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Sunday, January 28, 2007

How Writing Reviews Helped Me

One of the things I did when I started my freelance writing career was to write reviews for consumer sites. I learned a lot from that experience, and I've collected in all in an article entitled What I Learned From Writing Reviews. Here's an excerpt:

On the paid to review sites, what people want most of all is your opinion on a product or service. They want to know how you used it, what worked, what didn’t work and how you felt about it. They also want to know what you get.

What I learned from that experience gave me the blueprint for much of the web content writing I do today.

Read What I Learned From Writing Reviews and see if you agree with me.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Freelance Writing: 2007 Career Goals

Whether you're freelance writing or in any other career, it's important to have goals. They keep you focused and, in the tough times, remind you why you're churning out articles at 1 cent a word. I have a lot of goals for my career - and not all of them involve writing. In talking to a friend recently (more on that another time), I realised one important thing: I was working hard so I didn't have to work so hard."

Setting Career Goals

What I mean by that is that my short term career goal is to make enough money to pay my bills. That's also my medium term goal, with the addition of enough money for holidays and other small extravagances. I also want to improve the pay rate, so I get more money for less writing (who wouldn't?) But the reason I am doing this - and the reason I work at home - is to be able to spend more time with my family and to have a better quality of life. Those are things that I think most people want. (And don't think life is perfect, because there are some family members I can DEFINITELY do without!)

So this was what I had in mind when setting my goals for 2007. My perfect day would involve about four hours of writing for others, about two hours of teaching and about one hour of dealing with the other writers I work with. I would do this Monday to Friday and on weekends I would spend a couple hours a day working on my own stuff. I would be able to spend every evening playing with my daughter, and I wouldn't get stressed.

Living The Perfect Writing Day

Someone suggested that I try living (and writing) that way now instead of thinking about all the things that get in the way. So I tried it yesterday - and guess what? Yesterday I did as much writing in four and a half hours as I had done the previous day. I spent two hours on a new course, spent an hour on some admin - and took the rest of the day off to spend with my daughter. And I didn't get stressed even once. I'm going to try this for a couple of weeks and see if it works. I'll keep you posted. In the meantime, I'm curious - how do you plan to change your writing life this year?

Friday, January 19, 2007

Freelance Writing Motivation

It's hard to maintain your motivation with freelance writing sometimes. Take today. I am nearing the end of a long assignment for a discerning client (no, you did not hear me say picky). The articles are on mortgages and there are more than 140 of them. I have 26 more to write. But those 26 are the ones with the difficult keyword phrases, which must be used exactly as written. (Ever try to make a sentence with six nouns and no verb?)

Freelance Writing Originality

Freelance writing assignments often ask you to be original. This person wants original content, but there is only so much to say about this subject - and I have already said it 120 times in different ways. I'm quite proud of myself - but I am also discouraged by the thought of the last few articles. Every original thought on this subject has already left my brain and been put on paper. The last 26 will be more difficult than the other 120.

Freelance Writing Discipline

This is when you really need discipline as a freelance writer. I have to force myself to write through the inertia. I need to go back to the sources I have used before (press releases, websites and occasionally my ex-IFA husband) and mine them for new information. But most of all, I have to write - even if I don't feel like it. I may be living my dream, but it's not always easy.

Read Of The Day: The One Minute Writing Lesson

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Freelance Writing And Promotion - My Master List

Trick Falls asked for a list of blogs, lenses and websites. I do a lot of promotion, so it took me a while to collate this. In fact, I'm still not sure that I've got everything. There are many article directories that I submitted only a few articles to and many social bookmarking sites that have fallen by the wayside. Anyway, here's the list so far.



Sporadic/inactive blogs





Other stuff

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Freelance Writing Friends - A Big Thank You

What do you do as a freelance writer when you are in danger of missing a deadline? I have to say that I don't usually miss deadlines - it's bad for business. But this week, I was let down on a job, which left me with too much work to do to meet one of my writing deadlines. I could have pouted and cried (and maybe I did inside) but that wasn't going to help me meet the deadline. So instead of wallowing in my distress I asked for help. And I got it. That's why I'd like to thank marleymauve and kohuether, who helped me out of a really tight spot - and burned the midnight oil to do it.

And this is part of the power of WritingUp. Those of us who have been here for a while (and maybe those who are new) have found a supportive community. I have met other people who are doing the same thing I am doing - building a freelance writing career. WritingUp is a great place to talk about things that matter to you with other people who also care about those things. And it's a great place to make friends and meet people who offer help and mean it.

One To Read: How Blogging Helps Writers

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Help, I Need A Writer

Freelance Writing Is Funny

Freelance writing is a funny business. What a difference a year makes. At the start of last year I had been freelancing for only a few months and had yet to make any decent money (or any money from writing). I was about a month into blogging and my writing site was just starting to get some traffic.

Searching For My Writing Site

Fast forward to this year and things have changed a lot. The best news of all is that people are now using searches like 'freelance writing', 'ghost writing' and 'freelance editor' to find my site, so all that promotion has paid off. The number of unique visitors to my site has more than doubled. The number of page views has more than trebled. That means that there are more people coming to the site and they are looking at more stuff. That is good news. Traffic to my WritingLab blog is good and my newsletter has a healthy number of subscribers.

So You Wanna Do Some Freelance Writing?

I also have more freelance writing work than I can handle. I am having to turn down work and it's killing me. So I had a thought - what if I don't turn down work and pass it on to someone else instead? The person - or people - would need to have a great command of UK and US English. The topics I am asked to write about are quite varied, but I have a lot of people asking for people who can write on loans, insurance, mortgages and credit cards. There are other subjects as well, so if you're an expert in something let me know.

Get Paid To Write

The pay is middling. Typical articles are around 500 words and the average pay is around $5-$7. Not the best, but not the worst. However, I have also had ebooks that paid more than 4 pounds sterling for a 300 word page. It evens out in the end. I should know. One month I made nearly $4,000 from writing and blogging. Of course, I didn't see my family for a month, but that's another story.

Anyone who's interested has to be good with deadlines. If you're interesting in giving it a try, contact me through my blog (http://doublehdesign.com/blog/contact/) or website (contact page on the main doublehdesign.com site). I'll send you some more information and we can sort out an assignment for you to start on. Happy New Year!