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Single Idea For Great WritingKeep your posts, articles, even your books to a single idea for great writing.

It’s so easy to wander off topic and confuse and probably lose the reader. While occasionally there’s a place for that type of writing, it’s hard to pull off without serious practice.

Besides, most of the time your readers, particularly those online, are looking for specific information. Keeping an your writing to a single idea facilitates their needs.

Big ideas vs. small ideas

One way to think about ideas is that they are not all the same size. For example, “save the planet” is a huge idea, while “quit using plastic bags” is a much smaller bite of information. Both, however are really part of the same idea – solving the climate change problem. [click to continue…]

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The Best (and Worst) of the Freelance Writing Life

freelance writing lifeShow of hands: How many freelancers worked on Labor Day? While the conventionally employed were celebrating the day off with the traditional meal of grilled meats, many freelancers were no doubt still hard at work.

Previously, we covered how hard it is to take a vacation as a freelancer, but the lack of time off isn’t the only downside to working for yourself.

Freelance Perks

Here’s a rundown of the best and worst things about being your own boss:

  • Setting your own hours. Night owls can clock in after dark, while early birds are free to fire up their laptops with the dawn. Not being stuck in the nine-to-five rut gives you the freedom to work when you’re at your best.
  • The choice to say no. In conventional jobs, you almost never have the luxury of turning down an assignment. Freelancers, on the other hand, can choose to say no to projects that don’t feel like a good fit. As Jennifer Parris, career writer at points out  at CareerPivot, “you get to pick and choose the projects that have the most meaning to you. This makes freelancing fun since you’re doing what you love—and getting paid for it.”
  • Avoiding boredom. Variety is the spice of life, and working on a variety of projects means that freelancers don’t get easily bored. You might take on an assortment of writing, editing, and proofreading jobs. Even if you specialize in a particular niche, each client or publication is different.
  • Working in your pajamas. It may be a cliché, but freelancers really can (and do!) work in their pajamas.

[click to continue…]


Interviewing for a Freelance Writing GigI doubt if many of us writers had any idea how often we’d be interviewing for a freelance writing gig when we first started our career. I know I didn’t.

In the beginning I’d prepare by reviewing my own resume, gathering up some samples to show and get myself dressed up in hose and heels. (Yes, when I began writing there was no ‘net, all interviews were face-to-face and wearing stockings or nylons was imperative if I wanted to present a professional appearance – which dates me. Be grateful it’s no longer like that; I know I am!)

I assumed that if the person interviewing me liked me and my samples I’d get hired. And indeed, that happened often enough to keep me at it, for awhile.

What do you need to know about the client?

Gradually I came to realize that although I was getting freelance writing gigs, more than a few were pretty awful. The kinds of problems that typically showed up included:

  • Low pay
  • Additional work with no pay
  • Confusion on what constituted completion
  • Neither of us being clear on why I was being hired.

I began to ask some questions of my own. [click to continue…]


extra extraThe headline is the most important thing you will ever write. If it doesn’t get your potential reader’s attention, your first sentence will never be read. You may have created the finest article of all time, but no one will know it.

How do you write a good headline?

Make a specific promise, using your knowledge of what works and why. To learn how, let’s look at three principles suggested in Brian Clark’s e-book “How to Write Magnetic Headlines”.

#1. Make a Promise

You don’t have an audience of thousands. You only have one potential reader, thousands of times over. To that reader, the connection you make in your headline is personal. You make that connection by communicating a specific, tangible benefit in your headline.

Before you make the promise, you need to know who your audience is and what they seek.

Know Your Audience

[click to continue…]


Beliefs That Limit Freelance Writers Income

freelance writers incomeIt’s not the market, it’s not the competition – it’s beliefs that limit freelance writers income. Oh, to be sure, not all freelance writers have ideas that stop them from early a truly good living, but many do. And of course market conditions play some roll. Even competition can seem, at times to limit freelance writers income. But those aren’t real reasons.

