Today we’d like to introduce you to Jackie Dana.
Hi Jackie, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
I’ve been a writer for many years and did a lot of writing in my previous jobs, including software documentation, training materials, and educational documents. I have also been writing and editing articles for various publications, my blogs, and my fiction. When I found between jobs in 2015, I thought I would try my luck with freelance writing. I got a few solid clients early on, and from there, I built my writing and editing business Watercolor Moon.
Today I work as a blog manager for domains and hosting company, edit nonfiction, and produce two Substack newsletters: Unseen St. Louis (https://unseenstlouis.substack.com), which focuses on unusual aspects of St. Louis history, and Story Cauldron (https://storycauldron.substack.com), where I publish my fiction and articles about storytelling in everyday life. My business is solid, and I love being able to fill my life with writing and creativity. If I had any message for others, it would be to believe in your dreams. If you want to be a professional writer or pursue another creative career, it’s not easy, and you might not find immediate success, but stick with it because it’s achievable.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Before I got my main contract, it was sometimes touching and going. Trying to support yourself on client work is challenging when most of the projects are short-term. It was a feast or famine situation, and early on, there were times when I thought I was a failure. But after doing some work on my goals and doing some work creating a budget, I knew what my bottom line needed to be. A few months later, I applied for a contract writer position with a company I respected, and thanks to my WordPress background, I was offered the blog manager position instead. It allowed me to hit my budget numbers consistently.
Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
First and foremost, I’m a writer. All my life, I’ve taken every opportunity to write short stories and articles for my blog or local publications, and in my jobs, I found places where I could indulge my passion. As a result, I’ve learned many different writing styles and researched what feels like a million other things. Currently, for my writing projects, I’m working on a YA fantasy novel set in St. Louis about teenagers who visit the “favor faeries,” creatures who grant wishes in exchange for trinkets and snacks. I also regularly write articles about storytelling and researching St. Louis’s history. All these skills and experiences feed into each other, so my fiction work helps strengthen my nonfiction, and writing and editing articles for my business help make me a better fiction writer.
Have you learned any interesting or important lessons due to the Covid-19 Crisis?
In my case, COVID didn’t impact my business since I work remotely from home. However, what was difficult was not being able to meet and work with other writers. I found an online group called Stop Writing Alone that offered writing support and a community. We met regularly on Zoom, and two and a half years later, I consider all of those writers my friends. In fact, during the height of COVID, I spent more time with them than with people I knew locally. This taught me the value of community and working with people who share your passion. It’s tough to do anything alone, especially writing or other creative pursuits.