Thursday, November 6, 2008

Find me at the Hottest Sites on the Web!

My work with several new clients and as a featured blogger for two great web sites have left me unable to update as often as I like. So for freelance writing news, jobs and information, check out the number one freelance writing web site where I am a feature blogger:

Freelance Writing Jobs (

and for great parenting tips and information check me out at Examiner.Com.

Happy writing!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Welcome to Back to Freelance Writing!

Welcome back! Kids are going back to school, summer is coming to a close and we're back from summer hiatus!

It's been a very busy and productive summer! I've landed some new gigs including as the newest National Parenting Examiner at Examiner.Com. Please be sure to visit and add us to your reader!

I'd also like to welcome any new friends to check out some of my favorite and most popular posts:

The Importance of Communicating With A Client

Signs of a Bad Freelance Gig
How To Break Up With a Client
When Good Gigs Go Bad

Friday, June 20, 2008

Freelance Writing Commandment #2 - Grow A Thick Skin

Being a writer is not for the faint of heart. There is a lot of rejection in this business. Editors, clients, members of your audience, people you consider friends, and at some point, even your grandmother may call you to task on something you've written. To survive, writers need to develop a thick skin.

What A Thick Skin Isn't

  • It isn't an excuse for being pig headed and dismissing all critiques and criticisms.

  • An opportunity to bash other people and then tell them to develop an armor like yours.

  • An excuse to live in La-La land where your skills and wit is beyond reproach.

What A Thick Skin Does

  • It allows you to receive critiques from clients and editors with professional grace.

  • It encourages you to consider criticism and how to use the information given to produce the right product for the client/editor.

  • Provides a barrier so you barely blink at random "You Suck!" comments instead of dissolving into a ball of raw emotion.

  • It allows you to see the other person's perspective - does the client/editor have a point? Can you understand the reader's concern?

  • It keeps your bills paid. No one wants to work with someone who can't accept criticism. If you fly off the handle on enough clients, word will get around that you're difficult to work with. "What do you mean I need a period there! Arrrrrr! You have no vision!" Also, when the client/editor pushes back on your going rate, you won't suffer the dreaded crisis of self-esteem: "Maybe I'm not worth that much, I NEED this gig! I'll do anything for it, including working 50 hours for $50!!!" Instead you can calmly point out your skill, the going rate of others in the field and stand your ground.

A thick skin and a positive attitude will keep you in the freelancing game a lot longer. So what after months of jerking you around and promises of an assignment - your pitch was rejected? Re-pitch the idea to another publication and learn from the last experience.

How thick is your skin? What type of things still get under your armor?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Know When to Stop - How to Keep from Killing Yourself Writing...

The hubby and I decided to take a two day vacation - just us, the kids and a fun place with no internet connection. Sounds great right? Well we have yet to do it. For years I always tried to get my husband to be spontaneous. Let's just go. Let's just run off for a day or two. He finally says yes and I'm booked.

I'm killing myself working. I'm out the cubicle, but I'm holed up in the office. The result is the same - I look longingly out of the window at the sun and blue sky. Sure I can take my laptop anywhere, but inertia has me stuck.

My four year old is still waiting for our art and fun bonanza to kick off and she's been out of school for two weeks now. Cue the violin and the tragic look of a pouting four year-old. My garden's overgrown and I'm overwrought.

A quick tweet and I realize I'm not alone. So how do we fix this situation? We make a decision and stick with it for a while to see how it works. A decision of not working past a certain time, no matter what. A decision to take a day or two off and SCHEDULE IT IN.

See it's easy to say you're going to do something. But why not schedule it like everything else? We writers adhere to our deadlines like cotton candy on four year-olds, adhere to the deadline of a freakin' break.

We've got the dream job people, let's take advantage of it. I shall take my own advice - at 2pm on Thursday my vacation starts. I shall not see hide nor hair of anything work related until Sunday evening. I just hope I don't go through withdrawal...

