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Monday, June 25, 2007

A New Home

I've been thinking for a while that Get Paid To Write deserves its own domain - and now it's got it. I give you Get Paid To Write Online.

The doors are open, the champagne's chilled and it's time for a celebration. If you have subscribed to my feed or taken an email subscription there should be no difference - if you haven't, then maybe now's the time - the links are in the sidebar.

There are still a few boxes to be unpacked, but you'll still get the same content - so join me on Get Paid To Write Online.

Writers, You Need To Get Out More

Once upon a time, freelance writing was an out and about business. You went out, met people, talked to sources, talked to editors and generally had a range of conversations related to what you were writing. Now, freelance writing can be very different, especially if your main business is writing web content.

As a web content writer, you can spend days or weeks at your desk without ever seeing another person. You can research your articles on the internet, draft them and send them off with very little human contact at all. In some ways, it's like living in a protective bubble, where you don't have to deal with the real world. However, it's a mistake to stay in that bubble for too long.

The reason is that without some outside input your writing will get stale. You will be drawing on the same old sources for inspiration you have always used. No matter how expert your knowledge, you need to refresh it from time to time. In order to produce a pearl, you have to throw in a little dirt.

So how do you do this when your writing job keeps you tied to your desk? Virtuality has advantages as well as disadvantages and one of the advantages is that you can keep up with developments in your field without leaving your desk. You can read news sites, online magazines and ezines, and you can subscribe to blogs in your field. All of this will keep you abreast of what people are talking about and thinking.

Offline, you can get a lot of inspiration from the books you read, the radio programmes you listen to and the television you watch. Anything can spark an idea or create a metaphor that will liven up your writing. The trick is to be alert and be ready to capture these fleeting inspirations – and to get out more. It will do your writing no end of good.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Get Paid Like A Writer?

Escape from Pianosa has pointed towards this spoof Craigslist ad, titled If all CL Job Postings were for Freelance Writers. Here's an excerpt:


We are a start-up family seeking one or more doctor(s) for ongoing projects. We need a board-certified obstetrician to provide initial services while we expand our family from two to three members over the next few months. ... The winning candidates will provide three monthly office visits of at least 30 minutes (each)... Could work into a full-time gig, eventually. ... Since we're a small family right now, so we can't pay much. We're offering $5 per 30 minute office visit, with the chance for bonuses of $3 for each additional service (such as lab work) you provide. We pay by PayPal once a month.

It's worth a read.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Writing Links 23 June 2007

Here are seven posts that I thought were worth reading:

How to have infringing contents removed from the search engines on SixFigureWriters.com

Networking within your blog niche from DoshDosh

Make your blog posts readable from BlogTutorials

Are you in love with your own writing from Copyblogger

Web writing: your top five money making skills from Fab Web Writers

Putting Together Ghostwriting Proposals from the Golden Pencil

Contracts and Agreements from AllBusiness.com


Thursday, June 21, 2007

Client Expectations

Happy Thursday! I was going to write a post about this and found myself putting it on Garden and Hearth instead. Check it out here and drop me a comment either there or here.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Tagged - 7 Random Things

hifidel has tagged me in the seven random things meme.

The Rules: Each player starts with 7 random facts/habits about themselves. People who are tagged need to write their own blog post with their 7 things as well as these rules. You need to tag 7 others and list their names on your blog. Remember to leave a comment for them letting them know they have been tagged and to read your blog.

Here are my seven things:

1. My favourite movies include Shawshank Redemption and the Sound of Music.
2. The best job I ever had was in a bookstore.
3. I'm a voracious reader.
4. My favourite colour is yellow.
5. I'm a sucker for chocolate cake.
6. I lived in the South of France for a year.
7. I'm in touch with my inner child.

So here are my taggees:


poetically challenged

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Is Your Writing Client Your Boss?

I was reading the latest issue of the Freelance Writing Success newsletter. Writer Nick Osborne made a very good point. He said if you are doing most of your work for a single client, then you have a boss. That's because you are so dependent on that single source of income that you can't afford to say no. In other words, you're not in charge any more.

That really made me think. I have a great relationship with the clients I work with, but I don't want to depend exclusively on any of them. That's why I keep seeking out new work and I keep promoting myself.

As a freelance writer and ghostwriter, I need to be able to say no sometimes. I need to be in charge of balancing my workload. I need to be the one making decisions about my career. After all, that's why I stopped working for a boss and started working for myself.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

A Freelance Writing Journey

What a difference a year makes. In February 2006 I was into my second month as a freelancing WAHM. I had given up my job the previous August, done some teaching in September to December, and finally part company with my old employer at Christmas. I had made a measly GBP50 for writing some content for one of my old students, and I had just started writing for Inspired Author. Although I was a writer, I wasn't really making any money. I was lucky, though. I had a solid 19 years of writing experience behind me, so at least I had some skills to put on the table.

