Living The Writer's Life: Randi Anderson
Tell us about the career you have in addition to writing.
Besides writing (my first love!), I also teach English as a second language to adults. At the moment, I teach full-time
at an English school in Novosibirsk, the largest city in Siberia. It’s not what I want to do forever, but it’s a great way to travel deeply, help others, and support myself financially.
How do you fit in time for both writing and teaching?
In the teaching job, it’s hard to find a balance and routine. My class schedule changes every week, and I work odd hours, including split shifts — that is, morning and evening. It’s a pain because those are my best writing times.
Usually I take advantage of free mornings or days off. I sometimes write after classes in the evening, but at that point I usually have the mental clarity of a donut. That’s when I just steep some tea and lie in bed jotting down notes and action items for the next day. Sometimes you just have to do what you can, when you can, and not beat yourself up about it.
I also started a freelancing journal to remind myself what my goals are, explore options, and work out plans. I’d say journaling has been indispensable for keeping focused.
Have your travels affected the way you live your writer’s life?
They have, but in an unexpected away. At first, I imagined my writer’s life would include traveling wherever I wanted, whenever I wanted, for as long as I wanted. But, it turns out that’s not quite my dream.
Long-term traveling has made me more aware of how important friends and family are, and how difficult it is when the realities of a job keep me from visiting them. I’d like a job I can take anywhere, and do at any time, so that I can be there for my family (present and future) when they need me.
What kind of writing do you specialize in?
I love writing for the web. Especially content. So far, I’ve been working on websites for small, family-owned businesses near my hometown, as well as writing for other writers. That includes running a blog on books and poetry (I’m a poet/novelist) and putting together how-to articles for fellow freelancers.
Because I’m a foreign language nerd, I’m also fascinated with translation and transcreation — which is kind of a cross between translation and copywriting. Instead of directly translating from the source language, you write the copy so that it’s tailored specifically to the target-language audience. In my case, it would be German to English. (And, someday, Russian to English!)
How has your life been different than what you’d imagined since you started freelancing?
Well, for one thing … I never thought I’d be living in Siberia. My plan was actually to quit teaching altogether because it caused too much stress. But life is full of twists, and here I am. Honestly, I worried it might kill my freelance career, but instead — another plot twist — it’s helping it fly!
I also didn’t think I’d enjoy this “copywriting thing” so much or come across such exciting opportunities. I’ve had a lot of doubts because I gag at the word marketing. I still don’t like the word, but I do like helping good businesses improve their web presence.
What does your future hold?
This year I’m laying the foundations for a career in web copywriting, translation, and transcreation, as I mentioned before. Writing and translation have been long-time dreams of mine, but I kept letting them go because I thought they weren’t realistic. (D’oh!)
To move ahead in 2016, I’ll continue seeking and taking on web content projects, hopefully in fields closer to my heart — like education. I’ll also need more translation experience, even if that means starting out with some volunteer projects.
As I look over my plans, it seems there’s a long road and a lot of work ahead … but I finally have a vision I’m excited about, and I’m ready to move forward.
Randi's Living The Writer's Life story was originally published in Barefoot Writer. To learn more about how you can start living your dream writer's life too, click here.
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