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4 Keys to Creating Freelance Writing Consistency

writing consistencyWriting consistency – that is, the ability to write if not daily at least on a regular schedule – is a must for freelance writing success. (Yes, there are other types of consistency for writers which I’ll address at another time.)

Here I’m talking about setting up the habit of writing regularly. Done over time you’ll get to the place where you can trust yourself to get the writing done.

I’m reminded of what my father claimed was a typing exercise he learned when he learned to type, on a manual typewriter no less. It went like this:

The chains of habit are too small to be noticed until they are too strong to be broken.

No, no idea why this instead of the well known “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy white poodle.” I’ve always admired that sentence and the fox and the poodle because it uses every letter of the alphabet.

Once you create some chains of habit around your writing you’ll (usually) find it easier to write.

patterns are easier to repeat

1. Figure out a writing schedule you can keep

Setting up a writing schedule that you’ll keep, at least for several months, is probably the first step in creating writing consistency. It may take several tries before you find what actually works for you. Don’t worry if it seems odd or ‘unprofessional.’

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Please! No More Guest Posts Accepted Here!

guest postsBack in the day, I’d look forward to the occasional email from a fellow writer asking if they could do some guest posts for me. Often it would turn out to be an exchange – they’ do one for me and I’d return the favor.

Sure, we knew it might give us more ‘google juice’ and raise our rankings a bit. But the primary reason was mutual support.

Some place along the way the spirit of mutual support has been replaced by a rampant commercialism. Which shouldn’t surprise me but it has. In fact if you google paid guest posting or who pays guest posters etc. you’ll begin to understand my problem.

Like many bloggers I’m a one woman band. These days in spite of posting some pretty clear rules about how I will accept guest posting, it’s obvious most of those who submit queries have never looked at the site, in spite of their assurances to the contrary. (That page will soon be changed to refer people here – I’m hoping at least a few will learn from this and quit spamming.)

In come requests to add guest posts here by the dozens – literally – in a month. If I don’t respond many of them will continue to fill my in box reminding me I haven’t responded. I guess whoever teaches these folks doesn’t include the idea that if a blogger doesn’t respond, hit ’em up again and again until they do.

Directing them to the directions has not resulted in any increase in quality of submissions.

When I’ve said yes, the quality has been, with a few exceptions, poor.

If you want me to teach you how to write I can, but I charge money for that.

So as of today, no more guest posts. Find another way to try to earn a living writing or give up writing altogether.

If I want a post from you I’ll reach out to you. Save  your time and mine and move on down the road.

Write well and often, but for yourself or someone else, not me unless I ask,


Is It Writer’s Block, Fatigue or Something Else?

writer's blockOkay, it’s not writer’s block. I know, because look, here’s a whole blog post.

Actually I don’t believe in writer’s block for me, which is another story.

Today I spent about an hour trying to get started writing my regular Thursday morning post. Finally I just stopped and looked inside, asking myself what was going on. My next thought was another question, “how do you feel?”

Well, I felt tired. You know, that sense close to tightness around your eyes when you don’t get enough sleep? Like that. Except I got good sleep last night.

My next realization is I feel as if I’ve done way too much work this week.

Perhaps I have in a way. The problems of this site were draining and they started exactly a week ago. That Thursday I realized I couldn’t do anything myself. I had, however spent several hours talking to various techs and being on hold. Although I’d been calmer than normal over tech problems, it still was a drain I’m sure, even though I wasn’t really aware of it… in fact, it might have been less of a drag if I had noticed that I was upset.

Here are my methods of dealing with this not uncommon problem:

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literary agentA friend of mine thought she’d landed a good literary agent at a writing conference. I was happy for her because she’d been working for several years on her memoir.

I’d never read any of her writing but she’s a great story teller with a lovely self-deprecating sense of humor.

I understood her excitement. She  shipped her manuscript off and waited, which is normal.A couple of weeks later she called me in tears.

“That agent called back,” she told me. “He says he really likes my book but it needs editing.”

This didn’t surprise me. Every book needs copy editing and many need more work than that before they salable. I was shocked, however, when she told me the rest.

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getting hiredFreelance writers often find themselves getting hired as a result of a phone interview. While probably less nerve wracking than a face to face interview, if you’re new to being interviewed for a writing job by phone, there are some things you need to know.

