Friday, November 30, 2007

Link Love Friday

Good morning, fellow freelancers! Catch up on your weekend reading and take a look at some of these great posts from fellow writers in the blogosphere.

This great post from HR World details 100 resources for web workers. Scroll down to the section specifically for writers and bloggers. They seem to have some pretty nifty things worth a look.

Deb Ng from Freelance Writing Gigs wrote a great post about writing for the web. If you started in a print market or are just breaking into web writing, you don't want to miss this.

Lillie Ammann wrote a very informative article about editing for professionals and non-professionals alike. Check it out!

Finally, Georganna Hancock from A Writer's Edge wrote a short but sweet post about the importance of writers having their own business websites. While my opinion differs slightly, she makes some excellent points.

Have a great weekend, and enjoy these!



Thursday, November 29, 2007

Saying No to a Client

It's not always easy saying no to a client, especially when we don't always know where our rent money will be coming from at the end of the month.

I was very guilty in the beginning of my freelance career of taking on every project that came my way. If a client contacted me, I couldn't say no - not only did I need the money, I was also scared that if I said no this time, I might not get a second chance.

There comes a time in every writer's life, however, where we will need to learn to say NO.

If you already have a steady workload, there's no reason to take on more than you can handle. If you aren't able to devote your complete attention to the task at hand, then you should definitely pass on the assignment.

Why turn in sub-par work?

I'm not superwoman. I don't know many freelancers who would put themselves in that category, either. We work hard, but we shouldn't overwork ourselves to the point where we run ourselves ragged.

Oftentimes, it's a lot easier to just say no.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Aw, you Can Leave me a Virtual Gift!

It's almost Christmas... how about leaving me a virtual gift? I think it's cute :) Leave a notice in the comments if you leave a gift and I'll be sure to thank you.

(Hey, it's something to do to break up the monotony of my day!)



How to Maximize your Productivity while Working at Home

From an outsider's perspective, working at home seems like an ideal situation. Little do they know that working at home requires intense motivation, self-discipline and the ability to avoid distractions.

If you want to maximize your productivity while working from home, there are several important things you need to do.

First and foremost, you need to set up a working space that won't allow for distractions to hinder your work. If you're lucky enough to have a spare room that isn't being used, consider turning that into your home office.

For me (and for the majority of freelancers I've talked to), I don't have the luxury of dedicating an entire room for my work space. Instead, I carved out a small corner of my bedroom for my desk, laptop and important paperwork.

Additionally, you're going to need some type of filing system to store financial records, important paperwork and other documents essential to your work.

I know that when I let my desk get cluttered, I'm less likely to turn out as much work as I could when I have an organized, clean space in which to work.

Not only will creating your own working space allow you to separate yourself from the rest of your home, it will also serve to minimize distractions. Avoiding distraction is essential to maximizing productivity.

To avoid falling prey to distractions, create a work schedule for yourself, just as you would have if you worked in a regular office environment. Tell friends and family members not to disturb you during these hours, and stick to your guns!

It might take some getting used to, especially if your friends and family are used to dropping in for impromptu visits. However, regardless of the fact you are working from home it's important to treat your work like you would a regular 9-5 job.

Eventually, people will start to respect your work schedule and know not to interrupt you.

The beauty of working from home is the ability to set your own hours, so be realistic when planning your work schedule. Come up with a do-able, realistic schedule and stick to it.

If you find yourself becoming controlled by the schedule you've set in place, change it! The object is to maximize productivity, not hinder it.

Don't let your work environment become a place you loathe rather than love!

If you have any additional tips to add, please leave a comment. I'd love to hear your feedback.


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Monday, November 26, 2007

Writing Question of the Week: Holiday Slowdown

Good morning, fellow freelancers. I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

This week, I'd like to talk about your workload during the holidays. Does it tend to slow down? How do you plan for a decrease in workload around the holidays?

I generally notice a decrease in the amount of available jobs during the holiday season, but thankfully I have a few long-term clients on the back burner that should get me through this year. Fingers crossed, anyway!

I'd like to hear your feedback, and how you tend to fare as a freelance writer during the holidays.




Monday, November 19, 2007

How do you Manage your Writing Schedule?

Happy Monday, fellow freelancers.

This week, I'd like to initiate some feedback regarding your writing schedule. How early do you wake up each morning? Do you schedule your work in one large block of time, or do you work a "split-shift," so to speak?

Today, I was bright eyed and bushy tailed at 7:00 in the morning. I don't normally start my day until 8:30 or 9, where I proceed to work from my smallest task to my largest. I usually take a 15 minute break at about 1:00, and proceed to finish what I have planned for that day.

What about you?

I'm actually enjoying having a little extra "me" time this morning. Maybe I should start making this a habit ;)!

So, how do you manage your writing schedule? Let me know!


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Friday, November 16, 2007

Link Love Friday

I've decided I'll spread the love around and link to some of my favorite posts from other writer's over the past week.

Anne Wayman wrote an interesting post on writer's block and what she believes causes it. Check it out, it's well worth a read.

