At the time when I was finishing my high school education and thinking about which university I should go to, I also began to think of the possibility of being paid to write. Writers get paid, right? I just had no idea how.
At the time, this seemed like something that was years away and I had no idea how to start the process of getting a job as a writer, or even how to become one. The whole thing seemed unreachable, and I thought the only way writers get paid is if they work full-time for a newspaper, magazine, or book publishing company.
Interestingly, this was also the same time when the idea of freelance work started to go global. More and more freelance websites were starting to pop up, and people began seriously considering switching to freelance work from home, and what would later also develop into the ‘digital nomad’, who travels around the world while working on their laptop and phone.
However, it would be a few more years before I tried to do any of this work.
My own beginning started in translating university papers and dissertations from Serbian into English, or the other way around.
I was 18 when I got my first freelance job to translate a paper and soon realized how little I knew about being a translator or what the job required. Nevertheless, I did my absolute best to provide a good translation and I accepted about a dozen such jobs before deciding that translation could not be something that I would do in the long term.
The pay, at the time, was small but enough for me to have some pocket money of my own. Because this was a job where students hired other students for work, there was really no way to make a serious living. But to be honest, the money was more than enough for me. It was cheap enough for the students and it was decent pay for me as a first year university student.
Although translation isn’t essentially a writing job, it was the first time I got paid for any words that I was writing down on my own. But, it was grueling, repetitive, and much slower than I expected it to be.
So, I tried another style of work to get me through the cost of university and as a source of pocket money. Teaching.
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