I like to think of myself more of an optimist than a pessimist. I could be wrong, but I think that’s a trait that could influence the success of a freelance writer. After all, you need a certain degree of positivism to take that leap – leave your regular day job pay and strike out on your own. There are times, however, when all this freelancing business gets to me. I know I should not complain. This is, after all, what I had been aspiring for while I was still a corporate drone. This was – and is – my [Read more…]
Freelancing is awesome. You are your own boss, there is no daily commute, you avoid the office politics and drama…there are so many benefits of working for yourself. However, that also means you have to learn things the hard way, and without a safety net. Accepting full responsibility for mistakes and your actions comes with the territory of being a freelancer.
Switching professions is never easy, but people do it all the time. People often decide to take a different path because they don’t love what they are doing or because there is more opportunity in a different field. So it should be easy to change from writing for print newspapers and magazines to writing on the Internet, right? After all, these fields are at least related and very similar. In most cases, the answer is yes—a writer is a writer and although some modifications need to be made, it’s possible to make the switch. Many writers contemplate this question because [Read more…]
Feeling the urge to go back to school or start a new degree? It doesn’t matter what type of degree you are interested in pursuing; as a freelance writer, any sort of additional education has the potential to add a wealth of positive changes to your writing. Even if it seems like pursuing a degree may be a waste of time or more effort than it’s worth, especially if you’re already starting to head down a career path that you love, there are plenty of reasons why getting a degree can improve your writing. Read on for some of the [Read more…]
There are two sides to the writer debate – those who require certain comforts and those who can write in the middle of a toxic dump. I’d argue both types are just as likely to have hazardous work environments. Your office could be making you sick, or at the very least, decreasing your productivity. The good news is there simple way to creating a safe and healthy work environment. 1. Trouble in the Air The information is scary: according to the August 2000 EPA Indoor Environments Division, Indoor Air Quality and Student Performance report, “Indoor air quality can reduce a [Read more…]
While you’re doing it, you’re focused, zoned in and intense. Every distraction is met with deep disappointment – the phone, the kids, the dog standing there watching you do it. When you’re not doing it it’s all you can think about leaving you distracted. “It” is writing, but the passion in which we pursue, fantasize about and devour it makes it a lot like sex. That’s another big reason why it’s fun. The Heat. There’s nothing like the heat of new blog post, new assignment or new magazine. The magazine represents an opportunity. The blog post or assignment represents a [Read more…]
As a writer, it is perfectly normal to get shellacked on a weekly or monthly basis. Whether it’s rejection letters, feedback from clients or mean-spirited comments on a blog or website there are plenty of days where the heart and ego will get bruised. Here’s the thing, it is the unfortunate by-product of success. Many define a writer’s success by their annual revenue. Others measure success by a writer’s influence – both online and offline. I look at those things, but I also look at a less rosy and overlooked area of success – feedback. We’ve all felt the sting [Read more…]
Today my fav blogger and former owner of FWJ, Deb Ng, started a discussion on Facebook about the lack of respect people have for work at home folks. I joined in and voiced my annoyance over how quickly people dismiss my job and ask what my husband does for a living to decipher the ‘real source’ of our family’s income. They figure if I’m at home playing on the internet he must have a real job somewhere, out in the wide, wide world. It blows their mind when I tell them he does the same thing I do…from home. “Oh!” [Read more…]
In my earlier post “Is Clutter Killing Your Career, You?” I talked about the toll clutter can take on careers and writers’ bodies. Clutter causes chaotic time sucks and allows writers to put off important things like exercise while causing stress in all areas. Today I’ve got a few quick tips to getting things under control. Hire a professional organizer. Yes, they do exist. If you can get paid to sit at home in your underwear and blog about cats, these professional can get paid to get dressed, leave the house and come organize yours. A professional organizer is a [Read more…]
I know, the title sounds dramatic. A bit like the teaser for your local six o’clock news during sweeps, but it’s absolutely true. Your home office could be killing you or at the least, your career. Right now. Wait, before you jump up and run for the front yard let me explain… Clutter kills. You don’t have to have junk piled up to the ceiling like some reality TV shows, but disorganization in any area can affect others. Gone are the days of the lovable, messy writer whose creative passion overflows into piles and piles of papers, books and knickknacks. [Read more…]
There is one big question freelance writers must tackle regardless of their experience or career length: niche or no? Newbie writers will read article upon article and blog upon blog touting the importance of finding a niche, picking a niche, taking a niche out on a date…Veterans will find themselves bombarded with articles and posts on when it’s time to leave a niche, switch, combine, create a Frankenstein and give a manic laugh… The truth is – you have a choice. Pro Niche: 1. Building a good reputation as a writer is important. Getting steady work is important as well. [Read more…]
Tell your story.
