How I Became a Freelance Content Writer

Here's a secret: I never really meant to be a content writer. 

I actually sort of fell into it by accident. In fact, just over three years ago, I didn't even know what content marketing was, much less how I would go on to make it my career. I knew more and more businesses were beginning to write blogs and publish informative content, but I never really stopped to think just who was writing it all. 

Enter: my fairy godmother. I met Stephanie Kapera Hawkins while we were both grad students at N.C. State. We took a memoir class together (with the lovely Dr. Elaine Neil Orr) and, while we both enjoyed the other's work, we didn't really get to know each other very well. It wasn't until after graduation that Stephanie sent me a message asking if I would be interested in doing some writing for a content marketing agency she was starting. I believe my response was something along the lines of, "...sure, why not?" 

I couldn't have possibly known at the time that what Stephanie was actually giving me was the opportunity to make a living doing something I loved. From there, my journey into content marketing just kind of snowballed. As Stephanie moved on to a larger marketing firm, she brought me on as a writer. I acquired a few more clients through her contacts and even snagged a few accounts all on my own. I said "yes" to everything that came my way and built relationships with marketing agencies in four different states. By May 2014 - two years after Stephanie sent that fateful message - I was ready to make freelancing my full-time job. 

Now it's over a year later and I couldn't be happier to do what I do. It hasn't always been easy (Exhibit A: health insurance. Exhibit B: taxes), but it is, without a doubt, worth it. So, this one goes out to my fairy godmother, who, quite literally, pointed me in the direction of my dream job. Steph, thank you for your guidance, support and, most of all, your friendship. Thanks to you, whenever someone asks what I do, I get to answer in the best possible way: "I'm a writer." 

Want to chat more with Cortney about her life as a content writer? Email her at 

New Look

Well, this new site has been a long time coming. Sometime last year, I deleted all of the content on my old website/blog in a fit of shame over realizing that I wasn't practicing what I preach. I spend most of the hours in my days helping other companies utilize effective content marketing techniques and build their brands, but wasn't following my own advice. My blog was a disjointed space that didn't really represent me as a professional, as a writer, or as a person in general. However, rather than deleting in a fit of shame and then recreating a site that better suited me...I let a solid eight months go by before doing anything. 

But here I am: back and with an online space that feels much more me as I currently am in my writing life. I'm still struggling to figure out my writing routine and still fighting to get my creative work published, but I'm also making a living doing what I love. I still have a novel draft that seems constantly in need of revisions and a bunch of short stories that keep racking up rejection letters, but I'm supporting myself with my words and my words alone - which is pretty awesome. 

As for this blog-space? Well, I'm not quite sure what it will end up being. I'm interested in writing about my changing relationship with writing now that it isn't just a creative outlet. I'd like to be more candid and open as to how I make my living as a working writer, because I know firsthand (and am still learning) just how difficult the freelance life can be. And, as always, I'm looking for that camaraderie that comes from belonging to a writing community, so don't hesitate to reach out if you're a writer who is looking for the same. 

Regardless of why you found me, I'm glad you're here.