Tag Archives: writer

Seven (7) in (in) Five (5)


Seven in five.

September, 2016 to February, 2017.

That’s my timeline.

“For what?” you’re wondering.

I have seven books in the works and my plan is to have them all written and published by February, 2017.

“Seven books in five months? Are you nuts?” you might be asking.

Yes, it does seem daunting. A novel length book is a minimum of 50,000 words. Multiply that by 7 and you get 350,000 words. That’s a decent amount of words.

Unless you’re a writer. On average I write 5,000-15,000 words a week, not including Facebook posts, emails, blog posts or messages. That’s 20-60k words a month, mainly about stuff I really don’t care about. In five months, that’s 100k to 300k words.

But the good news is that I don’t have to actually write that many words. Three of the books are at various stages of completion (two over 50 percent completed). Two of the books are going to be more novella length (less than 50k but more than 25k). I guesstimate having to write around 235k words between now and late January, early February. Which is more than doable.

Well, don’t overwork yourself. Don’t burn out. Pace yourself. This has been the advice from many. I appreciate the words, I know they are meant to be helpful.

But hush already. LOL This is how I want to make my living. I don’t want to write for mills and impossible clients anymore. I don’t want to spend my days writing about stuff I don’t much care about. I can deal with doing it for a few hours a week, but not all day, every day. Not anymore. I’m starting to view my work with the same disdain reserved for “traditional” work gigs. And I can’t allow that to happen.

So, I’m diving in and getting these books written. This is what I want to do with my life, it’s how I want to make a living. Are the next few months going to be easy? Nope. Have I bitten off more than I can chew? Perhaps. I can always change my schedule if I need to, but I’m going to try like hell not to do that. I’ve been saying “I’ll do it later” to my career for more years than I even want to think about. I’m staring at 50. If not now, when? If not me, who?

So, wish me luck. Ask me how things are going. Say prayers, light candles, think good thoughts as I dive into my career, the career I’ve always wanted, for what feels like the first time. I’m excited. Let’s do this!

 

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I’m still up….


and therefore the day isn’t over for me and this post is not late. 🙂

I’ve got a lot of irons in the fire right now, from working on the new book and trying to get my book signing set up, to regular client work and helping someone get their business idea off the ground.  And in the middle of all that, I’m working on my taxes.

I was looking at my bank statement and I noticed a direct deposit that I could not identify. It wasn’t a huge deposit, but it was enough to make me wonder where it came from. I looked through my client list, my mystery shopping clients and my one-off work list…no match. I had no idea where the money came from.

I let it go, figuring the mystery would solve itself. I was taking notes on an essay I’m writing for the book, and it hit me; I hadn’t checked my book sales recently. So, I hopped over to Create Space to look. As I was looking at the sales, I saw the “earnings earned” field. Lo and behold, the amount in the box was the same as the direct deposit.

I earned royalties on my book?

Holy crap, I EARNED ROYALTIES ON MY BOOK!

I wish I would have realized it sooner, I would have spent the money on something more fun. To be honest I think it became grocery money. However I spent it, my book created income for me. And that’s totally cool!

One of my goals is to write books that people enjoy and that will pay my bills. I feel like I just placed the cornerstone. I’ve got something to build on. And that is awesome!

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Get Involved!


In case you haven’t heard, tomorrow is going to be a big day for the Internet. Wikipedia, Readdit, and other pretty popular sites are gonna go black for 24 hours to protest SOPA/PIPA.

Don’t know what that is? Read about it here and here.

(Hope you did that quickly, since they were Wikipedia pages. Ha ha.)

Seriously — read about it here. And check out a video about it here.

I don’t do censorship in ANY sense — when the KKK wanted to protest in my hometown, I was all for it, because it meant I could stand across the street and heckle them.  Westboro Baptist Church? Let ’em protest and hope a house or one of those frozen blocks of airplane waste fall on their heads. If they are allowed to say what they want, then that means I’m still allowed to as well, and you all know how I love to express myself.