Oh, and just to encourage participation, I’ll tack on a prize. The best story wins a free copy of The Concert for Bangladesh on DVD. You get Harrison, Clapton, Preston, Dylan and even Ringo in their full bearded 1971 glory!
I’ve been thinking about the quote, “There are no small roles, only small actors,” and how it relates to freelance writers. Freelance writing and acting do seem to have a lot in common. Consider the following: You’re only as good as your last gig. There is no guarantee that anyone will hire you for your next one. Start pulling a lot of attitude and no one will want to work with you. Period. All of us have the opportunity to decide for ourselves which gigs we want to go after and which ones aren’t right for us. Before you turn [Read more…]
I saw an ad looking for freelance writers in my travels today that listed the characteristics this particular client is looking for. It mentioned that they were looking for someone who could behave professionally and that “writing divas need not apply.” I’m not sure at what point we started deciding that diva-ness was something that we should be celebrating. Maybe it was around the time that companies started marketing the princess concept to little girls and their parents. If the focus of hiring a freelance writer to do a job is the work, why would a client want to put [Read more…]
At first glance, it may not appear that your freelance writing clients and your values are related. The types of gigs you go after, the people you decide you would like to work with and what you have decided is most important to you are very closely related. Good Income As a freelance writer, if you have made a decision that you want to make a lot of money (and there is absolutely nothing wrong with deciding that making a high income is one of your goals), you will make a point of seeking out clients who have deep pockets. [Read more…]
More than one person I know has said that they couldn’t work as a freelance writer because they don’t feel confident enough. I tell them that feeling confident is not a requirement; if I waited until I felt completely confident and I was wearing just the right outfit and the phase of the moon was just so, I would never reach out to any prospective clients. If you take how you personally feel about your job hunt out of the equation, you can get a lot more accomplished and be on your way to finding a gig that is a [Read more…]
Do you want to have a freelance writing career? You must be interested in writing if you are reading this. If you want to have a writing career, you need to start with a single freelance writing job and build it over time. By definition, a job is something that you do and you get paid for it. Usually a job implies that you are an employee, but let’s leave that out of the equation for the sake of argument. A career is something that a person dedicates him or herself to over the long term, and it has opportunities [Read more…]
Everyone has a past. If an event happened before now, it’s relegated to the past. As freelance writers, we can’t rest on our laurels, nor can we spend time worrying about what someone will think about who we worked for previously or how much we were paid. Do you have some skeletons in your freelance writing closet? I’m willing to bet you do. There may be some gigs you may not be proud to admit that you took on, either because of the subject matter or what you were paid. I believe that we learn from all of our writing [Read more…]
I know people say that freelance writing is a highly competitive field and that if you want to succeed, you need to be the best. Deb addressed the issue of convincing a client that you are the best in her blog post, If You Don’t Feel You’re the Best, How Will You Convince Your Clients? I’ve been thinking about the idea of being “the Best” and I want to explain why I don’t want that designation. I’m Enjoying the Journey To me, deciding that someone is the best means that they have peaked. If there is a summit as a [Read more…]
Before I started freelance writing, I worked as a legal assistant. My first job was working at a very large firm (250 lawyers at the time) and I’ve worked for a sole practitioner, as well as a few firms with staffing numbers in between. One thing I noticed was that the lawyers who had the worst attitudes were generally the ones at or close to the bottom of the firm letterhead. (If a law firm lists its lawyers, the most senior ones are at the top.) The senior partners have already proven themselves and don’t need to go around telling [Read more…]
There are many myths floating around about freelance writing and working from home in general, and you have probably heard or seen them already. Comments like it’s easy to write for a living, anyone who can put together a sentence can be a writer and you can make big bucks your first day as a freelancer (one of my personal favorites). Rather than perpetuating myths about freelance writing, today I’d like to share some truth, or at least the truth as I see it. Clients are not an interruption to a freelancer’s schedule. I’ve had clients want to talk to [Read more…]
If working for an employer can be likened to a type of professional marriage (you work for one employer at a time, and if you decide to moonlight and take on another job, you probably want to keep that fact quiet or face consequences), working as a freelancer is more like living together. You are committed to that client as long as the arrangement meets both your needs, and you accept that it may not necessarily be a long-term thing (but there is a possibility that you will be working together indefinitely). Each professional relationship has its advantages and disadvantages, [Read more…]
Recently in my online travels, I came across a comment on a message board that got me thinking. The commenter stated that freelance writing is “an open door that invites anyone in.” This person goes on to say that well-educated and informed writers have to prove themselves. I agree that the Internet has opened up many possibilities for freelance writers. There are opportunities available online that simply weren’t offered a few years ago. And yes, many people think that they want to “get into” writing. It’s a situation of many being called, and few having what it takes to stick [Read more…]