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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…]


10 Self-Care Tips for Freelance Writers

self-care for freelance writersLast week I asked the question: Should a Freelance Writer Push Through or Take a Break?  That got me to thinking about self-care in general for freelance writers.

What is self-care?

The term, self-care, is on the verge of overuse – or maybe it’s already a boring cliche.  It’s an important concept regardless. The idea is we need to take care of ourselves if we’re to be happy and successful and of service to our fellows. It serves to counter the notion that we must overwork ourselves to achieve whatever. There is also the truly awful idea that self-care is actually selfishness when it turns out to be just the opposite.

Think about it. You obviously do a better job when you’ve eaten well, gotten a decent night’s sleep and had some time off to re-create yourself. That’s true self-care.

Here are 10 ways to take care of yourself well:

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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.


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.


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




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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