If your browser supports Refresh, you'll be transported to our new home in 5 seconds, otherwise, select the link manually. Thank you

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Snowed Under With Writing

It's one of those days. All the work I have been chasing has finally come in and now I am officially snowed under. Within the next week, I have to produce articles and blog posts on property, the internet, writing and assorted subjects as well as fleshing out the content for a magazine. I'm also working on two book contracts. I think it will be a busy weekend. I'm not complaining, though. It's good to be busy and it's good to have the income.

How are your writing projects going?

Monday, May 28, 2007

New Writing Community Blog

If the seeming demise of WritingUp has left you down, then weep no more! From out of the ashes has arisen a site that will be better, stronger and much more reliable. It's called Communati and its mission is to take the best from WritingUp and leave the worst.

Here's what founder Mark Whitbeck has to say:

The philosophy about Communati.com, the way it looks, feels, and works, is to introduce something that is familiar while morphing into something completely new.

The best includes recreating that community aspect; leaving the worst means eliminating those darned trackbacks once and for all.

I signed up for Communati and so far, so good. I have already met a couple of old WU friends there and hope to meet more. So far, I am welcoming Communati with cautious optimism.

Check out my posts there. I'm wahmwriter (couldn't stay away from writing completely, but wanted more freedom to broaden my horizons).

PS. Did I mention that you get 70 per cent of Adsense revenue?

This is cross posted from Sharon's Writing Lab

Made You Think - Yay!

I've been tagged for a Thinking Blogger award, courtesy of Showintale Journeys. I am pleased and touched, because the award is for blogs that make you think, which is a nice accolade for any blogger to receive.

Now it's my turn to pass it on. I've got to choose five bloggers, which is tough because all of the bloggers I read make me think in some way. To narrow it down, I've chosen five bloggers whose posts I star in Google Reader so that I can find them again.

JenOHaven - a new blog from a trusted blogging friend, with tech tips of all sorts.
Inkwell Editorial's freelance career blog - every time I read this blog I come away inspired and informed
The Writer's Blog by Dana Prince - a freelancer's journey to success.
FreelanceSwitch - there's so much good stuff on this blog it's hard to know what to pick out.
DoshDosh - how to make money online. Every post is detailed and well planned.

All of these are great bloggers, who deserve the Thinking Blogger award. If you choose to take part, pass on the award to five more bloggers, and leave me a link to your post here. Here are the rules:

*Should the bloggers choose to participate, please make sure to pass the rules on to the next Thinking Blogs you tag.

The participation rules are simple:

1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think.

2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme.

3. Optional: Proudly display the 'Thinking Blogger Award' with a link to the post that you wrote (here is an alternative silver version if gold doesn't fit your blog).

This award was begun by ilker yoldas at The Thinking Blog.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Writing Linkfest 27 May 2007

Well, I usually wait a while before posting collections of links, but I've found some great stuff in the last week that I'd like to share with you.

First of all, there's Inkwell Editorial's series on freelance mentoring. It's in three parts. Parts one and two each cover five things you should look for, while part three considers the most important factor in a freelance mentor. This is a topic that interests me because I have both mentored and been mentored, with positive results for all. I don't know whether I've said it before, but Yuwanda Black's blog is now a must-read for me.

That can also be said of the Freelance Switch blog, which this week had a post on getting more done by working in short bursts. I'm always interested in finding out how to be more productive and this post gives a few ideas. Freelance Switch also has a good post on setting your rates and there's also an hourly rate calculator on the site.

Inklings - The Copywriter's Blog gives some advice on making sure your writing is good, by going over it again and again. There's also an article by Donna Sweat on the Writing For Reason blog - and it's all about proofreading.

Finally, there's an article I wish I had written from Fab Web Writer about five types of writing you can get paid to do.

Happy reading!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Your Favourite Writing Tools

Sometimes you have to blow your own trumpet, otherwise who else will do it. I've been a member of Helium for a while (in fact, I plan to review the highs and lows one day) and I have a few articles on there. Not as many as some of my friends, but a respectable number. I've recently added two more to the list, and since they are about writing, I thought I would share them with you.

The first is about why writers need other writers. I think this is one that I may expand into a longer article one day.

The second is about setting up a writer's office. It made me think about the things I have in my office that I can't do without. Apart from my laptop and a reliable internet connection, I still find a pen and paper the most useful writing tools I own. Sometimes I need to write something down without having to open a new document or leave the one I am working on. What's your most useful writing tool.

Blog Learning

Someone paid me a great compliment today. She said that she had learned a lot from my blog. Hearing that from just one person makes writing this blog worthwhile.

