Starting your own blog is an excellent way to showcase your own writing style, independent from work that has been commissioned by clients. It’s your own space on the Internet where you are free to write as yourself and not in the parameters ordered by someone else. There is certainly something freeing in working on your own projects for a change, and this is also a good way to promote your writing business and attract new clients who may be interested in hiring you for some business blogging.
Archives for October 2014
When you first started freelance writing, did you have a contract? If you didn’t, don’t worry. I didn’t either, and I am pretty sure that many other freelance writers have the same experience. While I was – and am – fortunate to have only one negative incident, the smart thing to do is to have a freelance writing contract in place before you start working with a client.
Without a contract, you can be taken advantage of. At the very least, you may have to wait for eons to get paid. Worst case scenario, you might have to take your client to court.
To avoid these headaches, here are some Dos and Don’ts of a freelance writing contract. [Read more…]
Are you skipping Halloween this year? Or are you all revved up for the revelry, dressing up, all the things that come with this holiday?
If you belong to the latter group, then here is a great idea for your costume: dress up as a famous writer!
Even though Halloween is only a day away, and you might have a costume already, these costume ideas are just too cool not to put to use. One or two might be a little horrifying, but in general, the costume ideas are great; and while some people might not know who you are, you can do a little bit of showing off. 😉
Here’s the infographic. Enjoy!
Which writer would you dress up as?
Thanks to Essay Mama for this infographic.
Also read: 6 Ways Freelance Writing is Like Halloween
Personal issues play a huge role in the performance of a worker. Whether you sit behind a desk at an office or you work at home, there will always be personal issues of some sort. Some of them may be minor and easy to dismiss. Others may have a more draining effect.
Whatever the case may be, there is one thing that most employers and clients agree on: personal issues should not affect your work.
They should be left at home once you step out the door; but what about freelance writers? How do you separate personal issues and work when you work from home?
It’s a tricky problem, but let’s take a look at specific issues, how they can affect your work, and how you can fix them.
If you’re married or have a partner, relationship problems are likely to occur. When these things happen, it can be very difficult to focus on your work. Your mind would probably be racing with thoughts – a mixture of anger, frustration, and hurt. Obviously, you don’t want these thoughts, as your writing will definitely suffer.
- If your partner works at home too, go out and find another place to work for the day. That will physically distance yourself from the problem and help you focus on work.
- If you can stay at home and continue working, give yourself a break every now and then. During these breaks, allow yourself to dwell on the issue and think of how to solve it. Once the break is over, only focus on work. Don’t allow your mind to wander back to your problems. The same thing applies if your problem is as serious as getting a divorce or separation. Deal with the problem at specific times, but keep a tight rein on your thoughts while working.
This is one area where work-at-home people have the advantage. For people who have to physically travel to work, having to stay at home when they’re sick is a bigger problem because their boss may not be happy about it. Then there is the fact that their sick days might get used up.
For remote workers, you have other options:
- Let your client/s know about the situation. This is essential if you have a deadline. More often than not, clients who work with freelancers are understanding in this matter.
- Allow yourself some hours “off”. If you have no pressing deadlines, you have the option to not work while you’re feeling bad. Don’t push yourself.
If remote workers have an advantage with regard to health problems, they are more likely to have financial issues. The degree of uncertainty for freelancers is higher, simply because they do not receive a fixed salary every month; so there are months in which money flows in, and there are lean months.
The fix: Plan, budget, and have savings. When you have a lot of work, and a lot of money comes in, set aside as much as you can for those lean months. When the lean months come, you also can employ money-saving measures to make it through. By doing this, your work shouldn’t be affected by financial issues when you don’t have as much earnings for a certain period.
What other personal issues do you/have you encountered as a freelance writer? How do/did you deal with them?
Editor’s note: This post was written by Cari Bennette, freelance writer, editor and content creator for JetWriters blog. She has around 4 years experience in blogging and does her best to write excellent posts and share her blogging tips with others. Contact her on Twitter.
Writing an amazing blog post seems to come so easy for some writers. They have the perfect selection of flowing words that captures the essence of every idea.
And for others, well, it’s a struggle. A struggle that shows in the numbers: posts with no comments, meagre social shares and zero sales. And it can be mighty frustrating not knowing what to do.
The good news is that blogging is a learnable skill, and with a bit of practice and perseverance, one that can be mastered. [Read more…]
Editor’s note; This post was written by Jennifer Parris, career writer at FlexJobs, the award-winning site for telecommuting and flexible job listings. FlexJobs lists thousands of pre-screened, legitimate, and professional-level work-from-home jobs and other types of flexibility like part-time positions, freelancing, and flexible schedules. Jennifer provides career and job search advice through the FlexJobs Blog and social media. Learn more at www.FlexJobs.com.
You promised your editor that you would have your article in by the end of the week. But despite having a looming deadline, you’ve kept yourself busy clicking and commenting on your Facebook friends’ photos, playing with your pug, and visiting the fridge every half hour on the hour. In short, you’ve done everything except write.
