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invoicingPart 1 of a 4 part series.

If you’re freelancing you’re also going to have to learn invoicing if you want to get paid. Oh sure, you can stick with outfits that pay automatically, but if you want to grow your business you need a wide variety of clients and most of them will want you to send an invoice.

And if you find you resist the idea of invoicing clients, know you’re not alone. Many freelancers, particularly on the more creative side, find themselves loath to bill their clients. They have all sorts of excuses and reasons – from not really knowing how to feeling guilty about charging for their services. Yes, creative freelancers sometimes have odd ideas about money. Fortunately you can learn to let go of those if you have them and adopt new ideas that support you and your business.

Invoicing is easier than ever

For years I generated every invoice almost from scratch using Word™. That method still works and you’ll find invoicing from scratch instructions and a real sample here.

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moneymaking freelance writerAre you on track to be a real moneymaking freelance writer?

A month or so ago I talked about the myths of freelance writing.

But what, really, does it take to earn a generous living with your writing? What follows are what I consider the basics for making money as a freelance writer.

You need to write reasonably well

Writing reasonably well is key to being a moneymaking freelance writer. But ‘reasonably well’ doesn’t mean you need a collage degree or deep studies in grammar. You do need some concept of complete sentences, simple punctuation, and how paragraphs work. I look back at some of my early, published writing, even after being edited by pros and see how much better I could have been. It was good enough.

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too hot to writeToo hot to write?

I understand.

Okay, I live within spitting distance of San Diego Bay. Which used to mean the weather was almost always if not great at least good. But like so many other places it’s getting hotter and hotter here as climate change kicks in in noticeable ways.

(Begin rant: And yeah, I understand that any particular rise in temperature and humidity can’t be directly attributed to climate change. But darn it I’ve lived here most of my life and I know the weather has gradually shifted. As far as I’m concerned it’s mostly climate change mostly driven by fossil fuels and it’s way past time we started doing something serious about it. So I drive less and recycle more and bemoan the fact that our current administration is in climate change denial. Or maybe they really do prefer  profits and getting reelected to continuing human and other life on this planet. You can make a positive difference at Treespond.com and feel good about it too. End rant.)

I live in a duplex that’s darn close to 100 years old and although it’s charming, it’s lacking really good insulation – wasn’t needed for most of its life. We also paint the roof black, which is insane – white or silver would probably lower the inside temp by several degrees. Turns out white roofs used universally or even in large numbers could make things worse. On the other hand, they also do save energy; like so many things it’s a mixed bag.  And it’s the inside temperature that gets in my way. My office is often in the low – mid 90s for a good part of the day.

When it’s too hot to write start early.

The most obvious thing is to write in the cool of the early morning. Which I do anyway, so it’s easy. Fans help.

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freelance writing ideasYes, there are secrets that help you work with freelance writing ideas. Okay, not all of these tips are actually secrets, but a few are. The rest are just darn helpful.

1 – Recognize that freelance writing ideas are everywhere

Sure, sometimes I think I run out of ideas but so far it’s never really been true. Freelance writing ideas are literally everywhere. It’s mostly a matter of recognizing them and then honing them so they work when you want to write about them.

2 – Write ’em down or send a recorded note to yourself

A major problem with freelance writing ideas is they tend to disappear pretty quickly. We get distracted and poof, the idea is gone. Sometimes it will come back, but if you want to be sure you don’t lose it, you need a way to get it recorded in a way you’ll be able to find it again. I use an idea file on my desktop.

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make writing a priorityHow do you make writing a priority in your already busy life? Here are some tips that will help you do just that.

Know why

The first suggestion is to know why you want to make writing a priority. Seriously. If you’re having trouble writing regularly it may be time to examine your motives. It’s totally okay not to write, ever, or for this period in your life. Most people don’t write and many of them get along just fine.

On the other hand if you find yourself writing in the cracks of your schedule because you more or less must, it may be time to make writing a priority.

