The 5-Minute Freelancer Q&A #3 – Suzanne Boles

In this regular feature, Story Board asks Canadian writers to share a few details about their work habits and their strategies for navigating the ups and downs of freelance life.


1. Where are you when most of your story ideas come to you? 

Social media (for example following up on tweets about a new business), face-to-face networking, requests for story ideas through writers’ listservs, reading the local newspaper… these are just some of the places. The most interesting one came recently. I created my website using WordPress. I use a back-end program I purchased through another company. They send out blogs and this one time they sent a guest blog. I liked the topic and then I clicked on the author’s website link. She has a really unique business model, so I e-mailed her and asked if we could chat via phone. We did and I found out she graduated from Western University (here in London, Ontario, where I live). She agreed to let me pitch her story to their alumni magazine and I landed my first assignment for them with a resounding “yes” via e-mail, less than 12 hours later!


2. What’s your biggest distraction and how do you resist it? 

Me. When I sit down at my desk to begin my workday I rarely get out of the working zone. But when I get overwhelmed with too much on the go I start to zone out and need to escape. So I go out to browse through stores or for a bike ride (on a nice day) or grab a coffee at a local café, then I can get back and often work late into the evening. I’m not a morning person so I’m o.k. with this strategy. Another “me” distraction is if I have something I need to write about. I have a blog and I post inconsistently, but when there’s something that’s niggling at me, that I need to comment about, I can’t do anything else until I blog about it.  So I give in, do it, and feel better!


3. What non-writing activity do you do to recharge your batteries?  

Getting away from my home office, as I said. In the evening, three or mor times a week, I swim over 30 laps, non-stop, in a 50 ft. pool. I just zone out and keep going with a song playing in my head (usually whatever I heard on the radio before I jumped in). I am exhausted but it’s a good exhaustion. Whirlpool, sauna, shower, then I come home and veg out in front of TV (I record my favourite shows on my PVR). Not too exciting, but it works for me.


4. What’s your best strategy for getting over rejected pitches?

For magazine story ideas I try to find another home for the story if I can. But I think we all go through the steps of rejection – sadness, acceptance, then “I’ll show them!” Actually, I wrote a blog about rejection. It was really about a book proposal but we still  get rejections for those too. I called the post “Let Rejection Fuel You.” I wrote another one, more recently, also about a book proposal, but the post itself was connected to something my daughter kept saying and it turned out to be a blog with more humour (my favourite). I guess my personal blog helps me get through what writers might consider to be those more difficult times. Hmmm…I think I’m starting to see a pattern here with rejections for book ideas. But, whatever, “I’m over it” (refer to second blog).


• Suzanne Boles has been freelancing for over 16 years. She lives the life of an empty nester in London, Ontario, with her husband and their two cats.  She still hasn’t given up on having a book published, but is seriously considering self-publishing. You can find her on Twitter at @suzanneboles.


What’s your biggest distraction? We’d love to hear your strategies for staying focussed in the comment section below.


Posted on October 5, 2012 at 8:00 am by Rachel · · Tagged with: , ,

2 Responses

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  1. Written by Doreen Pendgracs
    on October 5, 2012 at 12:25 pm
    Reply · Permalink

    Lovely interview with Suzanne. She’s a hardworking, versatile freelance writer who inspires many of us.

  2. Written by Sharon A. Crawford
    on October 5, 2012 at 1:12 pm
    Reply · Permalink

    Like the zonee out – when I get to that point of overwhelm I head out to my garden (although that will soon stop because of weather) or go for a walk.

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