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9 Dangerous Freelance Writing Myths

Dangerous Freelance Writing MythsThere are all sorts of dangerous freelance writing myths out there. You know what I mean. All sorts of writers, good, bad, indifference and worse will post about the freelance writing game as if they know what they’re talking about. While many do, the one’s who don’t often make freelance writing sound either way better than it is or way worse.

Misinformation about our industry is  likely to lead the newcomer astray, and even occasionally blindside the more experienced writer, which is why I consider these dangerous freelance writing myths.

It’s easy – probably the worst of the dangerous freelance writing myths

Yes, some will tell you freelance writing is easy. It isn’t. It may be easier than digging ditches or spending hours on a factory floor, but maybe not. Writing takes serious mental energy and that’s hard work. It takes time to learn do write well, requires additional skills like reading and keyboarding plus discipline. You’re muscles aren’t likely to hurt after a writing session, but your brain may feel worn out.


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Quit Worrying About Writing Deathless Prose!

deathless proseIs writing deathless prose your goal?  You know, writing that will out live you and your progeny? Words of wisdom, wit, and feeling that will be quoted down through if not the ages, at least for a century or two? Is that what you’re aiming for, even secretly?

If it is, stop it!

It’s my hunch that it takes at least 100 years for any writing to be judged ‘deathless’ or ‘timeless’ or ‘classic.’ If it’s going to happen to your writing, or mine, it’s unlikely either of us will ever know about it, or care.

I’ve also known more than a few folks who longed to make a career out of writing, who even wrote with some frequency, but would never submit their writing for publication or to contests, or anywhere for fear it wasn’t ‘good enough.’

Deathless prose pursuit is about more than books

Although the idea of deathless prose is most often applied to novels, I’ve seen that same impulse for fame and maybe fortune interfere with all sorts of writing from poetry to tech writing. It gets in the way of folks who want to write good non-fiction as well as those who long to be creative with fiction.


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Tell Your Internal Editor to Wait!

internal editorDoes your internal editor every drive you crazy? Have you ever wasted an hour or so trying to compose the perfect title, or sentence or paragraph and had your internal editor insist nothing was good enough? Or maybe you’ve caught yourself unwilling or unable to choose between two words or even two ideas. If so that’s your internal editor.

Unlike professional editors, our internal editor is often more interested in trying to protect us against embarrassment or rejection, etc., then helping make our writing more readable, interesting and clear. That is, our internal editor, like the rest of the committee in our head, tries like mad to protect us from feeling pain, in this case mostly emotional pain. We may know as much about writing and editing as any professional,unless we keep our internal editor updated and trained to really support us it’s likely to get in our way.

An approach to asking our internal editor to wait

Once you recognize that the inside editor is actually trying to protect you from some sort of emotional upset, it’s fairly easy to ask it to wait. Here are the steps I use.


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shitty rough draftWriting a shitty rough draft requires some willingness. After all, that’s not what you want. You want prose that if not deathless, at least gets read by a number of readers and moves at least a few.

I submit until and unless you’re willing to throw yourself into what you know is likely to be a truly shitty rough draft, you’re not yet mature as a writer.

What I mean by shitty rough draft

I first heard this term when Molly Gordon, a wonderful coach used it during a workshop years ago. It’s now a mostly legit search term. Molly’s so ladylike I was briefly shocked.

I also knew immediately what she meant. It’s that rough, oh so rough draft I allow myself as a way to actually begin a project. I sometimes use it as  dumping ground, with lists, sentences, phrases and links to who knows what. It can be a mind map or just a list on paper. With luck there’s a thread of the story I’m trying to tell, or of the organization I’m working to bring to the idea, whatever it is.

Lose your fear of perfection that stalls you

Often we find ourselves staring at a blank screen feeling like we’re idiots because we are afraid what we write will be dreck. Which is what a rough draft often is.

Being willing to just write regardless of the quality frees you from those notions. After all, most of us rarely write something that doesn’t require rewriting. That’s the purpose of the rough draft, to get the ideas down on paper (screen) so we can begin to hone them through rewriting. Sometimes that rough draft needs to be pretty awful.


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committing the act of writingI’ve been committing the act of writing for a long time now.

In 6th grade I picked up a book that was full of romance, adventure, intrigue with more than a dash of sexual energy. I loved it and someplace as I read it I realized a human being had actually dreamed up the story and put those words on paper. I wanted to become like that person – I wanted to become and be a writer.