Freelance writing is one of those careers that requires more than the desire, even the need, to get words on paper and out to the public. It requires self-confidence and self-worth to find the client or the market for the kind of writing you want to do. Then you’ve got to negotiate how much you’ll get paid.  Finally,  you’ve got to get those words written down and be willing to be edited.

Holes in your self-confidence, doubts about our abilities, and false beliefs can limit your income severely.

Examples of limiting beliefs

One of the more common ideas that writers have is that their writing isn’t ‘good enough.’ I always want to ask, “… good enough for what?” “Good enough” is a phrase that doesn’t have much meaning and is often used as an excuse to avoid writing and/or marketing even by truly talented writers. Chances are if English is your native language and you read a lot, you write well enough. In fact, if English isn’t your first language, but you’ve studied it, listened to it and you read a lot, your writing may be good enough or will be with some practice. [click to continue…]


Not Quite Normal

Yes, the site is back, and yes it’s mobile – it’s also approaching 85 or so degrees in my office so further changes will have to wait until tomorrow.

Thanks so much for being there!

Write well and often,



A Story of Lost Content

Originally posted on Sept. 3, 2015

I’ve lost access to the content of many of my sites, including AboutFreelanceWriting.

That site goes back before 2004 – first with About.com and then with B5 Media as “The golden pencil.” Why B5 wanted to call it that I never understood.

I registered AboutFreelanceWriting.com in 2004 and have run the site with various looks and such, always with an idea toward helping freelance writers, including myself, earn more money with their writing.

Maybe 8 months ago for what seemed like a very good reason I moved several sites to a business friend’s servers. He and I had worked together over maybe six or seven years.

I had outstanding service and a faster site until Aug. 8 when I emailed him because I couldn’t update to the new word press. I got no response… and have been emailing him several times a week since. Last week my sites went down and I still hadn’t reached him. So I moved my domain names back to Bluehost.

I no longer have access to the server and since no one is replying to my emails I won’t get access unless I can conjure up the credentials or someone gets back to me.

I can only assume he’s dead or terribly ill or something like that.

When this happened and I was gnashing my teeth I also noticed a small sense of relief. I think I had more of my ego/identity tied up in that blog than I realized.

I did check the Internet Archive, aka WayBackMachine, and they have 500 pages out of something like 1200 – I could start rebuilding that way, but in truth I’m not sure I want to. I’m not sure what I want to do. Loosing that much content is pretty shocking and there’s a huge sense of freedom too.

The forum is sill up and running strong because it’s with a different company.

BTW, I’m open to ideas.

I’d also like to know what your reaction is – put it in comments.

Thanks for being there, and as always,

Write well and often,



freelance writers talk about moneyOften it’s hard for freelance writers talk about money. I remember when I was afraid to talk to potential clients about how much I charged. Heck, I had no idea what I should charge and what I willing to name as an hourly figure is now embarrassing.

Even when I started setting more reasonable rates, I found any discussion about money totally fraught.

That’s a tough place for any freelance writer to be in.  Figuring out what to charge and getting comfortable talking about money is a key to success in this business. After all, if you’re going to freelance, you get to set the rates. The downside of that is it’s up to you to communicate your value in a way that helps people be willing to pay you for what you’re worth.

Why I hated to talk about money

When I first started freelance writing you could have put my self-worth in a thimble. Looking back I’m amazed I had the courage to even attempt a freelance writing career! But I did and I’m grateful.

I was horribly conflicted about money and I think lots of freelance writers are. We’re not sure what to charge, we’re not sure if we’re worth it, we don’t know how to manage it – if the truth were told we’d rather do almost anything than have a conversation about money!

I can remember how confused I was about what I should charge. Every year I’d buy Writer’s Market and spend hours with the section titled “How Much Should I Charge?” And every year I’d charge less than that until I finally began to take care of my money.

When I knew how much money I had it was much easier to talk about fees with a client.

