Friday, December 28, 2007

The Positive Attitude and the Freelancer.

A positive attitude goes a long way in determining your career as a freelance writer. Don't believe me? Think about how often you have a negative reaction to something work related.

You didn't get that gig and the person who did always gets the good ones.

A negative response: be upset at the person who got it, throw a little hater-party and keep dragging along, knowing full well that same person will get the next gig too.

A positive response: figure out what makes that person so good. What are they doing to get hired? Reach out to that fellow writer, congratulate them and ask for any tips. Most writers are very willing to share tips and even leads, there's enough work out there for all of us.

Your editor sends back your work with tons of changes, you don't even recongnize the article.

A negative response: complain about the editor to anyone who will listen. Give that editor a speech about the "writer's voice," your experience, yada yada yada. Basically, guarantee the editor won't use you again. Good riddance you think...not so fast!

A positive response: look at the critiques objectively, find out what the editor is looking for and give it to her. You will earn yourself a reputation for being great to work with and you learn what the editor likes putting yourself in the position of being their go-to person. If there is something you truly, truly think the editor's wrong about, talking about it rationally, with supporting facts.

A positive attitude may not magically bring gigs to your inbox, but it will affect how well you perform on the ones you already have.

Ever have a negative turn into a positive because of your attitude?

Friday, December 21, 2007

Uma, Oprah, Terreece...

What's in a name? In my case - several r's and e's. And no one seems to get it right. Print articles, Web sites, and photo captions all take liberties with my government name. Sure it's difficult, but how difficult is it when I spell it out for you? Write it out for you?

In a business where your name is your business my name is get the business end of the screw. When I'm Googled I need all of my work to show up right then. Clients won't be inclined to look for variations of my name on the off chance that someone's messed it up.

I just recently appeared in an article for a site I write movie reviews for: Kids-in-Mind.Com. Actually, I was just in the photo of the reviewers, nevertheless, good press - great press. And they got my name wrong.

I remember watching Oprah one day - isn't that what all freelancers do? Eat bon bons and watch Oprah? Anyway, she was talking about how people use to tell her to change her name because no one would ever remember Oprah. She didn't and I'm not.

It's T-E-R-R-E-E-C-E- M. C-L-A-R-K-E. It's not that hard, just double check your text, your sources, your notes for heaven's sake. I spell it out very nicely. I'm good at it, been doing it for 30 years.

By the way my husband apologizes monthly for passing on a last name that added yet another 'e' to my repetoire. For getting him, it's an easy trade. :0)

Is Adsense Working for You?

I've got Google Adsense on my blog and have yet to make any real money from it. I see Adsense ads on practically every site and blog I visit so I'm wondering - does it make money for everyone else but me?

As we wind down our freelancing year and gear up for the next, I am carefully looking at everything I've done this year - gigs earned, revenue generated, what worked, what didn't and planning for the New Year. Indeed, I plan to spend next week after the holidays preparing my office and life for 2008.

Which brings me back to Adsense. Is it working for me? Not really. Am I working for it? Probably not. So as I delve into the web to find out how to "maximize my Adsense revenue" I'm asking you, my genius readers:

If you have a web site or blog, how are you doing with your Adsense revenue? Any tips for us trying to make a buck?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Competition or Comarderie Among Writers

I'm competitive. I want that gig. I want it and I want to rock it. When I don't get it, I always go back to see who did and if they are doing as well as I thought I would do in the position.

I used to jealously guard my leads. Mine. Mine. Mine! Then I began to open up to other writers. Contact them. Congratulate them. And you know what? I got more out of the relationships I fostered with other writers than when I shut myself away.

One of my most cherish relationships is with a writer I met after she got an editing gig I wanted. When the publisher wrote me to say the position was taken and advised me to contact the new editor because they are looking for writers I was sullen. "She stole my gig!"

Eventually I got over myself, contacted the new editor and found a new mentor and friend. She rightly deserved the gig. Sure I got work with the publication, but more importantly I got a friend in this biz with more experience and crazy enough to take me under her wing. She invited me to her writer's group and there I met three other fabulous women. I have been more successful knowing them.

Sure we're competing for the same gigs, but there are millions of gigs. Isn't it better to have a network of fellows than a network of perceived adversaries? You never know where good friends, fortune and contacts reside.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


Tricia Grissom over at Coffee and Critique posted her list of anti-goals for the new year, among other things she vows not to "Respond to any freelance job ads with exclamation points in the title. Even though I could be making six figures! From home! In my spare time!"

Ha! I thought Tricia's idea was genius and decided to write my own:

I will not:
  1. Remind my daughter to wear a hat when it's 20 degrees outside. Surely she has nerve receptors that will tell her it's cold.
  2. Chase my students to get them to do their homework. Not my job. I already have my degree. (I tutor at the local comm. college.)
  3. Allow single people with no children use traffic as an excuse for being late - I made it through the same traffic, dropped off kids, changed diapers, put on a new shirt and still arrived on time.
  4. Shrug apologetically when I show up late because of traffic, having to change shirts, drop off kids or change diapers. See how that works?
  5. Chase checks. I'll just move me and my family in with whomever owes me money. (Of course all my current clients are prompt payers, I'm just sayin' in theory, someday, someone..)
  6. Respond seriously to ads that! use! exclamation! points! I will! instead! send my! email! like! their! posts! whoo hooo!
Any anti-goals out there? Share 'em!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Quick ways to NOT get the job..

There's a great blogging opportunity posted on several freelance writing sites from a blogging syndication group. While applying, I had a great email conversation with Nancy and got some info that I had to pass on, with her blessing.

"I really appreciate that you actually read the ad to make sure that your blog qualified technically though," Nancy said. "You wouldn't believe the number of people who write to me who have written once a month, or twice in April and once in's stunning. I'm not sure if people just respond to every single ad and don't bother reading them or if they just don't care if they're qualified."

Nancy is a weary victim of quick shooting freelancers. These speed demons email blast away at anything that posts, not really caring or checking to see if they are qualified, if they've followed directions, etc.

"Not only do I get people who have blogs that aren't qualified, I get many many freelance writers looking for a job, even when in this ad, in the second sentence, I say, "
We are not hiring bloggers, we are looking for existing blogs,"" Nancy said.

What does it say when a writer doesn't even read the second line of the post? Set yourself apart from the pack - read the post carefully, make sure you're qualified, then apply.

Freelance Online Portfolios

There has been much posted this week around the freelance writing blogs on freelance portfolios - what needs to be included, what needs to be left out, the importance of having one, etc. So much so that I decided to revamp my basic, quiet little portfolio into something pretty darn neat.

