My first encounter with Jamie and her work was through a piece she wrote for The Billfold on Medium about how she asks for tips on all of her creative writing. It was one of those reads where you find yourself nodding your head more aggressively the more you read. So I read more of her writing and found myself connecting to every word. I had to reach out and learn more from Jamie herself. Jamie Varon is a freelance designer, writer and multidisciplinary extraordinaire. She is confident and self-aware in a way I haven't encountered in anyone else, and so her answers about what it really means to do creative work are honest and come from a refreshingly different perspective. Enjoy!
Tell me a little bit more about what you do and what that involves?
I am very much a multi-disciplinary when it comes to the type of freelance work I do. I tried doing solely freelance writing, but there’s something about writing when I just really need to say something, that’s very appealing. It puts too much pressure on it for me to try and make all of my money off of it. At least for now.
So I’m writing, and I have design clients and some consulting clients on retainer as well. I’m just scraping things together in the best possible way. It’s good. It’s nice to be able to write for a few hours and then shift my focus to something else.
Have you always been interested in writing? Or was that something that you stumbled on after trying a few different things?
In the back of my mind I’ve always thought, “I’m going to be a writer one day.” It was that romanticized version of a writer. When I was a kid, I loved both writing and reading-I always have. When I went to college I decided not to major in creative writing, which was a weird decision, because if you’re a writer you want to learn how to write really well. I just didn’t want this thing that I loved to be critiqued in that way. I feel like creativity is just something that’s really weird to be critiqued on.
So while I was doing design I would just write on the side. I’m 30 now, and when I was younger there weren’t as many opportunities to get your writing out there. It’s a different world now. You can put your writing on the internet and people can read it. That wasn’t even available. I put myself on MySpace [laughs], no one was reading that.
So once I started seeing more opportunities, I started putting my stuff out there. It’s been an evolution in a way. I’m also very practical. I never wanted to be a struggling artist. I always had to balance finances with doing the things that I wanted.