Week 1

First of all, this isn’t actually ‘Week One’ in the sense that on Monday, I didn’t just wake up and decide that I was going to try and write for a living.

If, at this point, you’re completely baffled about what I’m gibbering on about, please pop over to the ‘My Story’ page and have a quick gander there before continuing on and possibly creating further confusion. In fact, even if you see yourself as a bit of an intellectual and can probably fathom the essence of everything by my rather informative tagline, it might still be worth investing the time anyway.

Now, where was I? Ah, yes – this is not ‘Week One’. This is, however, the first week of me documenting my attempts to create the perfect lifestyle to return to, once I eventually arrive back in Manchester (which is currently scheduled for around November 2014).

Just for the record, Anne also has dreams and hers are to work in an environmental capacity, so we are exploring options for her as well. My posts may seem very self-centred, in that I’m only going to babble on about my progress, but I assure you that this is not the case.

So, in terms of a timeline of key events to date; it all escalated around three to four weeks ago, when I had the idea that I wanted to pursue a career in journalism. Anne and I started looking into courses and making a rough plan of how we could juggle university with starting a family. Initially, I wasn’t looking to jump into anything until we got back to Manchester, but to meticulously plot out every detail of my impending plan.

From there, I contacted Peter, an old school friend of mine who works for the Guardian newspaper in London. In his words of wisdom, he advised against the course, as he didn’t feel it would really strengthen my prospects and just recommended that I write as much as possible, whilst also trying to carve my niche.

For me, waffling on about football and travel for a living seems ideal; they are two topics which I’m passionate about and I’m more than comfortable in discussing either extensively, so to do that for a living would be a dream. Niche found and step one complete.

I knew that my prospects of landing a decent sports or travel gig right now are bleak to say the least, so it was back to the drawing board in terms of how I could position myself now in order to improve my chances in a year’s time.

Firstly, I have my football blog and have even managed to conduct my first interview with a Manchester City legend by the name of Danny Tiatto. My subsequent write-up received relative widespread acclaim for an amateur, so it was very much a success in my eyes.

Sticking with the football theme, my application to write for WhatCulture.com, a new and upcoming site on the football scene, was accepted in the last few weeks also. They have just received Premier League accreditation and so should this still be the case when I’m back in Manchester, then I’ll be able to attend football matches as a Press Officer. Once again, this is another good coup which could prove to be invaluable down the line.

The only problem with everything so far is that my projected weekly income is currently zilch, and which means I’d have to find alternative employment once I’m back home to support my family ambitions. This would inevitably be office work, as I’ve kind of pigeon-holed myself now, and I know for a fact that it would eventually kill all of my writing dreams, as juggling a 9-5, babies and writing would surely be nigh impossible.

Therefore, I needed a new plan and one which would ensure that I avoid re-entering the world of unsatisfying office jobs at all costs.

I was struggling to forge any concrete thoughts or schemes, but then up popped my Melbourne-based friend, Ash, who is an SEO Executive at a national betting company. He planted the Content Writing idea into my head and has subsequently assisted in finding me my first paid employment in my new career.

The job is to write ten pieces on the prestigious Melbourne Cup, which, for those Brits who didn’t know, is Australia’s equivalent to the Grand National. The blogs are to be written twice weekly for the next 5 weeks (I’m currently at the end of my first week).

Elsewhere, I’ve found numerous sites of people who have done exactly what I’m doing and it’s all very inspirational. Ash has also advised me to create a Google+ profile and given me an insight into the SEO universe.

I’ve signed up to elance.com, which I’m not too sure about just yet, I’m checking other job-boards such as pro-blogger and I’ve updated other social networking sites to reflect my new career position: Freelance Writer.

I’m still working full-time at present, and the ‘masterplan’ is to continue with this until March, when Anne and I will leave to do our final travel stint. Throughout this period, I will offer services for free to friends and contacts to build up my portfolio, whilst also taking on any other paid projects that I can find.

I will then try to secure some form of funding through regular blogging of our adventures in South America; surely going overland from the most southern tip of the continent, right through to Mexico City will be of interest to some people?

Once we arrive back in Manchester, it’s all systems go. By then, I’m hoping to have made a number of contacts and have a wide portfolio of work to showcase.

Hopefully, I will be able to give tips and hints to others in a similar position to me, but from what I’ve gathered at the moment; what works for one person, might not necessarily work for the next.

One other milestone that I’ve failed to mention; I’ve also started work on a novel. It’s very much in the early stages and has taken a back seat recently but I’m hoping to revisit it in the next couple of weeks.

This is the start of the transition, and I’m full of optimism with only a hint of trepidation right now. Below are links to the pieces that I’ve mentioned above:

Danny Tiatto Interview

Freelance Work on Melbourne Cup

Recent Piece for WhatCulture on Manchester City