Man, it just isn’t easy to be a freelance writer sometimes. Sure, you have the ability to set your own hours and rates. You can work from literally anywhere with an Internet connection and you are your own boss. Plus, if you ever need to take time away you can do so. All in all, it is a good career choice, but it still has its difficulties. [Read more…]
OK so that’s all I got. That’s my splash. Spectacular wasn’t it?
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. [Read more…]
For many writers, math is not a strong suite. Creativity comes easy, but when it comes time to worry about taxes, writers often run the other way. The danger that goes along with freelance writing is the idea that you do not get a formal paycheck. While a traditional job will take care of the taxes for you, in general, freelance writing probably won’t. In other words, it’s in the hands of the writer to set money aside for taxes.
Now to make things even more complicated for those who despised math growing up: there are different types of taxes that you have to pay. Consider the two types of taxes all freelance writers should be saving up for before April hits: [Read more…]
Most of the time when I submit my work to a client, it is accepted the first time. There are times, though, when I have a run where several pieces are sent back. During these times, I start to wonder about the quality of the work that I do and I feel a bit insecure about continuing to do work for clients.
What would you suggest?
I think that to be involved in creative work always involves a certain amount of insecurity. You can’t just show up and expect to get paid; instead, you have to not only produce quality work, but it has to be reviewed and accepted before you receive any money. There are times when it can be stressful – especially when you get a number of requests for revisions in a row.
If you are able to separate your self from your work it can be easier to deal with these situations. Yes, you put part of yourself into what you write (which is why you are good at what you do), but when a client asks for a change he or she is not rejecting you. It’s about the work, and the client has the right to get what he or she wants.
Everyone gets these requests, and in some cases there is more than one round of edits. You may have produced the work, but the request to make changes isn’t about you. As long as you have followed the instructions properly, just put it down to part of the job and make the changes the client has asked for.
Get up and stretch, take a walk, and then come back to work on the revisions. You will have a better perspective on the assignment by taking a break first.
I love writing. It’s always been one of my passions. I want to go to college but can’t afford it and am definitely not scholarship material. I want to get a job as a freelance writer to earn some money for at least a two year college. I’m graduating this year and I can’t stand thinking I might not be able to go to school anymore. Will you please give me some advice on what I should do? I’d really appreciate it.
It is possible to make enough money from writing to help you pay for school, but I should tell you that there is a difference between writing for yourself and taking on assignments for clients. You will need to be able to follow instructions carefully when doing paid writing work.
If you are going to be graduating this year, I would suggest that you find some non-writing work first and then start writing part-time. That way, you can give yourself some time to get a feel for whether this is something that you would like to pursue professionally while not putting all of your eggs in one basket.
There are many different ways to get paid to write, and I would suggest that you check out the information here at FreelanceWritingGigs, as well as other sites, to learn as much as you can before you start looking for work. You may have to try a few things before you find a type of writing that is a good fit for you but if you are passionate about words and willing to work at it, you can reach your goal. Good luck!
Bring up the topic of green living and people think recycling and light bulbs. These are, of course, important parts of caring for the environment, but they are not the only things each of us can do to save, reduce and reuse resources.
The office presents several opportunities to lessen our personal impact on the world around us.
- Cut back on paper use. Writer’s use a lot of paper, including to hand -edit pieces. That’s why it’s important to keep a bin next to the printer to deposit used paper. The paper is can be reused for back-side printing, notes, lists and coloring for the kids.
- Invest in recycled paper. Prices are now more reasonable than ever. Keep an eye out for sales at your favorite office supply store and stock up when possible.
- Digitize bills, bank statements, invoices, etc. Much of our waste and clutter problems stem from incoming mail that can easily switch to electronic files. Often companies will give consumers a discount for the switch from paper to electronic billing.
- Ban pesky receipts. There are several programs that allow you to digitize your receipts – my fave is Shoeboxed.com – eliminating the need to keep bunches of paper. Make sure any app or service you choose uses IRS approved methods.
Put your money in green – products and services. There is a huge variety of recycled goods on the market for offices including file folders, organizers, calendars, etc. A little bit of research will go a long way to find products that fit in tight budgets.