These include:

  1. Understanding what the interviewer is trying to do
  2. Remembering to interview your interviewer
  3. Do some prep work
  4. Make sure your phone battery is fully charged
  5. Don’t get too comfortable
  6. Take notes
  7. Feel free to ask these questions too

What is the interviewer trying to do?

The person or the company that is interviewing you has a problem. They need someone to do some writing for them. Something in your response to their ad has given them hope you might be the one. Understand that your job will be to solve their problem and you have taken an important step to getting hired.

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Why Freelance Writing is Like a Piece of String

writing“How can writing possibly be like a piece of string,” you ask?

“Ah,” I say nodding sagely, “because most questions about writing have at least two or three answers if not more!”

Yep, it’s true. Ask any two seasoned freelance writers a writing question and you’ll get answers that are not at all alike. They even may be contradictory!

Take for example the often asked question, “Should you write for free?” There are all sorts of ways to answer this question and they range from “No” right on through “Yes” and on to “Maybe.”

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freelance writing gigsIf you want to land freelance writing gigs you need to do a bit of preparation. This  includes:

  1. The ability to write reasonably well.
  2. Deciding what kinds of things you want to write.
  3. A list of writing credits, portfolio, or resume.
  4. Learning to find and read job postings.
  5. Picking and choosing.
  6. Following the directions.

Write reasonably well

You don’t have to be a Hemingway, or write like Maya Angelou or any other famous author you might dream up. Like you, they weren’t born writing. They learned it by practicing, a lot.

You do, however, have to know how to construct sentences and paragraphs that follow the rules of the language you want to write in. On this blog that’s the American version of English.

If you were born and raised in the United States that may be enough, although I see lots of native writing that is pretty awful.

I’m often embarrassed to turn down guest post from people whose English is obviously their second or even third language. I usually know nothing of their language (or any but my own to tell the truth) and they get awfully close to using mine in a natural way – but in this game close isn’t enough.

Writing well enough is, for many, a learnable skill.

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13 Ways to Find Freelance Writing Jobs in 2018

freelance writing jobs 2018Freelance writers must find freelance writing jobs throughout their whole writing career. It’s one of those facts of life it seems.

It should also be said that there are hundreds if not thousands of ways to find freelance writing jobs. Not only that, but the way to find them is always changing.

The trick is to find what works for you, and to stay open and aware of the changes to the job hunting process.

How to find freelance writing jobs in 2018

Here are 13 tools or methods you can use to find good freelance writing job. This list isn’t definitive, but if you did several of these regularly for six months or a year you’d probably find yourself with more writing gigs than you could handle.

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My cats, Dudley and Toulouse, all rights reserved, by Anne Wayman

Photos and other images are something that freelance writers often want to add to their work. Sometimes clients request this service and sometimes we just want to use photos to attract attention to our own work.

These images come in two varieties, the ones we create ourselves and the ones we get from some other source.

Photos and images you create

When you take a photo or draw a picture you own it. In the United States you own the copyright to it. You can use it on your own writing, or sell the rights to a client. You can sell one time use, all rights, etc. If you sell all rights you can’t sell it again without the buyer’s express, written permission. When your photo includes identifiable people you may need a photo release from them if you plan to sell or use the picture in a public way.

As the creator of the photo or image you’re also entitled to credit. Since I took the picture of my cats I’ve added a credit line to it. I could have included the copyright symbol and the date, but I don’t know how to get those in the caption box here, so I skipped it.

Photos and images you didn’t create

If you didn’t take the picture or create the image, you can’t use it – unless ou buy the rights to it or are otherwise given permission to use it.

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3 Ways Picture Captions Can Help Your Freelance Writing

captionsHave you ever used the captions on photos to spark your writing? It doesn’t matter if you write them yourself or just read the ones others have written, they often provide just the seeds you need to write something.

Well done picture captions work to communicate in words what the picture is showing. Often it’s straight forward, like “The Edwards family arrive in town for 108 birthday party of Sam Edwards.” Sometimes the bring clarity to what’s happening in a photo, perhaps like “Although rare this time of year, the grey heron is often seen at the lake – usually in summer.”

Pictures can help you clarify a story

Complex ideas sometimes need illustrations or other form of graphic art. Couple a good illustration with a caption that helps the graphic explain what’s going on can make a story dynamite. Although we tend to think of science and engineering with this type of example, we don’t have to look far in the news to make the point. The right photo with the right caption can be extremely powerful.

Take a moment  to look at the image here and imagine what sort of caption it might need.

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