I’ve been a (more than) full-time writer for ten years. It takes talent, ambition and the ability to manage your time and money to be successful. Contrary to popular belief, you can be a successful freelance writer without starting your own business. However, if you have a habit of slacking or procrastinating, this probably isn’t the path for you. My typical day includes writing for up to ten clients at a time. This includes everything from SEO-rich web content to brochures for international hotel chains. I scour job boards for new openings and apply daily, even if I have a [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…]
I have a confession. Sometimes, when I meet people for the first time, and I am asked what I do for a living, I hesitate. I know what I do, but there are moments when I don’t feel like using the word “write” and its derivatives. I still cannot pinpoint the reason, but the next time it happens, I shall certainly think about it again. Has that happened to any of you? Maybe you find it easy to put on the label “writer”, but whether or not you do, what I’d like to share in today’s Grammar Guide is something [Read more…]
BOO! OK so that’s all I got. That’s my splash. Spectacular wasn’t it? Kidding. Seriously though, all this labor and angst over finding your “voice” as a writer… does it really have to be so damn hard all the time? (Hint: OF COURSE IT DOESN’T.) Sorry, was I shouting? Forgive me, it’s all the pent up passion y’know. Wreaks havoc with my social filters. Anyhoo, you probably already know the usual tips to finding your writing voice and groove, like: Write a lot. Write a lot more. Then write even more.
Writing is a hobby that many enjoy. It allows us to contribute information through our words, touch people’s emotions and even vent our own. We can stir up passion for causes, help others improve their lives, or just pass on a story that has been simmering in our own minds that can be shared with others for their entertainment. For others it becomes more than a hobby and instead moves into a chosen career. Blogs and websites have made it easier than ever to get that writing out there and make money, where once few opportunities resided. But when it [Read more…]
Writing is easy. It’s something many people forget because freelance writing can be a self-defeating endeavor even for those with strong academic skills. It isn’t like completing a math problem where everything has a logical place and you’re guaranteed to do fine so long as the dots are properly connected. Writing is the brooding cousin of painting. Whereas painters use brush strokes to convey an image, writers craft visions with words. The picture is framed by words designed to influence the reader’s perception of whatever is being conveyed. Word choice and flow are important in capturing and maintaining the reader’s [Read more…]
One of the biggest struggles I have in terms of my writing career is helping people to understand exactly what I do for a living. When I was a kid, I had dreams of becoming a “writer” – dreams I put on the shelf the moment I realized I didn’t have a fictionally creative bone in my body. I didn’t realize I could really write until a few years ago. A friend had casually introduced me to one of the web’s many user generated content sites and I started submitting articles for a few dollars here and there. After that, [Read more…]
By now, we all know that, when signing freelance writing contracts, you need to be copyright smart and make sure that you aren’t giving away more rights to your work than you intended. But many don’t understand what the big deal about signing over copyright to their work is. Most freelance writers don’t resell the same work to several clients, and act that is considered to be very bad form when it is done without prior knowledge, and often times freelance writers never have any intention to ever return to the topic again. In short, for many freelance writers, once [Read more…]
Good content still sells and is one of the most effective ways to attract valuable links to your site. It is imperative to understand that most people venture into the cyber world looking for information on a plethora of topics, so when you offer informative articles not only do you please your visitors and get more link backs but also you establish a reputation for yourself as a niche expert. When writing link bait articles, it is essential to remember that while what you write is important, how you write it will add chutzpah to your content. So, here are [Read more…]
If you peer into the heart of a great article, you’ll find it being kept alive from lede to conclusion by thorough research. And while access to information is easier, digging through the massive amounts available can be difficult, time consuming and frustrating. Simply tweaking a few already used tools will yield quicker, quality, in-depth information. 1. Google Tweaks A big source of info and debate is how best to use this vast resource. One thing to keep in mind while doing a Google search is the items that are listed first are not necessarily the best on the subject [Read more…]
There are times when a great opening grabs me and pulls me along at sprint, opening doors for me until the last period hits the page. In those situations, I’m a true believer in the power of a first line’s inspiration. It makes bull riding easier when that happens, too.
