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Today we’ll get to know Marie Gardiner, a freelance photographer and writer who sells her services on Envato Studio. Based in the north east of England, she loves travel and the freedom that freelancing allows her. Read on to hear her more about who she is, how she works and what drives her forward. Let’s dive in!
Tell us a bit about yourself. Where did you grow up? Where do you live now? What are you really into? What’s most important to you in life?
I’m Marie Gardiner from the north east of England and I’m a photographer and writer. The north east of England (and Scotland as I’m close to there), is beautiful, so it was inevitable that I’d grow up wanting to take photographs of these places.
I love my job, seeing new places and having great experiences and am in the fortunate position where working remotely allows me to do more of that than if I was stuck in an office for 8 hours a day. When we travel, we try to mix it up so we’re not doing the same kind of stuff all the time. Just recently my partner (Mark) and I came back from Prague which is one of the most stunning cities I’ve seen and back in February we spent a week in Scotland on the Isle of Skye hiking up mountains in the snow, so it couldn’t have been more different! I like to stay busy and the variety that my job offers certainly keeps me that way but also affords such variety; I never get bored. I love spending time with Mark, my family and friends and our bunny Biscuit! It’s important to make time for people, even when you’re really busy.
Can you tell us about what you do at Envato Studio?
I offer some photographic services, but primarily writing. I really enjoy writing and I feel like it’s something that’s developed naturally through doing various jobs over the years. I used to handle the creative content for a media organisation which was a great springboard for getting into freelance writing. Getting to know someone’s business or personal brand is a skill and I think once you’ve nailed it, they can trust you with anything going forwards knowing that they’re in safe hands.
What are some of the tools, apps or systems you use at work on a day to day basis?
I use pretty much what you’d expect really but Adobe Photoshop and Microsoft Word are two programmes I couldn’t live without! I have two monitors which helps majorly with photo editing but are also really useful for writing too: I can have my word processor open on the left and my brief or notes open on the right, so I don’t have to split the screen or keep flipping between them. A laptop/notebook is key so that I can travel light but still work. I’ve recently started using an app called Wunderlist too. It does what the name suggests really, allows you to create various lists and tasks and then schedule your own deadlines and tick things off as you achieve them. With lots of smaller jobs constantly flowing in, it’s good to have something to keep you organised so you can prioritise.
“Getting to know someone’s business or personal brand is a skill and I think once you’ve nailed it, they can trust you with anything going forwards knowing that they’re in safe hands.”
Why do you enjoy what you do? Have you had a favorite job or project you’ve worked on?
I love what I do for so many reasons; firstly the flexibility and variety I mentioned are unlike any ‘regular’ job I’ve had before. We’re heading to France and Belgium as part of a documentary we (Mark and I) are making and it’s great to know that as long as I have an internet connection I’ll be able to check emails and write still, it’s very liberating. It also means my social media accounts are a bit more active and exciting – I can Tweet on the go and share all the great places I get to see. One of my favourite projects so far was travelling around Scotland photographing and filming a chain of hotels and their surroundings; that was great fun!
What would be your advice to someone just getting into professional freelance writing?
It sounds like you guys have paid me to say this but genuinely having a third party ‘agent’ as a way to get work is very helpful. It takes a lot of the legwork out of it and means you can concentrate on delivering a great product. I also think, don’t just quit your day job and think you can earn your fortune freelance writing right away; it takes time and I’d suggest starting it up alongside whatever it is you’re doing now and see how things go. Working on your own brand is just as important as working on someone else’s so keep things like websites, blogs and social media fresh and relevant.
What are you working on at the moment? What would you like to accomplish on Envato Studio in the next 12 months?
As the writing section of Envato Studio is quite new, I can only see it growing and coming into its own over the next 12 months. I’ve been on board from the start and have already had a number of exciting enquiries so it would be great to see that increase in number and flourish over the next year. I think more people are seeing the value in having a professional creative writer and that’s really heartening to see. At the moment, on the writing side of things I’ve been chatting with a lady in Georgia, USA about rewriting some content on a website and doing my usual tutorial writing for Tuts+ and on the filming/photography front I’ve just photographed a top chef and am preparing for France/Belgium, so things are quite busy!
What helps you be more productive?
Having time off! If you’re feeling blank or really not productive then I always think sitting in front of the computer waiting for it to come makes things worse. Don’t force it, get away from the computer even if it’s just for an hour or two. I find getting some fresh air and clearing my head really helps and when I come back I’ll often get more done than I would’ve if I’d sat at the computer for that time. Wunderlist is great too because if I’m unsure which task to tackle next I can look at my list and its deadlines and work things out from there.
Thanks so much for taking the time to share your story, Marie! Make sure to check out Marie’s range of services on Envato Studio.