Customer Portrait: Kirsty Logan on why you need to take the plunge

At FreshBooks, our world revolves around our customers. We have a motto: FreshBooks takes care of its employees, our employees take care of our customers, and our customers take care of FreshBooks. With that in mind, we make it our mission to make sure our customers have more time to do the extraordinary, unique and creative things they do. Along the way, we get the chance to showcase some of the amazing people that take care of us so darn well. Meet Kirsty Logan, a freelance writer, editor and teacher based in Scotland whose short fiction has been published in over 80 anthologies and literary magazines including Best British Short Stories 2011. She let us in on how she pursued her dream job:

How did you get started?

I’ve been writing stories since I was tiny: weird little fairy-tales, then teen-angst poetry, then hopelessly self-conscious fiction – but I only started taking myself seriously as a writer a few years ago. Somehow, writing a few short stories has morphed into a career that now includes writing articles, teaching creative writing, doing freelance editing, running workshops and performing at literary events. Two years ago I was just a waitress in a tea-shop, writing stories on checkpads when my boss wasn’t watching!

Do you have tips for writers just starting out?

My advice for new writers is to always act like a professional. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve published fifty stories or none at all – you must use the correct tone in emails, meet deadlines, and always be courteous both
online and face-to-face.

I didn’t even have a website before I got together with my girlfriend Susie, who is a freelance graphic and web designer at Firebrat, but before I knew it I had a website, business cards, and author pages on Amazon and GoodReads. These sorts of things don’t cost much (and many are free), but they all add to the impression of you as competent, confident and reliable. The only way to get other people to see you as a professional is to act like one. Obviously you don’t have to go out with a graphic designer (though I do recommend it!) – WordPress has great blog templates and MooCards has some gorgeous designs that are perfect for writers, like vintage typewriters and punctuation.

What would you say is the highlight of your freelance biz?

The best part of being a writer is definitely readers. Writing is so solitary – just you and your laptop, with no-one else around – and it’s easy to forget that the whole point of writing stories is that somebody else will read them. Meeting someone who has read my stories is a wonderful experience, even if it’s uncomfortable sometimes because it feels like they’ve seen a deeply personal aspect of me. You could say it’s magical, even, because a writer and reader co-habit a space when they both enter into a story, even though they may never meet in reality.

What are you working on right now?

I have just finished a literary fantasy novel, Rust and Stardust, as well as a short story collection, The Rental Heart and Other Fairytales.  I’m used to writing short fiction I find it difficult to be stuck in one narrative with one set of characters for the many months it takes to write a novel, so now I’m buzzing with ideas for fresh stories! I have a story due to be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in January, so I’m excited about that. As well as all my other jobs I also co-edit a flash fiction magazine, Fractured West, and co-run Glasgow’s hottest spoken word event, Words Per Minute. And sometimes I sleep.

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  • Jill Darlington-Smith

    Would you have any recorded stories available in MP3 format? Maybe at your website?

  • Natalie

    I can relate to a lot to this blog post. Great choice, FreshBooks!

  • Alisia

    Great interview! It’s funny how a passion for writing is always there, but the confidence isn’t. Then you make the decision, take the leap and success is just happens. I feel that every day. I’ve been writing freelance for a year now. The money is good and it gives me the free time to write creatively. Congratulations on all of your success Kirsty Logan! I am going to google you now and read some of these short stories you’ve written! You’re an inspiration.

  • Kirsty Logan

    Hi, Jill.

    There are seven stories and poems in mp3 format on my website, here:

    And another here:

    There’s also a video here:

    Hope you enjoy them!

    Glad you liked the interview, Natalie and Alisia, and all the best with your writing.

  • Cheryl Bouzide-McKee

    Terrific interview with an interesting artist. Great to see that your passion can become your work, with the right support, some luck and lots of hard work. An inspiration.