kenyan village, been taught to make gnocchi by a master chef in Florence, Italy, and learned to surf in Australia. However, one of her greatest joys has been immersing herself in some of the biggest concerns facing America’s young people—issues like poverty, hunger and human trafficking—through the research and writing of “Make It Zero,” which was released earlier in 2016.
How Did You Start Using Your Talents?
“I’m really fortunate to have a mom who has a degree in early childhood education who read to me before I could even form words. That really instilled in me a love of words and stories. I remember locking myself in my room when I was a tiny child and throwing myself into reading a book, not wanting to come out until I had finished it. When I was in fourth grade, I came home and announced, ‘I’m going to be a writer.’”
The Most Impactful Turning Point?
As a broadcasting student at the University of Georgia School of Journalism, Jennifer successfully competed in 1999 with three or four thousand applicants to become a news team member for People Magazine’s new publication, Teen People. By age 19, she had earned her first byline in the national publication.
Months before she was to graduate, she was in the J-school’s broadcast newsroom and saw the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. With the economic downturn that followed, Teen People folded and journalism jobs dried up. She did find a job, however, that blended her loves for writing and cuisine as the marketing coordinator for one of the biggest independent restaurant companies in Atlanta. Even though the marketing job allowed her to use her writing skills, she continued her freelance writing under the radar, becoming clearer and clearer that her true passion was to be a full-time professional writer.
The Most Powerful Lessons Learned?
When her marketing job suddenly ended, Jennifer discovered that her ongoing freelancing work would pay off. Previously she had associated freelancing with the life of a starving artist. “By freelancing for about three years on the side, at night or on weekends, steadily taking on story assignments, I had built a pretty extensive portfolio of work and made some good contacts.” She found that the writing she had done primarily for love could actually provide her an excellent income.
Steps to Success from Jennifer Bradley Franklin
- Clarifying your vision can change the direction of your life, and can also affect people’s willingness to follow you.
- Pursue whatever you are passionate about and see if you can monetize it.
- Even if you have no hope of making a single dime from your passion, doing it can change your perspective and might even make you more satisfied with the work you are doing professionally.
- Use your fear. “If you don’t let it paralyze you, it can propel you forward and make you so goal-oriented that you can’t imagine not living your dream.”
On Her Bookshelf
Six-Figure Freelancing: The Writer’s Guide to Making More Money, by Kelly James-Enger
Make it Zero: The Movement to Safeguard Every Child, by Mary Frances Bowley, Jennifer Bradley Franklin
Connecting With Jennifer Bradley Franklin
Free download to assist in discussions in book clubs, church clubs or workplaces of the biggest concerns facing young people—poverty, hunger and human trafficking at MakeItZero.net.
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