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!
As a freelance writer, you certainly want to present the best writing you can. Knowing how to write content that is well-written and well-researched gives you credibility and makes you shine in the eyes of your editor. When an editor is considering writers for the next assignment, you get the call.
However, there is another way to stand out in your editor’s mind. We all have our bad days, sure, but there are certain gaffes that, if they show up in your work consistently, will make your editor cringe and file you away in his or her brain as a weak writer.
To help you navigate the sometimes-uncertain world of web content, I thought I would share the top ten pet peeves that make most editors wince. But rather than looking at this as a list of peevish complaints, think of it as a handy checklist to go through before you submit a piece. I promise, your editor will be grateful.
So without further ado, here are the top ten editorial no-nos that make your editor grimace.
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.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading “Freewill.” The plot was original and the characters were easy to relate to. The paranormal aspect of the book was full of refreshing twists unlike recent books in this genre. It was good to read something that hasn’t been rehashed over and over again like other authors do these days. No vampires or zombies here and that is great! Elyse does a great job of giving her characters life. The character James was creepy and in some ways he reminds me of someone I used to know; in fact, the similarities were uncanny and frightening! I am definitely looking forward to the next installment in this series! Keep up the great work, Elyse!
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!
As we approach the Holiday season I find that my “free” time gets eaten up quite quickly by school performances, family gatherings and other various activities. OK, who am I kidding? It’s a misnomer that “free” time even exists. It doesn’t, especially if you have kids.
So if “free” time doesn’t exist, what are we left with? We are left with having to make our own decisions of how to best allocate our time so that we don’t waste any of these precious resources and stay as productive as we can while still enjoying life without all the stress and pressure. Sound like an impossible task? It’s not.
Planning this sabbatical while working a full time 40+ hour a week job and being a good husband and father at the same time while still making time for some of my own interests like photography has been problematic and trying to say the least. At times there are just not enough hours in the day and I am left scrambling late at night to get things done. These 10 tips are things that I have come across that have made my life less stressful and more productive. I hope they can do the same for you.
SFX magazine asked Eoin Colfer (the Artemis Fowler novels) the secret of getting started as a writer. He said, “Like an profession, you gotta keep doing it. You’re not gonna be a writer if you write just two pages a year. You’ll know people who are saying ‘Oh yeah, I’m writing a book!” And they’re basically talking about writing a book.”
He adds, “Try to bring something of yourself to the book rather than take everything from your favorite author…A good way to do that is in every story you write tell yourself, ‘Now I’m gonna put one thing in this that I’ve never heard anywhere before.’