With the help of a great writer and friend Dawn Friedman, I am currently under construction at TerreeceClarke.Com. Little did I realize there are so many decisions to make:
  • What do I want the site to look like?
  • What color, theme, graphics or no?
  • What do I want to project? What types of business do I want to attract?
  • Should I include this blog? Wrap all 3 that I write into one?
  • Are flowers professional?
  • Do I need to add some red for good career feng shui?
  • Can I put corporate work and examples with freelance magazine writing?
And then some. Yikes! I had no idea what I was getting into, but that made me realize that perhaps I had taken my site for granted. It's not even listed with Google for goodness sakes! I've treated it like something you needed to have because experts said so, but truly never utilizing the space. Talk about a waste of hosting money.

Redoing my site has forced me to consider several questions - What do I want from my career? Exclusive magazine work? More corporate work? More editing? Is there a way to have all three? What about journalism? Can I show that I'm versatile without losing the "serious journalist" edge? Are flowers too girlie for journalism?

So I will spend the weekend pondering and hammering it out. Going beyond "What kind of gigs do you want?" Paying. I really feel like Harland, I'm blessed to be talented enough to do a variety of writing styles really well, but ya gotta pay me.

Magazine, corporate and journalistic writing - can you have it all? What does your online portfolio say about you?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Good gigs come to an end...

I just got an email from a editor that I write for and the publication will cease publishing shortly. Bummer right? Well, not necessarily.

It's par for the course. As a freelance writer, know that gigs will often end. This one ended on a good note. I was notified in advance. I will still get paid for all work submitted. I have the experience of writing for a company that has several other publications - that could lead to other opportunities.

When a gig ends it's disappointing (well sometimes it's a relief), but there are a few key things to do before you wrap it all up with a bow:

-Make copies and backup your work for them. If it's a Web site or online newsletter, make a PDF copy of all your work, that way when the archives no longer exist you still have it.
-Wrap up any outstanding payments due. No need to elaborate on that.
-Finish any outstanding work with the same vigor and professionalism.
-Keep in friendly touch with the editors and publication. Update them on what you are doing, inquire about what they are doing. Contacts go a long way in this biz.
-Get back on the horse - if you fell off. Get back on the job boards, contact editors, let people know you have wrapped up a project and if they want your services to get on now while the gettin' is good. Notice I didn't say write everyone you know and beg for a job because you got fired or laid off or the publication folded. Keep things positive, plus desperation just scares people away.
-Finally, take a close look at your budget, trim the fat if you need to until you get the next gig in.

It's a good idea to keep a plan in mind for if and when regular gig end. My granny always said "Don't count money until it's in your hand."

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

What do you say?

When people ask you about how to get into freelance writing?

I use to get all wide-eyed and congratulate them on making the decision and then proceed to give them blow by blow information that helped me, pros and cons, etc. I would write a eBook's worth of information for them and then wait for their genius to be unloaded on the world.

For the majority of folks, I'm still waiting. My very business minded friend said I should charge folks a consulting fee that way I don't waste my time. :0)

And it is a waste of time, but silly me, I thought I was helping to start careers... I think people are turned off by the idea that successful freelancing takes time. My day consists of more work than most people probably attempt in their corporate jobs. Freelancers, successful ones at least, work hard to get work, market themselves, complete work, balance work and family, and find more work.

I blame the media (ironic, no?) for perpetuating the image of the writer who goes to the spa for the majority of the day, gets good news and money from their agent and floats off to write a little.

Don't get me wrong. Freelancers do that. It is usually, though, after they've put in serious time sweating out that book proposal (kudos Dawn), hitting the pavement looking for gigs and spending time researching and honing their craft.

Most jobs are like that: you have to work at them to be any good. Now if you'll excuse me, I've got bon bons to eat....

Monday, December 3, 2007

Getting Ready for the Tax Man...

Hey Freelancers!

It's December and it's time to start getting things ready for the tax man. Sure the 1099's won't show up until January, but you still have things to do. Like gathering those receipts...

Sure we all try to be as organized as possible, but you and I both know there are some receipts sitting in a pile or file somewhere. Get them out, figure out what they are and mark them.

Find yourself a good accountant if you need to. I have a sneaking suspicion I could've gotten more money back if I had used an accountant instead of my tax software from home. I'm going to see about admending my return from last year... Many freelancers will most likely be able to do their own taxes if their info is pretty straight forward, but if you're claiming a home office and other somewhat complicated items I suggest you get yourself a accounting buddy before the busy season hits.

Don't make too many plans. Most publications/employers will get these out by the 15th of January, but others will take until the last possible moment to send yours. Why? It's not like they don't know the end of the year is coming...

Don't forget to gather your mileage log and utility bills bills as well. Getting these things together now will ensure you don't start your year with tons of OLD work to do. Tax time is stressful enough!

Friday, November 30, 2007

When people ask freelancers to work for free...

I think the name "freelance" writer maybe puts the cha-ching in folks' minds. Maybe using the word free is what gets people thinking that it's okay to take food out of your baby's mouth. Maybe we should change our names to "Paylance Writers..."

That being said I do some free work, prestigious non-profits like Ohioana. Shout out to Leslie! But just some random, "I'm going to get paid, but I want you to donate-type thing? No thanks." Even friends get charged. Oh I may not charge you money, but you better believe you're invited to painting/moving/watching kids party. Oh yeah.

But for those who are not ahem, sensitive to strong language. Harlan Ellison has a few funny words about the whole situation. Again I warn it's not for those offended by strong language, so don't email me about the strong language. Seriously. I'll sick Harlan on you.

Freelancing Rocks!

I'm having a great week. It's one of those weeks in which you rejoice everyday that you're a freelance writer.

I've blazed through work, the ideas are just flowing. AND the work is flowing in, everyday this week I've made a new connection, gotten a new gig, did a happy dance.

I'm exhausted, but the good kind. The kind in which you've gotten things done, felt appreciated and when you know you are doin' your thang.

When you do something you love, not just something you're good at it is so fulfilling.

As I work on more assignments today I type a little lighter, but still know that each day is a hustle, never get too comfortable, even with long term gigs. But still, this is nice...This is nice...

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Health and the Freelance Writer

Freelancers can be hermits at times. We sit, for hours, tapping away at our keyboards. Every so often we stumble out of our haze and tend to bills, children, the dog and then back to our seats.

Because we are tied to our chairs, we can make easy excuses for our lack of exercise: we don't have a company gym downstairs, we can't take time off because we're on deadline, etc.

Let's get rid of the excuses folks. The whole reason you became a freelance writer is so that you wouldn't be tied to a chair. And if you have a heart attack and die, you still won't meet your deadline - so get up and get moving!

The first thing I do in the morning is stumble to my computer and check email. WRONG! That just sets me up for at least two more hours of sitting while I scan for gigs, check more email, do some follow-ups, etc. Then it's hard to get the motivation to go and do something active.

