≡ Menu

Job to Freelance WritingCongratulations! You’re moving from your job to freelance writing! Maybe you’ve been planning this for a long time and have those darn ducks in order, or maybe you just got fired as happened to me.

No matter, the transition is both thrilling and scary. These steps will make your life easier.

Don’t panic!

Easier said than done depending on the circumstances. Panic doesn’t solve anything and panic is close to excitement. Take a deep breath or two or a dozen and at least become willing to move into being energized and eager. Rinse and repeat – it’s a good practice no matter what’s going on.

Honestly assess your finances

Evaluate where you are financially. You need to know exactly how much money you actually have and how much, if any, is coming in, and for how long. Get all this written down in a spreadsheet or some sort of bookkeeping program that works for you. (I love YouNeedABudget.)

[click to continue…]


Have You Set Boundaries With Your Clients?

boundaries“If I hadn’t set boundaries with this client,” a forum member said, “I’d be working all through my vacation!”

We all applauded because setting boundaries is one of the marks of a true professional writer.

Some clients expect the moon

There are some clients who seem to have no understanding that the freelance writer they hire has a life. They expect everything from unlimited rewrites regardless of the writing quality to limitless access to you, the writer 24/7 or at least 12/7. They assume you’re at your desk and are willing to talk calls or instant messaging any time and it never ever occurs to them you might have another client or a family or…

They have new ‘brilliant” ideas that totally change the direction of the project you’re working on and expect you to rewrite everything for no additional fee. Or they may drop out of sight, failing to provide necessary feedback, answer calls and emails only to reappear weeks later expecting you to pick up the project where they left off immediately.

You get the idea and if you’ve been in the business for a bit you’ve already dealt with such a client.

[click to continue…]


What I Didn’t Know About Best Seller Lists

best sellerEven though I’ve had one book on a best seller list, (Autocad Method and Macros – I knew you’d be thrilled) which was, at one time, on some computer book best seller list, I never have understood them.

I do know that most people who write books, including me, hope to be on a best seller list, preferably one that has some clout and can generate some sales, maybe even lots of sales.

A Mark Boersema, the business coach I work with mentioned Morgan James Publishing and there I found a link to an article entitled The Ultimate Guide to Bestseller Lists: Unlocking the Truth Behind the New York Times List & Others by Chadwick CannonBy all means, read the article if you’ve got any interest in best seller lists – it’s a delight. (And as near as I can tell, spelling best seller as one word or two is okay – whew!)

Some of what I didn’t know

According to Chad (that’s how he identifies himself on his site) Nielsen Book Scan (links to a Wikipedia article because the site itself requires membership) is the source of most of the data on how books sell AND because of various exceptions, they only report roughly 75-80 percent of all book sales in the U.S. and elsewhere.

[click to continue…]


4 Ways Freelance Writers Can Stop Giving Away Time

Giving Away TimeAre you giving away time? Do you even know the answer to this question? I ask, because in our recent survey, several writers asked one way or another about how to handle the time they give away.

I’m talking about the time you spend on a client’s writing project that you don’t get paid for.

It can happen in many ways, but there are four primary causes that if changed mean writers can stop giving away time. They are:

  1. You’re unconscious about how you’re spending your time
  2. You don’t think to include everything in your estimates
  3. You fail to limit the number of revisions
  4. You drag your feet about invoicing promptly and following up

Let’s look at them one at a time.

Your unconscious about how you’re spending your time

It’s surprising how many writers have no clue about how long it takes to write and polish something from start to finish. Or maybe it’s not surprising. When we’re writing well it seems that’s almost an altered state of consciousness. Time has little meaning during those minutes, even hours of focused concentration.

(By the way, there’s a special offer at the end of this article) [click to continue…]


Freelance Writing Job Categories

Writing Job CategoriesFreelance writing job categories are really in the eye of the beholder. They are fluid and over time evolve.

For example, when I first started freelancing the ‘net didn’t exist. Writers were dependent on publications like Writer’s Market, both the annual and the magazine to learn the business and find leads.

In fact, when I started we didn’t have computers, which meant although tech writing existed, it was a category for things like mechanical devices and documenting engines. These days, of course, you can get a certificate in tech writing and we find our gigs either on the ‘net or through web pages and email listings.

I mostly have categories in my head. I use them when I’m considering which jobs to accept and which to decline. I also use them when I’m doing marketing and just general planning.

Freelance writing job categories

Here’s how I mentally sort freelance writing job categories.

For myself or for clients

This is pretty obvious – is someone paying me to write for them, which includes publishers as well as business clients or am I writing for myself. If I’m writing for myself I split that into money earning or not.

[click to continue…]


10 Hidden Rules of Freelance Writing

rules of freelance writing

Do you know the hidden rules of freelance writing? Like most industries there are written rules and unwritten rules when it comes to writing.