It’s just an experiment

However you decide to make writing a priority, keep in mind it’s just an experiment. Even if you find the absolutely perfect for you method of making writing a priority this week, the chances are your needs will change as your life changes. And your life will change. You get married or don’t, have kids or don’t, change jobs, move, and so it goes. Writing can stay a priority through it all, but how and when you write is apt to change. Don’t expect certainty.

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You Define Your Own Success as a Freelance Writer

success as a freelance writerDo you consider yourself a success as a freelance writer?

I ask because I’m seeing articles and ads that imply you can’t experience success as a freelance writer if you don’t write a book in 90 days or make a six or seven figure income, or have a gillion followers on social media, etc. etc. etc.

It seems a push toward more money, more prestige, more stuff comes around every year or so. Maybe I’m wrong, but some of it feels like they’re trying to convince me I’m not a real writer or a successful writer until I do it there way. When it does I feel like pushing back.

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7 Biggest Freelance Writing Myths in 2018

freelance writing mythsHave you bought into any of these freelance writing myths?

While it’s more likely a beginning writer will fall for these false beliefs, it’s not unknown for writers with some experience to discover they are trapped in one or more of them.

These freelance writing myths are indeed traps because they can slow your freelance writing career or stop it entirely.

Here they are:

A college degree is a must-have

This one has been around since the beginning of college degrees. I don’t know if it originated as part of the marketing of universities and other institutes of higher education or not. It may have fallen out of the academic world.

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hiring writersEver wish you could spy on those folks actually hiring writers? What clues might you find? How do they think? What makes them decide one writer over another? Any information on these issues is welcomed.

I clicked on a link that I think I’m going to reference on my pro site.

It’s called Tips, Tools & Resources to Find Great Freelance Writers for Hire by Megan Krause for something called Vertical Measures. The article showed up serendipitously on a google search. (Megan seems to write quite regularly for them, and I found other articles of interest to me, but I digress.)

The first roughly half of the article addresses just about everything we freelance writers for hire gripe about when we mutter about the folks who hire us. Since this article is aimed at our customer, it seems worth studying. Not only are we likely to lean something, we could use of these ideas could be used by us when we’re demonstrating our value to existing and potential clients.

Her advice to companies about what figuring out what they need to know to hire a writer that will meet or exceed their needs is darn close to revolutionary! She even sets out some pay rates that look good.

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freelance writing adviceFreelance writing advice comes in three flavors – the good, the bad, and the ugly.

How do I know? Simple. In my literally decades of writing I’ve often looked for freelance writing advice. I’ve experienced all three types.

Since I give freelance writing advice I suspect I’ve also given both good and bad advice. I’ve tried to avoid the ugly. I’ve got readers who seem to appreciate and use what I suggest for years at a time. Occasionally I run into a detractor.

The quality of any advice about anything is hard to quantify. So much depends on the motivation of both the advice giver and receiver.

Good freelance writing advice

Good freelance writing advice comes from someone whose been in the business awhile. As a rule of thumb, I’d want to know the advice giver had been successfully working as a freelance writer for at least five years. That’s fairly arbitrary. I’ve certainly learned more and more every year I’ve been writing, but by the end of five years I’d figured out the basics.

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declaration of independenceThe Declaration of Independence was written to celebrate our breaking away from the Kingdom of Great Britain on July 4, in 1776, some 242 years ago.

The opening of the second paragraph is perhaps best known:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. (Read the full text here.)

The Declaration of Independence left out some folks

It’s a pretty good document. The gaps and misunderstandings can be forgiven as long as we don’t continue to perpetuate them. Consider:

They were not mentioned in the Declaration of Independence, they were absent in the Constitution and they were invisible in the new political democracy. They were the women of early America. ~Howard Zinn

Zinn could have included blacks, Native American’s and any other person of color.

Although a slave owner himself, Thomas Jefferson proposed adding an attack on slavery, which stated in part: [click to continue…]

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