When I get up and immediately put on my work out clothes, strap on the tennis shoes I feel ready to do something like go for a walk, run up and down the stairs, something...

We've got to take care of ourselves and each other. And if you think taking an hour a day out for physical activity will cost you money, think about how much money you are going to spend on health insurance when your BMI is off the charts.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Do you have an alternative plan?

Computers crash. Kids get sick. Things come up. Do you have an alternative plan for dealing with the little things that can turn your world upside down?

If your computer crashes, do you have a back-up system? Is your information backed up?

If your kids get sick or your babysitter flakes out on you, do you have someone you can call while you finish an important article or project?

Freelancers have to have a plan B and C. When the computer is on the fritz at work, you call up IT and the company pays the dime. Most freelancers don't have an IT department in their basement, so it's useful to have a couple experts on file in case you need them.

While someone fixes on your livelihood, do you have a back up system? I have a Window 98 HP - it's horrible & clunky, but it works and in a pinch I can hit up the local library.

Do you have back up blogs that you can whip out and post in a flash while taking a temperature? I don't for this blog, but for paying blogs you can bet your butt there are some great, timeless blogs cooling their heels in my online file folder accessible from anywhere.

Another way to help insulate yourself from disaster is to work ahead. I know there are writers out there that absolutely thrive on waiting until the last possible minute to finish an assignment. I know, I used to be one of them, until recently it dawned on me that every time I waited to start an assignment because I had a month or two to work on it, something came up during crunch time that made it a stressful, taxing task to get the article out on time.

Working ahead allows writers the luxury of rearranging their schedules if there's a hiccup in the plan. You can't prepare for every scenario, but you can be prepared for the common ones.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Do freelancers take a day off?

Happy Belated Turkey Day to All!

I'm waking up from my Thanksgiving induced coma and find myself sitting in front of my computer wondering - Do Freelancers Take a Day Off?

Working the day after Thanksgiving is usually a chore for those in retail, public services industries and recently, government workers in Jersey. But I know there are a small sect of freelancers who are taking a few moments to check emails, return phone calls and yes, blog a bit.

Unfortunately, there are very few instances in which you can get paid vacation time as a freelancer, travel writers excluded. Deciding whether to take a day off means decided which day you are going to go without pay.

The thing to remember is writers, especially the self-employed, need a day off just like everyone else. Everyone has got to be able to take day in which they put down the pen and paper, leave the emails to collect and recharge their internal battery.

Hopefully everyone got the day off yesterday and maybe even today - okay you can check but not respond to those emails. :-)

Monday, November 19, 2007

Organizing Your Freelance Finances...

As a freelancer, so many things revolve around money. Mostly, we writers focus on when we're going to get paid, how much we're going to get paid, how can we get paid more...

There was a time, and I'm not proud of it, when I would get a payment from a client, run and cash the check (you can never be too sure) and toss the paystub on my desk, or in a box or with a pile of receipts. I never separated my purchases i.e., work items and family groceries, nor did I bother with keeping track of mileage. Essentially, I was constantly throwing money away.

Now back during that time I didn't make enough for it to make a huge difference really. But still, the principle makes me shudder. All of those business lunches and dinners! My husband and I always strategize over a meal.

What about all of that ink and paper? Before I kicked the habit to save more trees, my editing process consisted of printing out my articles to review them. So, for Monday Monday - if I had a nickle for every blog that started out with that today, here are a few tips for organizing your finances:
  • Keep a log book in your glove compartment so you can log your mileage
  • Add a pen to that log book - come on folks wake up it's Monday!
  • Get a small accordian file, like the ones people use for coupons, and use it to keep your receipts; be sure to label each section: supplies, utilities, subscriptions, etc.
  • Write on your receipt what a purchase is for, i.e. business dinner, travel expenses.
  • Think about getting an accountant, claiming a home office, etc may be out of your realm of expertise, get someone who can not only make sure your deductions are legal, but they can also get you more bang for your buck.
  • Invest in some sort of billing software, I use Billable and it's fabulous. No more will I use a MS Word template and then try to keep track of what's going in and coming out, or setting a watch to calculate I work on something when I'm charging by the hour, my program does it all.
What financial organizing tip do you have? Come on, share with us!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Organizing Carried to Week 2 Due to Disorganization...

I crack myself up. Really I do. So blog posts have been scant this week. We still haven't gotten to query letters and our week long foray into organization has fallen flat. That's the bad news. The good news is that we will work through our issues to become better people.

So back on the horse people. Back on the horse.

Ah yes, organization. We talked about the importance of organization and how it affects your pocketbook/wallet. My pledge to have my entire office reorganized along with my closet has fallen short of my lofty goals, but I am proud of what I've accomplished so far. All of my papers/ideas/etc have been gathered, logged & are ready to file. I need to then organize the 3 ring binders that are staging a protest on my bookshelf. They shall be moved to the garage where they can give my husband trouble.

So things in the office have gotten off to a great start. I think by next week I shall have the beast that is clutter tamed in the money room of the house. As for my closets...I'm just happy the clothes are clean and put away, color coordinating the lot may be too anal right now...

So talk to me people, what organizing job have you been putting off? Do you even have an office to organize?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Organizing - The Key To Successful Freelancing?

What if I told you that the image of the successful writer banging away at the typewriter/computer surrounded by piles and piles of debris is a myth? I find it hard to believe that a successful freelance writer lives in such a mess. Wait, let me back track. Towers of organized piles in a code that the writer clearly understands counts as organization.

I'm talking about writers who have a room in which there is a spot that you could call a desk and a pathway lined with old take-out boxes, coffee grounds and various assorted junk. Someone who has no idea where the clips from their last article is and can't figure out where the email is that tells them their next deadline. Ah yes friends, even cyberspace needs to be organized.

Organization doesn't have to be complicated. You don't need to run out to the nearest Walmart or Container Store and stock up on a labels, color stickers and bins. The first thing you need to get organized is a bit of time.

Carve out a good niche of time in which you don't answer emails or the phone. Uninterrupted time will allow you to really see what needs to be done and what your organization tendencies are.

Think you can't afford to take time out and get organized? Think about how much time it takes you to find something from three weeks ago. How about if you're out and need to tell a spouse or a friend to grab an important document. Could you tell them where it was?

Being disorganized costs you money. Your time is precious and if an editor calls with a question about an article you wrote back in March, do you really think they are going to have time to wait while you go through months of invoices, junk mail and coupons?

This week is about getting organized. And I'm taking my own advice. I plan to organize both my office and my closet this week. So all this week we will have tips on getting organized -the freelance writer way.

Are you organized? When's the last time you did a clutter check?

Friday, November 9, 2007

Is it Possible to Freelance with Small Children?