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Freelance Writer Commandment #4 - Review Yourself

As if I planned this, I got my series out of order. Yesterday I posted my third writing commandment, however I had neglected to hit my fourth one first. Whoops. But it works out well because it proves my point.

Every writer should take the time to go back and review their work. Reviewing blogs helps you to see what topics did well, topics you can expand on, pick up on any errors or mistakes and respond to any comments you've forgotten. Reviewing articles and other projects allows you to see where you can improve, what you've done well and may lead to new ideas and perspectives.

Sometimes writers forget to go through their clip files and see the work they've accomplished. We just keep churning out the articles, but there is nothing like pulling out that clip bin and going "Hmmm, not bad, not bad at all." Nothing like a little pride to keep you loving what you do!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Freelance Writing Commandment #3 - Know Your Worth

Each day, freelancers troll job boards, contact editors, follow-up with clients and screen offers for gigs. And with each contact we make decisions on our worth. The question is, are you treating yourself with the respect you deserve?
Are you constantly tempted to lower your rates for friends and associates? Do you pause before you send your invoices or proposals with the thought of "No one's going to pay me that much?" If so, you have a confidence problem, and I understand because I had one too.

I had one until one late evening I found myself working my tail off for a couple of bucks. By the time I had finished the project and made sure it met my personal standards, I had lost an entire evening of work. I realized I was working too hard for too little. Then, in case I'd forgotten my late night pledge of "never again," the client decided they wanted to make additional changes -- four different revisions to be exact.

Knowing your worth is doing enough research to know the fair price range for services in several markets, sticking to your range and also knowing your base rate so when you do give a deep discount you don't undermine your own economic goals.

It's courageous and professional to say "I'm sorry, that's below my minimum." Constantly undercutting yourself can have several negative results:
  1. You're putting yourself into or under the poor house.

  2. Clients may second guess your skill and ability - why are you so cheap if you're so good?

  3. You may end up resenting the gig, the client and your profession because you're knocking back 60 hours a week and barely making ends meet.

  4. You undermine other writing professionals.
Everyone wants a good deal and when there are writers out there who will create 50 500 word articles for $.10 each, clients will and do expect other writers to do the same.

I've had potential clients say "Well for that much I can get 10 articles from other writers!" And I reply ever so sweetly, "Probably, but quality costs." One time I pointed to a lady's Prada bag while saying it and I got the contract.

So friends, even if you can't believe people are willing to pay you well for all the wonderful work you do, think of your fellow writer who knows they should get a higher wage and don't undermine their goals. Be a professional and know your worth!

Do you have a set of standard rates? Ever undercut yourself? Spill the gory details!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Freelance Writer Commandment #5: Have an Editorial Calendar

Most busy freelancers swear by an editorial calendar. The method of tracking ideas and deadlines may vary: Excel spreadsheets, large desktop calendars, specialized software, but the outcome is the same - better control over your time and a boost in productivity.

I admit, I was slow to warm to the editorial calendar idea. Sure I posted deadlines, but mapping out what I would be writing or blogging day after day seemed a bit restrictive to me. That is until I started getting so much work in I couldn't keep myself straight. After a couple of eyeball-busting nights spent hunched over the keyboard and I shouted "Uncle!" and tried to organize my thoughts and work for a week in advance.

It worked out well. Each morning I woke up, I knew what I needed to work on and didn't have to look to my plants for inspiration. As ideas and work came in I was able to plug them into the calendar. It has been working swell for me.

I use a pretty old fashioned method - the giant wall calendar. It allows me to see at a glance what all I have going on. I need that visual. It hangs right above my desk as a gentle reminder to "keep working and stop twittering" and allows me to sync up my family's activity calendar with my work calendar. I now know if I need to start working early one morning (like today) because my evening is going to be lost to an outing - like the Sex and the City movie preview I get to go to tonight!

There are some ways the calendar can fail you however - not looking at it. Right now my office is off-the-hook with supplies, loose papers, etc., so I've been at my kitchen table. With no calendar to keep me on task I've taken to copying my calendar into my smaller planner. Yes it's redundant, but whatever works!

