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sick leaveNo sick leave unfortunately doesn’t mean we freelance writers won’t get sick. I found myself laid up for two days with a cold just recently. I was sneezing and wheezing and feeling terrible for two days.

I cancelled almost everything. The only writing I did was the post earlier this week. It’s a rant about the concept of content and it went pretty quickly.

I cancelled some coaching sessions, and some activities around the zen center where I live and mostly slept thought the whole mess.

Which, come to think of it is exactly what I would have done had I had a typical job that I commute  to every weekday. The difference, of course, is that many jobs pay you even if you’re sick, as long as it doesn’t happen to often.

Taking care of yourself is your first priority

I know, it’s tempting to try and push through an illness, even a simple cold, and try and make a deadline, or call a client, or something. Don’t! Even simple colds can turn into something worse if you don’t give yourself real time to heal. You owe it to yourself and to your clients to get better.

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content“Be Part of the First Industry Survey About Original Research In Content Marketing!” I saw this headline as I got up from my computer to take out the recycling. (Now you know why I say ideas are everywhere!)

As I found my shoes, gathered up the recycling basket and an empty jug of kitty litter I asked myself for the thousandth time how writing articles had morphed into creating content. “I suppose it’s because people see web pages as a container,” I muttered as I tipped open the big blue recycling container.

I may have had this particular insight multiple times before, but I’m feeling a bit rebellious today – maybe because I was up long before the eclipse – and it was lovely, and scary, and mysterious and reminded me how much I love our planet).

“Hrumph,” I may have said out loud, but quietly given the early hour. I don’t want to write content – there’s nothing wrong with the word ‘article.’

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Why I like the Vocabulary.com Dictionary

dictionaryI don’t remember my first dictionary. Maybe it was the great big one that stood on a stand in a corner of the living room.

I suppose I had a dictionary geared for first graders when I began to really read.

My mom and dad read lots and I know I was encouraged to look up words I didn’t recognize. In fact, I remember what a pain it seemed to be back then. Until I began to understand the new word that is. Then I was delighted.

Like many I learned to appreciate many of the words that came before and after the one I sought. And I wasn’t beyond occasionally opening up a dictionary at random to see what I’d find.

I’ve packed around a red Merriam-Webster’s dictionary and a Roget’s Thesaurus since college days. They still sit on a shelf, unused but kept in case the electricity goes off I suppose. I treasured a copy of the two volume Abridged Oxford Dictionary, cuddled in an official book box with a drawer for the magnifying glass because the type was so small. I’m sorry it’s gone and I don’t remember how I came not to have it.

I rejected the first electronic dictionaries

Although I was quite taken with computers that would check my spelling, the first electronic dictionaries left me cold. The programs were real kludges and took forever to load. Often the word I was looking for was missing totally. The stand-alone electronic dictionaries didn’t impress me either. I kept using my hard bound dictionary until the web showed up.

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Passion and Congruity – Another Take on Writing Flow

passionPassion and congruity – shortly after I wrote about the mechanics of flow in our writing, another  trusted friend suggested that passion and congruity were also a way to look at achieving flow in our freelance writing.

That bell rang clearly to me.  In fact, I think much of what I wrote about in the original article comes from passion and congruity, maybe even all of it.

Passion keeps us focused

Passion is, of course, a strong emotion. One of the keys to writing that flows is to be passionate about our chosen topic. When I’m passionate about a subject it’s easier to keep to the point or points I want to make. The energy I’m feeling helps drive the piece forward. Those points, properly marshaled, help both the writer and the reader with the flow of the piece.

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Mechanics of Achieving Flow in Your Writing

flowA close friend asked me about writing flow in an email saying: I wish I knew what the mechanics are of writing that flows so that it’s invisible vs that which is not flowing so you notice. Masters know how to do the first.

My initial internal response was something like flow in writing isn’t mechanical, there really is no formula for it. I started poking around the web Googling writing flow and  how can I make my writing flow.  I found articles that talked about staying on topic, transitions, varied sentence length and such, none of it particularly helpful in my opinion.

How I think about flow

Then I began to wonder what I meant by flow in writing and concluded it’s a very squishy concept. After all, many of us can remember writing that flowed even though it didn’t stay on topic or make nifty, easy to understand transitions, etc. It’s rare, often called poetry, and it happens. The words fit together and the reader knows, roughly, what the writer is talking about. It seems, when reading, that the writing is effortless – the ideas may require work, but the writing itself appears to the reader be exactly right to communicate that idea. We recognize flow when we see it – defining it is harder. Figuring out how to explain so someone else can do it is harder still.

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clientOne kind of ideal client for freelance writers is the mid-size to larger company that has multiple types of projects for you.

