Writers, Kick Self-Doubt in the Bum!


Everyone experiences self-doubt now and then. It’s part of being human, and writers are not exempt from this. In fact, I would go as far as to say that writers probably experience self-doubt more than other people. This is because we create things by transforming abstract ideas into concrete, readable words; and this makes us prone to criticism – whether constructive or not. Source Self-doubt may kick in in different situations: you have a new client; your existing client has a different type of material he wants written; you’re working on a topic you haven’t worked on before; or you [Read more…]

What Writing Does to Your Brain [Infographic]

writing and the brain

We’re all writers here, although we do sometimes struggle with how to call/label ourselves. One thing is for sure, though: we know that there are wonderful things that happen in our brains when we write. However, have you ever really thought (or read) about what writing does to your brain? I found this interesting, albeit not-so-recent, infographic about writing and your brain, and I thought I’d share it with you today. There are a lot of insights to be discovered, but here is a quick summary: The physical act of writing brings information to the forefront and triggers your brain [Read more…]

4 Habits That Give Freelancers a Bad Name

bad freelancer habits

In all the years (almost a decade) I’ve been freelancing, I think I have taken on every possible gig out there – from content writing to product description writing to blogging to magazine writing to ad writing to coordinating/managing other freelancers. I’d like to say I have had my fair share of experience, and lately, I’ve been interacting with some people who hire freelancers. Source Sad to say, it seems that a common thread in the different conversations I have had is that freelancers are not always the best people to work with. Being a freelancer myself, those conversations made [Read more…]

Are You Writing for the Wrong Reasons?


I have been thinking about why I write for the past several weeks, and it has not been an easy ride. For one, there are different kinds of writing, and reasons for writing do not fall into the one-size-fits-all bucket. Still, I think that, for people who mainly make a living out of writing, the question is a good one to think about – when you do not have urgent deadlines looming, perhaps. Image source Let’s get the “I need to bring home the bacon” reason out of the way, because, let’s face it – we need to provide for [Read more…]

Does a Freelance Writer Have to Understand SEO?


It seems as though the new search engine optimization (SEO) aspect to freelance writing is two-fold: The whole concept of SEO has created many more jobs for writers, yet it has created a lot of new and different work for a writer that doesn’t always seem to fall under the “writing” category. For the latter reason, many freelance writers are not overly interested in learning SEO and would rather continue being an “old fashioned” freelance writer. After all, SEO can get complicated for someone new to the field. Although SEO is a thrill for some writers, many writers cannot help [Read more…]

Freelance Writers and Typo Paranoia


The freelance writing community is getting a little paranoid. I find I can’t hold a casual online conversation with someone without that person apologizing for typos or errors. It’s getting a little silly. Excellent writers are posting thought provoking comments on blogs and in forums,  and then turn around and post again apologizing for typos most others wouldn’t have noticed in the first place. Relax, people. You’re human. You’re allowed to make mistakes. When Freelance Writers Should Mind Their Typos The purpose of this post isn’t to say we shouldn’t be diligent about our writing and do our best to [Read more…]

Will Casual Blogging Conversation Be the Death of Formal Article Writing?

Conversation bubble

A couple of days ago I wondered if it’s OK for freelance writing bloggers to talk like they speak. After all, blogging is a much more casual form of writing than what most of us are used to.  While some purists don’t always appreciate a conversational tone when reading the news or learning about vitamin supplements, the truth is, that’s where we’re headed. The Internet has turned writers into bloggers and everything is all so ultra-cas now. Writing for Short Attention Spans Look around at your favorite news, medical and even government sites and what do you see? News sites [Read more…]

If I’m a “Thought Leader” You’re All in Trouble


The other day I was introduced as a “thought leader.”  As you can imagine, I was flattered, but I was also confused and amused. I was confused because I’m still not so sure what it means to be a thought leader, and I was amused because if I’m the one leading your thoughts you’re all in a lot of trouble. I’ve been hearing this term “thought leader” for some time now, but never really sat down to explore what it means before today. Heck, I have some time. What is a Thought Leader, Anyway? As everyone knows, Google holds the [Read more…]

What Happens When You Rebel?

