Tag Archives: clients

46(?)/46/46 – Day #6: It’s Monday


That’s the best thing I can say about it. It’s been a long day, I’m cranky and I feel like I am receiving karmic retribution for every stupid, mean or obnoxious thing I’ve done in the last decade. Oh well, this will pass.

But I’m tired of feeling like I’m sitting around, spinning my wheels and getting nowhere. I think I’ve made changes that will correct that, but I’m impatient by nature and want it fixed now.

Yesterday actually.

Well, I’d love to stay and chat about any number of random or mundane things, but I have deadlines. Lots of deadlines. Yeah.

FYI – I’m not complaining about having too much work, I’m complaining about  the work process. That’s all I’m going to say. Sometimes the process sucks. Sometimes it’s awesome. It’s like any other career. Some days, you wake up, smile, sip some coffee and get right to work. Other days, the last thing you want to do is string words together in any cohesive order. Today would be one of those latter days.

The thing is, although I don’t want to write today, I’m blogging about not wanting to write.

The humor of the concept is not wasted on me.

Later peeps!

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**Tap tap** Is this thing on?


Bet you guys thought I fell off the planet, eh?

Nope. I have simply been too busy to blog. Even my friends on Facebook have noticed I’ve been less vocal of late. But I’ve got a few minutes of downtime, so I thought I would catch you all up with what’s been going on.

I’m Working…A LOT

I have several clients which are keeping me very busy. This is a good thing, since for the most part, they all pay a fair wage, and I enjoy the topics. It’s not all moonlight and roses, but it’s not thunderstorm and daisies, either.

Okay, I actually like thunderstorms and daisies, so that wasn’t a fair assessment, but you get my point.

I’m Working on the house…A LOT

We’ve ripped up five rooms of carpet, stained five floors and now we’re laying time. Eventually I am going to tackle the upside down fruit wall paper in my kitchen…just as soon as I can bring myself to look at it long enough and measure.

Yes, I said upside down fruit wallpaper. And not just any fruits…we’re talking pineapples. mangoes. Grapes.

Yeah, it’s bad!

But it’s starting to come together. Slowly, but surely.

I Went back to school. Again.

I bit the bullet and started my PhD program. I’m studying E-learning and Instructional Design. I think I’ve lost my mind.

Check that, I know I’ve lost my mind. But it’s a means to an end, and I’m sure once it’s all over, I’ll be glad I did it.

At least that’s what I keep telling myself.

This Area Is Intentionally Left Blank

I might have some good news to post here, but I don’t want to jinx myself, so I won’t say what it is about.

And that, ladies and gents, is what I have been up to. But I do want to leave you with one pearl of wisdom before I delve back into work. Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of articles and blog posts on how to become a writer. The information has been interesting, but frankly, unnecessary. You don’t need a 2,000 word blog post to tell someone how to be a writer.  I can do it in less that 100 words.

Ready? Here goes:

How To Become a Writer 

By: The Classic Quill

Step 1: Write.

Step 2: Write some more.

Step 3: Submit what you write to people who need what you write.

Step 4: Keep writing.

Step 5: Ignore those who ask if they have possibly read what you’ve written. They probably aren’t your intended audience anyway.

Step 6: Read. Read for fun. Read to see what to do and not to do. Read those whose work you love a respect.

Step 7: Did I mention WRITE?

Step 8: After a few months, look back at the first three things you wrote. Cringe and laugh. Tweak if as necessary.

Repeat Steps 1 through 8 for the rest of your life.

And there you have it. The only way to become a writer, is to write and submit what you’ve written. It’s not rocket science. Yes, there is a bit more to it, such as learning to research markets and determine a publications needs and tone, but those things don’t matter if you don’t write.

And with that, I’m off to practice what I just preached. 😀

 

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Content Sites – Why Some Work and Why Some, Well…


If you’re a regular reader of my blog, then you know that I wrote for quite a few content sites (or content mills as their detractors referred to them). For over a year, I provided content for DemandMedia, BrightHub, SEED, BreakStudios, WiseGEEK, Interact Media, Writer Access, and Textbroker. I was busy, my schedule was crazy and I was making just enough to get by.

Then — enter the Panda, Google’s pet name for its new algorithm. Suddenly, sites that were begging for writers didn’t have work for the writers they had. Some sites were more upfront about the issues than others (I won’t beat that horse anymore, I’ll let it R.I.P.), but ultimately, Panda was too much to overcome.

