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push through or take a breakWhen you’re writing and you get to a place where you want to quit, should you push through or take a break?

This is another of what I call a ‘how long is a piece of string’ question because there’s no way to answer it – not for everyone and not in every instance. Of course, there are gurus of various stripes who will insist the only thing to do is to push through no matter what.

This came to mind when I was listening to a business coach talk about being willing to “do what it takes” to be successful. The idea that I should be willing to do whatever it takes makes me a bit crazy. My mind always goes to the extreme. I wouldn’t, of course, be willing to kill someone to make sure my writing career was successful, or start a war, or cheat by plagiarizing someone’s work.

To be fair, that isn’t what coaches mean. I just wish they’d be more specific, but maybe it’s only writers who think of the extremes like that. After all, seeing possibilities is part of our skill.

Self-care

Generally, it’s my experience that real self-care not only makes me happier, but means my writing is better. For example, I usually write in the morning, but this morning I had migraine symptoms. I know working at the computer is likely to make those worse, so I took some meds and went back to bed. The fact that I usually write in the mornings or that I usually produce both an article and a newsletter on Thursdays, didn’t mean, since I’m writing for myself, that I should have pushed through which would have meant a full-blown migraine.

On the other hand, I’m really good making deadlines, particularly when I’m working with a client. Making deadlines is also part of self-care for me. I thrive when I’m doing a good job.

Self-honesty

Sure there are times to push through just as there are times to take a break. I don’t know about you, but I know when I’m being honest with myself about my work, and my need to take a break or to just get it done.

This kind of self-knowledge comes with experience I find. It was much easier for me to fool myself in my 20s than it is now.

Part of that includes recognizing that I’ll get different results when I push through or take a break. And it’s not as simple as realizing that pushing through means I’ll finish sooner and that taking a break means there’s work ahead of me to do. There are other considerations including things like the quality of the writing and my ability to work well the next day.

Push through or take a break?

Do you see what I mean about a how

 

 

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How Freelance Writers Can Accept Payment

accept paymentIn our forum a member recently asked if there are alternatives to PayPal when deciding how to accept pay from clients. She loved the convenience and hates the fees. Typically PayPal charges 2.9% of the sales price plus .30 USD per transaction. On a $100 deal, they would, in most cases, collect $3.20, leaving you a net of $96.80.

I’m a big PayPal fan

The thing about PayPal is it gives you the ability to accept Credit Cards without paying a monthly fee. Yes, you can find Merchant Accounts that charge lower processing fees but that monthly fee, which you pay even if you don’t make a sale, generally eats up most or all of the savings. Plus, getting a merchant account isn’t the easiest thing in the world.

The other thing I like about PayPal is I can make payments to others from my account there or through a debit card.

Finally, PayPal is pretty well recognized around the world, which is important when you need to decide how to accept payment.

Other ways to accept payment

There are a ton of other services. Some of the better known are:


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sick days and time offAs a freelance writer you’re entitled to both sick days and time off. You won’t, of course, be paid while you’re down with a cold or the flu, or off relaxing in your favorite retreat. You also won’t be hassled by Human Resources if they decide you’re sick too often, or if you want to extend your vacation by a day or a week.

And then there’s the potential problem of explaining that you’re sick or on vacation to those clients who tend to panic or think they own you.

Advantages and disadvantages – which seems to be true of almost everything.

Often it will be savings that allows you to truly take care of yourself, and that means learning how to manage your money well.

Sick days

Years ago I worked as a tech writer for a local computer company. I was astounded when I got paid for days I had been out with a cold or flu. As a mostly freelancer it had never occurred to me someone would pay me when I wasn’t working. It made sense to me then and it still does. After all, if someone with a cold can afford to stay home, it’s less likely the whole office or shop floor will get sick.


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Famous Women Writers

famous women writersQuick! Name 10 famous women writers!

Why? Because today is International Women’s Day which I remembered only because of Google’s doodle.

10 Famous women writers I love

Maya Angelou whose words, spoken, written or sung always inspire me. Always. She’s one of my models for a life well lived.

Naomi Klein – a non-fiction writer whose work is changing the world. Her This Changes Everything is a shocking, horrifying and hopeful well researched look at our world-around environmental crisis.

J.K. Rowling – her magical Harry Potter series arrived just in time for me to read many of the early books with my granddaughter – delightful.

Margaret Atwood – if you haven’t yet read her The Handmaid’s Tale, you must. Particularly for this election cycle. At least, in my opinion.


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How I Approach Landing Freelance Writing Jobs

landing freelance writing jobsOver in our forum someone asked me if I ever have luck landing freelance writing jobs from FreelanceWriting.com’s Morning Coffee email list. I replied that I do, and after some banter where it was suggested I must land all the jobs because the person asking has never had any luck there, I volunteered to spell out exactly how I do land writing gigs.