When I started blogging, I didn't know that my fledgling blog would turn into this. It turned out I had a lot to say about various aspects of freelance writing, ghostwriting, blogging and promotion. This was mainly because I was doing all of those myself, and sharing what I learned as I went.

I had a lot of places to go to for inspiration. (Some of those are in my blogroll, though not all. I have yet to harmonise my feed reader and my blogroll.)

Since moving my blog to its new home, I have rediscovered my interest in blogging about writing, and it's nice to know that I am able to pass on some of the help I have had from other people.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Positive Thinking For Positive Writing

Can positive thinking help you attract the kind of writing clients you need? There's a lot of information out there that says that positive thoughts and intentions help you to tap into the abundance that is already out there. This applies to every aspect of your life, including your writing career. If you intend to have well paid writing work, then that is what you have. If, on the other hand, you think that well paid writing work is a pipe dream, then that is exactly what it will be. That's the way the received wisdom on abundance goes.

I don't have a problem with positive thinking. In fact, I have used it to great effect. However, in my experience you have to back it up with positive action. So if I want well paid writing work, I have to write a successful bid that shows my writing skills and past successes, and I have to set a fair price for the writing I will be doing. If I demonstrate why I am worth the money, then the client is usually willing to pay it. That's why positive thoughts need to be backed up with positive actions, in my view.

Thinking positive means that you present yourself in that way and your self confidence will bring rewards. I am already seeing how that works and am grateful for the results. How have you used positive thinking in your writing career?

This post was inspired by Dana Prince's post on The Secret.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Writing Linkfest 20 May 2007

Time for me to spread some Linky Love and highlight some of the writing related posts that have caught my eye.

First up is 13 Breeds of Freelancer on the FreelanceSwitch blog. It's great fun seeing which category you fit into and the advantages and disadvantages of each approach. A witty post with a serious side.

Codswallop brings us 100 tools to boost your freelancing career, while Inkthinker has released the Freelance Writing 101 handout, with lots of info for all freelancers. Check out the list of online writing resources.

If you work at home, what do you do for Take Your Child To Work Day? Find out from homemom3

Finally, Yuwanda Black advises us on how to use a letter to increase our freelance writing business.

Happy reading.

Friday, May 18, 2007

When Writing Clients Leave

As a freelance writer, you can't rely on clients sticking around. And it doesn't have to be your fault that they leave. Take this example. I have a client who saw one of my promotional efforts, approached me to do some writing on online business, and paid promptly and well. In fact, he's the dream client. He has been happy with my work over the last few months. However, I won't be getting any money from him this month.

Why? Well, I can only speculate. Over the years of my ghostwriting and freelance writing career, I have found that clients move on for several reasons.

  • They have come to the end of the current project
  • They have achieved what they set out to do with a book or series of articles and they don't need you any more
  • They have run out of money (and I am happy if they end the contract rather than making chase them for payment)
  • They have another project but think you have only one area of writing expertise.

So what do you do? In the case of my current client, he asked about other areas I was comfortable writing in. That made me think that it's always worth getting in touch with former clients to let them know that you are available and that you can write in a range of areas.
After all, how can it hurt? That way you remind them that you exist and perhaps generate some additional work.

In these cases my approach is simple. I greet the client, remind the client of the last successful project I did for him or her, and ask if they need any more writing work. At the moment, since I have a team of writers working with me, I also mention that we cover a broad range of writing areas.

That's one point, but the other thing about writing clients leaving is that you need to replace the income. That's where regular bidding comes in. The more projects you have available, the less the loss of a single client matters. How do you handle the loss of good clients?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Business Promotion On Squidoo

Jinger Jarrett wrote a post somewhere about the value of using Squidoo to create a business profile (if anyone knows where, I am happy to link to it). Jinger gives great advice, so I decided to create one for myself. It's a work in progress, but eventually it will bring together all my internet stuff. I present the Sharon Hurley Hall lens. Please have a look and give me some feedback, either there or here.

What's missing that you want to know more about?
What have I put too much of?

I'm looking forward to your comments

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

What Do You Think?

Notice the colorful icons beneath each post. They are from a service called Click Comments, designed for those who don't want to comment but want to leave feedback. I'm trying it on this blog. I'd like some feedback from you, though.

1. Would this stop you from commenting if you had been going to comment?
2. Would it make you click on an option if normally you would just leave?
3. Is it annoying?
4. Anything else you want to say.

Let me know what you think.

Get Paid To Write - Not!