Not updating your calendar won't help very much either. Even the simplest productivity enhancer take a little discipline.

Do you use an editorial calendar? What method do you use and how has it helped?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Freelance Writing Commandment #6: Write Everyday

It doesn't matter if you don't have an assignment due. Each day that you put finger to keyboard - or pen to paper if you're old school, you are working your writing muscles.

Like any exercise, writing daily helps you become a faster, stronger, more flexible and fit writer. That's what we all want right? The writing equivalent of a six-pack? There's no magic pill that replaces exercise nor one that will make you a better writer.

Daily writing must not be a sloppy endeavor. Weightlifting with bad form will not maximize your time or tax those muscles. Same for writing. A sloppy blog or journal filled with bad transitions and poor subject/verb agreement could actually hurt you by allowing you to develop bad habits.

Think of your self-editing, as one more rep. Oooh, feel the burn.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Why Do Editor's Hate It When Freelance Magazine Writers and Journalists Corporate Write?

Really, I'm asking. I don't have the answer, but I keep running into this discussion on other blogs. Apparently this is a controversial topic in the writing world, so I really want to hear about it. When there is no conflict of interest, say a writer develops brochures for a local travel agency but their niche is writing about parenting and child issues for national mags. What is the issue?

I haven't had any problems - that I'm aware of - but it came up when I went to revamp my Web site. Should we include corporate writing clips or not? I argued I'd seen the big whips like Linda Formichelli list their corporate work along with mag clips. Maybe after you're established to the point where people put you in their blogs as big whips you can.

I would love to hear editors take on this. Is it a big deal or is the blog world blowing it out of proportion?

Finally, if you do both, how do you "hide" your corporate writing - especially in this information heavy world? Is hiding it being dishonest?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Technical Difficulties: MACBook Pro Battery

I love my MacBook Pro. Well, I love my family and I'm infactuated with my MacBook Pro. We've been together two years now and we've had a great relationship. We had a rocky period when Leopard jacked my system up and I fell into the keyboard of a PC, but it was purely physical - I had deadlines. A girl has her needs.

A couple of tears and some memory later we were back together, living and loving like nothing ever happened. Lately, I've been getting more and more frustrated with my MAC's stamina - it's battery stamina.

I used to get oh, close to four hours. Now I get one. I noticed a sharp decline after installing Leopard and more RAM. I know that people have complained about Leopard eating up battery life, but this much? What about my usage - I've used this laptop everyday for two years - give or take a couple of days for sickness and what not.

So readers, my question is this: What do I do about the battery? Break down and buy a new one? Any good deals out there? Buy a battery refresher? Do they really work? Or resign myself to being connected to a cord all dang day.

Help a sistah and her MAC get the power back. I need some MAC Viagra!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Freelance Writing Commandment #7: Stay Focused.

I admit, I do it myself. Every so often while cruising the job boards I spot gigs that suit me pretty well, but are not quite what I want to be doing, yet I apply anyway and apply and apply. Three hours and 12 email applications later, I look up and wonder where the time has gone. I was distracted by the shiny gig.

As freelancers we are always on the hustle, find the next gig to replace a project that's ending soon, find the next source of income to help you meet your quarterly goal, etc. Slowly, we find ourselves applying to or spending time working on gigs that have nothing to do with our niche or career goals.

A great writer and friend Dawn Friedman always has me look at a new gig with a critical eye. I send her an email with plenty of "Whoo hoo's" and she asks if it works with my platform, if it pays me what I am worth, etc. That source of calm helps me determine if I am undermining my career goals or my family's financial needs by accepting a position.

It's never easy to turn down a job, at least it isn't for me. I've got a family. There will always be a slight pause before I pass on a gig. But ultimately, we must all set our career goals and bypass the "Oh shiny!" gigs that distract us.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Environmentally Aware Writer

Happy Earth Day Everyone!!! Before you run out and put your cans in the recycle bin, I'd like to talk about a few ways we can all help out our beautiful planet:

  • Cut down on your printing - do you really need to print out your documents to proofread? If you can do without, great. If you just can't get your edit on without the paper in your hand, be sure to use the other side of the paper for another project.

