University of Southern California - Music Industry + Business Administration
Loyola Law School in Los Angeles - Degree in Law
Melody Godfred was working as a litigation attorney at one of the top LA law firms when she realized she wanted to instead pursue her real passion — writing. She now is the owner of her own business, Write in Color, and serves as a writing consultant. In her job Melody manages editing, ghostwriting, marketing and consulting on branding for a variety of clients. In addition she is the author of "The Agency: Hollywood Talent, CIA Managed," a book that will certainly transport you to another world when you're in need of an escape. Melody finds her escape in the arts (including music, film and visual art), travel and a can of Diet Coke.
It’s your job to build on what came before and make it better.
How did you discover your current job?
I was a litigation attorney at one of LA’s top law firms, Glaser, Weil, Fink, Jacobs, Howard & Shapiro. Although I enjoyed being an attorney, I craved the opportunity to be creative on a daily basis. After some serious soul-searching, I decided to take a break from law to write the novel I had been developing as a side project. In the process, I realized my true calling was writing, so I launched my own writing consulting business, Write In Color. I’ve recently published the novel that launched my writing career, which gives me an incredible sense of validation.
What is your typical day like? What types of things do you do in your job?
The great thing about my job is that there is no typical day. I’m always presented with new writing opportunities that allow me to flex my creative muscles. Each day, I write for my corporate clients, generating social media content, website copy, product descriptions and blogging. I also work with individual clients on grad school applications, resumes and business plans and ghostwrite and edit books. I try to spend time each day working on my own writing, whether it be through my writing blog, my new novel or by contributing articles to websites like The Huffington Post.
What is the most rewarding part of your job? The most challenging?
The most rewarding part of my job is working with smaller or startup businesses and helping them create a big, meaningful presence through strong written content and branding. I also really enjoy working with individual clients on résumés. At first, résumé clients are very unsure of themselves (which is probably why they hire me). After I work with them, they have a document they are incredibly proud to present and new hope about their job prospects. The most challenging part is managing multiple clients, all with time-sensitive needs, without becoming a slave to my BlackBerry 24-hours a day.
What is the biggest personal sacrifice you have to make because of your job?
Since I own my own business, I no longer have the luxury of nights and weekends. Every day is a work day. If a client emails me I’m incapable of ignoring it, even if it’s 11 p.m. and I’m in bed with my very understanding husband.
What is one lesson you've learned in your job that sticks with you?
There’s no such thing as a 100 percent original idea (and that’s okay). It’s your job to build on what came before and make it better.
What do you feel is the biggest challenge for women today, particularly females in your industry?
Balance. As a newlywed with a darling husband and a new business, I want to be everything: the thriving entrepreneur in my work and the good wife, chef, interior designer and handyman in my home life. I sometimes struggle to prioritize (a problem exacerbated by the love affair I’ve not-so-secretly been having with my BlackBerry). Because I write full time, it’s easy for me to forget that I should get up and walk away from the computer at least every hour. The sedentary lifestyle we’re all slowly succumbing to is very bad for our health, especially for women. I work hard to set boundaries and achieve balance, whether that means turning my phone off after 10 p.m. or making sure I stretch, exercise and get some sun whenever possible. Thankfully, my office puppy, Hank, (a six-month-old Yorkie mutt) gives me an excuse to take breaks regularly.
Who are your role models?
Strong, accomplished women like my mom and mother-in-law (otherwise known as mom No. 2) who somehow manage to juggle it all with grace and love. I also look up to Tina Fey. She does it all: mom, wife, producer, writer, actress. If you haven’t read her book, "Bossypants," you should. It’s very inspiring (and hilarious).
What are some of the rules you live by?
1. Don’t wait until you know who you are to make things.*
2. Write the book you want to read.
3. Side projects and hobbies are important.
4. The secret: Do good work and then put it where people can see it.
5. Be nice: The world is a small town.
6. Celebrate the small victories. The big ones may take a while.
7. Communicate. Being passive aggressive kills your insides.
8. Re-read every email at least twice before you send it (both for typos and for tone).
9. Allow yourself to have down time (and make sure to enjoy it).
10. Make sure every client is 100 percent happy -- even if that means putting in extra time at your own expense. We live in the era of the online review.
The first five rules on this list come from Austin Kleon, a blogger who taught me how to Steal Like An Artist.
What advice do you have for girls who want to be in your industry?
Start writing on a daily basis -- no excuses. Start a blog. Even if you don’t publicize the blog to your friends and family, get used to writing for an audience. From there, start sharing your posts using social media. Build up an audience. Start sending pitches to online publications. Offer writing services to your personal community. Ask your clients to write reviews. If you’re interested in becoming an author, I suggest you participate in National Novel Writing Month, which takes place every November. At the end of 30 days, you’ll have 50,000 words and a first draft.
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
Five years from now I see myself growing Write In Color to the point where I have a staff of writers to service my clients. It’s been a thrill helping my clients grow. It’s my hope to grow right along with them and continue to service all their writing needs. I also see myself continuing to write novels. I’m currently in the beginning stages of a new book that I’m very excited about.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
To get a taste of my writing, I’d love for your readers to pick up a copy of my book, "The Agency: Hollywood Talent, CIA Managed." It’s about a Hollywood talent agency that’s run by Caroline Madison, an undercover CIA operative who creates entertainment scandals to distract the public from politics. Not only is it a super fun, sexy read, it proves that you don’t have to wait to find the job of your dreams: You can simply create it for yourself like I did.