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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Making Sense Of Writing It Down

As a freelance writer, you may well end up having to interview sources and you will need a way of keeping track of the information. I always travel with a recording device, spare batteries, a power cable and a notebook. I'm not talking about a laptop, but an old fashioned notebook with lines in it that you write in with a pen.

There are a couple of reasons for this. First of all the technology might fail, so having notes is a good backup and one I have had to use more than once when my editor was breathing down my neck for a story that had been chewed up by the Dictaphone or simply not recorded.

The second is that writing things down helps to fix them in your memory. As a journalist I would sit on the train on the way back from an interview and start to sketch out my story with the aid of my notes. Very often, I would not need to listen to the tape much, except to check that my quotes were right.

Now, the thing about interviews is that they are not tidy. Yes, you may have a neat list of questions but an interview is a conversation, which mean you may start out one place and end up another. This can get very confusing when you are taking notes, as you may find that you are putting pieces in all over the place, or correcting or clarifying previous information.

However, there is a simple technique that can help you to make sense of the chaos, and it's this. Write on every other line. In other words, leave a blank line between each line of notes. When something comes up that's related to an earlier note, you have space to write it. If something needs to be clarified, you have space to write it. And when you're done you'll still be able to read all your notes. Try it; I promise it works – even for my terrible writing.

Recommended reads:
Talking The Talk: Secrets Of Interviewing Success

Taking The Free Out Of Freelance

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Is Freelance Writing The Best Job In The World?

To some of us, freelance writing may be the best job in the world, but a Money Magazine/Salary.com survey puts 24 other jobs ahead of it.

The job of writer gets an A for creativity, Bs for flexibility and difficulty and C for stress. There's expected to be a 17 per cent growth in the number of jobs for writers in the ten year period up to 2014.

The bit that interested me most was the salary forecasts. I don't know about you, but I'm aiming to be in the top 25 per cent. In fact, I'd like to be in the '5% make more' category - gives me something to aim for.

Here are the figures:

Average pay: $60,519

75% of writers make more than: $50,302
50% of writers make more than: $56,598
25% of writers make more than: $64,762
Top potential compensation (5% make more): $120,823

Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Best Freelancing Article I've Read This Year ...

... and I didn't write it - darn! While I was surfing yesterday I came across a reference to this post. A Comprehensive guide to starting your freelance career. This is a great post, with advice on everything from bidding, to quoting, to warning signals about clients. In fact, it's a good guide to everything about freelancing. If you are freelancing - read it! Nuff said.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Writer Promotion Works

I'm not really into trumpet blowing, but I had to let you know that all the promotion works. If you read this blog regularly, you will know that I have spent the last year and a bit promoting myself as a writer. Check out my freelance writing index to see exactly what I have done.

Anyway, every so often I do a search on Google to test how my efforts are going. Check out the screen shot to see what I found.

Not bad after a year! Of course, there's still work to do. I need to make sure people find me for the other keywords I use as well. Watch this space - and keep promoting. It really works!

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Why I Love My Writing Newsletter

A year ago I started a newsletter (called Writing Lab News) to bring some traffic to my site. At least, that was the idea. When I started I had a handful of subscribers and I knew most of those personally.

A year later, I have dozens of subscribers, so much so that I am changing to a new ezine provider and have put a new signup form on the front page of my blog.

I've really enjoyed doing the newsletter. I've been able to republish some useful articles and showcase articles and blog posts from other writers, many of them from right here on WritingUp. And the traffic building has become less important. I enjoy creating something useful. It has also become a way to connect with other writers and for them to find me. That means it works as a social, promotional and networking tool.

Here's an index of my newsletter over the past year:

Are You A Writer? - December 2006
Beef Up Your Blogfolio - March 2007
Best Ways to Generate New Article Ideas and Topics - August 2006
Blog Your Way To Working At Home - February 2007
Copyright Law: A Quick Guide For Freelance Writers - June 2006
Diary Of A Working Writer - Monthly
Ebook On Legal Services - July 2006
Feature Writing For Freelance Writers - March 2007
Five Ways to Become Published - January 2007
Free Resources For Writers - March 2007
Free Resources For Writers - May 2006
Free Resources For Writers: June 2006
Freelance Writers - Four Reasons To Get On The Net - May 2006
Ghostwriting Guide For Freelance Writers - February 2007
Great Gadgets For Freelance Writers - December 2006
Guru and Elance: Are They Worth It For Writers? - June 2006
How I Get Paid To Blog - May 2006
How I Put My Site On Steroids - Update - December 2006
How To Get Fair Pay For Freelance Writing - October 2006
How To Get Web Hits And Keep Them - February 2007
How to Grow Your Own Furniture - October 2006
How To Manage Writing Time - November 2006
How To Promote With Article Marketing - September 2006
How To Set Up A Writer's Home Office - November 2006
How To Write Copy That Pays The Bills - April 2006
How To Write Money-Making Copy - July 2006
Making It As A Freelance: The Art of the Interview - July 2006
Paid Blog Posts - And Not With Blogitive - September 2006
Press Here To Make The News - August 2006
Quality Pays Off In Freelance Writing - January 2007
Remind Me Why I’m Still Awake At 2 a.m.? - September 2006
Resources For Writers - April 2006
SEO Tricks - August 2006
So You Want To Be A Freelance Writer? - April 2006
Standard Rates for Freelance Writers - November 2006
The Revamping of My Freelance Writing Career - October 2006
What I Learned From Writing Reviews - February 2007
Writer promotion course - May 2006
Writing Articles for Newspapers - January 2007

Back issues can be seen at SharonHurleyHall.com, with the last few available as PDFs.