Signing of the Declaration of Independence

I’ve been watching “America: The Story of Us” on the History Channel.  Whenever I watch a documentary or read about America’s Founding Fathers, I reflect on what was at stake at the time. I don’t know how many Americans consider the magnitude of the danger involved in this major act of rebellion. Every single signer of the Declaration of Independence committed an act of high treason. If caught, they’d be hung or shot on sight. Many sacrifices were made on our behalf, yet we don’t often think about the gory details as they’re too unpleasant and seems as if it [Read more…]

More on Freelancing, Blogging and Giving Out Free Information


At SXSW last weekend I had a chance to attend a small, intimate gathering made up of many of the top writing bloggers and social media professionals in the space. We had an interesting conversation regarding email and how many people write to us on a daily basis requesting advice. Most of us described receiving hundreds, if not thousands of emails each day requesting advice for getting started, setting rates and other questions. So herein lies the dilemma…. Every bit of advice folks email to ask about can be found on this blog. For example, I receive mail asking for [Read more…]

3 Lessons Learned from Yankee Doodle

"The Spirit of '76" was originally titled "Yankee Doodle."

“Yankee Doodle went to town, riding on a pony, stuck a feather in his cap and called it macaroni.” I must have sang “Yankee Doodle” at least a thousand times over the past 45 years and never really gave  a second thought to its meaning. Today, while attending a second grade social studies presentation about the beginnings of our wonderful country, we learned the true meaning of this song. You see, it was written by the British in order to cast Americans in a negative light. The British soldiers sang “Yankee Doodle” to boost morale and feel superior towards “the [Read more…]

Are You (Ab)Using Your Online Friends?


Does this sound familiar? You’re an aspiring blogger looking to make yourself known in a popular niche. All the blogging books and blogs tell you in order to do this you have to network heavily including commenting at other top blogs to bring in traffic. You do. You don’t just comment you become THE top commenter. You add your opinion to every single post and even drop some links if you can get away with it. As soon as your blog starts picking up momentum you forget that other blog. You don’t come by and comment or participate in community [Read more…]

Asking Questions VS Confrontation


Overheard at the supermarket: “I don’t like the way they do things over there. I’m going to give them a piece of my mind. There’s going to be a confrontation.” To be fair, I don’t know what prompted the above-referenced quote. It stuck in my mind for a variety of reasons, the first is that I’m not confrontational and avoid heated confrontation at all cost. The second is that I wonder if the woman above, who was clearly on the defensive, took some time out to ask questions and discuss whatever set her off before deciding on her confrontational course [Read more…]

Your Turn: What Makes a Qualified Freelance Writing Blogger?


In the past few weeks I’ve received a flurry, no a barrage, of angry emails asking why I’m qualified to be a freelance writing blogger. Though I don’t quite get the anger, I’m happy to receive these questions because it means writers and aspiring writers are thinking about who to trust and that’s always a good thing. There’s too much blind faith in the Internet world and we need to spend more time questioning the credentials of those who claim to be authorities. We’ve discussed my background and qualifications many times before, I’m really not going to get into that [Read more…]

Building a Blog into a Blog Network without Funding, Backing or Partners


The news regarding the b5Media blog network‘s  restructuring and restaffing is leading to a lot of speculation around the webosphere. Specifically folks are wondering about the future of blog networks in general. Will they all be taken over by the venture capitalists who are funding them and turned into impersonal content portals, or will they be able to flourish and grow into lively communities? I’m receiving so much mail asking about my own blog network that I’m prompted to write my thoughts about the state of the Freelance Writing Jobs Network and where we stand today. Bootstrap Blog Network The [Read more…]

b5Media: I’m in a Better Place Now

Blog - stock.xchnge

When I first began working as a blogger, b5Media was at the top of my list of places to work. I mean, Liz Strauss, Brian Clark and Darren Rowse, all bloggers I looked up to, were part of b5Media. As someone who wanted to make a name for myself as a blogger, I felt this was a positive step in the right direction. My little freelance writing jobs blog was doing OK, I had some lucrative freelance writing clients, I just started working for About.com as their guide to Weblogs, a b5 gig was the icing on the cake…and I [Read more…]

Your Turn: What’s Your Definition of a “Good” Freelance Writing Job?

