Part II: Q&A With Ty Unglebower

This is part 2 of what will be a multi-part Q&A with Ty Unglebower. See Part 1 to find out how Ty got his start freelancing and a little about the kinds of projects he works on.

Jargon Writer: What about the idea of freelancing drew you?

Ty Unglebower: Practicality at first–my luck with the 9-5 work force has been poor to the point of laughable. I can’t tell you how many jobs I have been turned down for over the years for reasons that I confess just escape me. I have had odd jobs (gardening, dish-washing, selling radio ad-time), but nothing with true staying power within my spirit (Not to mention nothing I spent all that money on a college degree for). So it all came about partially as a result of my deciding to pull out of the conventional rat-race for a bit. A race I was very much losing.

Practicality aside, I am drawn to the independence, as I imagine most freelancers are. And not just in the sense that I can work in my pajamas and email a story while traveling, if I so chose (when I can afford it). But the independence that is afforded to my reputation. There are honorable people working in all kinds of places all over the country, and I don’t mean to suggest otherwise. But as a freelancer I can, in a very conscious, deliberate manner, weave the name “Ty Unglebower” with such concepts as quality, passion, and integrity. As I do in every other facet of my life, I can project my values into my work in an instant, direct capacity, whereas within a nebulous company, that chance may not have presented itself so readily. I would have been part of the background of a bigger institution’s mission.

JW: How long have you been working freelance and either: A) What’s the biggest obstacle you’ve overcome? or B) What has your greatest success been thus far?

Ty: If we go by the standard of writing independently for a third party who sought out my skills, the number is 9-10 years. If we go by the very first time I technically was contracted as a writer and received a paycheck for same, it would be closer to 5.

There have been all kinds of obstacles (like starting to build the portfolio, research, dealing with interviews), but I think I have to say the biggest obstacle I overcame was within my own mind–Giving permission to myself to actually call myself a writer and to declare the intention to offer those services in serious, methodical manner. I am still working on perfecting the method part; the business plan angle of it all, but that will fall into place eventually with trial and error.

But to actually say to myself, “I have a skill. Some say a gift. And I don’t have to wait until some undefined date in the future, wherein I have marked off a specific checklist of accomplishments or made a certain amount of money to call myself a writer. I AM a writer, I DO get paid to do it sometimes, and I will again. I have every right to let the world know it.”

This was significant because despite a lifetime of using writing as a crucial part of myself, for which I had always received praise, I couldn’t for the longest time justify calling myself a writer. It was a title I had not earned. A dreamer’s flight of fancy, and I ought to go learn to fix cars somewhere, and be miserable like the rest of the workforce, and leave the writing to people who deserved it.

Overcoming that would probably count as the greatest success thus far, but for the sake of spreading things out a bit, I will say that my greatest success so far is to have had my name and my writing proceed me, as it did for one local magazine editor. She literally had read my blog, and knew she wanted to ask me to pitch something for her publication. It’s not the pay or the notoriety of the magazine, both of which are smaller. It is knowing that by writing my blog the way I wanted, about things I was passionate about, I was able to catch the attention of a professional. I hadn’t had to give up anything to be seen as worth it. And if it could happen once, it could (and has) happened again.

Ty is a 32-year-old freelance writer living alone in Frederick County Maryland. In addition to keeping his own blogs he is a regular contributor to and The Brunswick Citizen. He has also contributed recently to FiND iT FREDERiCK Magazine’s Spring 2010 issue. When not contributing to those publications, he is searching out others to which he may contribute his work, creating ghost-copy for private clients, or engaging in writing his novel. When he is actually not writing, Ty spends most of his free time making use of his Minor from Marietta College by performing as an amateur actor on various local community stages. He has thus far made no direct use of his bachelor’s degree, which was in political science.

Check out Part III: A Q&A with Ty Unglebower, or check out Ty’s blogs, Always Off Book and Too XYZ.

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