I have heard others say the same thing – until they kept track of their money on a regular basis they found talking about money incredibly difficult. [click to continue…]


Freelance client prospectingBy Hannah Glenn

Freelance client prospecting may be the closest occupation to fishing. You have to know your stuff before you jump into that rickety little rowboat. Be sure your vessel is sea-worthy (or at least lake-worthy), with no holes, leaks or weak spots. If there is one, you should learn how to patch it up. In writing, knowing what you’re capable of, what services you offer and at what rates is the basic integral structure of your prospecting ventures.

From there, you have to be prepared with equipment: hooks, lures, fishing wire, a sun hat and boondoggles (which may or may not be essential, but is always fun to say). Imagine how that fishing trip would go without those tools– you wiggling a single finger into the still water, hoping that some particularly dumb fish would mistake it for a worm.  In freelancing terms these tools include confidence in your writing skills, a knowledge of how much you have to make in order to survive and an understanding of how to leverage opportunities into projects.

A fisherman knows which lures and wires are best for particular fish in particular bodies of water. As a freelancer you must educate yourself in your craft and field. Seek information and dig deep to find the good stuff: listen to podcasts, read books, read blogs and practice writing as much as possible.

Then it’s time to cast your fishing rod into the brimming sea of potential and wait. Prospecting and fishing require persistence, patience and, most importantly, knowing when it’s worth hauling a find into the boat or when it’s better to let it go.

When you’re reaching out, statistically you’ll get little back. It can be tempting to think any tinge of interest has to turn into a new client. Sometimes you’ll feel a little nibble on the line and get excited. But as you reel it in the resistance disappears and it slips away. This can happen when you send that proposal and never hear back, or get an inquiry, but never a second email. [click to continue…]


lol or hahaThere’s been a flurry of news about how LOL is being replaced by HAHA (which probably should be written lol and haha). I’m not sure why this is news, but then I’m often not sure about the news these days which is a whole other discussion.

I thought I first heard about it on NPR, but now can only find an article titled FYI: OMG And LOL Are Now In The Oxford English Dictionary. That was written way back in 2011 (four years ago is certainly almost ancient history in internet time) and had we thought about it probably signaled the end of lol.

Blame it on Facebook

Michael Andor Brodeur who writes for The Boston Globe  explains in The sound of old people laughing: lol, that we have Facebook to blame for this switch, or maybe for noticing that the switch was happening.

According the Brodeur, who admits to lol-ing a lot,

Lols account for just 1.9 percent of “e-laughs” in the week’s worth of de-identified posts surveyed by Facebook for the study.

Well, okay. I suppose it’s futile to ask ‘whose counting.’ I’m sure it’s one of the new robots that may be taking over our world using a super-secret algorithm of course.  (I love the graphic they have for the article.)

I will admit to noticing, barely, that my millennial and wonderfully geeky granddaughter uses”he he” when she Skype chats with me. Brodeur refers to this as “… the more mischievous “hehe”” which definitely fits. I may be wrong about the spacing she uses.

What, if anything, does this mean for freelance writers?

I’ll make a few observations. Take what you like and totally ignore the rest.

  • This proves absolutely anything can be turned into news, a blog post, and/or an article which is why you never will run out of ideas.
  • This is also an outstanding demonstration of how language changes – although the purists still won’t want to admit it does.
  • I missed what might have been a huge opportunity for not writing about my granddaughter’s switch to ‘hehe,’ which proves something, although I’m not sure what.
  • Because I do like to appear ‘with it,’ (Gasp! I’ll bet ‘with it’ is terribly passe now too!) I will make an effort to switch, but I can promise you I won’t remember that change every time, so expect more lols and rofls from me and don’t complain, please.  (Insert image of me frantically trying to decide if it’s lol or haha.)
  • It is wonderful to be distracted from the grimmer side of the news with stories like these.
  • Like so many things, in the larger scheme of, oh say 100 years from now, this will matter not a whit – but since it’s on the net someone will probably get their PhD as a result of writing thesis about the change.

Ach! Enough!

What’s your take on this, or any other topic of interest and maybe even importance to freelance writers? Let’s talk about it in comments.

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Write well and often,