The insightful and informative Allison Winn Scotch of Ask Allison wrote about breaking into the national print markets. Great information for newbie writers!

Laura Spencer from Writing Thoughts posted an intriguing survey about where a blog community comes from. The answer may surprise you!

Finally, Theda K. from Crayon Writer wrote about finding the right words in relation to copywriting. It's short and to the point - but chock full of useful information.

Have a terrific weekend, everyone!

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Monday, November 12, 2007

What do You Do About a Pushy Client?

Good morning, fellow freelancers and a happy Monday to all of you.

While I'm fortunate to love all of the clients I currently work with (sounds amazing, but it's true), there have been several in the past who were... pushy, to put it mildly.

I'm sure you know the type - the client who demands countless revisions, changes the entire scope of the project, or constantly badgers you via e-mail, IM or the telephone about the status of their project.

How have you dealt with this in the past? What tactics do you use to tell a pushy client to back off, without it sounding just as rude or demanding?

Even if you've never been in this particular situation, try to imagine what you would do if faced with a client who demanded a little more than what was reasonable.

I want feedback! Let me know what's worked for you, what didn't work for you, and when you eventually had to tell your client to "hit the road."

Warm Wishes,



Thursday, November 08, 2007

What Do You Think About Writing Contests?

I've never entered a writing contest - not because I didn't want to, but simply because I don't have time!

What's more, I'm not sure how beneficial writing contests are in the scheme of things.

What do you think? Have you entered a writing contest before? If so, how did it help you and/or your career?

I'd like to know both positive and negative experiences you may have had with writing contests. Let's open up some discussion!

I look forward to your feedback.



Monday, November 05, 2007

How to Determine your Rates as a Freelance Writer

Albeit an old post, I'm constantly referring new writers to Jennifer Mattern's "Crunching the Numbers" post at the All Freelance Writing Forums.

Many newbie writers don't understand or don't know how to set their rates to actually make a decent income without burning out.

Freelancers have to account for additional taxes, medical insurance, business expenses, etc. That's why it's so important to factor all of that in before coming up with an hourly wage you can live with.

I definitely recommend checking the post out, and stopping by to say hello! Jennifer runs a great ship over there, and we'd all love to have you join. :)

Warm Wishes,


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Friday, November 02, 2007

Your Bottom Line

If the quality of this post leaves something to be desired, I am apologizing beforehand. My dog I've known and loved for 16 years was put to sleep yesterday. He lived a good life, but I am still processing everything. I apologize now, and hope you still enjoy the post, for what it's worth.

Yesterday, I wrote about the price of quality and asked for your opinions regarding how much quality costs in the writing world. I appreciate those of you who commented, but now I'd like to take things a bit further.

While the definition of quality will differ from person to person (as will the price people are willing to pay for it,) I'd like to ask you about your bottom line.

How much are you willing to negotiate on rates? This will obviously vary depending on the circumstances. There were several comments on the blog post yesterday about certain benefits of working with a particular client may outweigh the financial gain.

Has this ever held true for you? Do you ever work for less than you usually do because of different benefits a particular client offers you?

While I am usually a stickler with the rates I charge and rarely renegotiate, there are a few clients who I continue to work with that pay me substantially less than I usually earn. Why do I keep working with them?

For the side benefits, of course! These vary from client to client, but several people I've worked with in the past have been enormously helpful to me in ways different from monetary gain.

Now it's your turn. Let me know your thoughts and where your bottom line rests.

Best Wishes,


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Thursday, November 01, 2007

The Price of Quality

When I first began trying to freelance I have to admit - I was clueless.

My first gig was writing various articles about wedding favors. I had to focus each article on a specific keyword, and write 50 articles all essentially about the same thing.

At the time, I didn't realize I could be doing much less work for MUCH more money. I was just happy to be doing something I loved and getting paid something.

Luckily, I started researching freelance writing and reading everything I could get on the subject. I talked to more established freelancers and realized: "Hey, I can do better!"

While I am constantly learning something new all the time, I am happy to admit that my low-paying, keyword writing days have long been finished with. Thankfully, my ignorance didn't last as long as it could have! To imagine I could still be stuck in the low-paying rut makes me shudder.

What am I getting at, you ask?

I realized that while I was churning out those annoying keyword articles, the quality of my work started to suffer. I became more concerned about hitting the word count than about the fact that all of my sentences began to sound boring and repetitive.

I know now that I was suffering from what I call "writing burnout," and had I actually been paid what I knew I was worth, burnout probably wouldn't have happened.

It's a problem I am constantly seeing across the spectrum - new writers jump on the freelance bandwagon, not knowing how much they could be getting paid, and end up letting the quality of their writing suffer just to collect a paycheck.

So, my question to you - what is the price of quality writing? I realize it's a very loaded question, and the answers will probably vary from writer to writer.

In order to answer that question, first we must determine what the word quality means to us. It's such an overused phrase now, it almost ceases to have a real meaning anymore! "High Quality Writing Services" is now the catch-phrase for every wannabe writer competing for peanuts.

So, what does quality mean to you? And then... what price does quality come with? It's something to think about, and I'm interested to hear your thoughts.



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