People I Know: Kelly Gurnett

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Kelly Gurnett (AKA Cordelia) is a freelance writer and editor specializing in blogging — and ghostblogging! — who loves to share how fellow freelancers can “quit” dealing with the endless stream of nonsense in their lives. 

Kelly Gurnett
Kelly Gurnett

How I Know Kelly

Ah, Kelly… I have so much to say about Kelly Gurnett and her writing, I don’t even know where to start.

Kelly’s blog, Cordelia Calls It Quits got its start in 2010, the same year LittleZotz Writing was born. And, just like LittleZotz Writing, Kelly has a page on her site dedicated to explaining her business name. So, naturally, I felt an immediate sense of camaraderie with her!

I also instantly adored Kelly for her seemingly never-ending optimism.

But she’s a special kind of optimist. Her optimism isn’t a result of having never been through true hardship (too often I’ve been told “Why don’t you just _________?” from people who have never even been close to relating to what I’m going through). From dealing with mental illness first hand to dealing with the pressures to low-ball her rates as a freelancer, Kelly has always opted for a positive outlook and helps others (or, me, at least) do the same.

In particular, her posts on dealing with freelancer burnout have meant a lot to me. If you know you need a break, but can’t justify taking one in your own mind (if you’re the kind of “I AM THE JOB” crazypants freelancer like I am), then you should check these out:

There are others, of course, but this intro is getting super long. So let’s get on with the interview, shall we? Check out Kelly’s e-mailed answers to the 5 questions I ask someone every month:

My Interview with Kelly Gurnett

What do you do?

I’m a freelance writer and editor specializing in blogging. I blog for a variety of different sites, including under a paid byline and as a ghostwriter. I also run my own blog, Cordelia Calls It Quits, which is all about learning to live your life intentionally and cutting out all the crap and nonsense that tends to get in our way.


Get Kelly’s free guide here.

How did you start?

I started a free WordPress blog back in November of 2010 because I missed writing and I wanted to see if I could do it and get anyone to notice (and care). I’d always wanted to be a writer, but some personal issues in college had me sidetracked, and suddenly I found myself several years into working a crappy 9-to-5 and terrified I’d let all hopes of a writing career pass me by. CCIQ was my way to test the waters and determine if I had what it takes to make it as a writer. It wound becoming a nice launching board and portfolio.

As my blog grew, I leveraged it and the connections I was making online to secure a few paid blogging gigs. Over the course of two and a half years, I slowly built up a freelance side hustle and began transitioning away from my day job — first taking one day off a week, then working part-time, then eventually leaving altogether when I’d built up enough business. I’ve now been on my own full-time since April 2013.

What’s your favorite part of what you do?

I love that I’m doing work I love and feel passionate about, and that I’m doing it on my own terms. (I guess that’s two parts, but they’re both biggies.) No one tells me when to get up in the morning or when I’m allowed to eat lunch or schedule a doctor’s visit. No boss is peering over my shoulders and no catty coworkers are playing drama games. My work has become a part of my life rather than something keeping me from having a life, which I think is the ultimate in work/life balance. I no longer spend whole Sundays dreading the week ahead.

What advice do you have for someone looking into doing what you do?

Start a blog that shows off your voice and what you’re passionate about. Give it your all, and treat it as seriously as you would if you had an audience of hundreds of thousands. Use that platform to develop a brand and start making connections in the blogosphere — to this day, 99% of the work I do comes through word-of-mouth recommendations. Your network is so important to your success.

Educate yourself. Follow people who are doing what you want to do and read resources that give you the tips and tricks you need to improve your own game. And never be afraid to take a risk. You’ll never know what you can accomplish if you don’t put yourself out there.

What’s next for you?

I’m working very hard on turning CCIQ into more of a business this year — offering coaching services and blog reviews, working on paid products, etc. It’s my baby and my passion for it will always come first, but it would be nice to start monetizing and making a little income from it, too! I also used to do some blog editing and management and hope to get back into that again, just to mix things up a bit.


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