Product control also means controlling the amount of energy electronic products consume. A quick way to keep energy usage low – plug all of your electronic devices into a power strip. At night, hit the switch and cut phantom energy use!
- Reuse ink cartridges. Instead of tossing a spent cartridge have it refilled. When a cartridge can no longer be refilled, dispose of it properly. Use local cartridge recycling centers and many ‘big box’ stores provide the service, free of charge.
- Donate old goods and electronics. Much of the waste in our landfills is electronic waste and things that could be recycled. Both office furniture and electronic goods can be passed onto shelters and thrift stores. Electronics not in good condition can be dropped off at any electronic recycling operation. These centers repair, repurpose and properly dispose of the hazardous parts of our gadgets.
- Cut the flushes. If you work from home this item is easier to implement. Save water and resources by following the old adage “If it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down.” It’ll also save loads on your water bill!
It doesn’t take a lot of effort or money to change your office into a green one. It’s almost as easy as putting on a “Kiss Me I’m Irish” pin.
What tips do you have for greening up an office?
What is an appropriate time to wait before following up with a potential client? I’ve made a pitch and had a good initial discussion with the client but haven’t heard anything further. I don’t want to appear too pushy, but I also don’t want to let this opportunity get away from me.
I can appreciate that if you have had a positive response from a prospective client you want to get the project firmed up right away. Even if a client is receptive to your pitch, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he or she will be ready to get the project underway immediately. In a case where there are several people who must be consulted to approve the project, it will take longer than if the decisions are being made by one person.
You will want to follow up so that you stay on the client’s radar, but you don’t want to be in touch so often that you appear desperate for work. If you haven’t heard back after the initial positive response in a week or two, send a polite follow-up e-mail or pick up the phone to reach out to the client to find out what the status of the project is.
I firmly believe reading great writing is key to becoming a great writer. It doesn’t matter the subject, what matters is how the writer connects with their readers and how well they deliver the information they are charged with conveying.
Check out these great blogs *listed in no particular order.*
1. The Oatmeal
Before you cry ‘Foul!’ Yes, The Oatmeal is not a traditional, 500-word-per-post blog. It is, however, incredibly clever with the small amount of words each post uses. Each blog hits its target and it doesn’t dwell on ledes to do it.
Chock full of information, TechCrunch is a tech lover’s New York Times. It combines straight forward writing with a strong understanding of its audience. The only way those folks are going to talk about their cat is if the cat wrote a review about an app.
3. Social Media Examiner
Want to know how to maximize your LinkedIn contacts? Stuck on hashtags? Social Media Examiner wades into the ever changing world of social media and successfully caters to both the novice and experienced social media user. The writing is clean and focused. Bullet points, headers and lists are always used to break down information quickly and clearly.
4. The Urban Muse
A writing site with great writing. The Urban Muse tackles everything from networking to time management and gets readers engaged with its ‘Open Thread’ posts. Funny, real and useful – what else do you need?
Here is another writer’s website with great writing, fantastic information and hilarious comics. Inkygirl‘s Debbie Ridpath Ohi really needs to stop looking in my window and using my life as inspiration for her comics. Despite the fact that she lives hundreds of miles away and draws me as a white woman with short hair I know it’s me. 🙂
The power of mom blogs has rocked many a wayward corporate campaign, (Right Motrin?) has been documented in traditional media and even highlighted on Oprah. Dad blogs, on the other hand, have received less fanfare. It’s a shame because blog networks like DadCentric are producing really wonderful content from a perspective that is too often trounced upon by perception. I have long held the belief the “mom knows best” bit is B.S. *climbing off my soapbox now* Beer, bottles, better parenting and butt-kickin’ content makes this a great bit of blogosphere.
7. Freelance Writing Jobs
Yes, this blog. Freelance Writing Jobs is more than daily job leads. We are thriving blog with great information and professional writers who work hard to bring what we learn to others. Go beyond the home page into some of the categories and archives. There is a wide variety of solid information available. Plus we write good too. 🙂
Got a favorite blog? Tell us below!
I’ve been contacted by a prospective client who wants to arrange a time to meet. I’ve been working remotely for some time and the idea of sitting down for an interview is really intimidating. Can you give me some tips?