I've got lots of work coming in. I'm incredibly excited and eager to tackle it all with a grin and giggle that I get paid to do this. One thing that worries me though is balancing my work with care for my girls ages 3 and 6 months.

One of the main reasons I became a freelancer is because I wanted to stay home with my children. I made this decision before I even had children and I continually turn down full-time writing jobs because I'm concerned about the impact it will have on my girls.

My family lives in another city and my husband's family isn't available to watch our girls while we both work from home so we alternate. I keep trying to set office hours and get everything done within those hours, but sometimes things carry over or pop up and then I'm juggling again. Anyone with munchkins know the drama of trying to check email while keeping baby drool off the keys. I wish there was a way to do a babysitting co-op with other writers - swapping office hours and childcare, like some freelancers co-op office space...

On really difficult days I wonder - is it possible with small children? Do you have to have outside childcare?

Friday, November 2, 2007

Apple's Slow Leopard Eats Entourage!

I feel like I'm waking up from my infatuation with Apple. After the Leopard Log In Debacle and the Apple Customer Service Caper I thought it would be pretty smooth sailing on the Apple love train. Sure I had read the issues with the firewall or lack there of and sure enough my firewall was not engaged upon upgrade, but I had decided to love my boyfriend Apple and Steve despite that. It was like an unsightly blemish that would be taken care of with a few patches.

Then as my system slowed to more of a turtle than a Leopard, I thought it was just me. Maybe I had done something wrong. Maybe I just needed to restart. I was leery of restarting when I had so much work to get through, so I suffered through Leopard slowing up every program I had going - Firefox, Entourage and Word. No games, no heavy graphics, just three of the base programs.

Every time I'd move from one program to the next I would get the spinning pinwheel of despair. This went on for two hours when I only had about an hour's worth of work to do. Finally at midnight I used my Entourage to send a project I had just finished. It took forever for the email to send and then I realized I had forgotten the attachment. I resent the email with the attachment and suddenly Entourage shut down!

Then it came back on as if I had just installed it and asked if I wanted to make it my default program - "Sure, maybe it's just a glitch," I thought hopefully. When Entourage asked me if I wanted to import my old contacts I really started to get worried and when it told me I had no old information I FREAKED OUT! Apple's Leopard had eaten my Entourage!

No editor contacts, no long lost friend emails, no saved "this is your registration information" emails, NOTHING. It was over. My boyfriend Apple had given me a line "this is it baby, you need me" just to get me into bed with him and Leopard and now he is acting like an ass and I'm confused and crying in the shower. Yes I dropped a tear or two. You know how it is when you find yourself banging away at search engines and support threads trying things that don't work and you realize you have to find help or drag your ass back to the store. I just never thought it would be the Apple store.

Am I still in love with Apple? Maybe, yeah, yeah I am. It's hard to let go of something that was so good. I just wish we could go back to Tiger when things were pretty sweet and Leopard hadn't come between us. I feel like I'm waking up from the honeymoon and realizing that my boyfriend Apple/Steve is just human, maybe more Clarke Kent than Superman. I'm hoping that Apple is just having some growing pains, rushing things because it feels it needs to live up to a certain bravado. I'm hoping that Apple isn't turning into a big fat jerk like that badboy Microsoft just because it finds itself the most popular kid in school.

So later on today I've got an appointment at the Apple store AGAIN and I hope they can find my lost info. If they can find old emails crooks have sent, surely they can find mine. If not, I think I may have them switch me back to Tiger. I'll consider myself a born-again Leopard virgin and wait until I'm really ready for it. Or should I say until it's really ready for me.

Anybody switchin' out there? Having any trouble?

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Apple's Leopard Trick *Update!

OK. So I am back typing from my MacBook Pro. Whoo hooo! I would love to say that I got the Leopard problem taken care of quickly, but I'd be lying.

I spent the morning on the phone with Apple Support. The helpful phone voice said I'd be on hold for 15 minutes or more. Not a good sign. I put the phone on speaker and bounced off to answer the door. Got to talking with a friend came back to a phone making that annoying, someone has hung up on you sound. Nice...

Called the back. My VoIP decides to drop the call or is it Apple? Conspiracy? Nah....

Finally, after a feeding and diaper change - my baby not me - got on the phone with a live person. I told him the Leopard log in issue, added that I know he's heard about it all weekend and he says, "OK. I'm going to have to research that."

Huh? Really? The problem that's been burning up the phone lines, causing the 15 minute or more wait is something that has to be researched? His research took another 10 minutes, I swear. I watched the minutes click down on my phone.

The Apple rep gets back on the phone and has me going through the fix I found online 3 hours previously. Didn't I just blog that I don't think I should have to type in commands into a system that costs as much as MAC's does?

Well that didn't go as planned. I was typing, he'd go "Wait, there was supposed to be a space after that slash." I'd sigh, do as I was told and it still didn't work. He escalated me to an Apple product specialist or was it a Leopard product specialist, I never found out because after waiting another 20 minutes I gave up.

Luckily my brain and my hubby's ancient PC was working long enough for me to make a reservation at the Apple store. I showed up for my appointment with the Geniuses or Geni at the Genius Bar and after two attempts they got me going by doing an archive and install. By this time my daughter's out of school and the baby's awake looking for a snack.

Heavy one hungry ladybug and one miniature Snow White (it's Halloween) I wait for the system to get ta workin.' And finally, about an hour after we got there, we walked out of the Apple Store. I'm happy, so happy to have my buddy back. I am disappointed with the experience though and discouraged that no one followed up on a tune up for my buddy simply because I haven't paid for the Apple Protection Plan. So the money and productivity I've lost doesn't mean to much to Apple I guess.

Steve, why so cold? I thought we had something. I hope Leopard's a whole lot better than Tiger, enough for the trouble, but right now I can't even play with it, I've got deadlines!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Apple's Leopard a Nasty Halloween Trick for Some...

Apple just screwed me. No, it's not my Steve Jobs fantasy again - I just upgraded to Leopard, Apple's new operating system, yet I'm typing this from a PC with Windows 98. I feel so dirty....

Apparently Leopard has a nasty side for some of us MAC users. When you upgrade, Leopard decides you shouldn't have access to your old files. As a matter of fact you can't even log into your MAC. I'm talking about a complete lock out here people. Your MAC give you a log in box with the only option of "Other." I said what the heck, I'll just type in my normal username and password - no good. NO GOOD!

I have deadlines swimming around me like sharks, which is why I'm upstairs on my husbands PC which has given me the "blue screen of death" twice. Normally I'd sit all smug when PC users would bemoan the Windows upgrades and the many, many kinks and bugs. Then Apple does this to me.