With IA and my two new blogs, I learned to write for the web, to address my audience directly and to develop a rapport with people I had only met in the virtual world. I was able to use these new skills to write for a number of sites and agency and to make money from writing. It took six months to replace my part time salary from lecturing. (Don't anyone get jealous; freelance writing income fluctuates, so I have had good and bad months since then. However, it was an important psychological milestone, because I knew then that freelancing was viable.)

Just over a year on, things have changed again. I make a reasonable living from freelancing, and have enough work (most of the time anyway) to pass some on to other writers. I didn't expect that deciding to go freelance would lead to becoming an agent for other writers, but I am always open to new opportunities.

I've learned a lot in the last year and a bit. I've learned that if you are willing to invest a bit of time in your future, you will gain something. When I started writing for IA, it was on the promise of future earnings. While I was waiting, I used those articles as a platform for getting other writing work. And I now earn money from those articles every day.

I've learned that it is essential to talk to other work at home writers. They keep me sane. We can share our joys, woes and warnings, which makes the job better for all of us.

Most of all, I have learned that it IS possible to succeed as a freelance writer, even if you are doing it on top of a full time job and while children clamour for attention. All you have to do is look out for the opportunities and grab them - you might get back more than you bargained for.

The most important things I did to jump start my freelance writing career were:

What were the most important things you did to start yours?

Monday, June 11, 2007

Night Shift

Ah - the freedom of freelance writing. The freedom to set your own hours, as long as the client doesn't dictate otherwise. The freedom to take time off, as long as you meet the deadline. The freedom to knock off early, or to work till midnight. Don't you just love it?

I certainly do. I think that there are compromises with every job. Today I stopped work early to take my daughter on a play date, then went to the movies with my hubby. I can do that as a freelance writer. The trade off is that I will be up till midnight so I don't get too far behind this week. Works for me :-) What about you?

Friday, June 8, 2007

Web Writing Skill Building

When you're starting out as a freelance writer, or even thinking about freelancing, it can be difficult to find places where you can get paid to write. However, there is one way you can build your web content writing skills and earn a bit of money too.

That's what I cover in my new article on freelance writing on Garden and Hearth. It includes tips on how to write for your readers.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Thank You Angela Hoy

I want to say a public thank you to Angela Hoy. I had a client who had owed me money for a couple of months. On the advice of a group of writer friends, I approached Angela about including his details in the Whispers and Warnings.

She agreed to do that, but she also approached him about my assertion that he had not paid. He very grumpily asked me to invoice him again - and then paid up. Too late, though, I think he will shortly be making an appearance in the next Whispers and Warnings.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Brain Freeze Taught Me A Lesson

As freelance writers, sometimes we take on too much in our desire to please - and to get paid. Sometimes it's a question of saying yes to something you have no hope of completing; at others it's a case of thinking you can do it until the reality hits.

Then there's the third case. This is when you think your research skills are even greater than they are. Today I am supposed to be writing about car restoration. This is a subject way outside my area of expertise. I looked at the sources and my brain froze. I suddenly thought that I had made a mistake in agreeing to write on this topic.

I've looked at my source material a couple more times and I think I can do it. Luckily the article is short, though the style guide is prescriptive. But I've learned a lesson. Sometimes I need to know where to draw the line - and to draw it before accepting a topic that will make my brain freeze.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

UK Writers Wanted

Some of you may know that in addition to writing myself, I'm also an agent for a small team of writers. That means I get the clients, pass on the work to writers, check it's ok and pass it back to clients. Writers get work without having to bid; I get a small cut - and I do mean small. You do most of the work; you get most of the money - that's my view.

Now I'm on the lookout for a couple more writers, but with specific attributes. First of all, you must be familiar with the UK. I get a lot of UK-specific work. If you are good at writing about consumer finance (loans, credit cards, mortgages, insurance, banking and so on), that would be even better.

I have a couple of regular clients who are increasing their requirements, as well as new ones who are likely to. There's plenty of work for someone who is conscientious, a good researcher and can meet tight deadlines. If this is you, drop me a line through my Writing Lab blog. Tell me about your writing experience.

If it sounds good, I will ask you to write a sample article for which you will get paid if the buyer likes it. (No scams, I promise you - I can even provide references who will prove that I pay up.) If the buyer doesn't like it, you own the rights and can use it elsewhere. Either way, you will know within a couple of days. Hope to hear from you.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Getting Busy With Writing

Look what happens when you put in a little work. A few weeks ago I decided I wasn't bidding enough, so I decided to place at least three bids for writing work every day.

Fast forward and what have we got?

* a deal with one company to write bundles of articles
* a deal with another company to write real estate articles
* a deal with a third company to write how to articles
* a contract with a UK company to write property articles
* and two ghostwriting contracts in the last stages of negotiation

The lesson for me is that you should always keep bidding. The more you bid, the better your hit rate is likely to be and the less down time you will have.

Of course, I still need to find time to promote.