Freelancing in a Small Town with Wendy Royston

Today’s guest is Wendy Royston, a professional writer, editor and writing coach with over 20 years’ experience and she shares her journey of becoming a freelance writer while living in a town of only 330 people.  

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Freelancing in a Small Town Episode Summary:

On the show today, Wendy Royston will inspire anyone who has a marketable skill of any kind to explore the various ways it could be leveraged into freelance work, regardless of the size of the town where you live. Wendy loves the freedom her work offers to balance her responsibilities of being a mom to her five daughters plus the important choices she’s modeling for her kids as she pursues her passion in a non-traditional way.

About Wendy Royston

Wendy Royston is a professional writer, editor and writing coach with over 20 years’ experience. Her first paid writing assignment came when she was a sophomore at her high school in Parkston, South Dakota, when she was asked to write about the local volleyball team’s first-ever trip to the state tournament. That first assignment opened her eyes to the possibilities of creating a career as a journalist regardless of whether local newspapers were hiring. 

In 2014, Wendy landed her dream job through a freelance association with Dakotafire Media, a company covering rural issues in the eastern Dakotas in a manner that was “locally logical and regionally relevant.” In her role as managing editor of Dakotafire and Spark magazines, Wendy recruited and managed freelance reporters and photographers to join in the company’s mission of “sparking rural revival, one story at a time.” She also cultivated fiscal partnerships on behalf of Dakotafire Media with development groups and newspapers. Her favorite assignments were her community features, for which she delighted in spending a full day interviewing and taking photographs of the people, places and things that made rural communities across the Dakotas unique. Wendy was devastated when funding ran out for the magazines in early 2017, but quickly re-imagined what was possible for her own future.

With a fire in her soul for rural news, Wendy took the end of her work with Daktoafire as a sign that it was time to focus harder on freelance endeavors and began working with a handful of newspaper publishers and editors with whom she has become acquainted with through her association with the South Dakota Newspaper Association and Dakotafire Media. In 2018, she named her business Just Write Media Services. Over the last three years, Wendy’s freelance docket has expanded to include work for weekly and daily newspapers, magazines, books and blogs. She is proud to work with a variety of businesses, organizations, individuals and news agencies on projects of rural significance. Wendy’s work has appeared in The Daily Yonder, a national blog focusing on rural issues.

Wendy lives outside Ethan, S.D., a community of 330 people without its own newspaper. Wendy’s freelance career has provided her with the opportunity to be more present for her five daughters’ growing list of activities, and served as an example to them that it is possible to live a life of adventure and depth regardless of location. Known as the “queen of networking,” Wendy enjoys traveling and meeting new people, especially at conferences focusing on rural topics. Often, she is the last person to leave an event, because she is soaking up the energy and stories of those around her until the very end.

Listen to this episode to hear more about:

  • How to pay attention to the early signs pointing to your potential talents/passions
  • How there has never been a better time to pursue your “own thing”
  • The power of networking outside of your small town
  • Why innovation rarely comes from within
  • The value in staying open to whatever comes next

Connect with Wendy

IG: @wmroyston

FB: @weeklywendy


Follow Wendy’s writing at The Daily Yonder: