Written By Emily-Jane Hills Orford

How I Landed a Paid Blogging Gig via Freedom With Writing

This writer landed a monthly blogging gig –– fully paid. She found a lead on Freedom With Writing, sent a pitch, and secured the job. Here’s how she did it.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford is what some people would describe as a mature writer. With decades of writing experience behind her, she has noticed the many changes over the years and she has had to change with the times. She began her career freelance writing for newspapers, historical magazines and food publications. With the paper editions of many publications dwindling, this author has had to re-direct her focus and look for new venues to publish her work, many of those venues online.

  • She found a niche and blended her passions with her knowledge
  • She was persistent, not allowing the rejection of the day to hold her back
  • Honed her writing talents and made what she knew into what she could write

Enter Emily-Jane Hills Orford:

Where should I start? A notice on the Freedom With Writing website mentioned a gardening blog that paid. Nifty Homesteader (now called Insteading) was seeking writers with a knack for quirky pieces about living in the country, country life and the lure of gardens. For a newly located country woman with a passion for gardening, this appealed. There was no query required, just an application to fill in. It was more of a questionnaire than an application form. I answered the questions and submitted it, fully expecting another rejection:


Emily-Jane Hills Orford
Select The Writer Type That Best Fits You:
·       I love homesteading & just want to write (paid)
How Often Are You Interested In Contributing?
·       Monthly or more
What Are You Looking To Write About?
wildflower gardens, English gardens, woodsy gardens, veggie gardens


And the correspondence that followed, however, not only caught me with surprise, it opened a whole new publishing niche for my writing. And, a means to share some of my passions.

Hey Emily-Jane,

Thanks for your application to write for Nifty Homestead!

Your Topics:

All of the topics you mentioned are on track. We don’t always approve broader topics like these with writers we’re working with for the first time, but I’d be willing to try out Wildflower Gardens, English Gardens, or Woodsy Gardens. If you have photos of your own that you’re able to share that would probably help, but we may be able to supplement from a few Creative Commons sources.

Beyond those posts, we’re usually able to approve more specific titles more quickly. These past community submissions are good examples:

Payments / Promotion / Frequency:

We typically pay $50 for occasional contributions, which we pay after your submission is approved. Please let us know the best Paypal email address to send payment to when you submit your post.

We’re currently accepting up to 1 submission per month per writer.

How To Submit Your Post:

Once we have an approved topic, you can submit your post at https://www.niftyhomestead.com/write-for-us/submissions/ (password protected page – the password is notarealpassword). Once you hit submit we’ll review, make any edits (or send over requests if we need you to make those edits), and then schedule for publishing. We do our best to alert you when the post will go live so that you can share on your social media profiles or your website.

Please read through our Writer’s Guidelines before submitting. The top 2 reasons we reject posts are (1) poor writing and (2) failure to write for our audience. If you follow the writer’s guidelines you should be able to avoid both.

Posts are typically published as quickly as 1 week or as long as 1 month from submission depending on how busy we are. If you haven’t heard back within 3-4 weeks days then please feel free to check in with us.

Thanks – please let me know if you have any questions!


I submitted my first story on English gardens. And the bond was made. I was in. I had a new market for my work and a regular publication schedule.

Hi Emily — Thanks for that submission — just wanted to let you know it will publish on Monday, July 3. If you have any friends/family you want to share it with over social networks, we’d love that!

We’d also love to hear any more submission ideas you have — specific challenges (or triumphs) you’ve had as you’ve created and maintained your garden? Specific plants and how they’ve worked out for you? Those are just a couple of ideas that come to mind.


The correspondence continued, back and forth, the rapport between author and publisher had been established.

Hello – That’s good to know. I’ll certainly share the post. Here’s another post you might be interested in. Thanks again.





Emily-Jane Hills Orford 

            What is a bramble? It’s that spikey, thorny annoyance that scratches your arms, or grabs your pant legs unexpectedly when you’re trying to weed your garden, or take a walk through the woods. It’s prickly, invasive and it quickly takes root anywhere, making it almost impossible to eradicate. Impossible? Well almost. It was certainly a battle I was not willing to lose.

            Ugh! They were everywhere! I slowly ventured into the woodsy section of our one-acre property and let out a deep-throated groan. Oh no! Where do I start? We had moved in back in the spring. The summer had been a shambles for gardening as we just tried to settle into the new home and endure the lengthy drought that hit our area. I wanted something more for my yard, though. So, once the temperatures started to drop and the bugs decided to leave (a really important issue for someone living near woods and swamps and we lived surrounded by both), it was time to take action; time to prepare the land for the following spring. …


With some advice from the editor, I was onto my second piece:

Hi Emily — This is good — Our audience is pretty practical and solution-oriented, so if you could include a paragraph about what tools you used, specifically, and what your process was?


Maybe somewhere in this section?

            But brambles! They were so invasive. Nothing to do, really, except start digging and start reclaiming the land. I made sure I always dressed in long pants, tall boots and a long sleeved shirt or pullover and, of course, I wore gloves. Irregardless, I always ended up with scratch marks on my arms and legs to attest to my daily activity. 

