Good question. I’m glad you asked, Chris.
Let’s split this up into three bits, shall we? The freelance bit, the copywriter bit and the Leeds bit. It’s almost as if this is a deliberate attempt to to veil important keywords under the guise of humorous narcissism.
I’ve done the whole ‘proper job’ thing (salaried employment). I did it for 10 years, as it happens.
But it just wasn’t for me.
Of course I get on well with others (in fact, I go nuts on my own). But I’m more driven under my own steam. And I thrive in the independence and self-reliance that freelancing brings into your life.
I wrote a whole book about freelancing for newcomers, so I’ll save you the smell of burning hair that usually follows a bout of me extolling the virtues of self-employment.
You should read it. It’s got 5-star reviews and everything.
My Dad was an English teacher (he wrote a book too, although much more high-brow). And Mum was an effusive artist. So literature, art, and expressing myself through words (I’m crap at drawing), has always come naturally to me, ever since my first scribblings.
I just didn’t realise I could make living from copywriting until my mid-twenties. That was when I unofficially became the content manager for an NHS website, translating complex health information into plain English.
Until then, I’d mainly written technical documents telling developers how systems should work. So it was a refreshing change to write for human beings again. People told me I had a knack for it too.
Thus began my obsession with clarity and economy of words. I’d discovered that my knack could be used to help people understand the world, its complexities and nuances.
And now, distilling sentiment and ideas into neat, snappy copy has become a pleasurable pastime for me.
After that, I just had to connect what I’m good at with the way I work best. Hence why I became a freelance copywriter. There’s more about my backstory on my about page.
Leeds is the one pillar in this temple I call my freelance career that I didn’t mindfully choose. Though it’s a decision that’s worked out quite well, luckily.
Compared to the post-industrial commuter town in the north-west where I grew up, Leeds practically vibrated with activity back in 1999 when I originally came to university here. So it soon became clear that to find challenging employment, this was the place.
I flirted with settling in a few other places, but Leeds is the Goldilocks city for me. It’s big enough to breed opportunities for a healthy-sized freelance community, yet small enough to maintain a distinct regional identity.
Leeds is a great place to do business. It seems to attract and concentrate decent people who share the ‘Yorkshire ethic’. The links with London help, as does its appetite for progress, diversity in countless sectors (ideal for a curious mind) and a cosmopolitan outlook.
But above all else, Leeds and I get on well because we find much common ground in our frugality, principle, straight-talking nature, and trust – in both being trusting and trustworthy.
I’m glad you ask, Chris. Let’s keep business sustainable here in Leeds, so I’m challenged, yet able to do all the other things that make life enjoyable. Yet another reason why freelancing’s for me.
Right now, I’d like to write about projects in renewable energy, or for other, innovative Yorkshire companies who offer technological and social responses to global problems like climate change. I think I’ve reached that point in life when it’s time to put your talents to use beyond self-actualisation.
I’m always open to new challenges – here’s where you should send them.