Procrastination hits even the best of writers. If you find yourself in a writing funk, get some inspiration from these 10 prolific writers, all of whom have battled—and won—the war against procrastination!
Procrastination Quotes by Writers
- “You can’t think yourself out of a writing block; you have to write yourself out of a thinking block.” –John Rogers
- “I’ve often said that there’s no such thing as writer’s block; the problem is idea block. When I find myself frozen–whether I’m working on a brief passage in a novel or brainstorming about an entire book–it’s usually because I’m trying to shoehorn an idea into the passage or story where it has no place.” –Jeffery Deaver
- “I think writer’s block is simply the dread that you are going to write something horrible. But as a writer, I believe that if you sit down at the keys long enough, sooner or later something will come out.” –Roy Blount, Jr.
- “Close the door. Write with no one looking over your shoulder. Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer.” –Barbara Kingsolver
- “It begins with a character, usually, and once he stands up on his feet and begins to move, all I can do is trot along behind him with a paper and pencil trying to keep up long enough to put down what he says and does.” –William Faulkner
- “Write freely and as rapidly as possible and throw the whole thing on paper. Never correct or rewrite until the whole thing is down. Rewrite in process is usually found to be an excuse for not going on. It also interferes with flow and rhythm which can only come from a kind of unconscious association with the material.” –John Steinbeck
- “Don’t use words too big for the subject. Don’t say ‘infinitely’ when you mean ‘very;’ otherwise you’ll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.” –C.S. Lewis
- “Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere.” –Anne Lamott
- “Don’t wait for moods. You accomplish nothing if you do that. Your mind must know it has got to get down to work.” –Pearl S. Buck
- “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” –Ernest Hemingway
Sometimes it takes a little extra effort to put pen to paper. But as long as you try to minimize the distractions, the words will eventually flow, producing a great piece that you’ll be proud of.
I’m sure you have your own habits when writing that are perceived as weird by others. It may be having to write only in bed (which I don’t think as weird at all, although I’ve heard it described as such). It could be that you can’t write on any other computer than your own, which again, I don’t find totally weird.
Some of the most famous writers we know, however had some really peculiar habits, and the guys at Ninja Essays have put together an infographic sharing those weird habits.
Before scrolling down, can you take a guess at what weird habits writers can have?
Anyhow, this may or may not shock you, but take a look at how some famous authors write. At the very least, you’ll find them amusing.
So what did you think about that? Do you have any of their habits, or something similar? What writing habits do you have that other people consider unusual?
Also read: 48 Celebrity Book Authors
Editor’s note: This post was written by Aby League, a qualitative researcher and a passionate writer. She is an innovator and technology enthusiast. She has been writing about health, psychology, home improvement and technology. You can see more of her articles on Elite Daily. To know her more, follow @abyleague on Twitter.
Today, blogs and social media platforms are doing wonders for the business community. They allow businesses to promote their brands across large audiences, as well as help them build brand identity and trust among customers. However, for this approach to be successful, business owners and/or freelance writers like you must learn to use these two tools in a way that they’ll effectively complement each other.
Image courtesy of Christian Schnettelker via Flickr, Creative Commons
Social media holds great potential in driving readers to your blog.
Consequently, a blog can support your social media account by leveraging credibility and substance. However, you must be careful to strike a balance between the two. If you’re just starting to build your business’s web presence, you must first learn the basics of blogging and social media: what they do, what they’re used for, and how they can help move your business forward.
See, blogging and social media work differently.
A blog is ideally used to share a business’s expertise and knowledge on industry-relevant matters. It provides a conversational approach in discussing various topics that do not just promote the your brand, but also genuinely provide interesting information that readers will truly benefit from. On the other hand, social media platforms allow you to reach a larger community—since everyone these days are either logged in on Facebook, scrolling through Twitter and Instagram, or looking for creative ideas on Pinterest.
Blogs and social media serve two different purposes—but when used together, they provide a great chance of building a powerful and influential web presence for virtually any type of business. Whether you want to drive a steady stream of readers to your blog, or make people want to share your blog content on Facebook and Twitter, here is how you can use blogging and social media to your business advantage:
- Use social media to grow your blog’s traffic. A blog entry will not be able to promote itself unless it is shared across multiple social media platforms. However, building blog audience through social media can be quite tricky. Keep in mind that the key to grabbing attention on social media is to create short but interesting content. When sharing a certain blog entry on social media, put effort in making fun and creative captions or visuals that would entice social media users to click the link to your blog. How a social snippet looks on social media is almost as important as what it says.
- Make your blog entries “shareable” across all social media platforms. It’s one thing to share your own content on social media, but it’s another to be able to make it easy for readers to share your content on their social media accounts. It’s the online equivalent of advertising through word of mouth. Include share buttons on your blog so that readers can easily share or recommend your brand through your interesting blog post. Also, make sure that your buttons are up-to-date, as social media icons tend to change really fast.
