Writer’s block. Blank pages. Frustration. The list goes on when it comes to writing a novel or writing your own story. Not just writing it, but making sure the end product is worth getting. You have a message to deliver and it has to be powerful and have impactl. So why are you struggling to come up with words?
From personal experience, let me tell you – you’ll be surprised.
What do you have to say? Do you know how to say it? If not, your message will definitely come back to bite you in the fanny. We’re seeing it every day in the news, aren’t we? People say foolish comments and try to take them back (i.e. delete their tweets and Facebook posts). But it’s too late, the damage has been done. What’s even sadder is it’s something that could be prevented in the first place! Continue reading “Communication Will NEVER go out of style”
Hello and Happy Tuesday to you all! I know, It’s been a HOT MINUTE since I’ve been around. Believe me, it’s not because I fell off…well in way, I did. From blogging at least. It’s because I’ve been heavily occupied with life, work and new clients. So it’s a good thing, right? Since I had a moment, I figured I should take advantage and give you all a shout!
These past couple of months have been really fast-paced. When I first dove into writing, things were moving really slow (of course they were) and some days seemed as if my voice wasn’t getting to anyone. Even though I felt that way some days, I still kept posting and interested readers would trickle in. Well while that was going on I was doing traditional networking and so many doors have opened since then, which makes me extremely excited for the coming year!
Shout out to Kim of Abundant Life Initiative, who provided me an opportunity to share an experience of mine with her audience. I don’t quite remember how we connected, but at some point we were really impressed with each other’s blogs. Check out the post here. There will be many more to come in the near future. =)
There have also been pavement pounding sessions that caused new relationships to form. This is mainly because I’ve chosen one particular cause to cover through my writing. It’s a cause that is near and dear to me as a person and a writer and I intend to raise awareness about it. What’s the point in being a writer if you have no particular passion? When I write about this particular topic I don’t try to impress, I just write. Some folks have noticed this to my surprise and are interested in collaborating with me on different projects which brings an unique type of joy to me. I’ll be conducting interviews, creating new programs and attend specialized meetings because of this topic and the way I chose to go about addressing it with my writing. Check out my posts on Intimate Partner Violence here. I’m not sure if I will post on this particular site about the topic, because it was designed for my freelance experience and work portfolio, but we’ll see what happens.
Moving ahead for the new year…
I’ve continued to have new clients referred to me and more meetings with folks (most of them other bloggers) that are interested in working with me. The opportunities abound!
Of course, there was a lot of cultivation for these opportunities to happen. It’s a very exciting time. Since I’m a strong believer in face-to-face interactions, I recently started a meet up group specifically for career enhancement. In the past several months, I’ve helped quite a few individuals with their career by providing them guidance and sharing my own experience with them for encouragement. So if you’re in the DC area, stop by one of our meet ups! The experience will be a fulfilling one!
From the new relationships I’m forming, I expect more business opportunities to arise for my writing and consulting services. I have to be prepared for that so I’ve been touching up my skills on copy writing and pushing to stay on top of my reading.
Even though it’s been kind of slow around these parts, trust and believe other areas have been very busy! For instance, I still post useful articles on my Hub Pages site, including my first recipe! It doesn’t hurt to step out of the box every now and then, which I plan on doing from here on out!
Deciding to get back into writing and use it for an outward purpose has been a fulfilling experience. Whether it’s writing or blogging, new ideas, skills and confidence levels have definitely developed!
What have you been up to? I’d like to know your plans for the new year.
Real talk – the freelance business has boomed in recent years and continues to grow at very high rates. For very good reason too; people are becoming tired of the challenges that come with working for someone and desire to be their own boss. So there is clearly a shift in the economy and the workforce which should alert anyone who calls themselves a freelance writer. Continue reading “Why You Need to Develop Your Own Voice as a Writer”
You want to get more into writing, but you’re afraid your work will tank once it’s posted. Don’t have a negative attitude towards your own work. If your writing is not where you feel it should be, look over these 5 ways you can build your skills and confidence as a promising writer.