Last night I searched the net looking for any info somebody might have. As it trickled in I realized I am not the only one. The Apple discussion boards are alive with Leopard upgraders who are looking at an empty log in box. Some solutions are offered, including one from Apple, that has users restarting in single user mode and typing in commands. I'm sorry the last time I typed a command into a computer involved:
10 Run
20 Left
...or something to that affect. That was in second grade when you made the turtle make shapes. For those of you don't remember - too bad :-)

The upgrade isn't exactly cheap and now I'm being asked to reprogram my own system so that when I screw it up I'm even more screwed. Did I mention I've got deadlines? So I move a couple of posts down in which someone says that Apple has a patch available, which is great for those who have UPGRADED YET! WTF Apple!

Come on Steve, ya killin' me. I'm losing my edge and my sanity. Is this a Halloween Prank? Because I'd rather if you'd TP the house. So instead of wrapping up my DEADLINES and taking the girls out for a little candy huntin' I'll be hanging out at the Genius Bar with a few hundred of my fellow MAC users.

In the freelance world it's important to make sure you've got backups. Mine is an old computer with an obsolete operating system while my top of the line MACBook Pro sits on the sidelines with it's own version of the "blue screen of death."

Updates to follow...

Monday, October 29, 2007

All rejection is not the same...

For writers rejection is part of the job. Successful writers learn quickly that a tough skin is as important as a laptop and and wi-fi. However, it is important to note that all rejection is not the same.

The first rejection letter I got hit me hard. My feelings were hurt. I looked at that form letter with pure resentment and stuck my tongue out at the handwritten note the editor had included on the top of the letter.

"You got a added note?!" a writer friend asked. I had missed the lightbulb moment. The fact that the editor had included an extra little bit of information and encouragement was a sign she saw the potential of my writing, but the idea and the pitch wasn't quite right for her magazine. See, getting caught up in the rejection, I had missed a little golden nugget.

Another rejection letter I kept just because it was beautifully written and presented. I had pitched Conde' Nast's Bride Magazine and the rejection letter came on beautiful, heavy weight linen paper with an enchanting matching envelope. "Now that's a rejection letter," I thought out loud. I realized the style of rejection letter was a big indicator of how the magazine was run and more importantly how you should present your query. Bride's rejection was a reflection of the high caliber magazine. Any query of that publication needed to match that rejection letter.

Then there are the standard rejections: the rushed, crooked photocopy of a form letter in which the intern spells your name wrong. This letter lets you know the publication gets tons of queries and if yours doesn't stand out it's to the intern with you. (I love interns by the way, I was one and completely understand). The other kind of rejection letter is the one that comes via email. It's quick, simple and can sting, especially if it comes almost immediately after you send your query.

Here's the thing, it's not just the rejection letters, take heart if you actually receive one. Often you can query a publication and wait years without ever hearing anything back, even after several follow-ups. So if you get a rejection letter, count yourself lucky. If you receive one with an added note, consider yourself almost in there and if you receive one on beautiful paper put it in your scrapbook!

What's your best or worst rejection letter?

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Idea Factory...

You never know when a writing idea will pop up. I've gotten ideas from things I have read, people I've talked to, songs I've heard while driving and even while standing in line at the store. Then there's always the mad dash to write it down. I learned long ago that when a great idea comes to me I have to write it down or I'll forget. It could be the answer to world hunger, but by the time I get home to type it up, it'll be be gone or the details hazy: "What was that idea? Something about being hungry...Recipes for the rushed? No, that doesn't sound right..."

Every writer seems to have their own system for organizing ideas. Some use the pile method - each pile is it's own subject. Others use complex coding that only they know how to figure out. I use to use the "tons of scrap papers lying about" method. It's ingenious - I would write on everything about everything. At the end of the grocery list was an article idea. On the back of a receipt was a blog idea. Then when I got home I'd empty out my purse or diaper bag and drop it in a pile of "Do not touch!" The only problem - when you forget that you have something on the bottom of some random piece of paper and throw it out. Or your hubby or children think they're helping by throwing away piles of blog ideas/dry cleaning receipts. Genius down the drain.

Then I went to the notebook method. I carried around a small notebook and when an idea struck I wrote it down. All the ideas stayed in one nice, compact area. Unfortunately I'd forget about the idea notebook until I pulled it out again.

Now I'm trying a combo method - I write the ideas in a notebook then transfer them to a note card that I file away in an accordion folder labeled with general subjects. I've only been trying this method for two days, but so far it's working great!

What's your method?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Writing on the go...

Lately I've been working all over the city. I've been working in coffee shops, school rooms, libraries, doctor offices, etc. I've been working in the car so much I think I need to install a desk!

The kids' activities have increased, my workload has increased and I also work part-time as a tutor which takes me out of the house and into my local community college's library.

At first I lugged my laptop everywhere I went, slipping it out during dance class and tapping away in the park hoping to catch a signal so I can send an email. One thing I quickly learned is that the laptop and tap dancing three year-olds don't mix. Nothing like seeing an out of control preschooler sliding toward you and your mobile investment to make you think twice.

So lately I've been using the journalist's favorite - the pen and paper. I'm still experimenting with different techniques - notebooks, legal pads, index cards, etc. Writing is less conspicuous than typing. One of the hazards of writing in public is the inevitable questions on what you are writing, how often, etc. Then there's the techies who want to talk about the pros and cons of your laptop.

I'm now looking into the merits of a digital voice recorder. There are times when I'm cleaning the house and article ideas pop into my head or the latest blog and I can't stop to write it down. Or those times when my arms are full of squirming baby.

How do you write on the go? What do you use?

Jobs for Wednesday!

Got a chance to dig for some jobs for you!

Witty and inventive writers - Columbus Ohio
Writer for magazine articles - Columbus Ohio
Village Green Press looking for writers - Detroit MI
RetailFit.Com looking for freelancers
Wisconsin Law Journal looking for freelancers
Smart Brief Inc., looking for freelancers
The Real Deal Magazine

Blogger Jobs
HubPages looking for new bloggers
Skinny Moose looking for replacement bloggers
SimplyGood Media -Mens Shopping & Style Blogger
The Wordpress Magazine needs bloggers

Writer News for Wednesday

BC writer talks about 'Rough Business'
Cambridge Times - Cambridge,Ontario,Canada
Cambridge Centre's Book Express will host a book signing event tomorrow with the author of a new crime novel. Author Randall Sawka, from British Columbia, ...

Hawks' Martelli trades his whistle for a writer's pen

Philadelphia Inquirer - Philadelphia,PA,USA
By Joe Juliano Phil Martelli briskly strode in to an arena vastly different from ones he had visited in his 12 seasons as head basketball coach at St. ...

Toronto writer recounts Florida rescue tragedy

Globe and Mail - Canada
Toronto-based novelist Maureen Jennings, best known for her Detective William Murdoch mysteries, was rescued Monday by passersby when she was caught in an ...