I raked and dug and pulled up bramble after bramble after bramble, adding it to my growing garden waste pile, the stuff that I couldn’t and wouldn’t recycle. It was better burned. Total elimination. At least, that was the plan.


And, if you’re able to do that, if you could please submit it through the same form you did last time (when you do that, it auto-generates a bunch of info and tasks that help us publish it faster…


If you’re able to do those two things, this should work for us!




I still have my work cut out for me. I may have landed a lucrative publisher, but I had to do the work and deliver the product in a timely manner. And, considering the fact that gardening, though my passion, was not my area of expertise, I had to do the research as well. Not a problem, I told myself. It’ll be fun. And I can weave in my other passions with my garden stories.

It is fun and rewarding, too. In just half a year, I have published a couple of dozen stories on Insteading, with more in the works. I may not be bringing in the big bucks, but I am writing, publishing and getting paid. I am being recognized and, with this regular publishing appreciating my work, I have already landed a big writing gig with a big-name glossy print magazine, with the hopes of more to come. It’s a start.

Analysis from Freedom With Writing:

Perhaps the most frequently heard advice for would-be writers is to “write what you know”. If we all stuck to that plan, we would never evolve into the wide spectrum of artistic individuals that we were meant to be. There is some truth to the advice, however, and it certainly is a beginning, a means to get those published clips so many publications request, as well as a viable means to hone the writer’s craft while developing and exploring other genres of writing.

I like this case because Emily-Jane has demonstrated how she can adapt to the ever-changing world of publication and make something that is her passion, in this case gardening, into something she can write about like an expert, which she claims she isn’t. She has persevered and continues to write regularly for the online gardening blog, a gig that has led her to bigger prospects.

Your Turn

  • What is your passion?
  • How does the pitch of this story affect how you might approach your writing goals?
  • Can you adapt/adjust your passions to make a good pitch to a paying market?



Emily-Jane Hills Orford is a published food writer, gardening blogger, novelist and writer of creative nonfiction books and stories. She has received numerous awards for her writing. Her passion for Scottish history shines through in her latest novel, “Queen Mary’s Daughter” (2018: Clean Reads Publishing). Perhaps not the ‘write what you know’ that started her writing career, but certainly the passion that allowed it to evolve. For more information on the author, check out her website at: http://emilyjanebooks.ca   or connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. She also has a blog: http://beyondtheordinaryincanadianstories.blogspot.ca/


Your Comments:

  1. Stephanie Mayberry says:

    Do you think it’s a good idea to publish their submission site with password?

    This is a great, inspirational piece, but that information should probably be redacted.

  2. Emily-Jane Hills Orford says:

    It’s ok. It’s an old password. No longer valid.

  3. Victoria Engel says:

    It’s GREAT to hear about this woman’s success but the provided links to her work are not helpful to the rest of us; instead they aim to further promote her audience/success.
    The articles headline led readers to believe we were going to learn ways to promote ourselves as writers but we were misled as we were only offered links to the author’s gardening site and then to a book she wrote; neither on a subject I care ANYTHING about.
    It was a sorry attempt at self-promotion.

    And btw, “irregardless” is not, in fact a word. Can’t believe you OR your publisher’s didn’t catch that. The word would be “regardless.” Simply, regardless.

    • R. Davis says:

      This was very informative if you read the intro correctly. This was an example of how she got out there. Not only did it inspire me, you don’t get many writers that are willing to give you the whole message like she did. Your tone is irrenecessary<< how about that word? WOW you are rude.

  4. Deirdra Carlisle says:

    Tickled somewhat at the comment left by WOW. Just goes to show differing opinions and expectations of your readers. Personally, I was encouraged to read her journey and beginnings with writing for the publishers. It gives me direction and some form of what can be developed thru corresponding and just putting your stuff out there. I enjoyed it myself.

  5. Teresa Hoon says:

    To Victoria Engel:
    I took understood the piece was an EXAMPLE of a writer who landed a regular blogging gig. Seems to me self-promotion is appropriate and may lead to more work for her.
    REGARDLESS, I found your comments unnecessarily rude. WOW.

  6. Madison says:

    I thought it was really inspirational and I love the writing style of the author! Nice work, Emily-Jane! I couldn’t believe how interested I was in reading about brambles from my unfortunately non-woodsy apartment haha.

  7. Susan Fox says:

    I found this article to be very helpful. I, too, have a success story about getting a writing gig through Freedom With Writing. I pitched a unique idea on how to save money on burial and cremation costs and Penny Hoarder accepted the pitch. I wrote my blog and made $75. I would leave the link here to show you that it did get published, but I don’t want to be accused of shameless self-promotion!

  8. Veronica Gilkes says:

    Hi, All I found this article truly inspirational and I congratulate you Emily for your inspiration, it’s just a lesson that if you want something go for it. And WOW I think you are very RUDE if you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all. Veronica

  9. Chris Brewer says:

    It is nice to see such stong support amongst writers. As the purpose of this, and other sites, is to build up those who enjoy the art of writing and are looking for ways to combine what they love with what they need (money/income). I Always take away something positive or helpful, when that is my true purpose for reading in the first place. Thank you for your positive contribution to my personal bank of knowledge!

  10. IK says:

    not bad. an inspiring story for the next freelancer. Thanks for putting that piece together.

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