There are writing prompts galore all over the ‘net that will put your writing skills to work. Some sites offer daily and weekly prompts to get you moving in case you’re stuck on what topic to write or blog about. These can serve as great exercises since your writing is put to practice. So the more you do writing prompts, the better. Furthermore, once you link your post back tot he writing prompt site, you’re bound to get feedback from readers that can be really helpful for you (it will also generate a lot buzz on your blog). This is great because you get to engage with other writers who may be trying to improve their writing skills as well. Here are some sites that offer great writing prompts:
If you’re not already an avid reader, you should start developing this habit. No, you don’t have to go through a whole set of encyclopedias and grab a pen a paper, but its important to keep your brain engaged by reading more than you often do. The newspaper, short stories and the latest novel will definitely get your writing gear motivated to get productive. Being exposed to different types of writing can only serve as inspirational for your own work. Not only will you see different ideas and expressions, but you’ll also be exposed to new types of vocabulary and sentence-structuring. Your brain loves this kind of stuff. Besides, the material you read will provide you with plenty more prompts to blog or write about. This creates a better atmosphere of engagement with your audience as well.
Keep a Journal
Not that you have to disclose the details of your private life tot he world, but having a notebook is handy when certain thoughts come to your mind; many times we’ll come across something that will prompt us to write but by the time we sit down to do it the thought has gone. Keep a notebook to jot down ideas and thoughts that hit home or you may want to share with your readers. Write what you observe about life or people and incorporate that into your writing. Over time, you can go through the journal and see how your voice has progressed on paper. This is a definite confidence booster and will give you more things to write about.
As the saying goes, practice makes perfect. You have to develop a habit of writing on a regular basis. Your skills will build and your voice will definitely develop. The journal and writing prompts mentioned above will definitely help build consistency. The more you practice, the stronger your writer voice will develop. You’ll also be more inspired to write – to the point where you won’t really need prompts anymore. You become more in tune with what actually motivates you to write. This is also where blogging comes in as a handy tool. As a writer, you have to keep your blog up to date (if that’s something you chose to do; not for everyone) so maintaining a blog helps with building consistency with your writing skills.
Get Constructive Feedback
What’s the point of writing for a platform if you don’t have feedback? If you don’t want to ask friends and family, there are plenty of places online that will provide constructive feedback. If you’re on WordPress, they have a community specifically for those who want their writing critiqued or they’re blog posts reviewed and discussed before posting them. Writer’s Digest also has forums where you can bring up your work for review. Whichever route you chose to use, make sure you get some type of feedback for your writing. It has to be honest, constructive feedback so don’t give your writing to someone who will automatically say it’s superb.
Are you trying to expand your writing business or get noticed? What steps are you taking beyond sitting behind the laptop? Yes, social media has its advantages but getting out there and getting involved definitely has it’s benefits.
Sometimes, it takes going back to the basics. Yes, we’ve read endless blogs on how to make connections for your business via Twitter and Facebook and this and that. All of that is good and true. I can personally attest to how Twitter alone has boosted my business, but in my opinion real groundwork still has to be laid before reaping the benefits of social media. Here are some ways your writing business can grow:
Small business meetings: These types of groups are all over the place. Every city, town and neighborhood has some sort of meeting group for small business owners, where a set schedule, they meet and share advice and pitch ideas to each other. It’s very beneficial and quite important for anyone starting out particularly in the world of freelancing. As you can see on my page, I am a part of Femworking which consists of women business owners who are looking to thrive in their talent. It supplies endless resources from folks who are more than willing to share what they know.
Running your mouth on the phone: I got one of my first decent paying clients by chatting with a former co-worker one evening. We were catching up and I was telling them of my latest venture as a writer so if they knew anyone who needed service, send them my way. I didn’t even take myself seriously when I said it. A few days later, I get a phone call from someone who was referred to me by that co-worker. I was elated and was able to formulate a great deal for myself and the client. Everything is not done via the laptop. Getting out there, chatting and communicating with those right underneath your nose just might lead to your breakthrough in writing. Let those close to you know what you’re up to.
Word of mouth: With the example provided above, I can’t help but emphasize even further. One thing that folks are good at is talking. Now is a good time to put gossipers to use! Once your service is out, it’s bound to spread. That’s definitely what happened to me. Word soon spread about my services and what I was offering. It was especially attractive because the prices were fair and reasonable.