First of all, congrats on being invited to meet with a prospective client. I can understand that this is exciting but a little uncomfortable as well, but you need to keep in mind that this is not quite the same thing as a job interview. You are sitting down with someone to have a discussion about whether you can work together to help the client achieve his or her goals.
In the time leading up to the appointment, learn as much as you can about the client and his or her business. As you review the web site and any other information you can gather, make detailed notes and go over them several times before the meeting.
As part of your preparation, try to identify specific areas where your expertise can benefit the client. The person you will be meeting with may have some ideas about how you can help, but it doesn’t hurt to come to the table with some strategies of your own.
Keep in mind that while the client may be interviewing you, this is also an opportunity for you to decide whether you want to work with the client as well. Have a list of questions of your own prepared so that you can understand the scope of the work the client needs, as well as his or her professional working style.
If you can get away from the idea that this is an audition and think of it as a discussion, you may feel a bit less nervous. Good luck!
There is perhaps no other topic in the freelance writing world that generates more controversy than the concept of writers writing for free. Bring it up and lines in invisible sand are drawn, commenting spikes and in the case of Harlan Ellison, a few F-bombs are dropped.
It’s understandable. Shady publishers and editors prey on vunerable writers who want to see their names in print. Writers are constantly burned by “write for free now and earn later” promises in which “later” never comes.
However, in the angry buzz of the debate something gets lost. Choice and education. There will always be writers who consider using their talent without traditional compensation. Instead of helping writers make informed decisions, we as a community often take the abstinence-only approach – IT’S WRONG, NEVER DO IT.
Is it really free?
The first step to weighing a work-for-free option is to look at whether the project has any compensation opportunities. Writers work in exchange for items and services all the time. A little web content work in exchange for a new website. A little PR work in exchange for lessons from a yoga studio.
Just be sure that you follow three simple rules when bartering services:
- Set clear boundaries. Define the services you will provide and the services or products you expect in return. This prevents misunderstandings and keeps either party from taking advantage of the “freebie” situation.
- Determine cost. It should be expected that your standard rates are used for services you provide.
- Put it in writing. This is not only helpful for tax and business record purposes, it makes the transaction official and binding.
Is it for the greater good?
Wielding a hammer may not be some people’s idea of how they want to volunteer, but wielding a keyboard may feel just right. Providing writing services to help a charity or organization is a good thing. Sweating over a keyboard or a hot stove both take time and effort and each can be a great help to someone in need.
Are you prepared for the lack of payoff?
Writing for exposure. *Sigh* That’s a tricky one. Certain publications swear by it, but when their blog only reaches 12 people and four of those are family members, the “exposure” doesn’t help a writer one bit. Then you have the Huffington Post model: huge reach and definite opportunities for exposure. However, when the publication makes a deal for a large sum of money, whether it’s for advertising or through the sale of the blog, there will be writers who feel slighted when left out of the monetary windfall.
There is, of course, the possibility that exposure may never come. Before you get into an “exposure” deal,
- Use metrics to define success. How many blog hits, how many subsequent work requests, book sales, etc.
- Recognize and get comfortable with not being able to eat, spend or pay bills with exposure. Exposure has to translate into dollars through other avenues to be successful.
- Have a time limit and exit strategy. Give the exposure enough time to produce results, but have an end date in place if it doesn’t show signs of panning out.
Can you afford to do it?
Whether working in exchange for goods and services, as a volunteer or for “exposure,” carefully weigh the costs of the commitment. There are time costs, including time away from other business-growing opportunities, i.e. querying, working on gigs for other clients, etc. There are also actual costs: electricity, Internet, the standard writing rate… This is one of those tough choices that a writer has to make from a business perspective, especially if the project will be ongoing.
Most of the time I’m against writing for free. It distracts writers from doing things that can both further their careers and enable them to pay bills. Writing for experience can be accomplished while making money – don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. There are, however, situations in which free can work out for writers though they are not as common as “job” listings would have you believe. It’s a personal, business decision that should be made with research and with realistic expectations.
Have you written for “free?” Why or why not? What other things should writers consider when weighing a non-traditional pay option?