First, I noticed there were never any new titles for BreakStudios. That was a bummer because I wrote some of my more, shall we say, fun and colorful articles for them. SEED was always a crap shoot, so no real loss there, though I did write one of my most favorite pieces for them.

Then BrightHub went away, and with it, so went my rev share. I had a couple of articles that returned a nice chuck of change every month, on top of the upfront money I got to write them. And finally, DMS, in true DMS fashion, basically said, “Thanks, but you might want to write for someone else…at least for now. Oh, and for the foreseeable future, too.

Now, luckily, I had seen a lot of this coming, and had been transitioning myself away from the content sites such as DMS and BrightHub. But I kept writing for sites such as Interact Media, Writer Access and Textbroker.

Why?

Simple. I quickly figured out that, although I was making less per article at these sites, I could write the articles quicker and make as much, if not more writing for them than I did slaving over a 500-word article that may or may not get past a CE, depending on what side of the bed s/he got up on, whether their coffee was to their liking or if they had been chewed out by someone five minutes before they pulled my article from their queue. To me it made sense, but a lot of people refused to write for these sites because the upfront pay was so low, and opted to stick with the higher-paying quick cash of DMS, BrightHub, etc. Now many are regretting that approach.

But there was another reason I stuck with these sites when I backed away from the others — it seemed they were less affected by Panda, and for one important reason: They weren’t guessing about what their clients/readers wanted. They took orders FROM their clients and used freelance writers to fill them. So Panda changing the algorithm didn’t really have an effect on them because they weren’t dependent on the search engines to tell them what to write, their clients were propelling the search engines.

So, I guess, if you take nothing else away from this post, remember this: research your market and pay close attention to the signs. Figure out which sites are catering to clients, and which are catering to themselves, and then decide for whose team you want to play. Me personally, I’m glad I switched sides.

How have you all fared in the days since the Panda? Are you still writing away, or are you scrambling to find new places to write?

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Not Doing the Work For You…


Remember yesterday I mentioned that one of my clients was scaling back and there was pandemonium and rioting in the virtual streets of that client’s writers forum?

Okay, so maybe that’s not exactly how I described it, but I should have…

Anyway, so now, some of the panic is wearing off and people are asking, “So where can I write now?” A few people are throwing out some ideas of places that are hiring others, but the vast majority (well, the majority that is responding to the posts. The vast majority of those reading the posts are keeping their mouths shut), are saying things such as “Google it.”

This is causing some a great deal of stress. Know what I say to that?

Dude, pick a new profession. If you can’t use Google to find work on the ‘net for WRITERS then maybe you should do something else. Like basket weaving. Or professional badminton. Anything but writing.

As I said in my last post, as writers we are expected to be able to research and write with authority. See, it’s the research part that’s important here. If you can’t (and I’m throwing out a bone here) type “write for us”, “needs writers” or “freelancers wanted” into a search engine and follow the links? How in the hell did you manage to write any article for anyone?

So, let’s just call it what it is: you want people who have spent hours upon HOURS searching for writing opportunities to just hand you that research because you asked for it.

Really? REALLY?

This ain’t The Waterboy. I’m not Coach Klein, and you ain’t Coach Beaulieu. I ain’t handing you my playbook (though I did have those pumps in several colors in the 90s…)

But I digress. If I did the work to find the leads to get me the jobs so I wasn’t in full-blown panic when I got the dreaded “We’re cutting back so maybe you should go with Plan B for your income needs.”, then you can too. Google IS your friend. So is Bing, and Yahoo and any other search engine that gets the job done for you.

So, go forth and be the good little researcher and writer I know you can be. And if you choose not to, that’s fine. That’s one less person in the freelancing pool.

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Independence Day


For those of you who know me from Facebook, you know that June was a roller-coaster month, career-wise. Landed my biggest gig ever — just to see it crash and burn because of a lack of communication. My laptop died, so I had to scramble to buy a new one — something I might not have done had it not been for the tight deadline for the new gig — that crashed and burned. Gave up a lower paying client because they refused to understand that sometimes other work might come first, so I would have more time to work on the new gig —

that crashed and burned.