And, along with many other things, I have.

Allowing the magic

Yesterday a friend and I were nattering on about writing, particularly about that feeling that, when we are open, blessed and paying attention. It’s then that when we are committing the act of writing we are are also experiencing magic.

Our words feel just right as they appear on the screen in front of us (or on the paper, and it must be true when carving words, or painting them). Even better, when we go back and read what we have written we know in our soul that what we have written is good and true.


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How to Become a Freelance Sports Writer

(Sponsored post)

sports writerDespite the steadying decline of print newspapers, it’s arguably never been easier to nab yourself a job as a freelance sports writer.

Sports website owners from around the world are regularly looking for reliable writers to produce content on topics ranging from badminton to basketball.

To ensure you catch their eye, we’ve come up with a list of three simple tips to help get you started in the industry.

Every sports writer needs a blog

There’s arguably no greater way to showcase your writing skills to a potential client than your own blog. A recent survey by the domain provider branded.me revealed how 61 percent of respondents had received a job offer because of having their own website.

Before you choose the layout and begin writing, think about whether you’re going to provide regular vlogs or images alongside your written work. Chances are you’ll find knowing what you’ll write etc., will radically alter your chosen design/template.

Develop a content strategy

It’s also important to develop a content strategy from day one. Set yourself goals and be clear about how you expect to achieve them. Questions to ask yourself include:


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8 Steps to Create the Habit of Writing

habit of writingCreating the habit of writing will help you at all stages of your writing career. My habit of writing is why trust my ability to get the writing started and done. Even when I don’t write for a day or two, I know in my bones my habit of writing will make it easy to start writing again.

I’m not really sure how I learned to make a habit of my writing. I suspect it wasn’t deliberate but something that developed over time. Eventually I began to notice what was working and simply did more of that. Forming a habit of writing is something that worked, so I’ve done more and more of that, even before I noticed it.

Making writing a habit is certainly part of the discipline it takes to become a good writer and to successfully market yourself. The sooner you do, the quicker you’ll be on your way.

Make your writing number 1

Writing has to be your number one priority, at least while you’re forming the habit of writing. Oh sure, go to your job, take your family seriously, and do what you have to do, all the while making time for the writing as well. Certainly not easy and many before you have found ways – you can too.


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How to End Writing Procrastination in 1 Step

end writing procrastinationEnd writing procrastination in a single step. It’s really quite simple – maybe not easy, but simple.

You know the kind of thing I’m talking about – that article, or blog post, or book you’ve been postponing. It might be work for a client or it might be writing something for yourself. It doesn’t matter. You’re simply not getting it done.

You can, you know.

End writing procrastination in a moment!

Here’s the one step you can take that will end that procrastination:


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contingencies - woman with water thrown in her faceI regularly add an amount for contingencies when I’m creating the price for proposals. My goal is to protect myself and my business in the unforeseen events that can happen between a client and me as their writer.

Since I generally work by flat fees, I simply add between ten and twenty percent, even twenty-five percent,  to the total proposal. I don’t spell out that I’m adding a charge – there’s no reason to because my fees are my fees; how I got there really isn’t any of the client’s business.

I decide how much to add based on the type of project and how I feel about the client. If the project seems not clear enough and I can’t get clarity I’ll add at least ten percent. When the client seems difficult, I tend to go for the higher addition.

Here are the four reasons I love factoring in fees for contingencies:

Covers you for some scope creep

Scope creep is that sometimes subtle client request for additions that aren’t included in your proposal and contract. Left unchecked they can eat into your profit. Although you want to refuse or get more pay for major changes in the scope of the project, it’s also nice to accommodate the client’s request for some additions and know your price was high enough to allow you to do so without resentment.


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charge for writing“I’d like to charge for writing using a flat fee but I don’t know how long it will take me.”
“I always charge hourly so I know I’ll get paid for every minute I work.”

And so the debate continues. Is it better to charge for writing by the hour or by coming up with a flat fee for the whole project.

Of course, like so many things in freelance writing the real answer is “it depends.”

The pros and cons of charging for writing by the hour

The pros

Charging by the hour is dirt simple… provided you have a decent way to track all your time. You simply multiply the number of hours by your rate, and submit your invoice.


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