If you can think of something that has to do with writing, Pinar Tarhan has probably done it. She’s a freelance writer, consultant, coach, and teacher. Read on to learn how she got her start!
How I Know Pinar
Pinar Tarhan is a longtime reader of Be A Freelance Blogger — the blog where I work as the Associate Editor. She was always a delight in the comments; however, it wasn’t until she pitched her article “Not Writer’s Block: How to Cope If You Physically Can’t Write” that I really made an effort to get to know her. Pinar’s article caught my interest because, at the time, I was going through some physical issues that made it tough to write as well!
But it wasn’t until we discovered that we both have OCD (heavy on the obsessive) that we really connected as Internet buddies.
Pinar is not only an extremely talented writer, she’s a wonderfully sweet human being. Enjoy this e-mail interview with LittleZotz Writing’s Ms. December. (Oh, and, bonus: December is her birthday month!).
My Interview with Pinar Tarhan
What do you do?
I’m a freelance writer, blogger, screenwriter, social media consultant and writing coach. Oh, and I teach English as a second language. Teaching allows me to socialize, gives me story material, and I can afford to be selective when it comes to choosing writing gigs and clients.
I mostly write about freelancing, writing, blogging, social media, career management, dating, health, entertainment and learning/teaching languages.
I run several blogs, but the busiest one is my writing site Addicted to Writing, where I help writers create and manage the kind of writing career they want. It’s for all levels of writers, but especially for those who (want to) write both fiction and non-fiction.
My second blog’s Dating and Relationships in the 21st Century, which is a modern, unisex blog that encourages people to have fun without completely letting go of their wits. And it’s also the place for people who aren’t dying to have kids or get married at the moment.
I also run a beauty/health blog called Beauty, Fitness and Style for the Fun-Loving Gal, which offers fitness, health and beauty advice for fun-loving, health-conscious women who don’t want to be tortured in the process. Basically, it’s a place for women who like being gorgeous and healthy, but would only give up chocolate if someone literally put a gun to their head.
I’m also a total movie nut, which makes sense because I’ve wanted to be involved in filmmaking since I was little. I’m like a walking, talking IMDB and tend to freak people out by blurting out quotes and knowing the names of the cast and crew. Since I write screenplays, this much information is actually beneficial for my career. Unsurprisingly, I started blogging by reviewing movies and TV shows. Now I can’t find the time to update frequently, so I usually find a writing angle and post it on Addicted to Writing.
How did you start?
I’ve been passionately writing ever since I was a kid, but I finally decided to follow my dream and get paid for my words in late 2009. I hated the office job I’d taken on as an experiment, and well, the experiment failed. I had started blogging before I quit and done a bit of market research.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t very successful in my attempts of being a full-time freelance writer. I either had to write about stuff I liked for pennies or write about stuff I didn’t care so much about for better pay. It didn’t help that I was also trying to learn how to sell fiction, and instead of literary short stories, I had a novel, a TV pilot and feature screenplay.
I followed quite a few writing blogs, but I couldn’t make it work. The advice almost always included taking well-paying gigs in niches that bored me to death. So I started to teach English as a freelancer and got better at finding well-paying jobs.
The combination of freelance writing and teaching did the trick, giving me a unique angle and landing me my first 50 USD-paying article. It was for Carol Tice’s Make a Living Writing.
What’s your favorite part of what you do?
Getting paid to write about what I love.
I don’t like researching about topics I don’t care for or know nothing about. If I’m going to enjoy freelancing to the fullest, I should get to choose what to write about.
I love teaching English, so the income from there gives me more leeway. I’ve also written a few articles on learning ESL, and my students love the fact that their teacher is a published writer.
What advice do you have for someone looking into doing what you do?
I have four pieces of advice:
Improve your research skills, and use them to find paying markets in areas that you love.
If you wouldn’t work in a certain industry, ask yourself whether you’d be happy writing about that.
Both my parents are retired bankers, and I knew from an early age that I didn’t want to do anything banking-related. Writing for bankers, to me, is even less appealing than working in a bank – where you get regular pay and don’t take any freelancing risks.
Calculate your rates well. This is not just to find the rates that will help you make a decent living, but to see if the project is worth it.
When I calculate rates, I always consider how much time the project is going to take, and how much it will improve my portfolio. A couple of thousand bucks might sound great, but is it worth it if it’s going to amount to 10USD per hour?
And most importantly, always follow your dreams. This might be the side effect of being a Bon Jovi fan (remember the times when they actually rocked, and released songs like Living on a Prayer?), but I’m adamant. I’ll conquer Hollywood one way or another with my screenplays.
What’s next for you?
Getting even better at time-management. I’m highly productive, and I’m putting together a guide to help writers maximize their productivity. But as writers, we can always get better at ignoring distractions and activities that won’t help us in the long run.
I’m also headed to a query-heavy phase, both for my article ideas and selling my scripts. I’m putting on the final touches and getting ready to conquer the fictional worlds.
I also want to see my personal essays published.
LINKS to More PINAR TARHAN
Services: Addicted to Writing
Dating blog: Dating and Relationships in the 21st Century
Beauty blog: Beauty, Fitness and Style for the Fun-Loving Girl
Writing Blog: Addicted to Writing
Lauren Spear (née Tharp) is the owner and creator of the multiple award-winning LittleZotz Writing. She’s written hundreds of bylined posts helping freelance writers to become BETTER freelance writers. Thousands if you count all the articles she’s ghostwritten (but she’s not allowed to talk about most of those).