Monday, October 22, 2007

Rowling Outs Dumbledore...

The writing and blog worlds are blowing up with the news that Dumbledore, the mentor and awesome wizard in the smashingly successful Harry Potter films is - pause for the drama - gay.

The great thing about the Potter books is even though the series is "complete," Rowling still has the opportunity to reveal or add anything she wants to the lives of the characters without having to slog away at the computer for hours on end. Indeed, she appears to be quite pleased that she can share whatever Potter thought that comes to mind without worrying about revealing plots or giving too much away. But did she this time?

My thoughts went not to the character she outed, nor to looking through my collection for any indication of Dumbledore's orientation, but to the minority of Potter haters that have been looking for a reason to burn the Potter books.

The whole witchcraft and sorcery argument got old and even the Vatican weighed in with some saying the books are evil and others hold them up as an example of good versus evil. Now those who hate Potter and gays have an AHA! moment.

Why reveal it? I ask. Why hide it? I ask again. Why give the books more controversy or give people new reasons to attack one of the greatest fantasy series of our generation?

I guess part of the reason is that well it's the truth - duh. If that's Rowling's vision who am I to question it? I'm a fan & believe whole-heartedly in a writer's vision and maintaining the truth of that vision.

The crass commercial side of me also realizes this an awesome marketing opportunity. A whole target community for HP merchandise! The other good thing is in order to burn the books, someone has to buy them. Cha-Ching. I wish I owned stock in Scholastic...

Rowling maintains that her books are about tolerance. In her magical world, a boy of mixed parentage can be the savior of all that good and precious. In her world it matters not you're breeding but your heart, talent and skill. In her world black and white stand side by side, race noted only for description. In her world the greatest wizard of all time was known as the greatest wizard of all time, not the gay, greatest wizard of all time. Right on.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Wow! It's been a while... How do you find time?

Well folks, I've been working my tail or should I say tale off this past week trying to juggle everything life has to offer. Unfortunately the blogs got neglected. That's the bad news.

The good news is that I am back and still have a great number of things to do: writing, parenting, wife-ing, all those "ings." I am amazed at all of the bloggers out there that hold it down, everyday, while working on so many other things.

I still want to get to the query letter do's and don'ts and I think that an expert should address that for me so next week I will have an expert guest blog on query letters. Today I'd like to seek help from you all out there: How do you find the time? To write, blog, whatever when you have other things on the plate - family, other full time jobs...

Post your tips and the best 3 tips win guest blog for the day! So that means more than 3 of you have to post :-) Come on - stop lurking and join this community!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Writer's Block, Real or B.S.?

I just read a fascinating column today on writer's block by Dan Brown of the London Free Press. He states that writer's block is basically a good excuse writer's get to use. Brown said that relying on inspiration instead of hard work is the issue behind writer's block.

Brown has a point. I have yet to find the "easy button" when it comes to writing. If I had my behind would be sitting in the Bahamas right now as I watched my bank account balance sail into the millions. Instead you find me tapping away working for a living.

Have I had writer's block, yes. Should it EVER be an excuse to miss a deadline? Absolutely not. What's your take? Writer's Block - Real or B.S.?

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Writer's News for Wednesday Oct 3rd

Bloggers who risked all to reveal the junta’s brutal crackdown in ...
Times Online, UK - Oct 1, 2007
Even in normal times it was hard to be a blogger in Burma. With characteristic paranoia, the Government monitored and controlled every aspect of the process ...

Writer MN Vijayan dies at press meet
Hindu, India - 2 hours ago
Thrissur, Oct. 3 (PTI): Prof. MN Vijayan, who greatly influenced the contemporary Kerala culture as a radical thinker, literary critic, teacher and cultural ...

‘Frasier‘ writer wins literary award
Jordan Falls News, Canada - 12 hours ago
NEW YORK - Television writer-producer Joe Keenan, an Emmy winner a decade ago for his work on "Frasier," is this year‘s winner of the Thurber Prize for ...

The Insider: Amazon to pay writer $25000 in novel contest
Seattle Post Intelligencer - Oct 1, 2007
THE WRITE STUFF:, which got its start selling books online, wants to make an unknown writer a big-time author. The Seattle-based Internet ...

China Writer Faces Subversion Charge
The Associated Press - Oct 1, 2007
BEIJING (AP) — A Chinese dissident writer has been arrested for allegedly subverting state power, a watchdog organization said Monday. ...

Local Blogger On Her Way to Iraq’s ‘Red Zone’
Daily Californian, CA - 6 hours ago
BY Esther Kim Berkeley Blogger Jane Stillwater works on her computer in her Berkeley home. Next week she will be blogging from Iraq. ...

Monday, October 1, 2007

Researching Freelance Writing

Google "freelance writing" and you'll come up with over 2.5 million hits. Freelance writing is a hot topic. People want to know how do you get started, where are the jobs, how do you make it work, etc. My biggest piece of advice to any newbie and, actually to the established writer as well, is do your research and research often.

Newbie writers need to find out different perspectives on the freelance writing field, its lifestyle and job news and information. Vets should keep up on the latest news on the field and in media in general. Those who are genre specific - magazine writers, tech writers, book writers, etc., also need to keep up on their specific area. Shake ups in the industry can affect your work flow or open up new opportunties.

I mentioned WritersMarket.Com earlier. For magazine writers, keeping up on the latest in the industry is essential. One day your contact at the magazine may move to a new position or even a new magazine. Sending a query to the wrong editor is a sure way to sink.

What industry publications do you love?

Friday, September 28, 2007

Getting In....

Continuing our conversation from Tuesday, how do you break in to freelance writing when you don't have clips? Your main focus should be looking for publications that welcome new writers. Often these publications will state that in their writer's guidelines.

Look locally. There are usually several local publications that will work with new writers. The idea is to build clips, good clips, that will enable you to keep taking steps to building a solid writing resume.

Beside the local publications, obviously there are web publications that are also open to writers. Start by a simple search of sites on a subject you are interested in or have some background in. I caution against pitching the big sites right out of the box.

Another good place to get information is Writer's Market.Com is the bomb! It has up-to-date listings, industry information, and a great search engine. Publications you have never even thought of are available and with the current information you should find plenty of publications to pitch.

Now hold you're excited horses, don't just fire off an email to the editor asking for an assignment. You have to work on your pitch, your query letter. You also need to assess your skills and by the way have you even research freelance writing yet? There's a lot to do before you hustle off to find an assignment.

Looking at what's available out there for new writers is to get you in the mindset of what your interests are and where you see yourself as a writer.

Monday we will talk about researching this freelance writing game and go over some common industry lingo. Wednesday I want to start tackling the art of the query letter. So have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

It's Wednesday and I'm confused...

