Tamara Arden has worked in an array of media such as magazines, newspapers, radio, advertising and digital; and one can only see why this freelance writer’s pen is destined for great things.
Both free-spirited and grounded; Tamara shares her freelance journey and her words slowly draw you in. Through her story she conveys her strong will and sensitivity to life and work in an unashamed and poetic way.
FCT: Tamara, how long have you worked as a freelance writer?
I’ve been dipping in and out of that role since I chose words as a career path. I generously gave my time to freelance projects during my in-between moments, when the office roles and company culture conflicted with my vision and integrity.
But until recently, I’ve never believed or given myself the chance to branch out. This was until I decided to invest in my potential, skill set and refined craft with a confidence to secure me, which is why I joined FCT in November 2016. So, it’s still early days – and I’m curious where this journey will take me.
FCT: We like your word choice: Vision, Integrity, Journey… Tell us more about that. What is your vision with your freelance work? What does integrity mean to you? And in your opinion, what are some of the key elements needed for someone who wishes to embark on the freelance journey?
All those attributes have become an extension of the personality and mood my writing carries.
I wear my integrity like a crown, letting it it lead the way.
The media industry is both stimulating and draining. It often narrates your direction, instead of you – so I needed to know who I was and what I stood for before I dedicated my time to a freelance path.
Sifting through each role; you are expected to adapt- be a chameleon, so if you lose sight of your integrity, the work will not sound believable.
My biggest tool is being an active listener, I use it to guide the vision.
You need to learn to be both the lone wolf and the team player on this journey, pairing up ideas and strengths to create artistry.
One vision is essential: it helps absorb and contribute.
Collaborative vision is magic and its practice is humbling.
The important part is the story; it gives context to your timeline and future. No matter the medium, the key is to share it your way. Trust your contribution to the work.
A freelance journey is just about giving clients ‘you’. Everyone is looking for individuality and how it will support their brand. Sincerity, honesty and openness are my go-to’s – you must have a strong will to be be heard and ask as many questions until you feel you have the clarity and understanding of what is expected of you.
FCT: Tell us about the project you most enjoyed working on and why.
I was asked to write, narrate and record an audio tour for Voice Map in 2015. I wouldn’t jump to explain it as enjoyable first. I’d say more along the lines of daunting, awkward and out of my comfort zone, but by the time it was finalised, that joy spread throughout me.
I wrote audio copy for a tour around Braamfontein, Joburg. I thought this would be the only expectation of me, but alas, it was quite a lengthy process – a lot of back and forth, pushing me against the limitations I instilled in myself and audio was a whole new platform to me. I had a great guide with me every step of the way, showing me how to be concise, clear and relatable in my choice of words. I learnt to be a storyteller in a different way. So day after day, as I sat under a duvet to shut the external street noises out, using my phone as a microphone, concealing the discomfort of listening to my voice over and over again, the awkward and the uncomfortable turned into the beautiful and the brilliant. I had created a living piece of content for a dynamic and innovative start-up for people to download and navigate their way around the area I had mapped out. It gave me a taste of that world and I’d love to venture deeper again one day.
FCT: If you could narrate the next freelance chapter of your life, what would your last paragraph sound like?
I think it’s quite an obtuse question, but I’ll write what’s in the heart… She asked for the transparency and certainty of today, the potential of another tomorrow and the choice to discover liberty in the artistry of life. Shape Shifting constantly as she mastered her every mood, she began to operate on a high emotional frequency where every detail, gesture and interaction deeply moved her. She immersed herself in nature and used gratitude as a foundation to appreciate the comings and goings, the temporary and the divine.
The gift was just to stay present and keep that reminder active:
Be you. Be unashamedly you.
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