Have you seen this spoof ad for ghostwriting web content? Have a look at this post. Not sure whether it's sad or funny. It makes me think that when we agree to those jobs we're being taken for a ride. (On the other hand, maybe we are also feeding our families). What did you think when you read it?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Freelance Writing Report Card

It's just about two years since I made the decision to leave my job as a journalism lecturer and become a full time freelance writer and ghostwriter. Well, actually part time, since the point of doing it was to spend more time with my daughter, who's now at school. I have to say that it was the best decision I have ever made.

Although it took me a while to get started, I spent the first few months setting up my site and starting to promote myself as a writer. Then I started getting work, very slowly at the start of 2006. While I was waiting for more work to come in, I did some writing for Inspired Author, and learned a lot from the owner of that site which is still working for me today.

Then, all of a sudden, things took off. By the time summer came, I had replaced my old salary as a lecturer (some of the time anyway) and had enough work to keep me constantly busy. That trend has continued ever since, which is why I now work with several other writers, to whom I pass on the overflow.

Even though at times I have felt burned out and have lacked motivation (particularly when I get to article 100 of a series of 150 on a subject I'm not that interested in), I have no doubt that I made the right move. I am working from home, setting my own hours (in theory, at least) and writing every day. I love my job and I love the freedom it gives me.

I consider that a good start, but it's still not enough. Now that I am in the habit of writing every day, I want to write more of my own stuff as well. I've got ideas for at least three books or ebooks, so over the next year I plan to start on some of them. What's your report card on your freelance writing career? Why not write a post on it and leave a link here?

Monday, May 14, 2007

Why I Work With Other Writers

The other day I was having an online chat with a friend. I was telling her about some of the problems I had had with some writers. She asked me whether working with a team of writers was really what I wanted to do. That made me examine my reasons for doing it, and at the end of that chat I came out of it with renewed commitment to team building. I want to share my reasons with you.

1. Teaching
One of the reasons I started working with writers is because I have enjoyed helping them or mentoring them through my blogs, sites and chats. I didn't start out knowing this was what I would do, but a few of my friends have said how helpful this was. It's always nice to feel appreciated and my reward is seeing other people succeed. Helping someone to reach their potential is one of the best things about teaching - and I get a real kick from it.

2. Income
I'm not entirely altruistic. Working with other writers means that instead of turning away work when I am busy, I can pass it on to someone else and take a small commission. The writer gets most of the money, as she (they are all women at the moment) is the person who is doing most of the work. The commission covers the time I spend sourcing and bidding for jobs, responding to emails and checking the work to make sure it meets the brief. This gives me a boost in income and gives someone else a helping hand, which means we both win.

3. Giving Back
All through my writing career, there have been people who have taken a chance on me and given me the chance to try something new. I believe in paying it forward, so if I can now do the same for other writers, I think it's the right thing to do. Some writers need the chance to develop some skills and as long as they are willing to learn and can meet deadlines I am willing to let them try new things. It's giving something back to the writing community - and I think it's the right thing to do.

By and large, I'm happy with how it's going. I have met some wonderful writers and made some good friends - who could ask for more?

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy WAHM Day

I've just realised something. Nearly every writer I know at the moment is a mom. Some have new babies, some have older children, some even have grandchildren. There are lots of us juggling writing careers and motherhood. Some of us are freelancing full time, while others are combining writing with full time jobs outside the homes. I figure we deserve at least one day. So this post is for all of you (all of us): Happy Mother's Day.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Five Lessons

Sometimes you need a little help to make a success of your freelancing career. I know I did - and still do. So to make it easier, I've written an article about five things I have learned about freelancing - some of them the hard way. Here's an excerpt:

Any marketer will tell you that the secret to a successful business is referrals and residuals. These are the people who keep coming back month after month, year after year, without you having to sell them on your writing again. And that's money in the bank to a freelance writer.

I hope they'll help you, too.

Read Five Freelance Writing Lessons

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Guide To Ghostwriting

People are always interested to find out about ghostwriting. They want to know what's involved and more importantly, how much you can get paid. As I point out:

In today's virtual world, you don't have to be in the same room or even the same country to write someone's life story. It can all be done by email.
Check out my Guide To Ghostwriting for some of the answers to your questions. And if you have a different perspective on the matter, leave me a comment on the site.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Writing Admin

Today is one of those days when I'm doing a lot of admin. That mostly means checking my account, checking my list of jobs and making sure that I have paid all Paypal requests that are due. I pay within a week, so I need to keep track of this to avoid writers going hungry. I like it when people pay me on time so I try to do the same for any writers who are working with me. :)

Other tasks include checking to make sure that everything that should have come in today has come in - and that every piece of work due out has been checked and sent on. That can take a lot of time. Tomorrow will be busy because I have two major jobs coming in that will need to be checked.

Finally, I am starting on a job that came in two weeks ago but had to be put on hold because of more urgent deadlines. Of course, that now means that I will have to work faster to get it all done on time. Just as well I love freelancing.

