My Examiner article from August 23, 2013. Hopefully it’s helpful advice for budding freelancers.
September is “Be Kind to Editors and Writers Month.” Many writers and editors earn a living as freelance workers. A freelancer is someone who sells services to clients without the commitment of long-term employment to any one person. Freelance writers and editors are able to work on a variety of projects for various clients at fees that are agreed upon between the client and the freelancer. This allows freelancers to diversify their skills and improve their portfolios while working with different people.
Reasons for becoming a freelancer
Freelancing is wide open with opportunities for professionals in many areas. Forbes lists the writing professions as some of the top areas where freelancing continues to be a prosperous option. Many people begin freelancing to escape the routine of the traditional workplace. They want the freedom to set their own hours, rates of pay, assignments they want to work on and the ability to work wherever they choose. Some do it because of the lagging job market and the inability to find suitable work in the private sector. Still others choose to freelance because of family obligations such as child or elderly care issues or health concerns.
It has been a while since I added any new content here! I hope to remedy that. Over the past year and a half, my wife and I have been busy being foster parents to two mischievous boys, ages seven and nine. Well, they have now been back with their biological family for a month and the “empty nest” is starting to become more and more real to me.
Now that I am not playing “Mr. Mom” anymore – at least until a new placement comes into our home – I will have more time for one of my other great loves – writing. Not that I have been completely dormant as a writer. I have a few projects that I am working on, namely a children’s book and a sort of memoir, both revolving around the topic of bullying. I also continue my assignments at Examiner.com as the Rockford (IL) Workplace Issues Examiner. You can find my work for Examiner here.
As I progress on the books I am writing, I will give updates here. I also plan to post some excerpts as they become available. I am targeting the middle of 2014 for publication of both books. They will be available on Smashwords and Amazon. Until then, keep reading whatever you can get your hands on, even if it’s just for a few minutes per day. Keep your brain sharp and your heart open!
An enormous amount of content comes across the transom of social networks like Facebook. We share business and personal information, news, entertainment, inspiration, and a whole host of things in between. And we do this for a variety of reasons depending upon our goals. Those of us who engage in relationship marketing for business, however, want to attract potential customers and clients.
Call them friends, followers, tweeple, pinners, or a tribe, it’s all the same. We want our presence on social networks to work like a beacon shining into the darkness and guiding people to our pages on social networks and, ultimately, to our websites. Eventually, we also want the people who connect to us to purchase something from us. For that to happen, though, we first have to have something to say to these people. Actually, we have to have something worth reading.
It’s the words we write on these social networks that make people want to connect with us—to like our pages, subscribe to our updates, or follow us. And it’s by reading our status updates and the links we offer that they begin to trust and like us—and that’s why they buy our products and services.
Many relationship marketers don’t realize they are leaving one important potential product untouched—one they may have created already or could create as they continue their networking activities. It’s a product that also will enhance their trust factor and expert status. What is it? A book.
Stop and consider all the content you produce. It could be repurposed into a book, or, better yet, you could be writing that content as you network with the end goal of producing a book.
Below is a video presented by Rebecca Sato from zenlife.net. She offers advice on becoming a professional freelance writer. Her series is available on YouTube at expertvillage, where she discusses how to honestly judge your writing ability and how to turn that ability into a rewarding career.
Ms. Sato has been a science and health researcher for the past few years. Her goal is to teach people to live a long and healthy life.
Here is an article that outlines some of the most common writing boo-boos. For the record, the one on comma usage is my biggest pet peeve. If you vomit commas on me, I will get rather surly….
Professional writers often worry that their work is unnecessary. After all, can’t anyone with even a basic education write? The answer: no, they can’t. Even college graduates don’t seem to be learning composition basics.
Of course not everyone is going to be the next Mark Twain, but career success does depend on not looking stupid. Sure, some clients, coworkers, or resume readers might make some of these mistakes themselves. But it takes just one person to see just one mistake for you to be discounted.
Avoid these 11 mistakes and get the job, make the sale, and write better!
I love the article that is linked below. It says everything that I would want to say if I were asked the same question! Reading this article gives a lot of insight into the writer’s mind.
I have always had an easier time expressing myself through the written word. People who have never met me face-to-face might be surprised about how shy I can actually be. I can go for a while, saying absolutely nothing to people that I am very familiar with on Facebook or Twitter and the like. Put a keyboard in front of me and I become the guy that people are most familiar with (my handwriting looks like a chicken shit on the paper, so don’t even ask!) .
People have tried to change this quirk in my personality. I even got dinged for it on my job evaluations – using memos and emails too much to communicate. My answer to that was mainly to throw the same bullshit back at the people making the critique – I knew others that were no better about face-to-face yacking than I was. Don’t preach if you’re not listening to the sermon, Reverend!
Someday it might be nice to meet some of the people I have met through social networking. If we do happen to meet, don’t be surprised if I take a while to warm up. I guess I’m just like that old Buick I used to have – never take it out on a cold day until the heater had a chance to fire up. I will warm up and when I do, you may regret wishing I would speak up. I’m a foul-mouthed SOB and my humor can get really raunchy. But I like to have fun and if we get together, I will eventually do my part to make things lively! Just don’t expect me to drive the Buick out of the garage for a bit, OK?
As freelancers, the number of words we can write in a given hour can directly determine our income. On the surface, it makes sense to say that, if we can write faster, we’ll earn more money. At the same time, though, even if you can type 120 words per minute, that doesn’t necessarily translate into the pay rates we’d all like to see. Most writers hit an upper limit of good words they can write in a given day and while we can all bang away at the keyboard for hours after we’ve reached that limit, it’s usually pretty obvious that things aren’t going quite as well.
I thought I’d post this article for others to read. We cannot let this art-form die. It seems that kids are into the Internet and other electronic media to much to really care about writing anymore. It is up to the parents and the teachers to make sure that children continue to read and write. I don’t want to see good writing become extinct – do you?