Writer Spotlight: Liam Chetek — Life as an Expat Writer

Freelance writing is the kind of career that you can pursue from anywhere. It’s flexible enough that you can craft prose from your corner café or couch (and many of us do), but you can also fling your doors wide open and write from pretty well any destination in the world. This month, Writer Spotlight takes inspiration from a freelancer who’s making the most of this free-flowing lifestyle. Pack your virtual bags; we’re heading to South America!

Meet Tim, who writes with Crowd Content as Liam Chetek. Originally from Oklahoma in the United States, Tim now lives roughly 4,500 miles from home. “Freelance writing has enabled me to live the expat life in Brazil,” he explains. That makes him one of an estimated 9 million American citizens who lives overseas. These expatriates do so for many reasons: work (27%), significant others (28%), and a passion for travel and adventure (16%).

Part of the appeal of spending time abroad is living like a local and immersing yourself in the charms of another culture. And, Brazil is an enticing option. Its diverse landscape makes up almost half of South America, touching every country on the continent except Ecuador and Chile. Brazil is also a welcoming place to hang out, according to a survey of 12,420 expats. Out of 186 countries, Brazil ranked highly for factors such as personal happiness (4th), leisure options (9th) and friendliness (10th).

Our featured scribe began writing professionally two years ago, transitioning from a more technical background. “Database administration, web development, and a whole bunch of things in between,” he explains. He’s always been passionate about expressing ideas on paper, and has kept a daily journal for a decade. You can find him tapping away on his keyboard from the coziness of his home in Brazil — “in my living room, leaning back on the couch with my feet kicked up on the ottoman,” he says. You’ve got to make the most of the comforts of home, right?

Tim discovered Crowd Content through “good ol’ googling”, so we must take a moment to thank Larry Page and Sergey Brin for bringing our worlds together. (We should also thank them for not naming their search engine Backrub, as originally intended. There’s a bonus tidbit for your next trivia night.)

Regularly delivering clear and to-the-point copy to our clients, Tim is an indispensable part of our content creation team. When asked what sets the platform apart from others, he replies, “Honestly, just about everything. Great community, amazing project managers and editors, great — and frequent! — pay.”

While Tim has been writing for Crowd Content for awhile, new writers come on board every day. It takes some time to familiarize yourself with the platform and build relationships, but it can certainly pay off with plenty of ongoing work. Tim offers up wise advice as you settle in. “I think I’d tell new writers to remember to be gentle with themselves. Writing is seriously hard work, so self-compassion is a must,” he says.

When he’s not navigating project briefs and working to hit those client deadlines, Tim’s in the kitchen. “Aside from writing, my biggest passion is cooking. I love trying new foods and reverse-engineering them so I can make them at home,” he says. And when he does head out to dine, he likes to go to “a little place called Click Gostoso that serves churrasco, aka Brazilian barbecue.” For those who aren’t familiar, this traditional style of cooking involves various meats grilled on long skewers over an open fire. The skewers are placed on racks so juices drip down onto other cuts, and the meat is carved right at the table.

Is anyone suddenly hungry?

Well, now that we’re warmed up and dreaming of barbecue, it’s time to turn the heat up a little and really get to know Tim. Here we go!

Who is your favorite author? What’s your favorite book? “Tough questions. I think my favorite writer at the moment is Albert Camus. As for my favorite book, it would have to be The Old Man and the Sea by Hemingway.”

Do you have a preferred type of writing? “Not especially, though I do like a good first-person stream-of-consciousness narrative.”

Have you been published by any notable sites or organizations (digital or traditional)? “Not yet!”

What’s your favorite TV show or movie? “The one that comes to mind is The Secret Life of Walter Mitty — the newer one with Ben Stiller.”

Which project has been your favorite? Why? “I haven’t had a favorite project per se, but I do like writing things that intersect with technology and travel.”

What do you find most challenging about writing content? “For someone that loves novelty, writing content can be repetitive at times.”

If you could change one thing about our platform, what would it be? “I’d add a few Slack channels, or some other chat system for writers, editors, and managers to communicate in real time.”

What are the five worst words in the English language? “Can I answer with five consecutive words? I really hate the phrase ‘it is what it is.’

Complete this sentence: When I’m not working I love to… “Do spontaneous, unexpected things that might lead to a good story.”

Like the skilled writer he is, Tim reels us in and sets us up for more. We’re keen to know what kinds of spontaneous, unexpected things he’s been up to, but those stories are going to have to wait. We’ve decided to instead task him with reverse-engineering some of those tasty Brazilian dishes so we can give them a try. In between Crowd Content orders, of course.

There are so many more of you talented writers we want to meet. Stay tuned as the spotlight shines on another Crowd Content freelancer next month. Maybe it’ll be you!


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Erin is the Community Manager at Crowd Content, and before that was a project manager here for 3 years. She lives in Massachusetts, is a baseball/Red Sox fanatic and loves spending time with her family.

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