The Path That Led To My First Big Break In Writing – Ingrid Cruz

The Path That Led To My First Big Break In Writing – Ingrid Cruz

Many freelance writers start out working inconsistent schedules as they seek stability. A lot of my first gigs involved ghostwriting at rates that weren’t sustainable because I didn’t know what to charge. Worst of all, I didn’t even know writers should specialize in a niche or two instead of applying to anything I saw available.

In order to get over this hurdle, I sought advice from fellow writers. They helped me find websites that taught me how to be a freelancer. After this, I had to find a niche I cared about. As a person who is passionate about film and travel, I wanted to write about pop culture in the U.S. and Latin America. Several writing blogs also taught me how much my asking rate should be and what I could charge after gaining experience.

Once I chose a niche, I paid attention to submission guidelines and learned how to write queries. Though I did my best to self-edit, I also downloaded Grammarly on Chrome as a back-up, and set up my Gmail account to be able to undo sending emails. These are still great back-ups in case I make mistakes!

After this, I continued searching for more stable work at better rates. That meant joining pertinent social media groups, subscribing to relevant email lists, and scouring freelance writing websites for jobs. Fellow writers were also able to give me better advice once I knew what I was looking for, and some even sent me leads.

After about five months of training myself to be a better freelancer, I stumbled upon XpatNation. This website was looking for writers who could cover a variety of topics, such as politics, news, and pop culture from the US and Latin America. In this instance, the editor was looking for someone who knew a lot about Mexico.

I had studied abroad in Mexico City in 2008. Plus, I had kept my ties to the country, and visited several times after ending my semester there. The site expected 3 articles per week and paid $30 per post. I got the job after applying. XpatNation paid weekly and posts had to be about 450 words. Sadly, the site is no longer live, but the same approach worked for me as I searched for subsequent gigs.

Nothing has stabilized my career more than finding a niche, and knowing what I want, and what I’m worth. I hope this works for you too.


Ingrid Cruz is a full-time freelance writer. She enjoys traveling, reading, and a good cup of coffee. Her website is:



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