20something profile: Deonna
Freelance writer extraordinaire. That’s how I want to be described in one year’s time.
Twenty-three years ago, my mother gave birth to me, and my father cut my umbilical cord. About ten years after that I fell in love with reading, and shortly thereafter with writing.
When I was in high school, I decided journalism would be my chosen genre of writing. Telling the stories of people, places and things was what I wanted to do every day of my life. It’s still what I want to do.
Since graduating from university in spring of 2012, I’ve earned two hands full of bylines. With a degree in Communication, and minors in Sociology and Writing, paired with internship experience and journalism training, I feel like I’ve been prepared to make sure my goals are brought into fruition.
The thing is, bills have to be paid, and working as an intern or entry-level journalist with low wages (also known as paying my dues) doesn’t exactly cut it at the moment.
Burning the midnight oil, while pitching stories to publications and writing them, has helped me realize my dreams at a lower rate. At the same time, I am gaining valuable experience in the corporate world and bringing in the money necessary to keep a roof over my head, food in the fridge and clothes on my back. Entering the job market as a millennial is challenging and humbling.
Navigating through the job search has taught me to be patient. There are so many people who are competing with me for one of one, or very few, spot(s). As millennials, we must prove ourselves to be worthy of entering into spaces with seasoned professionals. Something we have to our advantage is our knowledge of technology and our fresh ideas that can serve a company well.
The difficulty of obtaining a position taught me how to toot my own horn, without being too arrogant. I have answered questions in tens of interviews. That means I am aware of virtually all of my strengths and weaknesses, so I use this knowledge to my advantage in my current gig. I take on projects that allow me to use my strengths, which further builds up my confidence.
As I pursue my freelance career, confidence is a necessary feeling. I am keenly aware that I may not get every get a green light on every story that I pitch. Editors will tell me “no” again and again. But they will also say “yes.” The importance of having some thick skin and determination is real.
The plan: work my 9 to 5, publish a post on my blog once per week, pitch at least one story per month, publish at least one story per month, and build a relationship with a writing mentor. Good things come to those who hustle hard.
To learn more about me and read some more of my thoughts on the world, check out November 5th, my beloved blog.