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writing careerWhat ideas or picture do you have about your freelance writing career? Are you sure you even want a freelance writing career?

I was in sixth grade when I realized there were authors behind the fiction I was learning to love to read. I began developing the idea that I might someday join their ranks. As I recall my mental picture was vague – I was a grownup somehow writing books. I had no idea how books got written or published at that point, nor any clue of what sort of an adult I might grow into – sometimes I still wonder about that.

In high school I grasped the notion that many writers were writing in New York city. For awhile I had dreams of moving there and ‘conquering the city’ as a writer. Although that specific dream drifted off when I married, the idea of a writing career stayed with me, fueled  by reading Writers Digest Magazine and buying the Writers Market every year.

I was 32 when I dared to send two over-the-transom submissions on spec to two women’s magazines. At that point my vision was of me typing madly every day sending off magazine articles and getting checks in the mail. Those first two articles didn’t sell, but I kept at it and gradually began to make some money at writing.

A writing career can go many directions

Next I discovered computers which I loved because they would check my still very creative spelling. I was so frustrated with learning about them I realized they needed writers who could explain how to run them – writers, not programmers. I went to a computer trade show and passed out cards explaining to anyone who would listen that I could write manuals if someone would tell me how things worked. I actually kicked off a fairly successful writing career as a computer manual writer. Which led to my first inside job – documenting both software and hardware, and then into writing for the magazine the company produced.


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Writing a Proposal For Yourself and Others


proposalA business woman I know called me in somewhat of a panic because she’d been asked to write a proposal for her services.

I was surprised because I know her to be articulate yet she seemed to have little idea how to get even a brief proposal started. Plus, she felt she hadn’t been given enough information to be able to provide what her client wanted.

We talked it through and she got it done. But it got me thinking about proposals in general, and to recognize a potential new market for me and others.

What, exactly, is a proposal?

Google defines proposal this way: “1. a plan or suggestion, especially a formal or written one, put forward for consideration or discussion by others.”

That works I think, although I’m a bit puzzled by the idea that writing a proposal makes it formal. Perhaps that’s because a proposal often forms the basis for a contract.

When I create a proposal for a client I spell out the project in as much detail as makes sense for me. My goal is to make it as clear as possible to the client what I expect to do for them. The proposal, or a contract based on one, also serves as a way for me to stay clear on what we’re trying to accomplish which, when the project is big and takes months, comes in handy more often than you might expect.

Fill in the blanks, almost

Here is a list of what I want to include in a proposal:

Vision for the project – this is often expressed as the purpose and goals of the project and states the ultimate result, like a book, or a speech or an article or an article series, etc. [click to continue…]

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Two Question Survey for Freelance Writers

surveyI’ve got a couple of questions for you… yes, only two.

This link, https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CHSFLXP, will take you to the survey.

In a week or so I’ll write about the results and about the questions too…

Thanks so much,

Write well and often,

annesig.

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writing clientsHave you ever had a client just disappear? You’re rocking along getting assignments, fulfilling them, getting paid.

Then maybe they miss a scheduled call or you realize you haven’t heard from them in way too long.

You call and/or email and text and get back… nothing! The phone is still connected, but only takes messages. There’s no response to email or texting. It’s as if they fell off the face of the planet or maybe moved into some sort of witness protection program.

I’m not talking about the client who goes silent because they’ve decided not to pay you. That’s a different problem altogether. I’m talking about the client in good standing, who pays your invoices promptly, and then goes missing.

Once in a while a writing client comes back

I was reminded of this when I picked up the phone the other day. I didn’t recognize the number – remember when all calls came in with no information other than the ring?. It turned out to be the delightful assistant who almost a decade ago found me to ghostwrite a book for her principal.


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artYesterday I wrote about Krista Tippett’s  Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living. I’ve absolutely fallen in love with that book even though I’ve barely finished the first chapter. Later in the day I read How to Battle Impostor Syndrome: Owning Your Writing as Art by  over at TheWriteLife.com.

You see, Tippett’s writing is the finest kind of artistic writing for me. It’s non-fiction, about things I care about, and I love the lyricism in her writing voice, the thoughtfulness of both her approach to esoteric topics and her obvious love of her readers. She takes such care to speak to us clearly and carefully!

“That’s how I want to write” is a significant part of my internal response to Tippett. Not in her voice, but in my own. And once in a while I do.

