Barbara Hopkins is a Freelance Writer, Editor & Proofreader
Tell us a little about your background
My route leading up to The Feature Writer includes a year living on an Israeli kibbutz, which fuelled a life-long passion for independent travel and learning about other cultures. Later, the combination of raising my family while studying for a BA (Honours) degree in English as a mature student provided enduring lessons in concise writing, meeting deadlines and time management, as well as further broadening my educational horizons. I have also studied for and passed a Diploma in Freelance Journalism as well as undertaking further training for my new career. Learning never stops!
What inspired you to set up The Feature Writer?
Writing (and researching) has always been something that I wished I had more time for and the aviation industry downturn in 2009 provided a safety net for me to leave corporate life, undertake a new career challenge and become self-employed. As well as writing features and articles for newspapers and magazines in the UK and abroad, I also provide writing services to business owners who need an objective viewpoint for their website content, blog posts or newsletters, for example.
How do you differ from other copywriters?
I’ve brought to my new career experience of work in several professions: medical, aeronautical and logistics; the tenacity to obtain an English degree as a mature student and life skills acquired along my own personal route. I believe I can balance this with a freshness of approach in combining feature writing with writing for business.
Which areas / type of copy and feature writing do you specialise in?
I’m passionate about the Arts, independent travel (including an enduring love affair with Paris) and natural health; however my portfolio and blog illustrate that I write on a wide range of topics. Whether writing features or copy for a business client, I genuinely relish the research and learn a great deal from each assignment.
What has been the most unusual feature you’ve been asked to write?
That has to be a feature on Scotch whisky, because I absolutely loathe it! Fortunately it quickly became apparent that the editor wanted a focus on the process rather than the taste and I really enjoyed researching the subject, then interviewing the owners of those small distilleries using traditional methods to produce artisanal whiskies.
How has new technology and social media affected your work?
The most obvious is of course the speed of both communications and the dissemination of information by a variety of media. This covers every aspect of my work from communications with clients and editors, through to identifying trends and staying on top of developments in the industry. The global community is wide open for feature writers: editors everywhere seek well written copy with unique ideas and I’ve had features published in the USA and Canada, with PayPal facilitating the delivery of my fee.
How do you unwind after a long days work?
As a freelancer, separating my work and home lives can be something of a challenge. Because I love my work it’s very tempting to return to the computer ‘after hours’ and check on a piece of research or follow up on an idea, for example — and I often do! However I have a number of strategies that work for me in achieving that all-important balance, including time with family and friends, music, reading, a good film, planning some travel, even household chores – followed by a decent glass of wine, of course!