In short (yeah, I know too late, but stay with me!), SOPA and PIPA are censorship and blacklisting. I’m not for either of those things. And you shouldn’t be either!

So, thanks to WordPress, who is also a participant in the Blackout, The Classic Quill will be taking part in the formal protest. From 8am to 8pm tomorrow, you will be greeted with a message instead of some snarky remark from me. You’ll live, and I promise to come back with some extra snarky goodness tomorrow night!

Til then, if you can find a way to participate, you should, because this involves all of us, and we should all stand up for our Internet freedoms.

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It Could Be Worse


So, today has been a struggle writing-wise for me today. I’ve just not been “into it”, and have only accomplished a fraction of what I needed to get done today.

But that’s okay, cuz ya know, sometimes it happens. Sometimes the words just won’t flow. The ideas are stuck…just out of the reach of your fingertips. It’s frustrating, but sometimes it’s part of this life. Not every word you write will be brilliant. Sometimes the things you write will be utter rubbish.

But no matter how bad a writing day you’re having, someone else is having a worse day. And for the really unfortunate, some of the greatest writing guffaws actually make it to print. So, in honor of a lousy writing day, and in the hopes of a better one tomorrow, I offer you “When Headlines Go Wrong” aka “Hey, things could be worse, this could have been YOUR headline.

And because I want to retain my “Snarky” attitude, I’ve included comments. Cuz, that’s how I roll.

Man Kills Self Before Shooting Wife and Daughter (Wait…how does THAT work? Was a seance involved?)

Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Expert Says  (Other than the plane crashing, I can’t imagine what else could have gone wrong…)

Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers  (Wow…I guess a ticket just doesn’t cut it any more…)

Miners Refuse to Work after Death (So much for RIP…)
Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant (And what happens if they fail…or succeed?)
War Dims Hope for Peace (Yeah, that’s usually how it works…)
If Strike Isn’t Settled Quickly, It May Last Awhile  (Nothing like a good dose of stating the obvious!)
Cold Wave Linked to Temperatures (Uh huh…)
Enfield ( London ) Couple Slain; Police Suspect Homicide (Nah, it was the Masque of the Red Death)
Red Tape Holds Up New Bridges (Next time, try cement!)
Man Struck By Lightning: Faces Battery Charge (I got nothing for this other than *groan*)
New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group (Big Macs for everyone!)
Astronaut Takes Blame for Gas in Spacecraft (Well, they shouldn’t have pulled his finger!)
Kids Make Nutritious Snacks (Yeah, but they’re quick, crafty and hard to kill…)
Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half  (Well, that’s one way to decrease the dropout rate…)
Chainsaw Massacre all over again! (Wait — it happened before?)
Hospitals are Sued by 7 Foot Doctors (Next – legislation requiring all hospital ceilings be at least 7’1″.)
Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead (So, did that increase or decrease the occupancy?)

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Coming Events


This post is a breather from the craziness of the last few days. I’m planning a roadmap for the blog, so I figured this was as good a time as any to let you in on what I have planned.

I think it is important to educate my fellow writers — especially the ones just starting out. This is not a career for the thin-skinned, those lacking passion or anyone who can’t dig deep and work hard. However, there is nothing like seeing your byline, or receiving messages from your readers thanking you for something you’ve written (Even the negative messages are cool!).

So, I’m going to tell you how I went from “wannabe writer” to writer, with bits of my life thrown in for fun. A writer’s professional and personal life often intertwine, and it seems silly for me to write about one part of my life, but not the other.

So, there will be lessons to learn, hopefully some things to laugh and think about, but most of all, I hope it will be enjoyable for you to read.

And if there is anything in particular you’d like me to address, shoot me a message or leave a comment and I’ll try my best to accommodate you. In many ways, this is just as much your blog as mine.