  • Recycle your ink cartridges - a quick Google search can get you a list of places in your city where you can take your cartridges.

  • Better yet, refill your cartridges - it's cheaper!

  • Buy recycled products - the more we buy the more companies see that there really is a market out there. Sure sometimes the products are more expensive, however you just saved a bundle on your ink cartridges.

  • Electronic billing - Save the trees and have your bills sent electronically and banish those checks (and postage) and send your bills via the web.

  • Elect for direct deposit - if you can, get your vendors to send payment via direct deposit - you'll usually get paid faster too :0)

  • Use your writing skills - and convince your church, child's school or other organization to start recycling!

  • Turn it off - turn off all unused electronics, including your *gasp* computer ;0) Use a power strip and turn everything off with a switch so no phantom electricity usage

  • Vote - elect leaders who put environmental awareness at the forefront.

Any other tips you have to share?

Monday, April 7, 2008

Freelance Writing Commandment #8 - Always Hustle.

With freelancing you never know when the gig is going to end. With freelancing, you never know when the gig of your dreams is going to pop up. With freelancing, you never stop hustling.

It's like any other business. When you are your own business, you need to keep an eye out for new clients and opportunities to grow.

Growing doesn't necessarily mean more work. Some of the leaders in the field say that if you're working constantly 50 - 60 hours a week to break even you're doing it wrong.

Writers, whether they write for trades, magazines, newspapers, blogs, corporations, etc., always have to look to expand their connections within their industry. Keeping in contact with industry folk allows you to gage the market and find ways to set yourself apart from the rest. It keeps you in line with the latest developments and will definitely help you develop fresh ideas and angles.

Resting on your laurels is never a good idea.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Freelance Commandment #9 - Love What You Do.

It's a simple commandment, but one that guides my career everyday. I wake up with an excitement for what I need to do, have to do and have a hankering to do each day. Well most've gotta have those days where all you want to do is eat pancakes and play 30 rounds of Patty-cake and Candyland with the kids.

The blessed thing about freelance writing is that I have the opportunity to do just that on good days - I may not get 30 rounds in but a solid 3 is definitely possible.

Anyway, loving what you do is different than doing something you do well. I'm good at doing the laundry but does my blood pump at the thought of tackling dirty undies? Uh, no. But it does get going at a new article idea, a new gig lead or a challenging assignment that gets me to approach something from a different angle than I'm use to.

I feel the same way about corporate writing. I thought I'd be bored nutty writing up brochures, press releases and what not. No way could it be just as interesting and exciting as writing articles and blogging. No one was more suprised than me to find that I love meeting with clients and getting them excited about what I can do for them and getting excited about the potential of their project.

That's the key thing about loving what you do. You care enough to continue to find ways to excite yourself.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Still Digging Out, Blizzards and the Freelance Writer...

It is a true winter wonderland over here as FWJM got the full blast of the Blizzard of '08. What should have turned into a supreme opportunity to get work done turned into three days of trying to entertain the children and taking care a sick hubby. Ah well, so much for productivity.

How much do you work on the weekend?

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Monday, March 3, 2008

The 10 Freelance Commandments #10. Make Your Money on the Comeback...

The 10 Freelance Commandments. Everyone has their own set, we'll be exploring mine. Some of these you may have heard before, others I hope you'll be hipped to like that fab new restaurant.

10. Make Your Money on the Comeback.

I recently said this to a client during our first meeting to discuss a project. Normally I don't use language often used in teaching the drug trade, but this client was very cool and caught the joke.

Usually, I charge a consultation fee, however, I let that one slide because I could tell she was a bit tentative and I was confident in my ability to wow her with my ideas for the project. I knew she would be ripe to sign with me and that's what happened.

Sometimes new clients are a little unsure of their need for your services, so you tease them with the first hour consultation. Let them take in your ideas, allow them to enjoy the sensation, dream about what your services can do for them and leave them excited for more. And they'll want to see more.

