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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…]

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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.


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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.


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A feel-good Infographic arrived in my email box this morning. I found it fun and it did make me feel good about my life as a writer. So I share it with you:

writersasfriendsinfographic600

Now, what do you think? Are you a good friend? Tell us in comments.

Write well and often,

annesig.


 

Infographic

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client's real needsYour client’s real needs are knowable and they go way beyond the typical information they give you. For example, a client will often say something like “I need a 500 word blog about my business every Wednesday.”  That sounds fairly specific, particularly when you know a bit about their business.

If you know, for example, they have an online bookstore it’s tempting to think that’s all you need to know. Already you’re envisioning writing a book review, an author interview, a list of new titles and which books are on special each and every month, with who knows exactly what to fill in the months with 5 Wednesdays.

Wait! You don’t yet know enough to do a great job. You need to have the answer to these six questions if you’re going to do a spectacular job and meet at least most of their expectations.

Start by listening

The need to truly listen for your client’s real needs may seem obvious, but apparently it’s not. At least one study reveals clients refuse to hire a provider because as much as 38 percent of the time the client feels the provider doesn’t listen. My hunch is at least have of those complaints would show that the client wasn’t clear and/or complete in describing what they need.


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Ideal Freelance Writing ClientIt’s worth spending some time thinking about your ideal freelance writing client. It makes sense to actually create an ideal freelance writing client profile and keep it where you can get to it easily for review every time you talk with someone who may want to hire you.

Wisdom is understanding that there really is no perfect writing client out there, or if there is, we wouldn’t know how to identify them even if they knocked on the door.

The goal is to recognize the good ones so you can avoid going crazy trying to please the ones you probably shouldn’t have said ‘yes’ to in the first place.

My experience tells me ideal clients come in two categories – the must haves and others who might turn into ideal clients. Let’s look at the must haves first.

Must haves in the ideal freelance writing client

These are the things I really want in a client:


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Negotiating and Renegotiating a Writing Deadline

renegotiating Renegotiating a deadline is certainly possible, Sharon Hurley Hall, a beautiful persoa and wonderful writer, reminded me in our forum, in response to How to Gracefully Miss a Writing Deadline

She’s absolutely right.

Renegotiating a deadline isn’t rocket science, but it does help if you’ve got all the pieces in place. How you negotiated the deal in the beginning has a great deal to do with any renegotiating you might need to do.

Initial negotiation

When you first accept an assignment or agree to do a piece of writing, you make an agreement with the client, hopefully in writing. It contains the creative brief or scope of work. Generally this includes the expected length of the writing plus anything else, like photos, etc. you are to provide, how much you can expect to be paid, how you will be paid and a deadline of when the client expects the finished work.

You can often negotiate anything and everything at this point, including the deadline. There really is no such thing as a standard contract.


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How to Gracefully Miss a Writing Deadline

writing deadlineOf course you know how to meet a writing deadline! You’ve proven that over and over again. But…

Life happens. Even when we’re managing our time wisely, and have a calendar that works, Even if we’ve built a reputation of meeting a writing deadline. Sometimes it seems that life conspires to make us late.

It might be your fault and you simply blew it this time. Or maybe you got sick or injured and couldn’t meet that writing deadline.

Once in a while it isn’t even your fault. More than once I’ve had an editor promise me information in time for me to make it, and not received it. Or a scheduled interviewee doesn’t show and doesn’t respond to your email or call. Or lightening strikes and kills the power not just in your home but for miles around.

How important are deadlines anyway?

The reason behind deadlines boils down to the fact that someone somewhere needs a piece of writing by such and such a time. Maybe it’s a print date for a magazine or book. It might be that the blogger you’re ghosting for has trained her audience to expect a post every Wednesday. If you’re dealing with television or movies or publishing there are always deadlines.

And it’s true, sometimes it’s okay to slip a deadline, but the chances are you don’t know which deadlines are slipable. I was literally surprised that some writers didn’t make deadlines when I first became the editor of a publication. 


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choicesWhen should a freelance writer quit freelancing and get a real job? Any damn time they choose to!

I love freelancing. Except, of course, when I don’t. The longer I freelance, the less likely I am to give up and take a job inside working at a magazine or a publishing house, or… well, you name it. Any job that has a regular paycheck and maybe some benefits is sometimes tempting.

This came to me when a friend of mine scored a great job writing for a publication she loves. When she told me about it she indicated that she felt guilty for giving up freelancing. I wanted to metaphorically strangle her.

If no one else has told you, it’s perfectly okay to stop freelancing. That’s one of the joys of a freelance writing career – you get to make choices, and that includes doing something else. No guilt is necessary or called for.

First, a freelance writer has a real job

If you’re a freelance writer you’ve got a real job. Writing is a work, no matter how it seems to your Mother-in-law or the family cat and kids.


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"no" is a complete sentenceOver in one of LinkedIN Ghostwriting Groups there was a lengthy and convoluted discussion as a result of someone asking if they should accept a questionable offer to write about something – I’ve forgotten the details.

I did, however, comment, “No is a complete sentence.” Maggie Payment Kirkbride, a ghostwriter also in San Diego although I don’t think we’ve met, replied “I love that. Great title for a post. Do it! There are so many “audiences” for that little sentence”

Of course, I have written about it before. When I read that older article I realized I have more to say. Oh, the original article stands up to the (internet) test of time. But it’s mostly about saying ‘no’ to low priced offers and how not to make yourself look, well, weak.

There’s more to saying ‘no’ than a fear of looking weak I think.

Why do we hesitate to say “No”?

I used to be scared to death to say ‘no’ to a client. I guess I was afraid I’d never have another chance.

For the most part we human beings are pretty nice folks. Liking to please people is not all codependency or poor self-worth. Wanting to make others happy is, not only a pretty sane survival skill when you think about it, it’s also feels good. Small wonder most of us prefer to say that other complete sentence, “Yes!”


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