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?