First of all, remember I’ve been doing this for years and years. Experience does count. The person who asked the question is a good writer and is fairly new to the game. That does make a difference I’m sure.

I have a website, and have had it for years and years. It’s www.annewayman.com. It has my credit list, some samples, some testimonials, and my pricing. Yes, several times a year I land a client just because they found me there. I’ve made many thousands of dollars off my site. But here I’m talking more about how I go about reaching out and landing gigs.

12 tips for landing freelance writing jobs

  1. I’m consistent in my search. I search almost every day, week in and week out. I search when I have plenty of money in the bank and when the bank account is less abundant. I suspect there’s something about letting the universe know I’m looking regularly that helps.
  2. I’m highly selective. I know what I write well; I also know what I like to write. I apply only for those gigs that appeal to me.




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13 Tips for Creating and Pitching Contributed Content

contentOriginally published on Entrepreneur; reprinted here with permission.

This year I decided to try something completely new. I jumped face first into the world of independently driven web writing. In a short amount of time I’ve been able to develop and maintain numerous organic writing relationships. On top of that, I’ve learned a lot about the entire process. From emailing websites for the first time, to guest contributor applications, down to the writing undertaking itself.

Trust me, I’ve made my share of mistakes along the way. Which is why I believe that any new web-writer will benefit from these lessons I’ve learned.

Be genuine

Step one to a successful new writing endeavor is making sure that you genuinely care about the topic and websites you are exploring. Nothing makes your writing shine like pursuing an idea that is captivating to you personally.

It doesn’t hurt to ask…

It doesn’t hurt to ask; the worst they can say is… well, nothing.


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Roundup of 6 Tips About Finding Freelance Writing Jobs

Finding Freelance Writing JobsFinding freelance writing jobs has certainly gotten easier since the advent of the ‘net and this post is mostly about that.

But first I want to tell you how I found the resources listed here. Long before the ‘net and The Google, there were libraries. Back in the day, libraries had card catalogs that had a cards on each book. They cards were sorted into categories – title, author, and subject. Many books had more than one subject card.

These cards were collected into wonderful wooden drawers, held in place by a long metal rod that passed through the hole punched in each card. When you wanted to find something on say, writing, you’d pull open the drawer marked Wh-Ws and thumb through one-by-one until you found what you wanted.

There was a magical feel about pulling the correct drawer out. You could, if needed, remove it completely and rest it on a built-in shelf so you could get to the very last cards.

Card catalogs meant serendipity

One of the great joys of this process was finding the unexpected. For example, if you were looking for something about writing, you might stumble into books about writ which is a legal term, or find something on the Washington Real Estate Investment Trust (WRIT)You just never knew what might show up.


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Customer Service and Freelance Writers

customer serviceI don’t understand why excellent customer service seems to be a mystery to many companies. This came strongly to mind when I arranged and paid for an airport shuttle to pick me up at 4 am for a 6 am flight. It was a new company and I found them through their perky almost navy blue powered by CNG which I saw on the freeway and followed most of the way home.

I was able to find their website not by their name, which is, imo, awkward, but by their slogan. There’s a marketing lesson there. Their website looked good and it was easy to schedule the rides to and from the airport. I figured I was all set.

Cancelled at midnight

I had set an alarm to wake up at 3 am, giving me plenty of time for the final packing, a good cup of coffee and a play session with the cats if they wanted to get up that early. I hardly slept and was up by 2:30 which also gave me time to check my email.


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Communicate With Your Freelance Writing Clients

Making sure you communicate with your freelance writing clients is important. There are, however, times when it’s more than important, it’s crucial.

For example, these four times illustrate when you simply must communicate with your freelance writing clients:

  • When you’re going on vacation.
  • When you’re confused about what you are writing for them.
  • When you’re going to miss a deadline.
  • When you haven’t been paid as promised.

Of course these can also be the more awkward kinds of communications you’re apt to have with your writing clients.

Let’s take a look at each one.

When you’re going on vacation

Yes, even freelance writing entrepreneurs are entitled to take some time off. In fact, it doesn’t have to be a formal vacation. For example, tomorrow I leave on a four day business trip for my real estate education business.


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How I Really Found My Freelance Writing Voice

freelance writing voice“How do I find my freelance writing voice?” I get this question often.

Let me tell you how I really found mine.

Years ago I created a newspaper column called, I think, Successful Single Parenting. I sold it to three newspapers, giving me the beginning of what I hoped would become a massive syndicate paying me millions.

It was a Q & A patterned after either Dear Abby or Ann Landers, or maybe both. Each week I’d make up two or three questions, answer them, send them off to the three newspapers. Occasionally I’d get a question from a reader. I think I made something around $30 a month, maybe a tad less.

Magic happened

To my surprise I got a call from what was then one of the largest newspaper syndicates in the country. The call was from a seasoned editor there – yes, it can happen that they call you. He had been reading my columns and maybe even gotten ahold of the book I’d written which was published by a small publisher in the midwest.


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