Thumbs up

Credit where it’s due: I’m writing this in response to a Skype conversation I had with Mark Narter, a friend and writer who doesn’t have a huge online presence but writes full time for a local business. Every now and then Mark pings me to talk about something I wrote and whether or not he agrees with me. After I posted a peek into my portfolio, Mark wondered what makes my past experiences good ones. What do I consider a “Good” freelance writing job. The money? The glory? The opportunity? I love questions that make me think. So when a [Read more…]

What are You Reading…and Where?


My Dad was a librarian. As you could imagine, our house was filled with books. I mean, floor to ceiling books. Our living room contained non-fiction and the more formal library was filled with fiction, including many first edition literary works. Upstairs in Dad’s office were the “stacks,” where he kept the periodicals. All of these were arranged by Dewey Decimal System. It was a given that wherever Dad was, a book or two was close by. He passed that love on to all six of his kids as well.  Every year at Christmas Dad went to the bookstores to [Read more…]

Your Turn: What is Your Dream Writing Job


I’ve been thinking about this blog, and the Freelance Writing Jobs blog network  a lot lately. I don’t mean planning ways to bring in traffic or dominate my niche. That part is a lot of fun and all, but there’s more to it than that. To put it simply, I enjoy what I do here. Yes, this blog network is now my main source of income, and yes, it’s helped me achieve a certain level of success, but that’s not what it’s all about. I’m not a novelist and I’m don’t write in a journal every night, but I can [Read more…]

How Writing Bloggers are Profiting from the Content Sites they Decry


I’m noticing something interesting lately and I’m not bringing it up to point fingers or start arguments, but only because it’s interesting and perhaps even discussion-worthy. As most of you know, my decision to partner with a well known content site led to a bit of an uproar, especially among journalists who don’t agree with said site’s model and payment structure. It created many heated web discussions and debates, but the reaction wasn’t unexpected. I wonder if many of the same journalists and freelance writing bloggers realize they’re also profiting from this content site and others? Double Standards? I thought [Read more…]

3 Words for 2010: Focus, Community and Positivity


I’m inspired to write this post by a challenge from Chris Brogan who likes to throw out three words to live by at the beginning of each year. It wasn’t too hard for me to come up with my own words to live by, because I’ve spent the past few days thinking about my own plans for the new year. 2009 was the year I made some bad choices and some good choices, but chalked all up as positive learning experiences. I’m very interested to see how 2010 turns out. Last year I had a different focus because for the [Read more…]

Tales from The Triffin

The Triffin

My son and his best friend, both 7, disappear in our unfinished basement for hours. There they have built an elaborate web of mazes made from packing boxes, beer coolers and large plastic containers. This hideout sits upon a wooden platform used to keep boxes dry when we were experiencing problems with flooding. This hideout is called “The Triffin.” No, I don’t know how they happened upon the name, but they liked the sound of it and it stuck. Now both families refer to “The Triffin” as if it’s a common, everyday word. This isn’t your basic chairs and sheets [Read more…]

Do Male Bloggers Receive More Respect?

June cleaver

By now you probably know that James Chartrand is a pen name. It’s the pen name of a single mom who found more respectful and lucrative gigs using a man’s name. When she contacted me to tell me the truth, I was in shock. The Men with Pens blog is awash in machismo. Never in a million years would I think a woman was behind it. I’m not angry with James. As a mom I’ll do anything to make sure my family is provided for. Anything. Thankfully James’ decision was relatively safe compared to other lucrative choices available to women. [Read more…]

Why People Will Pay for Content


I’ve been thinking about paid content a lot lately. It’s causing major discussion and debate among both writers and readers, but it’s something I’m sure we’re going to see a lot of in the very near future. It’s going to be a slow sell, but mark my words,  it’ll sell. On the web, there are buyers for everything. A lot of people hesitate at the idea of paying bloggers and news sites for content, but I don’t believe this will be the case forever. In fact, I believe paid content is the future of the web, and here’s why: People [Read more…]

Freelance Writing Clients are Cool and All…But Don’t Forget About Your Own Stuff

laptop 2

Something I struggle with is whether or not I should put most of my eggs in my clients’ baskets or if I should invest my time in me. With clients the pay is sometimes better and more immediate, but I’m not necessarily writing my passion. However, when I create my own projects, I have the opportunity to earn on my own terms and not have to troll for work or meet someone else’s deadlines. If you’ve been doing this for a while, you might consider how to begin earning a residual income by taking advantage of your own expertise. What [Read more…]

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