Our Freelance Writer Spotlight for April is a special one for the team. Here at BlogMutt, we pride ourselves on creating a platform that’s as friendly to our writers as it is to our customers. It is because of this—at least in part—that we are able to build strong, lasting relationships with our top writers.
Today, we’re honoring Janelle Behr, who celebrates her fifth anniversary as a BlogMutt writer this month.
Throughout her time with us, Janelle has shown herself to be an incredibly versatile writer who can handle just about any topic that we send her way. She has tackled white papers on benefits consulting, researched and written about drone innovation, crafted content on outsourcing healthcare billing, and created sample posts for the BlogMutt blog.
Janelle credits her adaptability as a writer to 10 years of experience at the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce (FL). In her career there, Janelle handled (among a LOT of other things) communications in all departments from business recruitment to education. She even helped plan the 2005 Super Bowl!
We couldn’t be luckier to have Janelle as part of our community, and we are definitely looking forward to working with her for years to come!
Read on for our interview with Janelle.
1. How did you get started as a writer?
Janelle: Although I never aspired to be a professional writer, I credit my 12th grade English teacher for bringing out this skill. Each day he put a topic on the board and we had the first 10 minutes of class to complete a coherent essay. That practice really taught me an efficient method of organizing ideas.
I majored in information studies in college, still not planning on writing for a living. But, I interned at the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce (FL) during my college years. They needed someone to take over their publications, a monthly magazine and bi-annual relocation guide. So, I took that on.
That was around 1999, just when communications and marketing were becoming more high-tech. So, even though I majored in a tech field, I got hired on at the Chamber to work in their marketing and communications department. Eventually, I was director of marketing and communications, spending most of my time writing and editing.
I quit after relocating because of my husband’s job. I’m now a stay-at-home mom of three kids, supplementing my husband’s income through freelance work.
2. What type of clients do you write for on BlogMutt? What are their businesses like and why do you like to write for them?
While it’s easy for me to write for companies that match my background, I do like to branch out to keep things interesting. I have regularly written for tech companies, healthcare related businesses, attorneys, employee benefits companies, and even locksmiths and massage therapists.
I often joke that I’ve received a secondary education while working for BlogMutt for five years. My brain is full of all kinds of random data. I’m well-versed on subjects like healthcare legislation, SaaS technology, and legal issues. Writing for BlogMutt really helps me stay “in the know.”
3. What is the most important piece of advice that you can give to beginning freelance writers?
Don’t take criticism personally.
We’ve all received criticism from a client that just didn’t seem fair. We have to remember, however, we are providing a service and they are the customer. View criticism as a learning opportunity.
That’s what’s great about freelancing: you can pick your customers.
4. What are you reading right now? Any book recommendations?
I’m reading Alexander Hamilton’s biography (partly fueled by the sensation around the new Hamilton musical), and I’m reading the Poldark series [by Winston Graham]. I’m a sucker for anything about history, both nonfiction and fiction. I love wartime pieces, especially ones centered around the American Civil War.
5. What does a typical writing day look like for you? Do you have a schedule, set goals, etc.?
My days are pretty packed with three kids. So, most of my writing happens late, after bedtimes. I aim to write at least three or four nights per week. I try to set monthly goals. That way if I have a week that goes crazy, I’m not stressed because I have the rest of the month to meet my goals.
Janelle says she mostly works somewhere comfy, but here's her cozy little
workspace tucked in the corner of her kitchen.
6. What is one thing about you that we might find surprising?
After being born and raised in Florida, I moved to Michigan eight years ago. Most people move in the opposite direction.
Thank you so much to Janelle for her amazing work over the years and for allowing us to interview her for this spotlight!
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