Writer Spotlight: Jenn MacDonald — Yes, It Started With a Bough of Holly

Jenn MacDonald is a Crowd Content writer, and is today's writer spotlight!

Life’s full of exciting milestones when you’re a writer. There’s the first time you finish a draft of your short story, the first time you see your byline published, and the first time you hit the submit button on a Crowd Content order.

For Jenn MacDonald, the latter occurred on a summer day in 2019, when she sent a product description about a decorative Christmas garland through to our servers. Little did she know this cheerful little PD would lead to a steady stream of client orders on topics such as digital marketing, health insurance, travel nursing and puppies.

This month, Writer Spotlight is dedicated to getting to know Jenn, one of the four-star writers whose prose helps keep our platform humming smoothly. Settle in, grab your beverage of choice and let’s head out on a virtual journey to Canada’s west coast. Virtual trips are the only ones we’re taking in 2020, anyway.

ALSO – Hire Freelance Writers Today

Jenn, who’s known as Anita to her family and friends, lives just outside of Vancouver, B.C. She tries to keep the sentences flowing despite the distractions of a husband taking Zoom meetings all day, two kids navigating online school, and a couple of cats that stare her down until they’re fed.

“I’ve been a freelance writer for more than 15 years, but have been writing since I was a child,” she says. “I used to scribble stories on any piece of paper I could find.”

Before becoming a professional writer, she worked in communications and marketing in the film industry, including a stint as a publicist for the National Film Board of Canada. “Copywriting was always my favorite task, and I decided to focus on it,” she explains. “My first clients were companies I’d worked for, so I was lucky to have a fairly easy transition to going out on my own.”

Anita took a short break from freelancing a few years ago, and began writing with us when she returned. “I read about Crowd Content in a blog post somewhere,” she explains. “It was singled out as the most professional of all the online writing platforms, and I was intrigued. I’ve been here ever since.”

In fact, we’ve made such an impression on her, we’re the only content creation platform she writes for. “I like the variety of work, the awesome project managers and the sense of community here,” she enthuses. “I also appreciate that I can focus on writing while someone else lines up clients and makes sure the invoices are paid. That side of freelancing is so time consuming.”

We do sound pretty amazing when you put it that way. But there’s always room for improvement, right? We press her to tell us what she’d change. “One adjustment has already been made, which is providing the TaT bonus on direct orders in the marketplace. I don’t usually qualify for the bonus because of the way I work,” she explains. “I’d love another way to earn the bonus besides speed, but I understand why it’s set up that way.”

Anita cites Walmart, Darice and Love’s Furniture as some of her favorite past projects because she enjoys the challenge of making ordinary things sound appealing. “I like to write marketing content, product descriptions and blog posts — unless the subjects are related to technology. Then, I run the other way, because I find it hard to wrap my head around those topics,” she says. Really? Are you sure I can’t interest you in an order about cloud computing?

Despite avoiding certain subjects, Anita has submitted about 350,000 words and 700 orders to our project managers and clients. She must have some advice for new writers who are just getting their bearings here.

“Dive right in,” she encourages. “It’s the best way to learn. Try to understand why editors make changes so you can improve your writing.”

Speaking of diving in, it’s time to get really serious about this profile. Let’s put her on the spot with some of our hardest-hitting questions.

What’s your favorite restaurant or meal? “Sushi is my go-to. Even better: all-you-can-eat sushi.”

Do you have any hobbies or unusual interests? “Nothing unusual. I love to read, write and travel.”

Who is your favorite author? What’s your favorite book? “I really liked A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth — it’s a gorgeous, sweeping epic. It’s a TV series now, but I’m not sure if I’ll watch because I visualize the story in a certain way.”

Have you been published by any notable sites or organizations (digital or traditional)? “I’ve written for parenting sites like Savvy Mom and Grown & Flown.”

What’s your favorite TV show or movie? “I love The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and am waiting for season 4. Right now, I’m watching The Long Way Up, which follows Ewan MacGregor and Charlie Boorman on a motorcycle trip through South America. It makes me want to travel there.”

Where do you write? “On my sofa, so I can look out the window. When my back starts to ache or the cats begin climbing on my keyboard, I move to the dining table.”

What do you find most challenging about writing content? “Falling down the research rabbit hole. I like to get a sense of a topic before I write but sometimes, I get off track.”

Complete this sentence: When I’m not working, I love to… “Walk in nature. Go on family road trips. Sleep.”

What are the five worst words in the English language? “I’m choosing five consecutive words: ‘What’s for dinner tonight, Mom?’ I mean, is it really time to feed them again?”

I hate to break it to you, Anita, but you probably should provide some sustenance to the cats and kids, so you can get back to writing. And that’s my cue to wrap up Writer Spotlight for this month. I’d like to thank Anita for her time, and all of you for the pleasant company on this journey. We’ll be back soon to introduce another Crowd Content writer. Maybe it’ll be you!

ALSO – Katharine Rochemont — Crowd Content Writer, Aspiring Novelist and Gardener Extraordinaire


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As Director of QA/Enterprise Production, Lisa is in the trenches of content marketing everyday. She manages large-scale projects for some of the web's largest etailers, ensuring they get high-quality results on time.

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