Martha MacDonald

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Martha MacDonald

Freelance Writer | Martha MacDonald (Self-Employed)

What does a typical day look like for you? 

No two days as a freelance writer are ever the same. I divide up my time between creative projects for myself with my playwriting and comedy writing work and commercial projects I’m working on for clients which are more in the copywriting and marketing sphere. On a super exciting day, I’m working on my own stuff like writing a column for an upcoming deadline, coming up with ideas for a play or comedy sketch or meeting with my clients. On a less exciting day, I’m sat at my desk on hold to the tax office or sending out invoices – but hey, it all goes towards the life of a freelancer!  

How did you get your job? / What training, degree, education do you need? 

Personally, I would say you don’t need any formal training to become a writer, you just need to be interested in storytelling and in people. But in terms of my own route into it, as a young person I was really interested in theatre and did quite a lot of performance. From there, I did a literature degree and then spent some time working as a journalist which taught me a lot about being concise and got me into a really good discipline of writing every day. 

What are the most important skills needed for your role/job? 

Being in the creative industries requires a lot of resilience. As a freelancer, because the career path isn’t structured for you, you have to make your own opportunities and that can get exhausting. There’s a lot of rejection and uncertainty, but perseverance pays off… so I’m told! 

Are there any future skills you will need to learn for your role? 

I feel like I’m constantly having to learn more skills through my work. In addition to evolving as a writer, I’ve had to learn loads of new skills like administration, accounting and time management just to conduct myself as a business. In the future I definitely want to build my financial literacy skills. Also, in order to bring value to my clients, I constantly have to learn new skills within content creation and marketing. 

What is the best part of your job? / What motivates you in this role?

The best part of my job is being able to accomplish goals I’ve had for myself since I was a kid. If you told me when I was 21 that in five years’ time I would have written and directed a one-woman-comedy show and been shortlisted for a comedy award, I never would have believed you!

What advice would you give someone interested in a career in your profession? 

Community is everything. In the age of social media, it’s easy to feel competitive with our peers, but I would strongly urge any aspiring writer not to fall into that trap. If you build connections and relationships with other creatives, they will be a vital resource when you’re struggling. Surround yourself with people who will mention your name in a room full of opportunities, and who will offer you friendship, understanding and creative input when you need it most.

Who inspires you and why? 

My mum and dad inspire me. They’ve been side hustling, entrepreneurial, creative freelancers way before it was cool, and they’ve always made space for me and my dreams. 

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