On Freelance Work

by Olga Rosales Salinas


There are many reasons why people don’t follow their dreams. Some of them are financial, most are about information and representation. Below, I explain the hurdles I had to overcome in order to live my dream of becoming a working writer.

Cabrillo College.

I was nineteen when I first attended Cabrillo College. I had no idea what an entrance exam was. I did not know that those tests determined how long it would take you to transfer out to a four-year college. Ill-informed and unprepared, I tested into English 100 (pre-requisite to English 1A). There are many reasons I assumed that becoming a working writer was out of my reach, and although this experience at Cabrillo was not my first reality check, it was the loudest.


You don't know what you don't know.

Not only was I ill-equipped at writing, but I also didn't know what writing full time looked like; I didn't know a single adult who wrote for a living. I pushed my childhood dream aside until I finally graduated college at 39. It was then that I went into an industry I knew nothing about. I asked questions and sent emails to contacts on websites. I applied for internships and wrote for free. I leveraged my creativity to finish a poetry manuscript I'd been sitting on for years. I reached out to friends in the media and asked if they would let me talk about my book and The Rosales Sisters' Scholarship that it benefits. One article turned into the next, and before I knew it, I could send a cold-call email pitching an article with ease.


Two Years In.

Two years in, and I can say, without any sense of irony or intentional cliche, none of this has felt like work.


In January of 2022, I wrote several articles. The National Association of Hispanic Journalists picked up the last one- becoming my first national byline. Also, in January, San Francisco Bay Area Moms, where I had been writing for a year, offered me the Managing Editor position. I have a long road ahead as careers go, but January - a week ago- was a big month.

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