Okay so sue me. I posted Tuesday thinking it was Wednesday. I'm so confused people! Life of a freelancer, I only know dates and when things are due, the day of the week? Not so much...

Anyway as a bonus let's get some writing jobs out there. It's been a while:

Freelance writer (Windham)
New York Resident Magazine
Deloitte & Touche
Freelance Magazine Writer
Voice of America, Freelance Writer
Freelance Writer - construction equiptment guide
Writer needed for various projects - columbus ohio

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Catch me if you can!

So the catch 22 of freelance writing is this: you need clips to show editors that you can write, however, you can’t get clips if you don’t get the gig. So what’s a writer to do? Well you could fall for the old “write for me for free and exposure” and gather clips that way.

The problem with this method is that often you’re fattening the editor’s pockets at your own expense. “Exposure” could mean anything, your name in byline lights on a heavily visited site or your article cast among many on a teeny tiny Web site somewhere out in cyberspace. Will that kind of exposure help you? Probably not. Will it give you good clips to use while you persue a better gig? Maybe. If the site is junky and there’s a lack of good editing on your work, you’re likely to hurt yourself more than you help.

The other thing about writing for free, it hurts other writers. If there are a vast, teaming pools of writers willing to work for free there will surely be vast, teeming pools of editors who feel it’s their right to not pay writers for their work.

Deborah Ng, a prominent freelance blogger, said something to the effect of people don’t ask plumbers who are just getting started to work for free and she has a great point. Where else, in what other profession would people ask that the newbie do it for free? Would McD’s require that their workers work for free until they really get a handle on washing the lettuce and cooking the fries?

So how do you break in? I’ll have several tips on Friday!

Monday, September 24, 2007


Whups a daisy! A writer should be prepared for anything. Well, I was not prepared for missing several days of blogging, culminating with my internet being out for the WHOLE day! Yikes. So tomorrow I swear people, I'll go over the catch 22 of freelance writing: you need clips to get gigs and you can't get gigs without clips - whata world!

There will also be new jobs and writer's news posted.

Monday, September 17, 2007

How do you get started? Part 1

I lucked into freelance writing. I have always been a good writer, writing plays and stories in grade school and pulling out a pretty good term paper at the last minute in high school. Even though I really enjoyed writing, I never really considered it a viable profession.

I had no desire to pine away in a cafe, tortured, smoking a cigarette as I lamented the state of the literary world. For one thing I'm an asthmatic and for another I'm not really into coffee that much.

I had been working as a plus size model and made friends with Valery from VenusImaging.Com. She asked me to write up a little something for her site and after the first article she invited me to be beauty and fashion columnist for the site. That's when it clicked, maybe I could do this for a living.

How did you get started? In part two we'll discuss creating opportunities and the catch 22 of clips and getting gigs.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Get Dressed or Wear PJ's?

One of the great lures of being able to work from home is the opportunity to conduct business in your jammies. Many a writer dreams about stumbling out of bed in the morning and wandering to their workspace fuzzy slippers and all.

As a freelance writer and a mom, I've had to put a moratorium on the PJ's. Unfortunately, the majority of time I am writing before, during or after I take the kids somewhere. If I'm not shuttling to preschool I'm flying to the grocery store and while I've seen it on other people, I'm not into the PJ's in public thing.

Another reason the PJ's have been left in the bedroom is because I have a hard time explaining to my 3 year-old why she has to get dressed for school when I get to walk around in Grinch bedclothes. Trying to rationalize my childish behavior to my own daughter is just depressing.

Lastly, I have to admit it, I do feel more productive when I'm dressed, sitting at my desk and working. I feel like I'm actually getting something accomplished even if I spent half an hour reading TMZ.Com. I know, getting dressed when I could wear the comfy flannel and reading poor journalism, I should be flogged.

Come on writers - do you get dressed or wear PJ's?

Monday, September 10, 2007

Writer's Cramp....

I've got writer's cramp. My right hand is aching and I wish I could say that I got my injury long handing the great novel that's been rolling around in my head. Instead I have to admit that my sore hand is due to trying to type with one hand while nursing my daughter Gabrielle.

It's also sore from typing with one hand as I bounce her on my knee and as I take down her sister's hair, as I cook dinner, help get Olivia dressed for school, write a check for a bill, brush my teeth.... My right hand is tired people...

Any injuries out there? Writing related or keeping you from writing? Come share in the misery and comment!

Writing Jobs for Monday

Good Afternoon Writers! Have a crack at 'em:

Freelance Science/Medical Writer - Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center - US
Freelance, Writer / Editor - Fox Networks Group - Los Angeles, CA
Celebrity Gossip Blogger -
Vista blogger needed
freelance writer
Freelance Business Reporters
Editorial Freelancer -

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

How to become a great writer...

Most writers strive to improve on their craft. We constantly look back at previous writings to see where we could have written better, what we liked and what we didn't like. I proofread and edit like there's no tomorrow, or should I say no deadline.

Writers all have dreams of becoming a stand-outs in their genre. Fantasies or goals of becoming the next J.K., Stephen King, Pulitzer Prize, or Oscar winner always hover over us. Those goals or fantasies make us take that extra step in fact checking, that extra look in editing or that extra day to let the work "marinate."

We ask ourselves, what does it take to become a great writer?

One thing I've found is reading great writing helps. So many times I run into new writers, new freelancers and students who all ask the same question: how can I make my writing better? I say the same thing - read, a lot. Read all types of writing, even things you aren't interested in and see what makes that piece interesting. What can you learn from it?

Too often their response is "I hate reading," or "I don't have time to read." That's like a professional basketball player saying they don't have time to practice free throws. Shaq excluded.

The other piece of advice I give is: write all the time. The only way to become better at something is to work at it - constantly and consistently.

Lastly, join a writer's group. Writers can be incredibly picky, secretive and easily wounded people. We view our work as the product of divine inspiration, painful and joyous execution and meticulous editing. Then we let another writer review it and they rip it. Creatively and with understanding, of course.

A writer's group can be frightening at first and you need to find one that fits with you and your personality, but the idea is to have a diverse group in which to glean ideas, critiques (not criticism) and inspiration.

I recently joined a writers group and they are a weird collection of women, but their weirdness is my weirdness. Their sarcasm, life experiences and diversity appealed to me from the first emails, yet it was still scary to meet for the first time. However the support, contacts and feedback has been well worth any initial fear. A good group challenges you and cares about your progress. You can't get the kind of support writers give from non-writers.

Your thoughts? What makes a good writer?

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Writing News...

Health Alert: Link between writer's cramp and brain abnormalities
NATIONAL (WIS) - There's a possible connection between writer's cramp and brain abnormalities...

