Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Laptop VS Desktop

So, I've had this thought running through my mind for about two months now and have yet to come to a solid conclusion. That's why I've decided to ask you, my fellow freelancers, for your help/thoughts on the matter.

How many of you use a laptop to work? Do you take your work with you everywhere you go? (I.E., vacations, family events, etc.) What are the benefits to using a laptop rather than a desktop computer or vice versa?

I've been thinking about purchasing a laptop for awhile now, provided I'm able to raise sufficient funds to do so. But I'd like to get your opinions on whether it's a good idea or not. Thoughts?

Best Wishes,


Monday, August 28, 2006

Take Time Off!

I am burned out. Between working full time and taking care of my mother, I haven't had a moment to myself in many months. Thankfully, my mother is starting to be able to take care of herself again and my life may just return back to normal -- or a semblance of "normal," anyway!

What's the point of my personal diatribe? Taking time for yourself, especially as a freelancer, is essential to maintaining a clear head and allowing your work to thrive rather than have the quality suffer because you are too exhausted to worry about proper sentence structure or spelling mistakes.

Everybody needs a little time to breathe now and then, and allowing time for mini-vacations or what have you is absolutely necessary for your mental health and the quality of your work. Don't work yourself to the bone! Relax for a moment, take a few deep breaths and leave time to stop and smell the roses. Truthfully, you don't know what you're missing until you break away from your desk and leave the world of work behind you -- if but for a few moments.

Best Wishes,


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

How To Write For The Web

When I first started freelancing, I knew that the internet would be a primary portal for my work. As such, I read everything I could get my hands on about web content writing and how to improve my work so it would catch the attention of an internet audience. I've compiled the following tips that have helped me on my web writing journey. I hope they prove useful to you, as well!

I can't tell you how many times I've heard "Keep it short," when it came to writing for the web. While it's true that a reader's attention won't last for long on a webpage, provided you are presenting the information in an interesting and informative fashion, length doesn't necessarily matter. If you compile all of your material into a concise, easy to read piece (think bullet points, lists, you get the idea,) and draw the reader in with a catchy hook, your audience won't think about the length of the article.

Keep in mind -- just because you're writing for the web does not mean you can skip proofreading! Please, do not add to the proliferation of poor content on many websites these days. You are a writer! This means that you must take the proper time to proofread, edit and revise your work as necessary. Don't attemp to proofread all of your work in one sitting, especially if it's a longer piece. Letting the article sit for a day or so and returning to it with clear eyes can yield much better results.

If you have any additional tips to add, please feel free to to drop me a line via e-mail, or start a discussion in the comment section. I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Warm Regards,


Thursday, August 17, 2006

Successfully Write a How-To Book

Maybe you've dabbled in the nonfiction market here and there and have always been interested in putting your ideas for a fabulous how-to book on paper. You can think of a million excuses not to do it -- perhaps you don't have enough time, or maybe you're afraid of failure. Possibly, like many freelancers, you just don't know where to begin. The following guide aims to detail the essential components of a how-to book and ways you can get publishers to pay attention to your book proposal.

First and foremost, you MUST convince your readers that you know enough about their problem and that you can offer successful ways to resolve whatever issue they have. The proper credentials can vouch for your expertise when it comes to this. That doesn't mean you need a college degree. It simply means that you must be very knowledgeable about the subject matter, either because you've studied the topic extensively or it's in an area of expertise you know well.

Secondly, you want to be able to convey your message as clearly and concisely as possible. Stay away from technical verbage as much as possible, and write in a conversational, light hearted tone. You want your book to be entertaining and informative -- not a boring read!

You'll also want to create a strong hook that will draw your readers in and keep them reading until the last page. This might require a bit of practice to get the hang of, so check out a few books on the subject matter you're interested in writing about to see how other authors have tackled this. For a How-To book, you'll also want to come up with a creative title that will catch a reader's eye and compel them to buy the book. Make it informative!

Obviously, the content of your book must also pertain to your readership and contain information that's relevant and can be put to use. Create a rough outline of what you'd like the book to explain, and ensure the information is presented in a logical, cohesive fashion. An outline is an essential tool to help keep your book on track.

If you make the reader feel they can trust the information you present, you've done your job very well. Writing a book can feel like a daunting task, but stop making excuses! You know what you want to write about -- now, you can utilize the above tips to create a publishable work you'll be proud to show off.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Do You Love What You Do?

This follows along similar lines as a previous post of mine, but for my fellow freelancers out there... do you love what you do?

I've received a lot of flack for my writing, not because people believe I'm not talented, but because they feel I can put my talents to better use in a "real" job. Excuse me? I consider what I do a real job. I get paid for it, I put in extensive time and research and I end up with a product I'm proud of.

Writing has always been a passion of mine, and to be able to make a career out of it is something that I am going to take advantage of for as long as humanly possible. I'm constantly expanding my horizons, learning and growing along with my career and picking up information I would never have known before.