For example, the client might want a couple of blog posts a month, a white paper every two months, a press release now and again, even an internal manual of one sort or another. Even if they aren’t quite as organized as I making them sound, it’s often possible to get into a rhythm of both regular assignments and regular pay – a highly desirable client indeed.

If they think you can do everything

The only real problem that can come up is this sort of client is the one who, after working with you awhile, believes you can do anything. With little or no warning they are very likely to ask you for a price on a kind of project you know little or nothing about.

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5 Ways to Find New Freelance Writing Clients that Pay Well

find new clientsBusiness is largely about getting leads that convert into sustainable clientele. This clientele has to be attractively budgeted and offer regular business to the agency/firm/freelance writer. Finding new freelance writing clients who are qualified leads is a major task and often a concern for entrepreneurs and freelancers alike.

Like all freelancers have a different level of skill, all clients are not equal. Some will understand your value from first interaction. Some will be smart low-ballers who despite knowing your value will try to get you to reduce your rates.

Figuring out the right combination is the key so that your business can thrive well.

How to find high-paying new freelance writing clients

Step 1: Assassinate your self-doubt

Any business owner or freelancer was once a newbie. All they knew was the skill they had and the half-baked strategy that they had to adopt. As time went on, their skills and strategies evolved. Even a skeptic would agree that your skill will grow after every year of experience, so you deserve better pay.

Finding high-paying freelance writing clients is only a matter of positioning yourself in front of the right people and with the right attitude.

Step 2: Start saying no to low-ballers

The industry compensation levels are not the only marker for assessing how much you should get paid. It could be that your skills are just what they are looking for, but they may not show it. So always ask your questions confidently and try to assess exactly just how much you bring to the table and state your quote.If you think you are not getting enough monetary compensation in exchange for your skill, be confident in saying no but don’t be rude.

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procrastinatingWant to stop procrastinating that book, article or post you’ve been thinking of writing?

I’ll tell you – stop reading this post and start writing!

I can hear you groaning. I can hear you saying, “That’s not fair. I’m not procrastinating. I have reasons I’m not writing it.”

Sure you do!

Let me guess. Is the reason something like:

  • I don’t have time.
  • My writing isn’t good enough.
  • If no one likes it I’ll have wasted all that time.
  • My family  (partner, spouse, best friend, utter strangers) won’t like it.
  • I don’t know where to start!

Believe me, I know about procrastinating

The only way I can guess what you’re thinking is because I have first-hand experience with procrastination. I’ve used each of these (ahem) reasons and over time discovered they are mostly excuses.

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3 Secrets to Getting to Zero Emails Every Day

zero emailsA couple of weeks ago I determined that I want to get to zero emails every day. Part of my wonders if this is even possible! To go from some 3,000 emails to zero emails?

Since I’m not the only one who hopes to get control over my email I thought I would share the journey with you.

How I got here

I hadn’t had my souped up Apple II+ long when I discovered I could add a modem and begin to communicate with others. I think my first email program was what’s now known as Microsoft Outlook.

I guess you could call me a pack rat when it comes to email. Over time I’ve simply saved too much of it. I suspect I could find floppy disks of backed up email – and no, I don’t want to read them.

Politics and good ideas are my problem. I’ve saved way to many of those emails, vaguely thinking I’d get to them someday.

So much of the fat in my inbox is subscriptions to either political issues which mostly turn into pleas for funds, and newsletters that I think may be helpful ‘someday.’

Neither approach does anything but contribute to in box bloat.

Progress toward zero emails

This morning I woke up to a mail box with only 465 emails! That’s down from consistently running 2,000 to 3,000 emails listed everyday. Enough to discourage anyone.

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what went wellWhen I decided not to set goals for 2018, I said I’d look at what went well and where I think I’m heading.

I hadn’t realized that the theme of what went well has become a thing! Google estimates it has 1,380,000,000 pages with that keyword phrase. Maybe the number of web pages is the new way to determine when something becomes a thing. Even Forbes has gotten into the what went well act.

The thrust of the movement if it can be called that, is it’s better to think well of ourselves and what we’ve done right than to consistently berate ourselves for what we didn’t do right or didn’t do at all.

I totally agree. Asking yourself what went well or right can move you off all sorts of negative thinking and start your creative juices flowing exactly the way you want them to.

What went well for me this year

This kind of list can grow and grow. I’ve listed 36 things so far and the chances are by the time I get to the end of this post that number will have grown.

    1. About Freelance Writing – and if you haven’t signed up for the newsletter you can right here, and get a free ebook as well.
    2. Our forum, which is called About Writing Squared. Treat yourself by joining this year.
    3. Adding life coaching to what I do. This grew out of coaching writers and I love it. Find out more here – and ask for a Gift Session if you’d like.
    4. Getting in touch with many of my readers through LinkedIn.

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