Depending on the service you offer give them a little luscious sample: like a synopsis of an article with a fantastic lead, or a 100 word blog, a revision of a small section of their Web site. This isn't free work, it's a sample, you know I really don't believe in working for free.

Then, we they want to meet further, want an outline of the project, want to see more - you charge your normal consultation and writing fees. Make your money on the comeback.

When they come to you with another project, you are making your money on the comeback.

When you get a referral from a hooked client, you are making your money on the comeback.

One thing to remember is you don't have to do this with every client. Actually, I recommend you don't. Otherwise you may find yourself in an endless cycle of meetings that don't result in actual paid work. This is just for those interested, but just need that extra little push in the right direction

Monday, February 18, 2008

Healthy Freelance Writer, Healthy Freelance Writing...

I just started a fast for religious reasons and on day two I realize I am woefully addicted to sugar. The fast is not a total food fast, just a stay away from fried foods, refined sugar, caffeine or carbonated drinks - you know, how you're supposed to eat as a grown up.

My brain was so sluggish yesterday, it took me 3 hours to come up with an idea for my column, I barely budged from the couch and I needed a Snickers bad.

I started thinking about how I would make it through today without any chocolate - let me tell you, it didn't look good. But today I had my healthy whole grain ceral with skim milk, sauteed a couple mushrooms with cold, baked chicken I had in the fridge, added some spinach and extra virgin olive oil and bam, lunch was healthy, fab and colorful.

Working from home can lead to awful eating habits. Fast food, high sugar snacks and long periods in front of the computer makes an unhealthy writer and when you're not feeling your best as a writer you have a harder time coming with ideas, you have less energy to devote to work. So basically, being a lazy, fat butt costs you money.

Think about that and I'll try not to think about that Snickers...

What healthy habits help keep you on track?

Friday, February 8, 2008

What's Your Routine?

Humans are creatures of habits, we have our routines and boy is it hard to shake us out of them.

As a writer, I have a morning routine that when I think about it is pretty funny. So on this Fun Friday I'll share with you all my very private, very real routine. (Did you really just lean into the monitor? You are sucha gossip!)

  • I wake up, move my 9 month-old closer to the center of the bed, because at some point during the night she's woken up and I've passed out with her instead of putting her back in the crib.

  • I hit the bathroom to defunk myself and put my hair up in a very stylish scrunchy bun. It's the height of writer couture. Usually, I'm fishing a pen out of it from the previous day.

  • I stumble down the hallway, fall into my chair and power up my MAC.

  • Then I remember I forgot to pray and I stumble back up the hall to go to my spot.

  • By now I'm awake enough to start the self-guilting so I go get breakfast and plop in front of CNN/MSNBC to watch the news.

  • When I make it back to the computer in 15 mins or so I hit the iTunes. "Hustlin'" by Rick Ross blares out of my laptop. It's not a politically correct song, but it gets me going -"Everyday I'm hustlin', Everyday I'm hustlin'...Real hard..."

  • Then I settle down to work.

You can set your watch by me. The only time things change is if one of the girls has a doctor's appointment early in the morning or if Dave makes me breakfast. Then, I stop to coo over him and then turn on "Hustlin'."

What's your routine?

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

How to Break Up with a Client

Deborah Ng over at FreelanceWritingGigs.Com talked about this a little bit ago, but some things are really worthy of repeating.

Sometimes, you've got to break up with a client. It's just gotta happen. Whether you're unhappy with the gig or you're changing your focus or you've got more work than you can handle sometimes you've got to send that email or make that phone call giving your client notice.

So how do you do it?

  1. Finish the work assigned. The gig may be agony - a very wrong fit for you, but the client selected and is depending on you to finish up before you move on.

  2. Give the client plenty of notice. Some gigs take the HR department time to fill, which if the gig has an HR department, bureaucracy states it will take time. Other gigs, like a daily blog, really need time to find your fill-in so that the blog itself isn't left in lurch.

