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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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108 Things This Freelance Writer is Grateful for in 2018

freelance writing website

Years ago I was in a class with Rev. Guy Williams, now senior minister at the Center for Spiritual Living in Fallbrook, CA, when he challenged us about gratitude.

The second challenge was “If you can’t be grateful for something, stand there until you can be.” An amazing exercise which I will write about come to think of it.

The first challenge was to write down 100 things we were grateful for every day – at least during the class. I took that on and quickly began to use set of mala beads. Mala beads are a Buddhist rosary with 108 beads and it was at the time the closest rosary I had. So I began to count off gratitudes daily using that.

At some point I decided to create a list of 108 things I’m grateful as a Thanksgiving post here. I looked it up and I’ve been doing this since at least 2008 – making this the tenth anniversary. How about that! The only rule is I write it on Thanksgiving day as close to all at once as I can. Like this:

  1. That the true story of Thanksgiving is now easily available, like this one: Everything You Learned About Thanksgiving Is Wrong
  2. The internet and the information and connections with others it allows me to make.
  3. Cats – always cats
  4. Dudley, the tuxedo cat in particular
  5. Teachers like Rev. Guy who challenge me in many ways.
  6. Cait Casey
  7. Carol Spong
  8. Claudia Previn Stansy  and her husband, Jeff
  9. Democracy Counts!
  10. Daniel H. Wolf and founder of Democracy Counts!
  11. Pulkit K. Agrawal and team member at Democracy Counts!
  12. Pulkit’s mom who taught me just how good Indian food can be.
  13. The rest of the Democracy Counts team – some I’ve met once (Eric and Nancy), and others not at all.
  14. Chris Scott, inventor of IWood
  15. Frederick Jackson, owner and operator of The Healing Space
  16. Zen Buddhism
  17. SWZC, where I currently live
  18. The cottage I rent there.
  19. The Quan Yin Garden
  20. Growing tomatoes
  21. Nathan Doshin Woods
  22. Ryan Ando Lennon
  23. Electricity
  24. Running water
  25. Fresh water
  26. Hot water
  27. The fountain in the Quan Yin Garden
  28. Gas for the stove
  29. Gas for heat
  30. Washing machine
  31. Dryer
  32. Clothesline
  33. My computer
  34. My monitor
  35. My connection to the ‘net
  36. My keyboard
  37. My iPad
  38. (And I’ve finally gotten grateful for) my smart phone
  39. Humidifiers
  40. My car
  41. My car’s engine
  42. My cars tires and breaks
  43. That my car is paid for
  44. Herb Deer
  45. My living room rug
  46. Jennifer Simmons
  47. Cathy Miller
  48. Lori Widmer
  49. Sharon Hurley Hall
  50. Anne Seisen Saunders
  51. Roosevelt Roshin Ulloavaldivieso
  52. Lots of hot water for showers
  53. My daughter, Linda Wilder Cullins
  54. Linda’s husband, Chris
  55. My son and Linda’s brother, Mike Wilder
  56. Mike’s wife, Gloria Leichter Wilder
  57. Their daughter Emily Rose (my granddaughter)
  58. Their son Ben (my grandson)
  59. My son, Steve Wilder
  60. His wife, Stacy
  61. Their daughter Valerie (my granddaughter)
  62. Their son Cole (my grandson)
  63. Jay Evans
  64. Joanna Macy
  65. CRMs
  66. Opensource software
  67. Eggs
  68. Chickens
  69. Fish
  70. The Pacific Ocean – all of it
  71. Boats, particularly sail boats
  72. The Atlantic Ocean
  73. Mississippi River
  74. Missouri River
  75. Sacramento Delta
  76. Great Lakes
  77. Money, that I have, had, and will have.
  78. Sweetwater River
  79. Santa Margarita River
  80. City Heights
  81. Martin Eder
  82. Dwain Dolan
  83. Ellie Winslow
  84. Seijo
  85. Cut flowers
  86. Houses with curves and arches
  87. My lace curtains
  88. Rain!
  89. Sunshine
  90. Fog
  91. Winds and breezes
  92. Abraham Hicks
  93. Libraries
  94. Books
  95. Authors
  96. Online bookstores like Abe’s
  97. Hmm, am I grateful for online dating? It’s a mixed bag for sure
  98. Medium
  99. Video
  100. Movies
  101. Live theater
  102. Live music
  103. Music
  104. Dance
  105. Art
  106. Farmer’s markets
  107. Meandering by car or by foot
  108. Beaches

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my writing routineHow do I get back to my writing routine?

It’s actually pretty simple; I sit down and write.

But it doesn’t quite feel that way. After all, not only was I gone a full week, that week was on one of the more interesting projects I’ve been involved with. As part of Democracy Counts! (www.DemocracyCounts.org) I spent a week in Broward County more or less beta testing our software and systems for the same-day audits of elections.

If you’ve been paying attention to election news you know that Broward County in Florida has been fraught with problem elections almost forever. We became part of all that for the 2018 mid-terms. (And yes, they’ve finished the recount… finally!)

