The path to being a freelance health and nutrition writer can be different for everyone. I shared my story of how I became a freelance writer in a previous post. I thought I would give the rest of the team of expert RD writers an opportunity to share their journey as well. Here is Markita Lewis’ story.
Writing has been a part of my life for a very long time. I can remember my mom writing stories for me and my sister to enjoy when we were young, and later on picking up a pencil to write my own stories. During my adolescence I wrote short stories for myself and my friends, won a Young Author Award, and took on the NaNoWriMo challenge (where you attempt to write a 50,000-word novel during the month of November) for several years in a row.
Writing During Nutrition School
Attending Louisiana State University as an undergraduate student improved my technical writing and showed me how to apply my writing skills to my nutrition career. In addition to the technical writing required of my didactic program in dietetics, I was accepted to the McNair Scholars Program and through my research achieved a goal of becoming the co-author of a published article.
I began doing nutrition writing in earnest during my second year of my combined master’s and dietetic internship program at the University of Georgia in 2015. My community rotations with Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) within the UGA Extension office gave me many writing opportunities. With EFNEP, I had the opportunity to help refresh a recipe book for EFNEP Food Talk program participants. For SNAP-Ed, my writing was a bit more involved and I wrote nutrition articles for the UGA SNAP-Ed Food Talk website.
In addition to my internship writing, I joined UGA’s chapter of Spoon University. Spoon University is an online food publication geared towards a college-aged audience, with the majority of its media and events created by students. As a writer, I got to have a lot of fun with the variety of articles I wrote – some of my favorite article topics included culinary art therapy, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s cheat meals, and the first obituary/post-mortem tribute posted on the website about Chef Paul Prudhomme.
Starting My Own Nutrition Blog
After graduating in 2016 and becoming a dietitian, I started a blog of my own called Wellness and Chill. I designed it to be a space to “look at life at the intersections of wellness, culture, and current events.” My belief is that all areas of life influence each other whether their connections are easily apparent or not, so I wanted my writing and blog to reflect that.
Creating my own blog and learning about the blogs of other dietitians piqued my interest in how to make money writing articles and becoming a freelance nutrition writer. In late 2017 I joined the Facebook group RDs Who Write created by Ana Reisdorf to figure out exactly how to do that. It was amazing to see so many other dietitians have successful careers in writing, and very motivating for me to learn from everyone’s journeys.
Making Extra Money as a Dietitian Writer
Months later, Ana put out a call for dietitians to join her newly created nutrition writing service. I was nervous about putting myself out there, but I also felt that my background in research and writing would help me in the task. Lo and behold, after writing my article I received the call that I would be one of the freelance nutrition writers to work with Ana’s writing service! It was a very affirming moment, and from that moment I knew that being a nutrition writer was a valid path in my career. Since that initial article I have written as a freelance blogger for a variety of audiences and companies through this writing service.
Nutrition writing is currently a great way for me to make extra money as a dietitian. I enjoy it immensely and foresee writing becoming a more prominent part of my career in the future.
By: Markita Lewis, MS, RD
Markita has an interest in the biological, social, and cultural aspects of eating. She enjoys writing about nutrition and wellness, food justice and policy, cultural foodways, and the psychology of nutrition. You can find her at: www.wellnessandchill.com