Nylon, Southern Living and Birmingham Magazine are just a few of the publications Melody Kitchens ‘13 has added to her resume. Currently, a resident of Nashville, Tennessee, Kitchens continues to pursue her passion for the written word as a freelancer in Music City.
After graduation, Melody’s life was a magnificent whirlwind.
“It was a crazy experience,” Kitchens said. “I was in New York for six months with Nylon magazine, and it was really awesome to see how a big magazine ran on the inside. I had no idea what that would be like. I did a lot of copy editing there, but they gave me a lot of opportunities to write about whatever I wanted to write about which was really nice.”
Despite Kitchen’s love for the big apple, she was called back to the south when an opportunity with Southern Living that found its way to her was too good to pass up.
(above: A few of Kitchen’s pages from various issues of Southern Living)
Kitchens started in the travel and style sections of Southern Living which she described as being “super fun” to work on. As fate would have it, the magazine wanted Kitchens to stay with the team an extra six months and she was moved to the home and garden section.
“When I started doing home and garden I would always have interviews with these wonderful architects,” Kitchens said. “I don’t really know much about architecture so I would feel so out of place sometimes. I had to do some heavy research when I started working with that section. It was a great learning experience.”
Kitchens said one of the best parts about working with Southern Living was how great the editors were at being mentors.
“One of my favorite parts of the internship was going through edits with them,” Kitchens said. “I think one of the best experiences you can have as a writer is to have someone who has been writing longer look over your work, so that time with them was really one of the best things. Living wanted ideas from me, and they were really good about being a mentor and leading me through the process of how they did things.”
Now Kitchens has taken up the reigns herself and is currently freelancing and learning how to manage and support herself in Nashville. She said the hardest thing about it is not having a strict work schedule.
“I really do enjoy the flexible schedule a lot. It was actually the hardest thing to learn at first because you can sit at home all day if you really want too, but that is not going to be very productive,” Kitchens said. “It is hard not going in an office from 9-5 every day, but at the same time I didn’t really love doing that.”
Her final words of advice for aspiring freelancers?
“Talk to as many people who do what you want to do as possible.”
“I’m still trying to figure it all out, I have no idea what I’m doing,” Kitchens laughed. “I’m just taking what I learned at Auburn, talking to other freelancers in the area, using my fascination with the written word and learning.”
Check out Melody’s portfolio to see what all she is and has been working on!
Share Melody’s story using the hashtags #AUYoungAlum and #AuburnMagazine.