Sometimes I don’t know how

Like Marian, I’d like to do that kind of artful writing more often. Sometimes I don’t because I don’t know how. Yesterday, for example, I wrote this as a description of the finger food potluck we’re having here where I live. I said this:


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Freelance Writers and the Importance of Words

importance of wordsI’m reading  Krista Tippett’s  Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living.

Tippett is  perhaps best known for her inspiring On Being, an award winning radio show I love even though I don’t listen often these days. (Reminder to self, etc.) I can, however, hear her lilting voice in my head as I read which tickles me somehow.

I’m fascinated. Her second chapter is called, simply enough, Words. The simplicity of the title, however, belies the content.  The chapter’s subtitle gives a clue – The Poetry of Creatures. So far the creatures she’s talking about are us, we human beings and the importance of words in our lives.

She opens the chapter with “I take it as an elemental truth of life that words matter. This is so plain that we can ignore it a thousand times a day.

I found myself both thrilling to those two sentences and some embarrassment because I forget how words matter over and over again and never even notice my forgetfulness. I’m almost ashamed to admit forgetting the importance of words seems to be my current default mode.

She then makes a short list of some of the words she loves!

What words do you love?

“What a great exercise,” my soul responded while I was reading in bed last night, totally unwilling to get up to find pencil and paper to begin my own list. This morning, here are a few of mine:


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Freelance Writer Gets New Computer

new computerYesterday I got a new computer. I had no choice… the old one wouldn’t start. My computer guy came over and he couldn’t get it to start either. So we headed off to Best Buy and came home with a new HP something or other. Like this one, but silver.

I’ve been making do with new used computers for years. But computers aren’t like cars. I mean I’ve got a paid-for Honda with 240,000 miles on it and the engine is still strong. It’s been in the family for almost 20 years. It’s really too bad computers aren’t like that – just think of the resources we’d save.

Anyway, it seems like every time I deal with a new computer I lose a day or so getting things set up so I know where they are.

Computer guys

My life has been made so much easier by almost always having access to a computer guy. (And yes, I’d love to have a computer gal, but it hasn’t happened that way yet.)


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42 Ideas for Blogs About Writing

ideas for blogs about writingHere are 42 ideas for blogs about writing. Why 42? Do you remember either the book or the BBC broadcast of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams?

I won’t be spoiling things too much if I remind you that 42 is the answer to everything, including love, life and the universe. I miss Adams on the planet. So this is sort of a tribute, but not nearly as funny. But then it wasn’t meant to be.

These are titles, or writing prompts or ideas for blogs about writing. Who know, however. You might find a few that spark ideas in other directions.

  1. What’s on your desk?
  2. Where do you write?
  3. What do you use to write? Desk top? Laptop? Pen and Paper? Something else?
  4. Fiction or Non? Or both?
  5. What about Poetry




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5 Ways to Find New Clients as a Freelancer

find new clientsAs a freelancer, at least 40% of your time can be spent looking for new clients. Because freelancing tends to be a feast or famine sort of business, it’s a good idea to stay on the lookout for new business opportunities (even when you have a full workload).

Landing one client can be passed off as beginner’s luck; landing three or more clients can give you the confidence that people are willing to pay for your services and that you are targeting the right potential leads.

For you to find potential clients who are a good fit, you need to be a freelancer who’ll be a good fit for them. So take some time and get your business in order. Figure out what services you’ll offer, what kind of business and clients you want to work with, and pinpoint exactly how you can help them.

5 time-efficient ways to find new clients

Here are 5 time-efficient ways to find new clients and build your freelancer portfolio!

#1 Cold Call: Email Edition

Every journey has to start somewhere, and the journey to a full client list starts with emailing. Many sites will never post in their career section about needing services, but this doesn’t mean that a friendly email might not remind them that they need a guest post by tomorrow, or a web page up and running by the end of the week.


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How Successful Freelance Writers Hone Ideas

hone ideasI’ve often said finding ideas is not the problem; figuring out how to hone ideas is.

Long ago I gave my mind permission to have ideas – lots of ideas. Ideas that are good (a few will be), bad (many will be) and indifferent. That’s worked. I’m an idea machine!

The goal, however, is not the quantity of ideas, but finding ideas that will sell. In most cases, each idea has to be honed or sharpened.

Here’s how I go about it:

A 10 word purpose helps hone ideas

I believe that every writing project needs a purpose. To hone ideas I create a 10 word purpose statement [click to continue…]

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