What does the rest of your week look like?

Monday, May 7, 2007

How Do You Promote?

Promotion is a key aspect of freelance writing success. Here's what I say about it in one of my new articles on Garden and Hearth:

As a freelance writer there are two key elements of success. One of those is your freelance writing skill. The other is letting people know you are there, through promotion.
Check out the full article for my thoughts on writer promotion. What's your best promotional method? I'm finding the social networking sites are really bringing people to my sites - and because they're finding it through tags, they're already interested in the content.

Check out my other posts on promotion.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

How To Cope With Writing Burnout

It happens to all of us at some point. It may be after you have completed 200 keyword rich articles on garbage bins or after you have done the umpteenth rewrite of an article on a subject you find really dull. Even if you're one of the lucky ones, and you enjoy what you write most of the time, at some point you face a moment when you just don't want to write. For a day, a week, a month or even longer, the profession that you rushed to embrace suddenly seems charmless. You feel tired, drained and mentally depleted, but you've still got to make a living. What do you do to recharge your batteries and get interested again?

Some of the things I have tried include knowing when to give up on writing and walking away from the computer. Instead of writing I can read a book, go for a walk, head to the beach, play with my daughter or have a nap. These are all things that are guaranteed to get my mind off the job for a while at least.

But what if the problem lasts longer than a few hours or a day? Sometimes I can feel the mental fatigue coming and I can plan my work schedule to allow some down time. That's the best option. At other times, deadlines loom and I have to write through the pain, vowing never to do this kind of job again. Of course, I will - there are times when any writing job is better than no writing job, particularly if you have bills to pay.

All of the best advice on burnout centres on recognising the signs - stress, tiredness, etc - and on changing the circumstances quickly, by taking a break somehow. What do you do when you face burnout?

Here are some other articles on burnout that you might find interesting:

Friday, May 4, 2007

You Want More, You Got More

In fact, even if you don't want more, you've still got it. I'm talking about freelance writing articles. Mine. On Garden and Hearth. I am thrilled to announce that my new freelance writing site is open for business, with several articles for you to look through.

I never seem to get tired of talking and writing about writing, and I'll be adding at least one article a month to the list, so make sure to check back. Over the next few days, I'll talk a bit more about some of the articles, but for now have a browse around the site and come and talk to me on the freelance writing forum that goes with it.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Freelance Jobs On IA

I've decided to set up a thread on the freelance writing forum I manage for Inspired Author to post my overflow work when it is available. The thread is called freelance writing jobs, predictably. There's one gig there at the moment which is great for those seeking experience or those who can write really fast. However, I've got lots of bids out and will be posting more opportunities as they are available.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Three Articles For Freelancers

I've been harnessing the power of RSS to subscribe to more blogs about writing recently. The trouble is that every time I check out the blogroll on a writing site, I find more stuff to subscribe to.

In my trawl through the writing sites today, I have found three articles worth paying attention to.

First, Angela Booth writes about the cumulative effect of writing for self promotion, making the point that you need to think long term when it comes to promotion. I agree with that, having recently seen one of my old articles find new life.

Second, the EzineArticles article writing blog has a good article template to give you inspiration when you're looking for something to write. Browse around that blog; there are other gems to be found.

Third, thanks to Anne Wayman, I have found this great article on contracts for freelance writers. This is a great article if you're new to freelancing, and even those of us who aren't could use it as a reminder. Enjoy.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Time To Fire The Client?

Here's the situation. Last year I found a client who wanted me to write keyword rich articles for him. They weren't too arduous, just a couple of keywords a few times each - and the pay was relatively good. He paid two weeks after invoicing and kept to that schedule.

Then came Christmas, and things changed. I did several jobs just before Christmas, so in January I still had three invoices outstanding with that client. All of a sudden I wasn't getting prompt responses to emails. I chased for two of the invoices and got various runaround stories (no-one's in to sign the check, we have paid it into your account [they hadn't] and so on).

So I got tough and when they asked me to do some more work, I said they needed to pay two of the three outstanding invoices first. They did, then they paid the third one and then they asked me to do more work. I did, because they had paid. But then I waited nearly eight weeks for them to pay me. I chased them several times.

In that time they asked me to do more work. I replied that I would only consider it after I had been paid, which they finally did last Friday. Now they have asked me to do more work. But I'm worried. How long will I have to wait for this payment? Can I really afford to spend the time to do the work and not get paid? I don't think so. At the same time I wonder whether I am jeopardizing a relationship with a client who was good, and might be again. My gut feeling tells me it's time to fire this client and find someone new to replace that income. What do you think?