Being a freelance writer isn't just about being your own boss. It's about being your only employee, meeting deadlines, and being able to tap into the mind of your client to make sure that you are delivering the product they expect. It can also be a lot of fun!
I live in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley, which is quickly becoming Napa North as our orchards are replaced by vineyards. And yes, you can grow grapes this far north.
The Thumbnail CV is this: after college I had a newspaper career. I’ve been a reporter, sales manager, general manager, managing editor and publisher. I eventually chucked the office routine to return to my first love: writing. For three years I wrote a syndicated humour column. For 20 years I’ve been a freelance writer focused on business, travel and the business of travel.
I primarily write travel articles for magazines from Singapore to Sweden from my base near the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia, Canada.
In pursuit of story ideas, I’ve traveled on the old Orient Express (before it became a luxury train); bobbed around icebergs off Newfoundland in a very, very small open boat; hung upside down from treetops in an Alberta dude ranch (okay, that was a mistake); and nearly killed myself snowbiking down an 8,500-foot-high mountain in the Canadian Rockies (expletive deleted).
I’ve twice cycled the length of Prince Edward Island, been thrown by a horse named Parker in Bermuda, found a rhinoceros outside my door in South Africa, and drank with a man dressed as a cow at St. John’s George Street Festival. This all becomes fodder for articles.
Read about Allan's adventures on his blog, Allan Lynch, a wandering scribbler.
The Holland College journalism program was the best choice I ever made in my life. Not knowing what I wanted to do straight out of high school, the course offered me training in many areas, not just writing. It taught me to be open to people and to take on challenges. I look at the world differently now, a world of opportunities to do whatever I want to do. I learned to pay closer attention to what people tell me, what people do and how they do it. I now have the chance to get out into the world and make a name for myself on and off Island. One month out of the program and I’ve already worked for CBC Radio, The Guardian, Island Business News and Panac
he P.E.I., the Island’s fashion magazine.
“Today my travelling continues while I am a flight attendant with WestJet and a freelance journalist, most recently covering events for Canadian traveller magazine. Journalism gave me words, strength and a magnificent set of wings.”
When I need directions I ask a stranger on the street. If I need a place to stay in Europe, I turn to Couchsurfing. If my new neighbour invites me for a meal, I’ll go, dessert in hand. My ease and comfort around people is not innate I was so painfully shy that others mistook me for being rude or stuck up. When did this change? In 2009 when as a journalism student, if I did not have an interview, I did not have a story. I had no choice but to meet strangers. It became my passion.
My experience in the journalism program did more than put a pen in my hand and words on paper; it gave me confidence and showed me the world. It also thickened my skin by about half a mile. Never did I imagine myself taking a solo trip through Europe for a year or talking to locals on the street without hesitation, be it in Tokyo, Dubai or the Caribbean islands. The confidence I gained from the journalism program was a massive stepping-stone in the path to where I am now.
Today my travelling continues. I am a flight attendant with WestJet and a freelance journalist, most recently covering events for Canadian Traveller magazine. Journalism gave me words, strength and a magnificent set of wings.
The Holland College journalism program was the perfect fit for me. Its excellent instructors, hands-on learning style and internships prepared me for a rewarding career which has included many years as a reporter, as the managing editor of a newspaper and now as a freelance journalist.
I didn’t always dream of being a journalist, but my passion for staying informed on a local and global level was always a part of my life. When I was 30, I decided to make a career of that passion and by 2001 I had graduated from the journalism program, where I earned the Atlantic Journalism Award Moosehead Brewery Award of Merit as the best journalism student in Atlantic Canada.
Following internships at the Charlottetown Guardian and the Halifax Daily News, I moved back to my hometown of Bridgewater, Nova Scotia to work for one of Canada’s last remaining independent newspapers, The Progress Bulletin. I believe I immediately established a reputation for integrity, for being fair but not soft, and for accurate and insightful writing.
In a 13-year career in print and digital media, I regularly covered town and municipal councils, sports, natural resources and education, and occasionally various other beats, such as business, lifestyles, arts and health. A prolific writer who conscientiously worked for deadline, I earned various awards at a regional and national level for writing and photography, including a high-profile investigative story in 2011, which eventually led to the firing of the elected South Shore Regional School Board by the provincial minister of education. As a result, I won a second Atlantic Journalism Award, this one for enterprise reporting, and a national award for best reporter initiative.
In 2014, I emerged as a leader in the company and was named news director. I was responsible for all aspects of the editorial department for a newspaper with a circulation of more than 13,000 and web site with more than 12,000 on-line visitors weekly. The newspaper was named best in its class in Atlantic Canada under my leadership.
In 2015, I came to the difficult realization the role as news director was not allowing me to do what I really loved most — writing and having the freedom to spend more time with my family — so I stepped out on my own and began a freelance career. So far, it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.