Did I mention the new gig crashed and burned? LOL

I learned a valuable lesson, a lesson I have been preaching to other writers for *gasp* over a decade: Don’t rely too much on one client. It can come back to bite you.

Consider me bit..er..bitten…

Anyway, lesson learned.

Now, to be fair, I didn’t give up all my clients. I still have several others with whom a have a good working relationship. And also in the matter of fairness, the client I gave up was not only low-paying, but dare I say it — was also a pain in the keister. I’ll work for low wages if I enjoy the work and can do it quickly, but don’t act like you’re doing me a favor by letting me write for you and expect me to drop everything for you because you mismanaged your time.

The mistake I made can be summed up in three words:

Forsaking all others.

You can treat your clients like a partnership, but you can’t treat them like a marriage. As soon as you shift all focus to just one client, the others suffer and it’s the same as not having any other clients. That kind of focus is great for a marriage, but it’s lousy for business. And that was the mistake I made. I put all my other clients on the backburner, and now, instead of having one of my highest earning months ever, June has been one of my lowest.

Yes, lesson learned.

Now, onto the reason for the title of this post. I am declaring independence from my old thinking and old ways. I’m going to try and make money from my writing in other ways. Ways that will allow me to write what I want, in the voice I want to use. Snark included. In the coming days and weeks, I’ll post links to my new material as they become available. If you like my Facebook statuses and the comments I share on the links I provide, you will most likely enjoy my new writing venture. I’ll keep you posted.

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Question for the class…


So, I posted this question on my Facebook page today:

Question for my business-owning, self-employed, entrepreneurial friends –what are your biggest concerns about running a business/being self-employed? Also, if you’ve considered starting a business, what do you consider your biggest obstacle? 

Seemed like a perfectly good question to pose here, as well.

I’m working on a series of articles for a client regarding Entrepreneurship, and I would appreciate feedback from fellow entrepreneurs, business owners and the like.  Not sure where or when the articles will run, but as soon as I know, I will pass that info. along.

And seeing that I never ask a question that I would be unwilling to answer,  here are my responses to the questions I posed.

My biggest concerns about running  a business and being self-employed: getting everything I need to get done, done and not screwing things up in the process.  I wear several hats, see. I’ve got a decent freelance writing career going (again!) and I have my jewelry business. There are times when I am so busy, I forget to eat and sleep becomes a series of catnaps between deadlines. There are times when I think, “Ya know, K, maybe you should scale back the number of articles you write, or decline that client’s job offer. Or maybe you don’t have to attend that jewelry show after all.”

Then I laugh (sometimes to myself, sometimes out loud), take another sip of coffee and go back to work.

Cuz, that’s the thing — yes my gigs  are work. Yes, sometimes I don’t want to do any of it. But there is nothing else I want to do more.  Writing and  creating jewelry are more than just a profession — they are my passion.

Which leads me to my other big concern — sometimes there IS such a thing as too much passion or dedication to your work,  especially  if it constantly bleeds into other aspects of your life.

Or, if you listen to my daughter, completely takes over.

Admittedly, if my professions were the Borg, I would be considered assimilated. I do spend the lion’s share of my life working. But even I question the cost at times. So, it’s important to strike a good balance between work and life. I’m still looking for that balance. I’ll let you know when I find it.

Probably through a blog post.

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Wow…


So, what I thought was the simple need to take a couple of days off from writing, turned into almost a week of practically NO writing at all! I didn’t decompress — I CRASHED AND BURNED.

It wasn’t because I didn’t want to write or that I didn’t have anything to say — I just couldn’t stay awake or think enough to write anything coherent. There is an actual medical reason for the issue that I’m not going to do into here, but the worst seems to have finally passed, and I am back to work.

About three posts ago, I wrote about “Powering Through” — ie., writing when you really don’t want to.

Well, I was just reminded, and not so gently, that sometimes that Just. Can’t. Happen.

Sometimes you have to let the work sit for awhile. Sometimes you really just need to pay attention to what you brain is telling you (or in my case, what it doesn’t say) and just stop for a while. Fighting it just draws out the process.

So, if you ever see yourself heading toward the wall, and you have to power to put on the brakes and avoid smacking face-first into it, DO IT.  Do not let your pride or stubbornness cloud your common sense.  The words will always be there. Your clients will understand, and if they don’t, there are always more clients to be had.

Do what you gotta do to be you.

Lesson learned. 🙂

 

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