If you've been in similar situations where people have criticized or ridiculed you for not having a "real" job, I say forget them! If you enjoy what you do and can make a career out of something you love, that's what truly matters. Surround yourself with supportive people and let those who talk down about your career choice eat their words.

Best Wishes,


Monday, August 14, 2006

DP Contest

I thought this was a little interesting, so I decided to share the news with you all:

I'm an active member of Digital Point, and my friend Mike is running a little contest/poll over there to determine who has the best blog. Lo and behold, mine was included as part of the poll because someone nominated it :

Do I stand a chance of winning? No way in hell, but I thought it was a nice bit of recognition on my part...

A *real* update will follow later today, my fellow freelancers.

Happy Hearts!


Sunday, August 13, 2006

How Do You Charge Clients?

How do you, as a freelancer, charge your clients? Do you base your fee on a per-word basis (for writers, obviously) or by the hour? How about per project, depending on the time it takes and the depth of research involved?

I definitely enjoy freelancing because of the freedom it allows to name my own price for each project, based on several important factors I always take into account. These include research time, an estimation of the length of the project and a few others.

Along the same lines, do you ask clients for a certain amount of the project fee up front? Typically, I work under a 50/50 rule -- 50% payment up front, and the remaining 50% paid upon completetion. This is to protect both the client and I in the event either of us were to flake out on the other. How do you usually operate?

Leave your thoughts or drop me a line! :)

Warm Regards,


Thursday, August 10, 2006

Work and Life Balance

As a freelancer, do you find it easier to balance your working life with family life or more difficult to incorporate everything you need to do during the day? While there are definitely perks to the freelance business, I am curious to hear your opinions on the matter.

You'd think that working from home all day would allow me to get more things done around the house, but I seem to find the exact opposite occurring- much to the chagrin of my family, of course. What about you? How do you implement time to be with your family and other committments working from home?

Leave a comment below or drop me a line; your thoughts are always welcome.



Monday, August 07, 2006

M.I.A. Clients

For my fellow freelancers out there, what do you do if a client rips you off? I have been lucky enough to not run into much of a problem with this issue, but I know that working in a career like I do opens up a whole new world of rip offs and scams to watch out for.

What steps do you take to resolve the issue of a non-paying client? You've completed work, sent the finished project over and the client has literally seemed to vanish into cyberspace. How do you manage to maintain a professional demeanor in these instances?

I'm very interested to hear your thoughts on the matter. Please feel free to share your experiences below.



Sunday, August 06, 2006

This IS my real job!

I got the inspiration for this post from Deb Ng's blog. I can't tell you how much animosity I've run into when some people find out I work from home as a freelance writer.

"What,?!" They'll excitedly yell. "But how do you pay the bills?"

I do get paid for my work, folks. This is a REAL job. No, I don't have to make a frustrating commute back and forth to a 9-5 job five days a week; no, I don't get medical benefits; NO, I don't get company perks like a cell phone or a car. But I make a decent living writing from home, and I love what I do. How can that not be a good thing?

It really rankles me when people don't believe freelance writing is an actual job. Some people do a little writing on the side as a hobby, sure -- but I put in long hours and a lot of time and effort to get paid.

Sounds like a real job to me.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

What Motivates you to Write?

Here's another question to you, my fellow writers: What motivates you to write? I know there are some days I can't bring myself to write at all, and those are the days I dread because they mean I'll be working until the wee hours of the morning, trying to meet a deadline. It doesn't happen very often, but when it does I wonder why I procrastinate to the point where I'm working like a dog just to get anything done!

So, what do you do in times like these? What are your secret tips to get by, even when writing is the last thing you feel like doing in a given day? I'm very curious to hear your thoughts on the matter. Lucrative projects are definitely a motivator, but alone I don't think money is enough.

Leave a comment below and get a discussion going. I'm definitely interested in hearing what you have to say!

Best wishes,


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Do You Write Articles That Bore You?

Oftentimes, I realize I'm stuck with a batch of articles I know nothing about. Even worse, I find out the subject matter is something I really don't care about, making the entire ordeal seem more frustrating than it needs to be. However, bills are bills and they don't magically disappear because we wish it so!

My question to fellow writers out there: How often have you had to write a series of articles that you really dreaded, either because the subject was boring or you just didn't know a thing about it? Furthermore, do you feel that writers need to be experts in various fields in order to crank out high quality articles on the topic?

Personally, unless the articles are quite technical in nature or written for a very specialized topic, I feel that good researchers can develop a quality article with little to no previous knowledge on the subject. Speaking from experience, even though I knew next to nothing about a specific topic I did a series of articles on (and found it quite tedious and boring, to say the least,) I was still able to come out on top with the client being highly impressed by my work. And this was for something I dreaded doing!

Please leave your thoughts, if you've any to give.