  3. Put down the blowtorch. You may want to burn that bridge to smithereens, but it usually smarter to preserve that contact. You never know where or when you may need them.

  4. State plainly why you're leaving. A lot of us writers are semi-hermits. We want to be nice, maybe avoid confrontation, avoid the dirty subject of money or rights. Phooey. Grab your respective reproductive organs and talk about the issue:

    • "I feel I'm not a good fit for this position."

    • "I am pursuing a position in the same field that pays more."

    • "I'd like to pursue this subject in a venue in which I only give up First North American Serial Rights."

    • You're a stinky poo-poo face and I don't like your shoes."

I'm kidding about the poo-poo face. Never tell a client they just suck. It's tempting, but let's be professional people.

The funny thing is when you let people know you need more money, are too busy with other work, etc., if you're good, they will often try to meet your terms.

Everyone wants the "it girl" of blogging on their site. It's like the whole you're-never-more-popular-with-the-opposite-sex-until-you-get-into-a-long-term relationship phenomenon.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Signs of a Bad Freelance Gig

Bad gigs are like bad relationships, often we want one so badly we are willing to ignore the bad stuff. Other times we walk blindly into a bad gig because we're new or naive. Lastly, we may take a gig and all the heck that comes with it because we see dollar signs.

As it is a new year and we are all trying to do better, here are some signs of a bad gig:

  • It's! Too! Damn! Exciting! Tricia Grissom pointed this out in her Anti-Goals for the new year blog post. When a gig! Has! To tell you! It's all that! It usually ain't. Avoid the show-offs, real gigs don't have to hype themselves up.

  • The terms keep changing. "Blog twice a week for $12, wait, no, let's do a blog every day for $5. No wait, um, I need at least a 500 word blog everyday for 5% commissions, no wait..." If they can't commit you need to dip.

  • Freelance Lotharios. They woo you with promises of a regular gig if you just give them a little bit for free. "Send me 10 articles or blogs so I can really see if you've got it." "Come on baby, just let me see the lead in." You give in and they never call you again.

  • They're so mysterious. No company email, just a Craigslist post. And when they contact you, they want to know all about you, but play who they are close to the vest. You don't want to get to know them - trust me.

  • Freelance whores. They're giving a shot to every Tom, Kim and Bad Writer. There are no real requirements, just be ready baby. Watch out - you'll catch the"bad site as a clip" cooties. The only cure - a big shot of collecting better clips to live down that one

  • Freelance Pimps. They've got a stable of writers they put to work everyday. You make all the money for them in terms of traffic and ad dollars and they kick back a little for you to get some new paper clips. "Who else is going to take care of you like I do baby? I get you exposure. There are plenty of ho's, um writers, who'd love to work for me. Fifty articles at $4 is the big time. Now get out there and make my money."

  • Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde. Oh they're just perfect, until they're not. Email bitch-slaps and article shake-downs are just a few methods of intimidation these suckers use.

  • Please sir, may I have some more? They're sweet, and new, and small. These publications have the best intentions and none of the funds. "If you could just give me a little free stuff to get me started, then I'm sure I'll be able to pay you, I swear, in like a year, or 5..."

  • The Absent Minded Professor. They run their business like a batty old woman's antique shop. Things are jumbled, they lose articles and don't have much in the till.

  • Mr. Boring. You've been together forever and can write an article for them in your sleep. It's routine and you're bored. Wake me when you print.

Kick the bad to the curb, sure you never know what you're going to get and that may be exciting, but on the flip side you never know what you're going to get. And while Mr. Boring may be dependable, you'll suffer like the other Desperate Writers who plug away each day, hoping for something exciting to happen. You may fall in with one of the bad ones, just to see what it's like and get burned.

The gig in shining armor? The one where payment shows up on time, where they display a level of professionalism that reminds you of the days of chivalry without the sexist undertones.

The gig is mutually beneficial - you get great clips, they get a great product.They know what they want and are discriminating, no dangling participles with them. You get the umph in your tummy when you see your article in print. They're just, *sigh.*

Got any signs of a bad gig? Do share.

