Sunday, May 15, 2011

Week Two

Sorry for the late update, Blogger was on the fritz and I could not update as promised. Week Two was a struggle, but I made it and ended with $917. I used Writer Access, BrightHub (one article), Yahoo Contributor Network and Demand Studios. I also wrote a Gather politics article through Skyword, but that is still working it's way to earning.

I actually was able to work fewer hours last week and earn more money. For starters, I broke down how much I needed to earn per day to meet my goal and I did this by dividing $875 by 5. I wanted to only work 5 days. Or, at least strive for it. I ended up working just over 60 hours, but I took more breaks, had lunch with a friend, ran my own errands, etc. I was generally more rested. Those of you who know me well know that I have the habit of putting work ahead of everything. Well, this week, I took a different tact. I got all of my work done while also living a little. I carried this into to week three and once all of the math is done, I will further discuss this.

It is incredibly important to meet your financial and professional goals, but it is also important to stop and smell the roses as well.

Last night on the radio show I do with fellow veteran writer Amy Browne, The Freelance Connection, I also talked a bit about last week's challenge and how it went. We also discussed Panda and several different writing gigs you may want to look into if you are looking for other clients. We do the show on the second Friday of every month from 6:00pm to 8:00pm Eastern time. You can click the link above and listen to the recorded version of the show if you missed it.

I am short on time today because I have a few things I need to do for school, but I will be updating you on week three within the next 48 hours as long as Blogger doesn't go on the fritz again. I also have a series of posts coming up with a variety of tips and advice.

Also, really quick. During the months of June and July I will continue to share income-earning strategies and the like, but you of course are not going to earn money without clients, so that will be the primary focus: 20 minutes a day and an online portfolio. I will work to teach you how to score new clients with just 20 minutes a day and an online portfolio. I will help you build one and will share mine of course and will then share strategies and resources to help you fine and land new clients and gigs in just 20 minutes a day.

I will also be going through all of your comments and messages over the next two to three days and addressing those. So, no, I promise I have no forgotten about you. I just could not access them for a few days.

Until next time. Happy Writing!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Quick Update

Sorry, been crazy busy. I will have a full update for last week and some other information for ya'll tomorrow. I just wanted to give you a quick post to let ya'll know that everything is going fine and on track. I made last week's goal and all is going well. I will break it all down tomorrow and will have more information.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

How to Write Faster Part One

I had a fellow writer request I talk about this and I am asked about this often. I will tell you that when I first started writing, my articles took hours to write. I never thought I would ever become a faster writer. Then, as time passed me speed increased. Also, as that time passed, I learned some tricks and techniques to increase my writing speed. I do want to note though that speed should never trump quality. Some articles need that extra love and will just take longer. However, I want to say that on average, an online freelance writer should be spending an average of 30 to 45 minutes per article. This time includes your research and/or fact-checking, the writing of the article, your proofreading and editing and sending the article to your client. I know this sounds like a lot of work to cram into 30 to 45 minutes, but it really is not once you learn the art of online writing.

First and foremost, make your research count. If you are doing separate research for every single article, you will naturally take longer to write each article. What I like to do is use one research session for multiple articles. This can and has been done thousands of times. Your topic will depend on how far you can break it down. For example, I can turn a good research session on heart disease into close to 100 articles (seriously, do some research), but research on ovarian cyst ruptures will only produce a handful of articles. So, from a single research session on ovarian cyst ruptures that took me 15 minutes because all I did was fact check because I already know the topic, I was able to write five articles that were credible, accurate and written with authority because I wrote them from the perspective of a health care provider (will get to this tip later). I spent about 2.5 to 3 hours writing, proofing, editing and submitting those 5 articles. Now, the heart disease research obviously would take me a lot longer. Thankfully, I know a lot about it, but still have to check my facts and triple check stats and read over studies. This is a larger project that I would spread out and write a few heart disease articles here and there and keep the research in a file. This way, I am remaining productive and getting my other work done too.

Write what you know. I know you've heard this 1,000 times and for good reason. When you write what you know you save time and you write with authority. Your readers can sense that authority and it gains their trust. And again, it saves you time. As many of you know, my background falls in health and medicine so this is what I mainly focus on writing. I can write an article on colon cancer symptoms in 20 minutes and spend 10 more minutes fact-checking (incredibly important regardless of how well you know the topic), proofing, editing and sending to article to my client. I just spent 30 minutes crafting an entire article from start to finish.

Work on your typing speed if it already is not fast. If you are picking and pecking at the keys, you will be slower. Just open up an empty file and start typing what you see around you, what's on TV, about your kids or pets, or anything. Just type. Practice, practice, practice. I was horribly slow with typing when I first started writing and as time passed and I practiced I got faster and more accurate.

I am going to end this here for today. There are more tips that I will share throughout the month, but I am against a deadline that I need to knockout tonight. Stay tuned for more tips on all things writing.

Image Credits: Roz Woodward

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Purdue Online Writing Lab

More commonly known as OWL, the Purdue Online Writing Lab is a great resource for writers. Whether you are writing an article or a paper for school you will find this site useful. I promise! Also check out their grammar blog.

On OWL you can learn about general writing, subject specific writing, research and citation (different ways to cite like APA, MLA, AP, etc) and more. When you have about 20 minutes to spare, I highly recommend you check this site out and browse it. I also suggest you bookmark it for future reference. All of the OWL services are free too!

Image Credits: Minimil

Monday, May 2, 2011

Freelance Writng Challenge End of Week One

So, week one is over and let me tell you it was a long week. Like I said in my last post, I now remember how hard it is being a new freelance writer. As you know my weekly goal for last week and the next four weeks is $875 per week. I end last week with....drum roll please....$873. Yeah, somehow I miscalculated by $2.00. Did I mention that math was not my thing? I ended up working a full day on Saturday and some hours yesterday to hit that goal due to wind-related power outages and something else I had to take care of that cropped up. For the challenge last week, I used the following sites: Yahoo Contributor Network, Demand Studios, BrightHub and Skyword (Daily Glow and Gather).

Okay, so let's talk about this week. I am going to focus on the sites I used last week of course, but I also decided to try and give Examiner another go. Not sure why yet, but I have had a gut feeling for a few months now that I should revive my Examiner page and post at least two to three times a week. Call it women's intuition I guess.

I am also going to add some WriterAccess articles to the mix.

The month at a glance. I will continue to work the sites I discussed above. I will also be applying to new sites and private clients. As promised, any private client income will not be included in the $875 per week total. I will be doing the queries and sharing the experience and results with you only as a way to help you learn to do it. I will also share my experience and results with other sites I choose to apply to.

I also have several new blogs, and a few old, but neglected ones, that will take off this month thanks to Marie Anne St. Jean's new blogging challenge for May. I highly recommend checking that out if you did the A to Z Challenge and just are not ready to stop with the blogging challenges yet.

So all in all, week one was a success, minus $2.00 due to my severely lacking math skills. I am ready to take on May head on and am looking forward to all of you and your individual challenges and goals too. Please comment and share your goals and progress with all of us here on the blog. As always, if you have any questions, drop a comment and I will do my best to answer it.

So I leave you with a beautiful tropical beach. I cannot think of a better way to start a new month and a new week!

Image Credits: Image Source