Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Realities of a Full-Time Freelance Writer Part One

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One of the biggest things I see and hear writers debate is the time commitment.  The thing is, if you want to be successful in this business, you must be willing to put forth a lot of time.  I like to say that no business person ever became successful only working 40 hours a week and this is true.

If you have other sources of income, or live with someone who helps with the bills, you cannot truly understand the strain of making an income via freelance writing.  You can write part-time and be fine.  Folks like me who are single and rely only on ourselves have to make a huge time commitment.

The amount of time I personally spend working every week is monstrous.  Add in full-time nursing school, being a caretaker for two people and having no-so-great health and it takes its toll.  However, the end benefit of financial security, as well as financial independence, is well worth the roll of the dice.

For me, just getting by is just not good enough.  I also enjoy having savings and the ability to have a few non-necessities from time to time.  I am willing to put in 80 to 100 hours a week to have a comfortable life.  Plus, I love what I do so most of it does not feel like work.

Now, I cannot tell you how much time you personally need to spend writing, as all of our situations are different and unique.  However, I can tell you that being a freelance writer is exactly like owning a business.  Businesses take time commitment and sacrifice.  Are you willing to do each of these?  If not, then there is a high chance that a career in freelance writing is not for you.

If you are not the sole bill payer, you may be able to get away with a lot less hours than I put in.  If you are like me and are single and completely self-reliant, then the time commitment will likely be very big.  Most will never have to work the hours I do because most people do not have the bills that I do (multiple monthly medical expenses and I am paying for nursing school completely out of pocket plus all regular adult bills).

I will say this: never kill yourself by working yourself into the ground, but never think that you can skate by by writing whenever the mood strikes.  You need to commit a certain amount of time each week based on your goals and stick to it.  This is a job afterall, and should be treated as such.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

What are the Best Times to Share on Social Media Sites?

I have always heard that there are specific times to share our articles, books, eBooks, etc. on Facebook and Twitter.  However, I always put off trying to learn exactly what these times are.  I ran across an article on Mashable that talks about the best times to share on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr.  Sharing at these specific times is said to guarantee more eyeballs on whatever we share.  Here is the article: The Best and Worst Times to Share on Facebook, Twitter.  Check it out and please comment if you notice some success with this. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Your Writer's Website/Portfolio

Today, several fellow writers and I have been discussing writer's websites/portfolios.  This made me think, "hmmm, mine really needs to be updated."  So, I will spend the week completely overhauling my site.  How is your site?  Do you have a site?  If you have one, why not take a few minutes to look it over and update as needed.  If you do not have a site, what are you waiting for?  A writer's website/portfolio is one of the best ways to get discovered on the web.  It puts everything clients need to know about you in a neat little package.  I am going to work on mine over the next few days and it is going to be completely different in a good way.  Once it is done, I will post a link here and will talk about what I did to create it so that ya'll can take the information and get your site either revamped or started.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Tips on Fighting Against Copyright Infringement

As writers, we have our work stolen more often than a politician lies.  If you are new to writing, unfortunately, you will face this issue as well.  For the most part, I just let it go because a large majority of the thieving sites are so far down the list on search engines that it will not really hurt me.  However, there have been times where the stolen article outranked my original article, or the site stole so much of my work that something just has to be done. 

A fellow writer put together a phenomenal resource for fighting against those who are not playing fair.  If you want to know how to reclaim your work and tell the thieves that they just cannot take your hard work, check out this extensive resource: CLICK HERE.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Is eLance Worth the Time?

It has been a while since I posted and now that I am on spring break and will be taking a lighter courseload next semester, I will be updating far more frequently. So, let's get to business. eLance is the topic of today's post. eLance is a bidding site for freelancers. It is great for writers and those with other media-related talents, such as design. A few months ago a fellow freelancer was sharing her successes with the site and this prompted me to give it a try. It took me 2 days and 4 bids to land my first assignment/contract there. The client I worked with was great. They provided precise and concise guidelines that made the 10-article project very easy to complete. This client also worked with me to ensure that the pay was fair for both of us. She asked me how long it would take me to complete the project and allowed me to set the deadline. I gave her a 48-hour deadline and spent 2 days working on the project. I sent the articles over as I completed them and the entire process went very smoothly. It took this client about 24 hours to review the articles and make sure that I met all guidelines. She sent me a message thanking me for my work and the money was released for me to "claim" and have sent to PayPal.

I almost thought this was too good to be true since my working with this client -- my first eLance client -- went so smoothly and was just flawless. So, I decided it was time to hunt down another project to bid on. I bid on 3 more projects and scored 1 of them. This project went equally as smoothly. The first client I had through eLance has become a regular client. I work with her on a weekly basis. The second client I picked up has sent me more work. My work with the second client is not weekly or as regular, but I have had 8 projects since the first one I completed for him.

Now, eLance is not all rainbow-sprinkled ponies. There are a lot of folks on there who want a lot of work for pretty much nothing. Because of this, I often have to really dig to find the gems, but the gems are definitely there. I am very happy that I took the advice of a friend and fellow freelancer and gave eLance a try. This site has become a regular part of my freelance client list. It certainly takes work, dedication and patience to get started with eLance and make it work, but it is definitely a viable source of work and income.

I will be posting more about eLance as I do more work there, learn more and figure out tips and tricks to be more successful there. However, for now, I just wanted everyone to know that eLance is a legit site where you can make some money. Also, I just have the free membership and do pretty well with that. To start out, I recommend just using the free membership to get used to things and get your first few gigs. Then, once you start to find success there and get into your rhythm, I think the membership would be worth it. For now, I am sticking with the free membership, but if I find some time to do more work there, I would certainly buy some more bids.

Friday, January 6, 2012

One Goal At a Time

One big thing I learned last year is that to go big, you have to start small. If you are like me, you probably have 50 goals, but it is impossible to work on all of these simultaneously. There are simply not enough hours in the day. So, my 2012 goal is to take one goal at a time and get it started and going while working on my paying work. Of course, I plan to get each of these goals to become paying too, but they are going to need nurturing to get there as they are blogs that will eventually become websites, e-books, novels and art projects.

Since I am working on beefing up my celebrity and entertainment writing, I figure getting my celebrity and entertainment blog off the ground will be my first goal. I will work this throughout January. Then, I will work my Cleveland news blog and NBA blog (both play into each other) throughout February. From there, I will work on building a new blog up each month as I maintain previously built blogs, move them onto domains, keep up with paying work and of course, keep my grades up in school. I will post links to the blogs here as I get them built up.

So, what are your goals for 2012 and how do you plan to tackle them?

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year

New year, new goals and aspirations all around. This is the perfect time of year to pull up any half-written articles and get researching so that you can finish them. Start a new blog, or two or four. Get that e-book started. Finish what you didn't last year and start something new for this year. These are my goals for writing this year. I am going to finish whatever I left half-finished last year and then start several new blogs, build them up and then get them onto their own domain throughout the year. I also plan to write several fiction and informational non-fiction e-books. This is going to be a big year. This should be a big year for all of us because you are truly the writer of your own destiny.