Mixers: Another form of face-to-face networking. I’m pretty sure they hold networking meetings in your town as well. It doesn’t have to be a specific freelance or business network. It could be on the topic you blog or write about. I recently attended a mixer on public health. I stood out in the best way because I was the only one walking around the room with the title “blogger” underneath my name on the name tag. This got people’s interests immediately and I made great connection that way. It wasn’t a freelancing event, it had to do with an area that I was familiar with and figured I could someway tie it into writing since I cover health and wellness topics. Whatever your niche or passion may be, find a social event or forum being held in your area and attend, representing your website or business. Nothing but good can come out of it.
Explore your neighborhood: Check out the small businesses in your area and find out if they need a way to communicate with their customers on a regular basis. If so, don’t hesitate to tell them what you can do. You’ll have to convince them that they need you – which they do because every business needs to keep their customers engaged. Stop by, give them a business card (and/or resume) and let them know you can write for them. You can also visit the local newspaper offices, libraries and community magazines. All of those outlets involve writing services. If you get rejected, that’s okay since it’s all part of the process. Keep getting out there and engaging until you land some potential clients.
For the most part, every Freelance Writer’s journey begins with low-end paying jobs. I don’t think mine is any different, especially since I was feeling my way around the dark the first few months of my freelance adventure. Like many others starting out, I stumbled across sites such as ELance and ODesk to get writing gigs and increase my exposure. So what was it like? Was it beneficial? I’ll attempt to answer those questions and more…
In the beginning I was totally unaware of how the freelance writer world works. All I knew was I was eager to get work and prove my writing skills to clients. I came across multiple articles that this field of work is not for the faint of heart and starts out very slow, so I didn’t mind when I came across my first few writing gigs that paid me between $5 and $10 for several hundred words. After setting up my profile on a couple of sites, I searched around and saw that other writers were setting their rates, based on their quality of writing and experience. I wasn’t near their level yet and looked at other profiles that were starting as low as $2 each article! I was ready to start low, but knew right then and there I had to limit how low I would actually start. After a few days of signing up and bidding for jobs, I was able to land a couple of ghost writing, copywriting and content jobs. This lasted for maybe three months before I was ready to throw in the towel.
Why I quit content mills
Besides the obvious low rates, I felt I wasn’t gaining the experience I needed to stand out as a freelance writer, so I didn’t want to make it something I was doing for an extended amount of time. To be honest, I get more out of blogging and contributing writer assignments that have no pay than doing work for a content mill. Others are getting credit for my work that I put a good amount of research and effort into. I don’t see that as an effective way to build my own individual brand. After a few months, I walked away from it entirely and sought other ways to make money off of writing.
Has “free work” gotten me anywhere?
Absolutely. For several reasons:
I venture out beyond content writing mills. This includes subscribing to other freelance writing job sites and improving my profile on Linked In. Not only do I flex through social media, I make sure I reach out to friends and family regarding my services. In fact, one of my first paying clients came through a referral of a friend. It was also my biggest payout I’ve made since starting out as a Freelance Writer.
I continue to work on my craft. Blogging and contributor writer gigs definitely help me develop my brand and challenge my focus. I interact effectively with other writers and bloggers who are going through the same thing as me. I get great tips and advice on how I can improve my exposure and build for future clientele. Even though there’s no pay yet, I have no regrets at this point.
I know my patience will pay off. I was warned several times that freelance writing starts out slow, especially if you’re looking to make money, so I focus on cultivating and building strong relationships that will pay off down the road. What makes it easier to deal with is that I enjoy what I write about. There are topics that I’m passionate about and love to research and share with the appropriate audience. Such things kill the time as my revenue builds up.
Everyone is different
My own journey and experience caused me to drop the whole content mill arena. It wasn’t my cup of tea and I didn’t see significant pay that I thought I should be getting, especially for the type of work I was submitting. I made a total of $70 over the few months I did content mills. My first client I got through referral from a friend was at least twice that amount for half the work. So it’s up to others as how they want to value their time as they pursue profit from writing. Take your focus, goals and self-worth into consideration when deciding whether to do content mill writing.
What about you, do you have your own experience with content mills? How was it? Would you recommend to those starting out?