I’m often asked by beginning writers, “How often do I need to write?” In many ways this is what I call a ‘how long is a piece of string question.’ That’s because the answer depends… It depends on you, your lifestyle, your motivation and more.
It’s also a natural question. After all, in the beginning of our writing career we really don’t have a clue. We know that regular jobs require eight hours a day or more. Do we, we wonder, have to spend that much time on our writing?
Write until you trust that you’ll write
I was reminded of this the last couple of weeks. I was sick, seriously I can barely get out of bed sick. Some sort of cold, flu, something that sapped my energy. The first five or six days I didn’t even think about this blog or any of my other writing. As I began to recover there came a moment when I realized I hadn’t written a thing in over a week! That’s highly unusual for me, but I trust my writing. I knew when I started feeling even semi-human I’d start to write again, and so it was.
When it comes to SEO, we are in a constant state of learning through trial and error. What works today might be irrelevant tomorrow. What’s worse is that what works for one client or company doesn’t work the same on another. There is no step by step magic formula or a defined strategy we can follow that will help us increase ranking and bring traffic to the site.
We are scientists that are always testing out theories and trying to come up with a winning formula. It also doesn’t help that we are working with on hand behind our back, trying to guess what Google likes and approves.
What does On-Page Optimization mean for Freelancers Writers?
As Google updates the algorithms and becomes smarter, it is our job to understand what it labels as the most valuable. The common denominator we have found in all of the equations is the user. Yes, we are optimizing content for search engines, but they are, in return, optimizing for the person that is reading our content.
Yikes, I published this before I’d finished the article – see, mistakes happen to us all. Here’s the whole post:
I’ve had a brand new, for me, idea. It’s called 4 40 Flash Coaching for Writers. It looks like this:
You’ll get four 40 minute sessions with me over the phone in one week intervals.
The first session we’ll do a Visioning. Together we’ll use the information we discovered and determine the content of the next three sessions.
Included in each session will be time for you to outline your problems and get some suggested solutions that we will work out together. I will gently hold you accountable by asking for your wins and misses.
Yes, you’ll have an assignment from each session, one that you create or we create together. Yes, we will check in at the start of every session to figure out what worked and what didn’t.
You’ll also have access to me via email while we’re working together. I’ll do my best to answer in 24 hours.
Sound like a good idea?
Just click the PayPal Link below. You should be able to enter your phone number on the payment form. If not, no worries, just email me your phone number and I’ll call you to schedule your sessions. You can use the same email to ask a question or two. You can also reach me through the Contact page here.
Is there a bigger time waster than the potential client or an actual client can’t or won’t make up their mind? Of course there is, but not many that can make you feel absolutely crazy.
You know what I mean. I’m talking about the potential client who keeps you on the string and/or the client you have under contract who can’t decide exactly what they want.
Either way they are time sinks. In fact, the time waster actually costs you money because you could be using the time you’re wasting chasing or negotiating or explaining again again could be used for paying work. You deserve better.
Your goal is to ether help that time waster get off the dime and make a decision or you should decide they aren’t worth the effort.
Time waster examples
Time waster clients come in two types – those who waste your time before they hire you and those who waste your time after they hire you.
Why should they hire you as a writer?
Do you know the answer to this question? You should. You need to know the skills and talents you bring as a writer that set you apart from other writers.
When you can answer why they should hire you you’ll find landing freelance writing gigs much easier than it is if you don’t.
Here’s why you need to know
You need to be able to articulate why a client you want should hire you because you are unique. You have a particular set of writing skills that are based on any number of things, including these four:
You know your price for writing, right? You charge $X by the hour or the word or the page etc. You know your price gives you enough to for all of your expenses as well as at least some of your wants.
If you don’t know this it’s time to go back and re-figure how you’ll charge for your services.
Now, how do you feel when quoting your price? Confident? Scared? Excited? Broke? Desperate? Eager? In other words, do you worry about your client’s sticker shock?
Do you fear client’s sticker shock?
Many writers do, and it’s a shame. You know the feeling, it’s when you’re afraid your price is to high for the person you’re quoting it too. It’s a funny thing, because in the U.S. at least there’s very little bargaining for goods and not a whole lot for many services. If you buy a salad at a restaurant, the price is the price and you choose to pay it or you choose something else even if it’s another restaurant. When you hire a lawyer or a plumber you either pay their price or you don’t.
OMG! I just noticed that I have posted 2,080 blog posts – in fact this one makes it 2,081! (Assuming WordPress can count my posts accurately – I certainly haven’t tried to keep track.)
And that’s while I’m also ghostwriting books, writing about politics and election integrity, experimenting with gathas, writing blog posts for others. As well as living my life.
I’m quite impressed!
The secret of 2,000 + blog posts
The secret of writing that many blog posts isn’t really a secret. Writers like me who give other writers and would-be writers would mostly say the same thing:
You’ve absolutely got to put the words down on paper or on screen.
And you’ve got to do it regularly.
Interruptions like robo-calls (is there anything more annoying and useless on the planet? Probably, but I can’t think what at the moment) are exactly the kind of thing that, if I don’t turn my phone off, can drive me clear off course. Someone dropping by to talk about business is fine if they keep to that, otherwise it’s like other interruptions, annoying and non-productive. And if you’ve got young children at home where you’re working, interruptions are guaranteed.
Interruptions break your concentration, making a train wreck out of your thinking and even your writing if your not careful. They make me want to tear my hair out. Bet you often feel the same.
Of course, a real truth about life in these times is interruptions are a fact of life. The trick, then, is to figure out how to deal with them so you’re not taken so far off course.
Start by protecting yourself. Turn off the your cell and your landline if you have one. Put a sign on your door asking not to be disturbed. Think about the last few times you were thrown off course by something you weren’t expecting. Spend a few minutes imagining what you might have done to avoid those altogether. The chances are you’ll find at least a couple of things you can do proactively to make it easier for you to stay focused.
‘Scope of work’ is one term used to refer to the details of, among other things, a writing gig.
Sometimes defining the work you’ll do is pretty simple – a 500 word blog on how to get up in the morning, or a one page sales letter introducing the newest widget.
At other times, usually when you’re dealing with a brand new client or a more complex project, the scope of work can be quite detailed. In either case the goal is to make sure you and your client are on the same page.
What to include
It’s often up to you, the writer, to figure out exactly what the scope of work really is. In addition to your name and contact information, the client’s name, title, billing address and contact information you want at least the following:
- Date the contract or scope of work is agreed upon and/or signed
- Definition of the project
- Statement of projects purpose
- How changes to the agreement can be made
- Who signs off on it and arranges payment
- Due date
- Payment and how it will be made