FREELANCE 411: Q & A with Mary Hay Davis

by Mary Hay Davis

It’s hard to toot your own horn when you’re adhering to terms of non-disclosure so as not to reveal your identity. How am I supposed to prove to you I’m qualified if I can’t give you detailed information about my background and accomplishments?

Since I’m a firm believer that obstacles are what you see when you take your eyes off of your goal, I’m looking forward, and improvising with my abridged version of the childhood game “20 Questions” (tightened to 10 for the web.)

Q. In what types of media has your work appeared?

A. I’ve enjoyed being published in national publications such as The Christian Science Monitor, as well as many smaller publications. But my real love is writing for the internet – from web content/SEO copy to blog posts to e-sales letters.

Q. How long have you been freelance writing?

A. For three years.

Q. Don’t you think you might be a bit short on experience to take on the role of freelance writing mentor – especially to an international audience?

A. I can see where some might feel that way. However, my learning curve increased exponentially after the first year. During that period, I struggled in a variety of areas including finding clients, time management, maintaining focus, transitioning from full-time clock-puncher to the carefree and worldly freelance writer I am today (okay, I’m still working on that part.)

In essence, I grew tremendously during that first year of hard knocks – it’s just too darn bad it didn’t come with a some type of diploma.

Q. You say you like to write for the internet – why?

A. I spent the first half of my career transfixed on one thought: that in order to succeed, I had to concentrate on being “published” in ever-higher levels of print media. Then one day, I had an epiphany. “Why are you fixated on writing for editors, when there is a blazing new frontier – one where writers rule (or should!), and content is king?”

From that moment on, I decided to realign my priorities, and become a marketing machine first (Brand: ME!), and a writer second. My career took off, and I’ve never looked back.

Q. What is your favorite thing about being a freelance writer?

A. Well besides the de rigueur answers of no commute and no dress code, my favorite thing is that I get to pursue my passion for lifelong learning. Whether it’s research I need to conduct for an assignment or new skills I need to learn to run my business, I learn something new almost every day.

Q. What do you think is the biggest requirement for freelance success?

A. Absolutely it’s – FOCUS! The ability to focus on a goal, whether it’s long term or short term, and then take the necessary steps to accomplish it is critical to freelance success. In his book, ‘The Freelance Writer’s Bible’, David Trottier talks about how critical maintaining laser-like focus is in order for writers to succeed.

Q. What is the niche topic you plan to cover if you win?

A. My main focus would be on marketing – from branding oneself, to new methods of finding clients to setting yourself apart from the crowd. I also plan to delve into the vast topic of the internet – a medium that fascinates me.

Q. What do you think your biggest challenge will be should you win the blogging job?

A. A big consideration will be the fact that I’ll be writing to a wide audience. Yes, we’re obviously all freelance writers if we’re interacting on this job board, but we have diverse personalities and backgrounds. Some of you probably remember hunting and pecking away at a manual typewriter, while for others, the only medium you’ve ever known is the internet (and may not even know what carbon paper is!)

Q. What can you bring to the FWJ table, and why should I vote for you?

A. If you follow this board then you obviously see it as a valuable resource and come here for answers, and I plan to provide them. Far from knowing everything, I’ll be the first to admit when I don’t. A wise colleague once said to me, “I don’t have to have all the answers – I just need to know where to find them.”

Q. Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?

When I first started my journey, I thought it would be all about the writing – how wrong I was! I’ve developed skills I never thought possible – from building a website to positioning myself as a marketer first and a writer second. It’s been a wonderful adventure so far, and I’d love to share my quest for freelance success with you.

Thank you for your time and consideration, and I hope I’ve given you the information you need to earn your vote!



Because the internet is a dynamic and interactive medium, I’ve included a short bonus webcast that deals with the topic of what delineates those who succeed from those who don’t. This is the type of value-added resource I plan to contribute to the community, so I hope this resonates with you and that you’ll keep it in mind when it comes time to vote.

The Difference Between Those Who Succeed and Those Who Don’t

Mary Hay Davis is a professional writer whose work has appeared in The Christian Science Monitor, The Costco Connection, Family Times/Parenting Today and San Diego Family, Magazine. She specializes in writing SEO web content, advetorials, informational articles and marketing material. Before becoming a writer, Mary worked over two decades as a police dispatcher, an occupation rich in anecdotes about the foibles and frailties of the human condition. You can contact Mary through her two websites: and


  1. says

    This was well done and you still kept your identity hidden. All the best to you #6. I appreciate learning more about what you have to offer the community of FWJ.

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