Being a successful writer is tied to being an efficient one. We need to put out work in a manner that meets our deadlines and budget lines. Unfortunately, there are a variety of things that keep us from writing as well, as often or as efficiently as we need to – including faux phobias. I say faux phobias because most of us really just hate doing a particular thing, but don’t necessarily have a debilitating fear of it. The next couple of posts will take a look at some common faux phobias writers find themselves afflicted with and how to [Read more…]
One of the thorniest and most uncomfortable issues freelancers routinely face is the issue of contracts when it comes to getting jobs. Part of it is because, as freelancers, we often take jobs with people know, trust and are good friends with. Other times it is because clients have urgent needs and there may not be enough time to hammer out a formal contract before the deadline passes. However, this is almost always a bad idea. Taking jobs or receiving work without a contract is a grave disservice to both sides. While contracts may slow things down and cause brief [Read more…]
Looking at the questions I received from last week’s call for suggestions, there were several people who asked me about fair use and had some very good, pointed questions on the topic. However, fair use is not exactly a simple topic to delve into. It is a legal topic that is routinely debated by the brightest legal minds and, quite literally, has had countless tomes written entirely about it. Trying to answer specific questions about it is virtually impossible in the space of a single column. As such, I”ve decided to make my first in this series a primer on [Read more…]
I’ve chopped off my finger. I’ve betrayed my friend. I’ve pulled the plug. I took the gold and ran.
I bet you’ve done it, too. Maybe you’ve stayed pure in ways that I haven’t, but you’ve compromised your responsibilities. You’ve done something short of your best work. You’ve pandered to an audience, to a client, or to your own writing vanity. You’ve made your deals with devils, even if your devils are incredibly cute and small.
If you haven’t, I bet you will. Someday.
Goddamn money. It always ends up making you blue as hell. —Holden Caufield in J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye Summer is over. Vacation is over. The Royals are buried. One kid is in school and the other is in daycare. Things are normal. Scratch that last one. Things are never normal. Case in point: J.D. Salinger’s toilet. I made the hideous mistake of watching television news this morning. A story about the place where the super-reclusive author of Catcher in the Rye once did his business somehow managed more airtime than the ugly suicide bombing in Iraq, the trickle-shallow [Read more…]
I’ll make a few guesses:
* Most writers have these moments of inspiration and ideas to do something new, different, creative, smart or interesting.
* Most writers don’t revisit those ideas with any frequency.
* Most writers don’t transform their ideas into actual work product.
* Some of those ideas have the potential to be Truly Great.
That’s writing, isn’t it? It’s the ability to un-mangle the twisted bumpers, to tend to the wounded and to find something in the whole chaotic mess.
I’m thinking back to the early days of freelance writing. I’m remembering a time when the possibility of landing freelance writing jobs was overwhelming, yet seemed very real. I’m remembering the days when I couldn’t wait to look for work, but was afraid to look for work. I’m remembering the time when fear and lack of confidence kept me from doing more than reading the freelance writing job ads. Today, we’re going to talk to the folks who want to write in the worst way, but something is keeping them from taking that first step. Today we’re going to discuss [Read more…]
There are many sides to the content site debate and I understand them all, even if I don’t always agree. One popular argument for the anti-content site contingent is that the writers are unskilled laborers turning out crappy content. While I have seen some cases of truly bad content, I know this isn’t the case for all content writers. Some content sites take great pains to find experienced writers to create quality content, but there are also sites that don’t even check writing samples or credentials before hiring. To generalize and lump every single content writer in the “crappy content” [Read more…]
It’s a new week and a new month, the slate is wiped clean. How will you make a positive beginning? Enjoy your daily lists. New Around the Freelance Writing Jobs Network Types of Companies that Hire Freelance Writers Your Turn Freelance Writing Goals Asking Questions vs Confrontation Are Your Blog Comments Working For You or Against You Is Your Blog Traffic Down? It Could Be a Good Thing Grammar Book Review: Grammar Done Right Do You care About Your Clients’ Business Do You Have Perfect Pitch? Creating an Outline That Works for You Recommended Reading On Freelance Writing Bloggers: Walking [Read more…]
What is everyone working on? To be honest, I’m not writing too many client freelance writing jobs lately. This blog and a few personal projects take up the bulk of my time, but I did stumble on some of my old clips from ten years ago which I’m going to rework with a more current slant and pitch to markets. Mostly though, I’m just doing my thing here. Your Daily Lists I’m pleasantly surprised by the wonderful comments and suggestions being put forth on our survey. If you haven’t yet filled out the Freelance Writing Jobs Network community survey, may [Read more…]
Have you taken the FWJ survey to tell us what you think of the Freelance Writing Jobs network? If not, I hope I’m not too forward in asking you to do so. Our periodic surveys are how we learn how we’re doing and if we’re bringing you everything you’re looking for. We received a good response so far and with the exception of one comment (hugs and kisses to my BFF.) we’re receiving positive, constructive criticism. This will help us to bring you the tips and advice you’re looking for, do away with the stuff you’re not feeling and tweak [Read more…]