While these hidden or unwritten rules aren’t deliberately kept secret, they are less obvious, particularly for the person just getting started in freelance writing.

Knowing the real rules or unwritten or hidden rules of freelance writing will make your writing life easier and more profitable.

The 10 hidden rules of freelance writing

Why ten? Well, truth be told there may be more. By all means, add yours in comments.

You’ve got to write etc.

I talk about this one a lot because it’s apparently not so obvious to many folks. We simply have to put our hands on the keyboard and begin to write – starting with a rough draft, and rewriting until we market it. Nothing will happen, good, bad or indifferent (except you’ll experience frustration because your daydreams aren’t coming true) if you don’t write. So write!

Persistence is a must

Lovely as it would be, it’s highly unlikely your first efforts at marketing your writing won’t work. You’ve got write, rewrite, and market over and over again. Your writing will improve and so will your savvy about selling yourself and your writing. Keep at it and you’re likely to sell your first piece or land your first client – and so it begins and grows.

[click to continue…]

{ 1 comment }

Stop Getting Ready – Write Rewrite and Market!

write rewrite and marketWhat are you doing right now? Okay, you’re reading this article. But why? Why aren’t you writing? Seriously.

Oh don’t get me wrong. I love readers and actively court more. I don’t want to chase you away. But… you may want to look at why you’re reading this right now and not writing.

Actually, I make two assumptions about the people who visit this site:

  • You’re already a freelance writer and you want to do more with your chosen career.
  • You are thinking about freelance writing as a career and you’re looking for how-to information.

By and large this is borne out by Google Analytics which not only tells me how many people visit the site but what articles the actually read or at least look at. (Yes, this means you’re being tracked – or more specifically your ip address is being tracked. Almost all sites do this one way or another.)

The recent survey I took of people who visit the sit (https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CHSFLXP if you missed it) tells me the same thing in a bit more detail.

No guru here

[click to continue…]


IntentionalityIntentionality is the key to freelance writing success. In fact, it’s the key to many good things in life.

That sounds like a bold and perhaps woo-woo statement, doesn’t it? But I believe it to be true for me and for anyone who wants to have a successful freelance writing business. Or, come to think about it, wants to get anything done well.

What is intentionality?

I like this definition which comes up when I plugged intentionality into ‘the google’:

the fact of being deliberate or purposive (or purposeful)

It then goes on to note that in philosophy intentionality means:

the quality of mental states (e.g., thoughts, beliefs, desires, hopes) that consists in their being directed toward some object or state of affairs.

In other words, intentionality actually speaks about how strong, or clear, or not, our mental state is when we set a goal or decide to do something. It has a great deal to do with how effectively we work at whatever we want to get done.

Cats are models of intentionality

Cats are great models of intentionality. When they hunt, their whole being hunts. If they lose that prey, they focus their intention on another target. While they may walk away without catching anything this time, they walk away knowing they are hunters. It’s clear to them that they will catch something soon. They totally know that they are predators.

This is true for my indoor cats, as much as it is for an outdoor cat. [click to continue…]


How Freelance Writers Can Handle Interruptions

handle interruptions“How can I handle interruptions?” was one of the top answers to the question, “What’s your biggest problem?” in a recent survey I did here.

I was surprised, but only because I’d forgotten what it’s like to live and work in a household with kids, pets, and spouses.

These days it’s just me and two cats. But when prompted, I do remember.

Interruptions come in three forms

In my experience interruptions seem to come in three forms.

The first are the interruptions caused by my lack of discipline – email arriving, the phone ringing, a sudden ‘need’ to do something other than write.

The next come because of circumstances. When I had small children at home I learned to write around the interruptions. When I got a live-in housekeeper life got easier.

[click to continue…]


The 6 Baby Steps to Successful Freelance Writing

Baby Steps to Successful Freelance WritingSince none of us were born knowing how to run a freelance writing business it only makes since to learn and actually use the 6 Baby Steps to Successful Freelance Writing. Although you will find many things you can add to these steps, if you don’t get these done your writing career simply can’t take off.

The 6 Baby Steps to Successful Freelance Writing

1 – Make a practice of writing

It may seem obvious, but for many it’s not. To succeed in writing you’ve simply got to write, and write, and write. This usually means daily, or at least mostly daily. Eventually you’ll get to the place where you can trust yourself to keep writing even if you take some time off. That’s not true in the beginning.

2 – Make rewriting and editing a practice

Rewriting and editing, including proofreading, are where the real magic in writing usually happens. Rough drafts are perhaps more exciting to actually write, but they are indeed rough. They need polishing and honing to make sure the reader will truly get what you are offering. That’s what rewriting, editing and proofing are all about.

[click to continue…]