H. M. L. Swann
#4 PATHS: Freelance writing with Hello Eddi
Eddi has been writing, dancing, interviewing, and more in the K-Pop scene for the last five years. He has written for sites such as allkpop and Kpopstarz as well as been a speaker at KCON. He is currently living in South Korea working as an extra for multiple entertainment companies while still promoting his own projects.
Eddi and I shared many weekends enjoying beautiful cafes, sipping sweet potato lattes with our laptops propped up between us. We worked on our individual projects while bouncing ideas back and forth. We talked about everything from music, food, work, and more. He inspires those around him by simultaneously cheering them on while being 100% honest.
1.How did you start freelance writing and editing?
It may sound crazy but I never truly dreamed of being a writer - the pen absolutely chose me! I began writing seriously when I was a sophomore in college. My communications professor relentlessly repeated to me that I had a natural talent for speaking, writing, and sharing my opinions so I left my Marine Biology major behind and pursued this wonderful career! Although I have grown up quite a lot since then, I began professionally writing in local magazines as a Junior in college seven years ago. Don't Google that content - I'm sure there are endless errors, haha!
2. Where or how have you studied writing? Formally or informally?
I would say I had a standard but mostly informal experience. I constantly published articles and produced content for start-up websites due to the lucky connections I had made. After changing majors, I studied writing through your run-of-the-mill basic liberal arts courses. However, all my real talent and strengths come from experience. The years of mistakes combined with the countless educators, bosses, and like-mind career partners helped produce the skills I am equipped with today. Still, Grammarly keeps me on my toes, too~
3. What do you enjoy about freelance writing?
The ability to experience new ventures while writing is an immense joy that comes with freelancing. Granted, I have had days where the bills will not be paid unless I write that German vacuum instruction manual that no one will read but there are other exciting fields and topics to explore as well. You do have a lot of freedom as well, it is the number one thing every freelancer talks about, but you can easily be caught in a black hole of slave writing or trapped in the dilemma of eating a pickle for lunch and preparing to live on the streets. It really is that drastic (at least in our heads) and it can cause anyone to spiral out of control. Know your worth and know your limits so you can enjoy the freedom properly.
4. How does your economic or cultural background influence your writing?
I am no super-rich guy but I live comfortably. This allows me to enjoy the freedom people envy, to know my worth, and high-ball prices. This also allows me the time and option to be picky about the choices in front of me when contracting a client. Sad to say, but as a white male writer I do receive more opportunities than Hispanic or Asian writers due to the stereotypical belief that their English is not up to par with mine - which is a lie!
I've also experienced most of the American style of living possible - the kid in the big city apartment building, middle o' nowhere countryside shack, 4-story home with a pool and yard, forest cabin, suburbs filled with skateboarding kids and brunching moms, the "ghetto" areas of New York and New Jersey (someone was stabbed one time, no big!), you get the gist. These backgrounds just make for wonderful stories and help me relate to stories.
As for culture, I am bi-racial. I respect my roots. I love my culture and any given chance to share it is a dream come true. I also speak many different languages (mostly Korean) and love sharing Asian culture the most due to all the vast differences. I am still learning so much about this wondrous culture, but if you want to catch up with me and continue alongside my journey you should take a moment to look at the books I helped published on Amazon - "The K-Pop Dictionary 2," and "The Korean Culture Dictionary."
5. Where or when do you write? Do you have a ritual, routine, practice that you stick to?
As a freelance writer and paid to write based on the whim of others, I seldomly have a chance (let alone a ritual) to write! Just send me to a cozy cafe, with a sweet potato latte and give me my money! You'll have your article in a day, tops! I also worked in news corporations where pumping out 10+ articles a day was the daily quota. Working in this sort of hustling environment truly prepares you to toughen up, stick it out, and write, write, write! I think if I ever try to make a practice out of my natural flow, it will just disrupt things. I somewhat like the chaos.
6. What are you working on now? Has COVID affected it? What are your plans for the future?
These days I'm doing a lot of projects outside of writing. I still love writing occasionally for celebrity interviews and promotional work (I just finished interviewing Kevin Woo and P1Harmony) but I'm more interested in broadcasting and being on camera as well.
Fortunately, most of my interviews were from abroad and completed via email/phone services so COVID-19 hasn't affected that. However, broadcasting plans get canceled often. Since I'm currently in Korea and the country has a strong handle on the outbreak, I believe I can continue working towards my future goals of being a TV personality!
7. How do you find the balance between personal projects and promotional work for other products or people?
I look at my bank account and then decide, haha! Seriously, there are often times were my promotions go unpaid and I must earn experience or it is my turn to scratch someone's back. I do not want to tarnish the beauty of writing or make it sound like it's all money-oriented, but when you leave publishing firms and venture into freelance as I do, money becomes a big priority, and prioritizing it is something I used to lack and not understand. Also, connections who make offers, alongside other opportunities, often just come out of the blue and go right back into it. So, if something interests me I just grab it and make time to do it. No questions asked (except about my pay, of course).
Outside of money-making projects, my other hobbies such as personal interviews, dancing, video-editing, and live stream events are always something I do my best to afford time for. Passion will come first and money will always be there. I think if people can balance when to say "No," alongside investing even small amounts of time into their own projects they can slowly find success within themselves and publicly.
8. Do you have any advice for future freelance writers or editors out there?
I really want to offer tangible and eye-opening advice, so I will keep it simple. Always make a contract detailing your work and the compensation expectations on your end. Learn about the idea of "Time burglars," people who may connect with you, and how they inspecting you for opportunities and waste your time - try to provide your valuable time to projects that matter to you. Be supportive and interactive - it is called SOCIAL media for a reason. If you just post and only act one-sidedly you will never get the notification bell ringing. You get what you send out into this world. Finally, ask yourself the big question - are you a consumer or a producer? Now, I can confidently send whoever is reading this wonderful blog some luck in their pursuit of writing and more!