- Take advantage of Analytics. If you’re not familiar with Google Analytics, you are probably missing out. This tool allows you to monitor the activity on your website or blog by counting how many people are actually clicking your outbound social media links. If the numbers are low, you can re-examine if your social media buttons are in a strategic position on the page, or if you’re writing about the wrong things on your blog. Either way, let the numbers help you improve what needs to be improved. You can also use Avinash Kaushik’s social media metrics as a guide to gauge your social media performance.
- Write about things that matter to your readers. You can share your blog posts on social media all you want—you can even put social media buttons all over your page, but readers won’t share your content if it gives them nothing worth sharing. As such, write about topics that are socially relevant. Blogging must be creative and informative, and not aggressive, hard sell writing. Remember that you want to educate and empower your readers so that they keep coming back for more.
Image courtesy of Robb Sutton via Flickr, Creative Commons
- Showcase your social media content on your blog. While blogs do allow more depth than social media channels, social media can still showcase unique content that doesn’t need a blog entry of its own. If people engage with such posts on social media, consider featuring these posts on your blog. For instance, if your Tweets get a lot of Retweets and replies, it would be a great idea to integrate your Twitter feed directly on your site.
Have you ever had a client ask what forms of freelance writer payment you accept? Do you list them on your website so that clients know up front which ones are available to them? You have several options available and by offering more choices, you may be able to increase your client base.
In the spirit of the Halloween season, talking about some of the horrific experiences of freelance writers – in other words, our horror stories. Difficult clients, scope creeps, non-paying clients, scammers, and technical issues are just some of them.
Jodee recently wrote about scope creeps and how to deal with them. She explains that when you “start working on a project that you think is going to encompass one set of parameters and then what is expected of you starts growing beyond your original understanding”, you’re probably working with a scope creep.
We actually got feedback from one of you, which is a rather horrific experience. Deborah Boerema shares her horror story:
…a gig for China Education Publishing House Group Limited (CEPHG) that involved rewriting some classic children’s fairy tales and developing practice exercises to go with them. The finished project was intended to help Chinese children prepare for the Cambridge English Young Learners exam.
After writing and revising several rounds of samples for CEPHG, I was offered a contract in mid-February. The payment of $700 per fairy tale sounded better than many other freelance gigs. My contract was for three fairy tales, so I was pleased that I would be earning over $2000.
Like many writing projects, this turned into a lot more work and required much more time than originally expected. Each fairy tale had to be expanded into nine chapters, and each chapter had to have six accompanying practice exercises. Specific vocabulary had to be included in the stories, and specific grammar skills had to be covered in the exercises. The language barrier made it challenging to always understand what CEPHG wanted. However, I finally completed and submitted all the stories and exercises to them. I estimate I ended up earning under $3 per hour by the time I was finished.
I received payment for 70% of the amount due to me in mid-July. I have been told I will not receive the remaining 30% of the amount due to me until after their illustrators complete their work. Apparently, I will be asked to proofread the books after they are illustrated. I found out this morning that other projects have postponed the illustrations until the end of this month.
She ends with some advice for other freelance writers:
I thought some of the other freelance writers who use your site might benefit from my experience when considering whether to work with a foreign contractor. You might also want to consider my experience before accepting gig posts from foreign contractors.
What’s a difficult client, exactly?
The description probably varies, but in my opinion, a difficult client can be a scope creep (although not in the degree that Deborah experienced). This client will keep on asking for revisions, many of them unnecessary.
A difficult client can also be one who gives specific feedback, even specific sentences/paragraphs, to use in the article. However, when you send the revised version, the client complains and wants changes – even those he himself provided! This is not only frustrating, but can turn out to be a huge loss due to the time you spend revising.
Yes. Been there. Done that. Definitely one of the horrific experiences a freelance writer will encounter at some point.
A client can also be difficult if he keeps bugging you via email or chat, even at odd hours, expecting immediate replies. Here are a few of things you can do to avoid this:
- Set expectations from the get go. Inform your client about your work hours, what time/s you can be on chat, and your email response time.
- Avoid giving your phone number. Imagine receiving an “urgent” call from a client during dinner!
- Use a different email/chat account for clients. This way, you can implement the first suggestion more easily.
Long ago, when I first started freelance writing, I had this one client who sent work in batches. The arrangement was she would pay at the end of every month when I sent the invoice. No problem, right? This is what the arrangements are in most cases anyway.
The problem is that after a couple of months of paying on time, she started paying late. At first, I was okay with it, thinking that perhaps she was waiting for money to come in as well. The next month, however, she just disappeared off the face of the planet. I sent follow up emails and hit her up on chat (I could see she was online) several times, to no avail. At the end of the day, I didn’t get paid.
So what could I have done? Here are some resources to help you:
Which of these horrific experiences have you encountered? What other experiences do you have that you can share with the community so we can all learn from them? Feel free to share your story in the comments!