How a Blogging Hobby Turned into a Career in Writing
In 2010, I was on the cusp of embarking on my professional life after college. I was still living in my college town - the charming Oxford, Mississippi - and working a couple of day jobs (being a barista is something everyone should try once). It was the height of the Great Recession, and open positions at big companies were sparse.
Even though I was hustling for my $6.25/hour, I craved creativity and anything to do with style, as latte art can only feed the soul so much. At the time, Instagram was not yet invented, so scouring style blogs was how I got my aesthetics fix. One day after a long shift steaming cappuccinos for hipsters, a lightbulb went off. There were no style blogs in North Mississippi. What if I started one? I would just write about the town I was living in, things that caught my eye, and stylish people I’d met. Thus, Mississippi Maven was born.
I posted almost every day in the beginning, with no ultimate goal in mind. It was just so much fun to write in a way that was simply about things I was interested in — things I would want to read. My musings. My whacky 22-year-old self on display.
I eventually moved to Little Rock, Arkansas, and scored a job with decorator at a beautiful boutique. It was a crash course in design work, retail, and customer service. While it fed my creative side, I still continued to blog, and even landed a gig as a guest blogger with At Home in Arkansas magazine.
One day I caught wind of a copywriting job for Dillards.com. The department store is headquartered in Little Rock and so is its e-commerce operation. At first I laughed at the idea — “I’m not a REAL writer anyway. I don’t have any experience” — but the idea of turning my hobby into a full-time career was just too good to resist, and I applied.
“Am I speaking to THE Mississippi Maven?” asked my potential new boss in my first phone interview. I couldn’t help but burst out in nervous laughter. All of the sudden the title of my blog seemed like the worst thing I’d ever come up with. Turns out, he loved it. It didn’t matter that I didn’t have a lick of corporate writing experience, or that I hadn’t been trained in SEO. I was a writer after all, and I got the job.
Since that first foray into copywriting at Dillard’s, I’ve penned everything from e-commerce product descriptions to magazine articles, press releases, advertisements, social media posts, website copy, and pretty much anything else you can think of.
My little hobby has opened so many doors on my professional journey, and while I’m no longer posting on my old blog, I’m waking up every day to do what I absolutely love, as a freelance copywriter and brand strategist.
So, if you’re thinking of starting a blog, playing music, crocheting sweaters, taking pictures or whatever it is that gets your heart beating a little faster, just DO IT. It might just start your career.
- Cece Quinn