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Distraction-Free Writing is a Myth!

distraction free writingTo me, distraction-free writing is my idea of heaven… and like heaven we have no certainty that it exists.

Okay, right now I’m more distracted than usual. I leave in two days for a week in Florida – and this happening was only confirmed last night.

Do you know how many things I have to get done, people I need to notify, and… well of course you do. You’d be in exactly the same position as I am, scrambling.

Yes, it’s a business trip and there’s a ton of business prep left to do as well.

My mind is elsewhere.

What prevents distraction-free writing?

Lots of things get in the way of writing.

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When a Client Doesn’t Like What You’ve Written

Client Doesn't Like What You've WrittenOnce in a while a client flat doesn’t like what you’ve written. I’m not talking about requests for minor tweaks and corrections, that’s all part of the game. No, I’m talking about those rare times when a client informs you they don’t like your efforts at all.

It’s hard to hear that a clien’t doesn’t like what you’ve written. It feels personal, and like you’ve made some sort of horrid mistake. If the client is angry, the news of his discontent may be accompanied by threats of non-payment and the loss of future work. In other words all the ingredients necessary to turn your day sour indeed.

Time for a couple of deep breaths

When you get word that the client doesn’t like what you’ve written, take a deep breath or two. Tempting as it is to react, do your best not to. Here are a series of thoughts and steps that will help:

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Possible Benefits of Journaling for Freelance Writers

journalingJournaling can seem a natural offshoot of freelance writing. The most obvious benefit is when your journaling you’re also writing, and writing is almost always a good thing for writers.

Unlike those who always do morning pages or other forms of daily diary keeping, I’m keep a sporadic journal of sorts. Dig around in my computer and you’ll find all sorts of essays, drafts of essays, pages of complaint and celebration, any of which could fall under the rubric of journal writing.

It seems this kind of writing can be divided at least in two – as a way to process feelings and as a way to memorialize a life.

Journaling as a way to process feelings

I tend to process my feelings by writing fairly often. Whenever I find myself unhappy about anything from my love life to the size of my middle, I tend to write about it. Over time I’ve written about each of my kids multiple times, most of my friends, people I’m angry with, when I feel hurt, even about being sick and current money situations. You name it. I sometimes rant about politics to myself.

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freelance writing websiteIf you’re a freelancer, you need your own freelance writing website. It doesn’t have to be great or fancy, really, but it needs to be there.

In this day and age, any potential client shopping for a freelancer is going to Google you. If you don’t have a site, people will wonder why.

These 5 tips will more than get your started.

  1. If possible name your site after yourself. Using your full name or an obvious variant helps people who know you find you.  My pro site is AnneWayman.com – I got it ages ago. Cathy Miller was able to score MillerCathy.com. My son, Michael R. Wilder registered MrWilder.com. I just looked and JRSmithWriter.com is available… Try your first and middle name, your initials, the kind of writer you are, etc.  at one point. Whatever you end up using make sure it’s easy to remember and easy to say on the telephone.
  2. Choose your host carefully. Your host is where your site is actually stored and made available on the ‘net. I like BlueHost (yes, that’s an affiliate link – use it and I’ll earn a commission) because their customer service is 24/7 and all their techs speak excellent English. They also know their stuff.
  3. Build your site with WordPress. WordPress is thought of as blogging software, but it’s truly a very flexible content management system. This site is on WordPress and is a blog. So is AnneWayman.com and it operates like a static website. BlueHost and others have a one button WordPress install that makes getting started a snap.
  4. You’ll build your site on a WordPress theme. There are gagillions of them these days, and many free ones. Start with whatever default theme shows up. One of the joys of WordPress is you can change your theme, totally redesigning your site, with the click of a button. Use the default theme to get familiar with WordPress.
  5. Websites are never perfect. So put yourself on a deadline, of no more than a week or two before you have enough to publish your site so the world can find you.

Remember what your freelance writing website is all about

The whole reason your building a website is to  increase your client base and up your income.

That isn’t the only benefit. You can, and should, create some great content for yourself and use social media to actively increase your base.

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Why Pro Bono Projects Can be Dangerous for Freelancers

pro bono projectsPro bono projects are the ones we undertake to do at no charge, aka free.

We all get asked to ‘write for free‘ and you’ve heard me caution against it in many cases. Sigh!

While there can be good reasons to give away from of your writing, be careful.

Be extra careful if you find yourself volunteering for what might be called a project. It probably includes some writing and is likely to also require some meetings, and any number of things that take you, (and me) away from our writing.

Ah the interesting worthwhile project!

Let me give you an example that I’m working with at the moment. Three or four weeks ago I ran into the CEO/Founder of a tech start-up non-partisan, non-profit organization that has developed a way of audit elections before an election is certified. If there’s a discrepancy, the certification can be delayed until a real investigation is held. I love it!  (It’s called DemocracyCounts! and you can get all the info you want at the web link.) It’s important work that makes total sense to me and I quickly volunteered.

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