For those who are not familiar with you, what is your story?
My name is Jessica Lam. I’m a Toronto-based content creator who has always been a creative person. I wrote stories and made YouTube videos when I was a kid and later went to Ryerson for its media production program. After graduating in 2017, I worked in many internships and jobs around digital media. I fell in love with it, and that’s how I started my blog.
How do you stay resilient in these uncertain times and adapt to the new norm?
It was difficult at first because we didn’t know how long the pandemic would last. But now vaccines are here, so there’s an end in sight. I’ve been trying to keep things interesting every day by cooking something different because it feels like we fall into the same daily routine. Specifically, this year I learned that life could change at any moment, and you must be adaptable. So I’ve also been working hard on my blog to prepare for when life returns to normal.
What are some of the biggest things you’ve learned from your journey?
The biggest thing that I’ve learned is that you get what you put in, so if you want to see the results you desire, you have to do your research. It’s also important to try new ideas through trial and error and consistently put in the work. You can’t just sit there and expect things to happen.
What does being a freelancer mean, and how does freelancing differ from other writing career paths, such as your editorial work?
For my blog, I have the freedom to write about anything I want without anyone editing my work because it’s my platform. But, when I’m freelancing for other publications, my writing has to be more specific. For example, when I write for Lonely Planet or Culture Trip, the articles are about travel. I mainly write about Toronto for other websites, so I enjoy showing my expertise in different topics. Sometimes I’m provided with a topic, and other times I pitch my own.
What is your blog writing process, and how much time does it take?
When I started out blogging, it was essentially a diary writing style, but I realized that it wasn’t the best way to turn the platform into a business. So now I write about topics that people are looking up online and posts that are helpful. For example, I wrote a blog post on vintage stores in Kensington Market because that’s something that people are interested in and searching for online. Before writing, I’ll look for blog post ideas that people want to hear or articles I’ve already written that rank well on Google and write about similar topics.
What is your advice to people who want to become writers but are afraid of getting published or unsure where to begin?
If you’re a beginner and interested in writing, starting a blog is the best thing to do. Just get started and write whatever you want to build experience. You don’t even have to share your posts with anyone. Once you have that experience, you can also apply and submit your work to different websites or magazines to write for them.
Since you started learning video editing software at age 12, what led you to make videos and continue until now?
I’ve always been a creative person, and I love the internet, so it was a natural progression. I remember playing RuneScape, where people started to make videos on Windows Movie Maker, and there was a whole community around the game. I wanted to become part of that community, so that’s how I started video editing. From there, I ended up editing on Sony Vegas and eventually grew my skills on Premiere Pro. I also used Avid when working at Rogers TV, so I have many years of video experience. Since the beginning, I’ve loved creating videos for the memories and enjoy editing.
What do you see yourself pursuing in the future?
I love my blog as a creative outlet, and I’m happy to do it as a full-time job. I hope to continue blogging for as long as possible, but I’d be open to working full-time if I find a position that I love while blogging part-time. But for now, my blog is for the foreseeable future.
What are a few of your favourite spots in Toronto?
Although we haven’t been going out that much this past year, my favourite areas to explore before the pandemic were Queen West, Distillery District, and Kensington Market for shopping and sightseeing. My top three favourite restaurants are Kinka Izakaya, Wilbur Mexicana, and DaiLo. Kinka Izakaya is a Japanese izakaya restaurant, so it’s a casual bar with different Japanese cocktails and tapas. Wilbur Mexicana is a Mexican restaurant with delicious tacos, and DaiLo is a Chinese, French fusion restaurant. It’s more upscale, but the food is amazing!