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3 Ways Freelance Writers Can Give Back by Volunteering

give back by volunteeringThere are all sorts of reasons to give back by volunteering to help someone else. When I give back by volunteering:

  • I get out of my natural self-contentedness
  • I usually meet interesting people I wouldn’t have met otherwise
  • The exposure to new people and new ideas enlarges my life.

I limit my volunteering pretty severely, except of course when I don’t. The danger for me is when I give back by volunteering I can enjoy the new project enough to distract me from my other work. A word to the wise – pay attention to how you’re actually spending your time.

3 Ways to give back by volunteering

Here are three ways you can give back by volunteering, and why I like them.

Write for a nonprofit you love for free

This is pretty obvious. I like this one because I’m often asked to write about something new or in a new way – lots of learning!

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amazon owns book publishingOfficially Amazon owns book publishing. How do I know?

Yesterday one of the Wall Street Journal‘s headlines was
‘They Own the System’: Amazon Rewrites Book Industry by Marching Into Publishing.

Although I’m not always a fan of the Journal, I’ll take that as proof; now Amazon owns book publishing.

Those of us in the writing and book business have been aware this moment was coming ever since Amazon got into the self-publishing end of the business through what is now called Create Space.  We’ve muttered among ourselves some how feeling less than celebratory about a world where Amazon owns book publishing.

The Journal‘s article opens with the story of how Mark Sullivan was able to sell his novel, Beneath a Scarlet Sky for “a low five figure advance” after it had been rejected by eight trade publishers.

That’s clout!
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Let’s Talk About Freelance Writers Burnout

writers burnoutA coaching client of mine asked  about freelance writers burnout. She pointed me to ‘Existing On A Plane Of Burnout’: An Intersectional Discussion On Millennials And More which talks about millennial burnout.

As I understand it, millennials are feeling particularly subject to burnout for a wide variety of reasons. Symptoms include, according to How Millennials Became The Burnout Generation, inability to get even the simplest of life tasks done, like mailing a letter because they are exhausted. The author, Anne Helen Petersen, also calls it “errand fatigue.” She cites examples to the ennui that prevents them from returning clothes that don’t fit to running up large fines at the local library because they simply don’t seem to have the energy that makes them able to return the bag of books at all, let alone on time.

Not just millennials, writers burnout too

Maybe we should be grateful that millennials have brought attention to this phenomena and given it a name. I know I suffer from this from time-to-time and I’m hardly a millennial! I hear the same thing from other writers, editors, and maybe all my creative friends. We seem to hit periods where we don’t deal well, or even at all, with the mundane.
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20 Secret Reasons You Want to Join a Writing Forum

writing forum

A writing forum may be the best investment you can make in your writing career. The right forum, and I’m proud of ours, can help you not only feel like you’re not the only one in the world writing, but is a ploace where you can hang out a bit and learn a ton. Or, if you’re already a professional writer, a forum is a place to shine and know you’ll be appreciated.

Here are 20 reasons you want to be part of a writing forum.

Why this topic today? Ah, simple, I’m relaunching the About Writing Squared / $5 Buck writing forum. Yes, that’s right. We’ve gone back to our original $5 a month price.

Here’s what we offer there.

  • A solid group of professional writers committed to their work and willing to share what they did to get there.
  • A free getting started class.
  • Even threads to talk about your dogs and cats!

At $5 a month it’s a great way to start the new year. Splurge a bit on yourself and come join the fun.

The 20 secrets

The About Writing Squared / $5 Buck Forum is:

  1.  A place to ask questions about your writing business.
  2.  A place to answer questions about the writing business.
  3.  An online place to hang out a bit when you’re feeling stuck.
  4.   A place to celebrate your writing wins – all of them.
  5.  A place to whine (a bit) when your writing is rejected.
  6.  A perfect place to complain about a client.
  7.  Also a perfect place to ask for advice about a client.
  8.  A writing forum is a great place to get marketing tips.
  9. You may get job leads in a writing forum.
  10. A place to ask for referrals to writing websites.
  11. A writing forum often offers discounts on all sorts of things for writers.
  12. Some writing forums allow you to make money selling memberships.
  13. A place to get advice from writing pros – who face it, generally know more about writing than your family or the folks at the coffee shop.
  14. A writing forum may also offer free or discounted classes by members.
  15. When you need to talk with someone who understands how hard it can be to find a publisher or an agent a good writing forum is the ideal place.
  16. Not only will members of a writing forum understand your problem, you’re likely to get some solid suggestions about how to solve it.
  17. Ask for and get honest critiques of your writing – or at least of snippets of your writing.
  18. You can ask your fellow forum mates to beta read your work as long as you’re willing to do the same.
  19. You won’t be the only forum member who would rather not market your writing – you’ll get support, encouragement and a dollop of sincere sympathy.
  20. If you’re new you’ll be able to ask writing pros all the questions you want and if you’re a pro you’ll be able to give back by helping the newcomer.

Yes, the original $5 buck writing forum has been re-launched at exactly that price – $5 a month, unless you want to save more by paying a year in advance. Get all the information here and treat yourself.