Bob Woodward, Joan Didion to appear in film about writer David Halberstam

NEW YORK (AP) -- Noted journalists Bob Woodward, Joan Didion and Seymour Hersh are among those who have agreed to participate in a short promotional film for ...

The life of a novelist, freelance writer and mother
There were the late night writing sessions one would imagine necessary of a writer. There were the early morning starts, sometimes at the urge of her ...

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Coming up with ideas...

One of the reasons writers become writers is because they are incredibly curious. They question the what, why, how, when and where in so many situations they can be quite annoying or the best friend to a narcissus.

Often this curiosity produces ideas for articles, blogs, books, etc. Good ideas can spring up from anywhere. I often get blog ideas from chatting with friends. At some point during the conversation I realize that I've just fallen into a great article idea. My blogs are definitely less formal than any of the articles I write so casual passings are more likely to make it to my blog before they make it to an article.

Coming up with a great article idea takes more effort. I find myself most inspired when I read other articles. I make time each morning to read several papers and magazine articles from all over. When a particularly interesting article strikes me, I think about how the article could be written from a different angle, if there is a local spin or what other information could be gleaned from the same subject.

Many magazine articles come about that way. A small news item sparks another writer's curiosity and that writer delves deeper into the story. A magazine article has the opportunity to go into far more detail than most "just the facts" news items. The same works in reverse. Magazines and blogs many times spark a news article.

Inspiration breeds inspiration so, where do you get your ideas from?

Monday, August 27, 2007


The enemy of every freelance writer is distraction. In an office setting you may have co-workers or funny emails taking time away from your productivity. You also have a boss cruising by your desk jarring you back to work.

In a work-from-home setting you have funny emails, TV, children, laundry, neighbors, the World Wide Web, your pets, the refrigerator, a sunny day and no boss. Besides the kids and hubby, my favorite distractions are CNN and Craisglist.Com.

Sure you can find legitimate writing gigs on Craigslist, but I often find myself wandering to the Free or Arts and Crafts section. I've even looked at farm equipment and I don't farm. The site is so damn interesting. People sell so many weird and intriguing items I often wonder how the sellers got the items in the first place.

Distractions are costly. Each hour you spend watching hilariously random videos on YouTube costs you, not the company, money. To stay focused, writers do some pretty strange things.

I developed office hours. I also try to lock myself in my office for the entire time I have set aside. I pretend that I'm in a fortress in which no sound can get in and getting out depends on completing my to-do list.

If I'm tired of the office, which happens often, I sit at the dining room table and pretend I'm invisible. I ignore the children and sit still as if they were T-Rexs, drawn to movement. I doesn't work but it allows me to keep my imagination going strong.

Distractions are a fact of life. What are your favorites? What do you do to keep focused?

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Freelance Writing Jobs for Saturday...

Hey workaholics! Here's some Saturday work for you...

Freelance Ad-Writer (Midtown)
Experienced Blogger For Needed For ...
Press Release for New Product - Press Release Writing Freelance Job
Sensual topics - Creative Writing Freelance Job
Looking For Freelance Travel Writers
Need talented, contributing writers for new site
Freelance Writer needed - US
Car Blogger - dailypixel Network
Business and Blogging Blogger - b5media

Waiting on a check...

It's the same song for most freelancers - waiting on that check to arrive. Each day beating the mailman to the punch and scaring the daylights out of him as you jerk open the door.

Keeping one eye on the bank balance and the other on the mailbox is so routine I feel like I'm becoming cross-eyed. Why is it that the bills come in a steady stream and paychecks like glops of cold jelly?

The goal of freelance writing is to create enough constant business that the checks turn into streams of green. Some writers do it through corporate writing, steady blogs and column work.
How do you keep your green stream?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Who do you write for?

Writers get this question all the time. Unfortunately, the majority of us don't count Vanity Fair or Essence among our long and distinguished lists. Have you ever found yourself reciting half your resume until finally a publication clicks and they say "Oh, really?" in that impressed tone.

It's not like I want to spend 30 seconds reviewing the resume, but people look at you with an eager expression that doesn't leave until you satisfy their curiosity with name brand publications. Sometimes I take the time to explain almost everything has text and needs content and there are writers for that. But that's a longer explanation than my resume recitation routine, which I can perform amazingly fast. Kind of like spinning plates. Cue circus music in the background.

Or if you're a magazine and Web writer, people seem disappointed you haven't written a book. And don't get me started on blogging. You could have the Brink's truck backing up to your house everyday and people will still say "Oh, everyone has a blog."

Am I putting to much stock into what people think or is it just the basic human need for appreciation for what you do? How do you do it? How do you explain what you do?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Writer News for Tuesday

Writer Daheim says don't let literature intrude

Indian Urdu writer is dead

Saudi writer wins plaudits with harsh Bedouin tale

Understanding Blogs

Freelance Writing Jobs for Tuesday

Some tasty treats, not much but enjoy!

Experienced Writers Needed
Freelance Writers: Diversity Woman

Time Management

I just finished writing two articles that collasped at the last possible minute. Sources backed out or just disappeared, my VOIP phone and high speed cable internet access cut off during a storm yesterday leaving me to scramble to finish my work. Whew!

Time management would have been helpful in this situation. I know if I had managed my time better I could have had all interviewing finished and possibly avoided several near heart attacks.

I had established office hours to not only stay consistent, but to keep a sense of discipline and allow for me to confidently schedule interviews and playdates. It is truly hard to keep the schedule. The temptation to constantly rearrange your schedule is always there.

With deadlines given pretty far in advance, why do we writers have such a hard time with time management? With kids or without, writing full time or part time, how do you manage? Share your tips with the community.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Freelance Writing Jobs for Monday!

Go Get 'Em Tiger - Grrrrrr!

Reporter/Freelancer/Editor - Cleveland Ohio
Men's Web site - Financial Writer Needed
Business Copy Writer Needed

How do you write with kids around?

It's after 1 a.m. in writer land and I just put my 3 month old down for bed - again. Somehow both my children have "spider sense." They know when I have a huge workload and deadlines looming. They cry, refuse to take their regular naps, or suddenly get the idea to cover themselves in various, multiple-bath-needing messes. Does my stress high level contribute to my children's?

We freelancers, moms in particular, think working from home is the solution to all things. Many of us skipped away from our jobs, belongings in a box, bellies round and full of humanity and the best laid plans. We planned how we would write great novels, articles or blogs while making dinner. Tell me you didn't have a fantasy of words pouring from your soul while your baby napped and the washing machine whirled.

Instead the naps are all too brief, playtime all too appealing and a good night's sleep - elusive. Freelancers live a hustler's life. We hustle for the next gig, hustle to meet deadlines and hustle to meet the needs of our families. Each writer's plan is as different as the next, so how do you do it? How do write with the kids around?