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Thursday, January 31, 2008

When Good Gigs Go Bad...

Relationships end. That's a fact of life. It's definitely a fact of freelance writing. But what happens when something that seems so right ends up being so wrong?

We all have been through it and if you haven't, count yourself lucky. You get with clients you wish had never darkened your email box. Clients you wish you'd thrown back into the Craigslist pool.

Like most relationships, we try to fix what is broken. Perhaps the client is rude, or inexperienced to the point of detriment to the project or so scatterbrained their indecision affects your ability to provide service. Perhaps they are demanding and supreme micro-managers.

Whatever the case, several techniques can be applied: ignore the irritating portion of the client and focus on the good, try to understand the client's point of view, tactfully approach the client with your concerns or end the relationship.

Ignoring the problem could work if it only crops up occasionally, but if it's a steady stream, you may find yourself dealing with more elephants in the room than you've got space for.

Looking from the client's perspective - are they stressed? Have they just started being difficult? Maybe there's something going on. It's no excuse, but we all have those rough patches.

Approaching the client. Even the most tactful run the risk of the relationship ending. Decide beforehand if you are willing to lose a gig to win peace of mind. Sometime's it's worth it, other times - man you just gotta let it burn - to paraphrase Usher.

That doesn't mean you hit your soon-to-be-ex-client with a barrage of insults and tell 'em to hit the bricks, even though you may want to. Badly. So bad you have to walk away from the computer less your fingers take over. Put away the gasoline and step away from the bridge - you may need it.

The thing to remember is to maintain your professionalism even if you're client doesn't. Because your professionalism is a trademark of your character and as a hallmark of your character, other clients will not only love to work with you, they'll be immune to any naysayer former client yuckiness.

You never know where you're going to see a client again, the writing world can be awfully small sometimes and editors gossip like schoolgirls sometime.

Coming up tomorrow: Signs of a Bad Gig

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

One Problem with Offline Editor Qumana

Not too long ago I raved about the perks of the offline blog editor. Well, I've found an issue. I can't at least with Qumana, set the dates of the blogs to post ahead. I can set the times, however when I hit publish they all publish at the same time.

Bummer. I've now have to look into another brand to see if I can get this to work. It's a shame too, Qumana is easy to use and looks cool. I'm still being pretty productive, but for blogging ahead I still have to cut and paste into the original Wordpress or Blogger blogs.


How's your Wednesday?

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Importance of Communicating with Your Clients

There's nothing like having one agreement with a client and then realizing they had something completely different in mind.

Often a quick email or phone call is all it takes to ensure that you'll deliver the product the client expects. Other times it may take a sit down meeting and submitting a rough draft.

Many writers cringe at the thought of submitting a rough copy to a client for fear that the client will then begin their critique of the work. This definitely happens and if you know your client, you may just want to submit an outline and avoid detail that'll have them taking out their editor's pen.

Don't be afraid to ask questions. I know I sometimes hesitate with a new client because I'm afraid they'll think I don't know what I'm doing. Well, if I turn in something completely different than what they were expecting, they'll think I'm clueless for sure.

When approaching a project, put your interviewer's hat on with the client. What are all the things you'd want to know about the project if you weren't involved? What are the things the client's  audience would want to know?

For some of my more frequent work I have a base list of questions I ask before getting into the detail of the particular project. Nothing like writing a press release and having to call the client up and ask - "When is the event?"

When working with your clients, what steps do you take to make sure you both are on the same page?


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Monday, January 21, 2008

Living Dr. King's Dream Through Freelance Writing

A strange thought I know, but being a freelance writer is a good example of Dr. King's dream. He dreamed of a person being judged by the content of a their character, not the color of their skin.

Most freelancers don't go have to drag out their good suit and show up for a person-person interview. There is little worry about being judged based on skin color, age, sex, religion or sexual orientation.

Freelance writers are judged by experience, skill and killer queries.

