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The PWACer profile: Georgie Binks
Friday, August 23, 2013 (All day)

Former radio and TV reporter Georgie Binks never planned to become a freelance writer. But an upheaval in her life led to the career change—and she’s never looked back. The award-winning journalist writes primarily about health and real estate, though she most enjoys humour writing. Her stories have appeared in newspapers and magazines such as The Toronto Star, The Walrus, The Globe and Mail, National Post, Chatelaine and Reader’s Digest. Here, Binks provides her account of her foray into freelancing, her business-development strategies and her perspective on PWAC.

Sharon Aschaiek: When and how did you get into freelance writing?

Georgie Binks: I was a broadcast reporter who worked in radio for most of my career, including eight years at CBC. I hadn’t actually done much writing at all. But after I got divorced in 1997, I had been staying home with my kids, and it was too hard to do shift work at CBC. I took a five-year break and thought I would try freelance writing. I started pitching places. My first article was on women’s figure skating for Chatelaine. I started to write first-person stories on topics such as what it was like to date again after being divorced, lots of personal journalism, and then really just kept pitching more and more stories. I really started to enjoy writing, and it progressed from there.

SA: What are your strategies for sustaining/growing your freelance writing business?

GB: At the beginning of this year, I decided I had to do more corporate stuff. I love journalism, but the market is not there anymore. I read Paul Lima’s book, The Six-Figure Freelancer, and I did all the exercises in the book, and looked at how to reposition myself for more corporate marketing work.

I also go on LinkedIn a lot; I’m always adding people and will contact them. It’s way more work than going back to an old editor for more assignments, but I’ve gotten work from those contacts. It’s about putting yourself out there all the time.

I have a novel I’ve been working on for years, and I couldn't get a publisher. So in April, I decided to publish myself. A Crack in the Pavement is a story about a woman who terminates a wanted pregnancy. It came out on Kobo and Kindle on Aug. 1, and it’s coming out in paperback in September through print-on-demand publisher Lightning Source. I’m really promoting it this fall, and maybe for the rest of my life!

SA: What has your involvement been with PWAC, and how has it helped you build your business?

GB: The chapter’s different seminars, especially the one it did about self-publishing, have really inspired me. It really stuck with me and taught me what I needed to do. Last year, somebody spoke to us about self-publishing at a PWAC conference dinner, and it also really motivated me to go ahead and do it myself. I never would have done it without listening to other people who have self-published.

SA: What do you enjoy most about being a freelance writer?

GB: I love the work hours, and being close to the fridge. I really like the freedom to pick my own stories and pitch those stories and write about things I want to write about.

Networds blog editor Sharon Aschaiek writes about education and busines for media publications and websites, and provides communication consulting and copywriting services to schools and educational organizations.



- Sharon Aschaiek


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