These days, it’s hard to get lost, thanks to mapping apps that give turn-by-turn directions. There’s not always a single route to a destination, though, especially a community like Crowd Content. Our writers follow unique and fascinating paths to get here, whether they’re popping in as a side hustle, continuing already established careers, or hoping to gain experience.
This month, we’re retracing the route taken by one of Crowd Content’s most prolific freelancers. Moira, who writes under the pen name Selina Kyle, has kindly agreed to chat with us about a writing career that tops more than 20 years, sharing what she’s learned along the way.
Originally from Tulsa, Moira spent the last few years as a nomadic writer, moving around as a campground host and spending time soaking up the sun on the West Coast. “When I was in California, I wrote at the beach a lot so I could listen to the ocean,” she recalls. She’s currently back in Oklahoma to be closer to family.
She made an early splash in writing in the third grade when she had a poem published in her school’s student magazine. She eventually turned her knack for putting words together into a professional career. She’s written for trade journals, magazines, newspapers, ezines and websites — with a couple of appearances in short story anthologies for good measure.
“I’ve been both a staff writer and a freelance or a contract writer,” Moira says. “Two of the largest publications I currently write for regularly are Hobby Farms and Horse Illustrated, both print publications that are distributed nationally to stores and a large subscription base.” She’s carved out a strong writing niche, with additional credits in AgVentures, Chickens and American Quarter Horse Journal.
Most writers come to Crowd Content looking for work, but Moira discovered our platform when one of her long-time clients began using our services exclusively. “He requested that I be ‘hired’ and added to his team…he didn’t want to lose me as a writer. Great client!” she says. We’re pretty thankful he brought Moira here, too.
After checking out the platform, she decided to stick around. “I like that I can get to know the project managers I work with a lot. I’ve written for other platforms and there wasn’t much interaction or helpfulness among the writers like CC has on the forum,” she explains. “Emailing a project manager directly and actually getting a response was basically unheard of. I like CC so much better that I’ve quit writing on any other platforms.”
Since Moira has quite a few projects under her belt here, we ask for the scoop on the ones she likes best. “The type with a byline!” she laughs, adding, “Really, any type of writing that lets me write about interesting topics and/or learn something new.” She particularly liked writing blog posts for travel nursing. “The assignments paid relatively well and included a byline, which helped me earn a couple of private clients in a similar field.”
But writing’s not always easy, no matter how long you’ve been doing it. Even the most practiced writers can find it tricky to pick the right words and keep their copy fresh. Moira admits it’s challenging “coming up with something new to say or a…different way to say something when you’re writing about a topic that’s already been done to death.”
Moira acknowledges it can be tough when you’re trying to map out your own route to success early in your career. “I’ve received a lot of advice over the years from ‘more experienced’ writers. Really, you have to find what works for you,” she says. “Some popular advice I can tell you I don’t agree with is ‘write what you know’. This isn’t completely true. If it’s something you can learn enough about to write with authority or you can get information from someone who’s an authority on the subject, then you don’t necessarily have to ‘know’ it.”
In other words, if you’re hesitant to pick up a project because you aren’t sure you have the right knowledge — jump in. You may be surprised at what you’re capable of. Moira adds, “Writing about something you don’t know is a great way to learn something new, which I think is one of the most fun things about being a writer.”
It’s also important to listen to your instincts, she says. “Find your own voice instead of trying to imitate someone else’s, and if there’s a good local writer’s group, join it. Writer’s groups are a great way to make friends with similar interests and you really can learn some great things from other writers. Take what you learn and use what works for you but don’t worry about forcing anything that doesn’t work for you,” she concludes.
Moira’s love for the craft definitely shines through, and we could likely chat about writing for at least another thousand words. But, there’s another reason we’re here. In the time-honored tradition of Writer Spotlight, it’s time to shift the focus back on our featured scribe and find out what she’s really like when not at her keyboard.
What’s your favorite restaurant or meal? “Seafood — all types but especially shrimp, crab legs and lobster.”
What’s your favorite TV show or movie? “Law & Order SVU and Seinfeld. Favorite movie depends what kind of mood I’m in, but if I had to pick, probably Braveheart, Ice Harvest, No Country for Old Men, Mrs. Doubtfire and Dirty Dancing.”
Do you have any hobbies or unusual interests? “I like to go to car shows and play with a team on an online trivia site. When I lived in California, one of my favorite pastimes was walking the beaches looking for sea glass, which my husband would make into really cool necklaces for me.”
What’s your favorite book? “Some of my top picks would be the Dragonriders of Pern series by Anne McCaffrey, the Bishop Special Crimes Unit series by Kay Hooper, and anything by Stephen King.”
If you could change one thing about our platform, what would it be? “A project that would have a dedicated team and every writer on the team would be responsible for writing a set number of assignments for that project each month, which would be sent to them directly. It would be much easier to plan your writing calendar, count on a paycheck, and get really good at the projects you were part of.”
What are the five worst words in the English language? “Maybe not exactly what you had in mind, but these are the words that popped into my head: Hate, abuse, racist, misogynistic, cancer.”
Complete this sentence: When I’m not working, I love to… “Not be working. LOL. I’m always working. But seriously, I love to read, watch a movie, play with my new puppy, visit family and friends, go for a random drive looking at scenery and neat houses, watch the sun set, just breathe.”
Moira has definitely earned some time to relax and enjoy the sunset. As for us, we’re punching our next destination into our mapping app and hitting the road again. Which Crowd Content freelancer are we popping in on next? Maybe it’ll be you!