People often woe the dangers of the net and the ability for prejudice people to find like minds to express their rage and hate. And while the net does provide anonymous cover for butt heads, it also provides a blank slate for which people can write their own destinys. It provides information and resources that likely would have been closed to some people.

So stand proud fellow writers and keep King's dream alive.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Offline Blog Editors Rock!!!

The other day I sent out a call for anyone with feedback on offline blog editors for MACs.  I have to admit, I was skeptical at first. Would it really save me that much time? Would my life be that much easier?

HECK YEAH! I have been blogging my butt off! Seriously, I have to remind myself to get up and shake out the booty. Part of the problem with wrangling multiple blogs is the signing in/out, switching screens to look up info, etc. Having an offline editor smoothes this process out for you.

Not too mention you don't have to have Internet access to blog! No more typing it up in Word, copying and pasting into the blog, then adding tags etc.

I'm catching up on all my work and I can see my productivity scale shooting straight up! I'm using Qumana Blog Manager and really it's easy to use and has a cool look. *They should pay me for that ad.

Anyway, things are looking up in blog world, they are looking up.

Have you boosted your productivity lately? Do tell!

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Offline Blog Editor for MAC's

Hey all!

Good Tuesday to you! I know things have been a little crazy here at FWJ&M but I want you to know I'm taking steps to get back in the loop with you while maintaining my work committments.

Ah work commitments. Good to have 'em. Damn good. As much as I miss the hours of wondering if I'd ever get paid for doing what I love & do well, I am enjoying the hustle and bustle of steady writing work.

Part of why things are a little batty is because I am working for a couple of other blogs and managing my personal blogs and work blogs has become a little stressful, so I've been letting you all slide - I know, I'm terrible, but I know you all understand!

I checked out a recent post over at Performancing by Deborah Ng (Boy is that woman everywhere or what? An inspiration I tell ya). On managing multiple blogs and one of the tips she suggested is an offline editor. I checked out a couple and to my dismay I see they are for Windows users. As I am a sworn Macaphile, I find myself searching for an offline editor.

Anyone have any recommendations? I'd like to start posting freelance writing jobs again, but can't until I can streamline the process. I could just hire someone, but we're not ballin' like that yet!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Finding It Hard to Settle...

I'm working on some great projects so this year and I'm finding it hard to settle in on a time to chat with you all. A great position to be in! But, I do miss my freelancing friends, so on the off day, Tuesday, let's catch up.

I'm also finding it hard to settle for the same things I settled for in 2007. Especially when it comes to freelancing. I'm finding it difficult to accept poor excuses for poor work OR poor excuses for a distinct lack of professionalism I seem to be encountering lately.

Perhaps it's the sense of renewal the New Year brings. It makes the old things so, well, last year. I wonder if instead of the "liquid courage" people take on New Year's Eve, some of my fellow professionals have doubled up on "electronic courage." You would not believe some of the things I have witnessed in the writing world in the past 8 days of the new year. But I digress.

Are you tired of the old things? Tired of that low paying or no paying blog? How! About! Those ads that promise the! Moon! in exclamations - I love that Tricia. Are you tired enough to stop writing for those $2 an article gigs? Tired of your disorganized files or working so many hours you forget what the kids look like? Are you ready to stop settling? Do share!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

New Year, New Perspective

Every new year people vow to change something about themselves. They will work less, or work more efficiently. They will lose weight, declutter their homes and spend more time having fun. Usually by February these goals are but whispers on the wind.

Instead, let's all decide to change the way we look at things. A new perspective on old situations may be just what we need to achieve the things we really want.

This applies to freelancing as well. Take the time to look through your old files with a new eye. Take a second look at your idea file. Repurpose ideas, maybe the pitch hasn't worked for magazines, but it may work for trades or Web sites.

Check out old clips. Do you have a group of clips that could make their way into a longer article? Are there other publications that may be interested in the idea, what about the reprint? Perhaps your clips may be the outline of a book.

It's a whole new year, with brand new possibilities. Learn from the past - missed deadlines, botched blogs; celebrate triumphs - new gigs and publishing successes; and leave your old perspectives behind.