Write well and often,

Anne Wayman, freelance writer


The Problem with Setting Goals for Freelance Writers

the problem with setting goalsYikes, we’re already almost four full days into 2019 and I’m just starting to think about setting goals, or rather the problem with setting goals. Even thinking about setting goals kind of makes me tired this year – maybe it did last year too, I don’t really remember.

And I just took down my vision board! Well not the board, but most of the stuff on it.

It’s not that I don’t believe setting goals or working with vision boards can work. I know it can because I’ve experienced making goals. It’s exciting. I’ve also experienced setting goals I had no real hope of attaining. That’s not fun at all! And, of course, setting unattainable goals is a possible problem with setting goals.

Life is too variable

I find life too variable to decide what I’m doing in the second half of the year in the first half, or even really the first quarter. For example, six months ago I volunteered for a non-profit non-partisan tech startup. You may have heard me talk about it. Two weeks ago a friend of mine who has, for a long long time, talked about getting me to help him write books, offered to pay me and to co-write with him.

The first, Democracy Counts! if you’re curious, ended up with me spending a week in Broward County, Florida, beta testing software that allows or will citizens to perform same-day election audits. If I had set a certain kind of goal last year I might have missed that experience altogether. And my experience with this group of people continues to be interesting and exciting. I wouldn’t have knowingly missed it for the world.

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When a Writing Client Doesn’t Perform

when a client doesn't performEvery so often a writing client doesn’t perform! The biggest non-performance issue is probably  when a client doesn’t pay, and yes, that’s a problem, but not what I’m talking about now.

I have a newish client – we’ve been working together about four months. I absolutely love their project and it’s been a delight working with them.  Until recently.

My initial understanding

Let me back up a bit. Their project is a multi-year effort. There is a ton to do and all of a sudden the client has stopped responding to my requests for clarity on what’s next. From my point of view we really need to get rolling or we could miss a hard deadline. As I understood it we planned to use the month of December for some serious planning, even though two of the principles would be gone about half of the month.

Here’s what I’ve done:

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How I Script Videos and Webinars

script videos and webinarsHow I script videos and webinars is a more casual approach than many take.

My goal is to sound and look natural. A tightly written script that I feel I must follow in detail means I show up looking and sounding, well, scripted, and not at all like me.

What am I trying to accomplish?

Putting together a video or a webinar is a fair amount of work. People usually don’t put them together without a good reason. Maybe they want to build their reputation or sell a product or even sell a webinar. Be sure you know why you’re putting the video/webinar together.

I start with a tight topic

That is, I want a fairly narrow topic. “Freelance Writing,” for example, is far to wide ranging to be good for a video or webinar. “Finding Freelance Writing Jobs” is better, but still leaves lots of room for wandering. “Finding and Landing Freelance Blog Posts that Pay,” however, is just about right for an hour or less video or webinar. You could tighten it up more by adding an additional qualifier like ‘non-fiction’ or ‘travel’ or ‘marketing.’

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Freelance Writing and the Art of Persistence

persistenceWhat kind of persistence do you use in your writing business? Didn’t realize there’s more than one type? Neither did I, not exactly. When I Googled up the definition and got this:

  1. firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.
    “companies must have patience and persistence, but the rewards are there”

I’m not sure I like the choices, which seem to be being firm, obstinate and/or patient. I think the key is actually in the word, continuance.

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Where to Find Freelance Writing Jobs on the Internet

where to find freelance writing jobsWhere to find freelance writing jobs usually feels like a challenge. That’s actually because it is. But oh my has it changed over time.

This blog, according to ICANN WHOIS, the folks who keep track of domain names etc., I started this blog on June 24th, 2004! According to WordPress stats, this post will make the 1,994th post! Good grief!

I started posting jobs for writers pretty early and clearly remember I often couldn’t find more than four jobs for writers to list! That 14 or so years has made a huge difference.

Here’s an example:

Last week I got an email from Alexander Timofeev with a link to Freelance Writing Jobs: 300+ Websites That Pay. I haven’t checked out each and every one but there are many I recognize and I looked at enough others to be convinced this is a valuable website for those who want to know where to look for freelance writing jobs. It will soon show up on my own list of places to find jobs and gigs. Talk about a gold mine of where to find freelance writing jobs!

Get creative about where to find freelance writing jobs

I wondered what else I could find. Try this search phrase: freelance writing job boards 2018 in Google and I’ll bet you’re surprised. Or ghostwriting jobs 2018.

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How do you really feel about your writing?

feel about your writingAssuming you’ve been a freelance writer for awhile now, have you thought about how you really feel about your writing?  I mean deep down inside, in that truth-telling place that’s sometimes scary to go.

Here’s what got me thinking in this direction a bit. I normally take my writing ability for granted. Over time I’ve been published often enough, paid often enough and complemented often enough to know I do a pretty good job. When I read my stuff I often enjoy it, even though I know it could be improved.

I also know I can count on my writing ability. Even if I don’t write for a day or a week officially, I always write something it seems. Writing is in my brain and my fingers and even, perhaps, my blood. My first writing was published when I was in 6th grade.

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