From farm boy to self-employed freelance writer

Bidwell Hollow, LLC © 2021

In Jan. 2020, I leaped into full-time freelance writing. Two months later, the pandemic shut everything down, including my clients.

But I made it through and now have a thriving business. Along with writing for clients and working on a book, I publish pieces on Medium about writing and freelancing.

You can catch many of my stories by following my publication, The NeB. And you can get more writing tips, hacks, and guidance from smarter people than I by subscribing to my newsletter, Writerly.

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What you need to know now about Medium email subscriptions

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Medium just rolled out a tweak to writers’ profile pages that make it easier for you and me to subscribe to each others’ stories.

An email icon now appears on our Medium profile pages, next to the “Follow” button. Clicking the icon on a writer’s profile page subscribes to that writer’s emails, meaning you’ll receive an email containing all their new stories.

For example:


For this freelance writer, Medium isn’t about the money. It’s about writing.

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Last year, I came to a decision — no more writing on Medium.

My freelance writing business was picking up. I had consistent clients I enjoyed working with and who paid well. Medium, on the other hand, paid me in pennies.

When I first became a self-employed freelancer in Jan. 2020, I planned to build a following on Medium. I expected Medium would provide maybe a quarter of the income I needed to earn each month, although I understood it would take a while to reach that goal.

For a few months, I wrote and published almost daily on Medium.


Five best new stories for writers

Tall grass glowing in the sunlight
Tall grass glowing in the sunlight
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“It’s much more likely that you’ll grow as a writer when you incorporate feedback from fellow writers and editors.” — Allison Gaines

“Talk about your failures more. The best writers, my favorite writers, are willing to do that, because when they do win, and they do, it’s incandescent by comparison.” — Julia E Hubbel

“Much as writing requires dedication, editing is its own discipline, one based in habits that constantly reveal my own natural traps. It is vulnerable, interrogating those weak points.” — Sarah Stankorb

“Here are some things that teachers I was lucky enough to have taught me.” …


Looking for those we’ve lost in the items they owned

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We hold on to things because we can’t hold on to people.

My husband and I have an assortment of serving dishes my maternal grandmother, whom we grandkids called mammaw, once owned.

Some of them, such as the three clear glass nut or candy bowls, I never associated with my grandma until the day, maybe a year before dementia took over, that she hauled them out of her basement and asked if I wanted them.

Other items, such as the glass jar with red painted flowers on it, I remember from her kitchen. …


How becoming a bathrobe person changes you

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You don’t grow up wanting to wear a bathrobe. Wearing a bathrobe just kind of happens to you, like realizing that margaritas give you heartburn or that Jay Leno isn’t all that funny.

One day you’re living life as someone who doesn’t wear a robe, and then — BAM — you wake up, and you’re a turtle in need of a shell, a shell made of cotton or fleece or wool, that’s warm and fuzzy, flowing and the complete opposite of form-fitting.

A bathrobe is practical, although maybe less so than in the days of drafty houses heated with coal…


Four tactics for getting through the rough patches

Man slumped over his laptop
Man slumped over his laptop
Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich from Pexels

As writers, we put so much effort into our work. We pour our heart and soul into the words that we write, and sometimes we’re left wondering if it’s worth it.

Our words don’t get published. When they do, it can feel like no one bothers reading them.

It’s easy to feel discouraged and lose self-confidence. But there are some tactics we can try to maintain positivity so we can keep doing the work we love.

Below are four approaches for keeping a positive attitude and staying confident even when you feel like you have little writing success.

Remember, you’re in the company of heroes.

One way…


4 new stories for writers to check out this weekend

Person reading a book by a lake.
Person reading a book by a lake.
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“Unfortunately, the previously mentioned Strunk and White book has been hailed as a bible of sorts over the years, though it actually promotes a good deal of bad or meaningless advice. In fact, on this particular topic of active vs. passive voice, it contains examples of passive sentences that aren’t actually passive.” — Lynda Dietz

“Interacting online can actually feed back into being a better writer. It opens you up to a world of community — new friends, mentors, and learning opportunities. The world wide web is just that — a network that can be as wide as our beautiful…


And why sometimes our negatives are our greatest strengths

Person standing on a street holding a phone, looking confused.
Person standing on a street holding a phone, looking confused.
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It was near the end of my senior year in high school when I first discovered I might be an idiot.

That’s when my classmates voted me Most Gullible. (Technically, because our class decided to use movie titles for our honorifics, I was voted Most Clueless, taken from a movie I didn’t know existed and wouldn’t see until many years later.)

Being naive wasn’t, until my classmates voted, on the menu of anxieties and fears from which my teenage self ate regularly. But my peers got it right. I am naive.

And some things never change. Were my friends to…

Nicholas E. Barron

A former farm boy writing from the front line of full-time freelance writing. | he, him, his 🏳️‍🌈

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