Meet a Journalist Making It in an Ever-Changing Industry
Ask Taylor Bryant, a writer who contributes to publications such as Nylon, to share the best part of being a Girl Scout, and she’ll tell you flat out that it was the women in leadership positions.
“I’ve always been surrounded by women in leadership positions,” says Taylor, a 29-year-old who grew up in New Jersey. “In fact, every single one of my bosses has been a woman, and I think Girl Scouts made that the norm. I truly believe that women look after other women. That has been my experience and, looking back, it all started with Girl Scouts.”
Those strong female role models were an inspiration to Taylor, who learned how to take the lead in her career and roll with the changes that come with freelancing. Ever wonder what it’s like to make it as a freelance writer? Read on as Taylor shares more about what it takes (hint: you might have already learned these things as a Girl Scout!).
1. Be ready to evolve with a changing industry.
“Before I went freelance, I was [the senior editor] at Nylon for almost three years. Early on they closed our print magazine. I’m not sure how many people got laid off, but it was scary in the sense that we had no idea it was coming—none of us knew, not even my boss, and it was unclear what was going to happen with our jobs. I got through that, but I believe that you have to evolve with whatever way your industry is changing. For me, that meant learning about search engine optimization, Google Analytics, how our readers use our site, and what stories they’ll click on. All of those skills were really important and, no matter your industry, it’s important to pick up on additional skills that can make you as marketable as possible.”
2. Be willing to learn on the job.
“In my case, that meant learning HTML and Photoshop. It was so great to have those skills going forward, even if I never used them in my next job. I truly believe that learning about video, learning the production side of things, as well as how to put together a photo shoot, for example, is very helpful, because you never really know what’s going to happen, especially in my ever-changing industry. My best advice: soak up as much information, experience, and knowledge as you can.”
3. Expect to dive right into a beat.
“When I started my career, I was a beauty assistant at Refinery29 and had no experience in beauty. Honestly, the fact that I went into it not knowing anything about skincare, makeup, or hair made me a better writer. It forced me to research. If I didn’t know something about an ingredient, for example, I would reach out to a dermatologist, and that helped me learn even more. The best thing about being a writer is that you learn something new every day. To stay on top of trends, I’m on Twitter and Instagram. I also read the Atlantic and New York Times every day, as well as actual physical novels and nonfiction. I think everything is intersected in a way. There’s a political angle to fashion, there’s an identity angle to beauty, and I think it’s important to be well-rounded in that sense. You don’t have to be an expert on everything, but you should be well-informed about a lot of things.”