The Short Version: My Qualifications
Read this if you just want a quick overview. I have over a decade of collective teaching and tutoring experience, with most of that being spent teaching first-year composition. I’ve worked with hundreds of students to improve their writing skills, and have improved my own in the process. I have a masters in English, and got seven years into an English PhD program before I severely reevaluated my life and decided that was not what I wanted to do.
But during my time in that program I learned how to research, write, and edit a wide variety of academic-style papers, and also how to work to a deadline. While in the program, I also worked in our university’s writing center. This job exposed me to writing from all across the university; I worked with everything from nursing research to artist statements to literary analysis. I saw every kind of assignment you could imagine, and I know how to have a conversation about a piece of writing, even if it’s well outside of my comfort zone.
The contents may differ, but writing is writing. I also had the chance to work with both domestic and international students in this position, so I’m qualified to work with non-native English speakers, whether you need help with your grammar, your structure, or just figuring out what words will express your thoughts best. I have lived my life steeped in writing, and that’s why I’m here. I didn’t care for graduate school, but part of the reason I wanted out was so that I could reclaim this thing I loved, and make it into my life and passion again.
The Long Version: More Of My Story
If all you care about are my qualifications, you don’t have to read this section. This is just if you want to know about me as a human. My name is Anessa, and I’m a freelance writer and upcoming counseling masters student currently living in Missouri. I live with two cats and a roommate, and have too much tea. In whatever free time I have I enjoy weaving, playing the ukulele, and reading/watching as much fantasy material as I can get my hands on. I’m also a huge tabletop RPG fan, and I play in and run several games, which has probably been one of the best developments for my writing; having to write a story where the actions of five living chaotic people directly impact what happens is an exercise in creativity, flexibility, and the ability to improvise like a tap dancing octopus. So if this seems weird to you and you’re hesitant to work with me because I play D&D, I promise you’ll be happy I do.
If you want to know a little bit about my backstory, I started off writing short fiction as a teenager, and cut my writing teeth on the fanfiction sites of the early 2000s. Learning to write on the internet gives you a hard and fast education, but I loved it. I decided that I would study English when I went off to college. I focused on medieval literature and creative writing, and minored in history and linguistics. I grew up as a very one-foot-then-the-other kind of person, so after I did undergrad, I decided I wanted to do graduate school. So I got my Masters in English as well, where I continued to focus on medieval literature, and where I started learning how to write long papers, decently well, and how to read Latin, very badly. My writing has improved since then; my Latin has not.
I followed up my degree with two years of teaching writing as an adjunct English instructor, where I was overworked and underpaid, but I really loved working with students and teaching them not just how to write, but why it was so important. I loved teaching the kids, but it was also isolating work – if you don’t know about the adjunct crisis in the U.S, I advise you to go read about it if terrible labor markets are your thing. The one really good thing that happened during this time though, was that I got into a PhD program. So in 2014, I packed up my books and my cats and moved to St. Louis, to start a new adventure.
My PhD built up my writing skills a great deal. I regularly wrote long seminar papers, received feedback that improved my skills and crushed my spirits, sometimes at the same time, and I got the opportunity to work with many, many classes of first and second-year students in introductory writing and literature courses. This, and working as a consultant in our writing center, trained me to work with all different kinds of writing, and I learned so much from my students and clients which has shaped the writing skills I have now. Once again I was overworked and underpaid, but I was also learning things, so it seemed like a semi-fair trade.
The whole story of my program is… long, and not what you all want to read. So let us say that the longer I stayed, the less happy I became. Then Covid hit, and I stopped and took a good hard look at my life and my choices, and realized that an English PhD was *not* where I wanted to be. I took some time to soul-search, and at the end of the existential crisis, I landed on getting my degree in counseling.
I applied to programs, and will be starting in the fall, and I have never been happier about a choice in my life. But despite figuring out my life plan, I still needed, you know, to work. And I wanted to do something that would let me reclaim my love of words, which graduate school had somewhat stripped away. Again, my story of exactly how I came to freelancing is long and probably not of interest. But needless to say, me, my decades-worth of experience in writing, editing, and consulting are here now, looking to help you realize your dreams and goals. So I hope you’ll consider reaching out, so we can work towards those together.