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It Wasn’t Always Like This…


I landed a new gig on a bid site yesterday, and the pay rate was so great, I was compelled to post about it to one of my writers groups. I added the comment that “I hadn’t seen rates like these since 1998!”

The statement was funny, truthful and sad. Consider this: I started my freelance writing career in 1996. The very first item I was paid to write paid 5 cents a word. By 1998, I was making double per word what today’s new gig pays, and we were complaining back THEN about how poorly writers were paid.

Man, if I had the ability, I’d travel back to the 1998 me and duct tape my mouth shut.

This is how far we have fallen as a profession. I mean think about it — I make less now, with 16 years of experience than I did when I was a virtual newbie in the field. How many other professions can make that claim? Would doctors stand for it? How about lawyers? Nope.

So, why are we? We do we let our profession slide backwards financially, even in the face of increasing demand?

I do have an answer to those questions…but you’ll have to wait til tomorrow to find out what I think it is.

Yeah, a cliffhanger folks…I AM a writer after all!

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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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Houston, We’ve Got Downtime…


Today is a pretty light work day for me. My regular gig won’t start in earnest until tomorrow, and the content sites for which I do work haven’t started up for the month yet, so all I have to work on is a textbook review. Slow days like these used to bug me — I’d feel like the day was wasted. But now, I see it as an opportunity to market and promote myself in other places. So, I’m posting this blog, and I’m going to apply to gigs on some job boards and bid sites. Then I’m going to either crochet or make a piece of jewelry to add to my stock. I’ve also got a HUGE box of ceramic tiles in varying sizes and colors that are calling to me to turn them into coasters and heat pads. Told you I was crafty!

So, how do you handle “downtime” on your work days? Anything you like to do that you might not have time to do otherwise?

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On the Horns of a Dilemma


Ok, not really — just always wanted to use that phrase as the title of a blog post. LOL

I am, however trying to make a decision — and I am enlisting your assistance.

In my writing life, I have three basic nonfiction passions: Small business consulting, social media and renters’/real estate assistance. I really enjoy writing about those three areas. There is some overlap between small business and social media, which is cool — it’s like killing two birds with one stone (I’m all about the cliches tonight, folks!).

So, I’ve been thinking of honing an area or two for my specialist bent, and I know it will be one, if not more than one of the three above-mentioned areas…

I just can’t decide which one would be the most advantageous.

So I’m going to explain my idea for all three areas, and then I’m going to ask you which area you think would be the best one to launch. Like I said, I’ll eventually write about all three areas, but I have to start with one.

Small Business Consulting

  • helping entrepreneurs develop their business ideas
  • helping entrepreneurs research and compose their business plans, marketing materials and grants
  • general advice on starting a business (licenses, locations, determining target markets)
  • Question and answer segments when readers have questions.
The format would basically be how-to articles, with the occasional blog post-type article.
Social Media
  • All things social media — how to advertise on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn
  • How to launch a social media campaign
  • How to find your target market
  • How to build rapport with your current and potential customers.
  • The dos and donts of social media
  • SEO education
  • Answering questions from readers.
The format would also be how-to articles, but more blog post-type articles.
Renters Rights / Real Estate Issues
This is actually more of a database of information regarding renter’s rights in all 50 states. I’d also include information about foreclosures, short sales, dealing with lenders and other helpful advice for people facing losing their homes — whether as renters or buyers. I’ll also take questions from readers.
And there you have it — my three ideas. I like them all, and yeah, I AM leaning toward one of them, but I really would like input from you guys so I know if I’m going in the right direction. So, please cast your vote and let me know what you think. I’ll share my decision once I get the results of the poll and decide.
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Just To Reiterate…


For the last couple of hours, I have been reading posts in a clients’ forum. Many of you will know of whom I am referring. Those that don’t, keep reading anyway, because, well, just keep reading. 🙂

Anyhoo…today I’m reading such nuggets of wisdom like:

“The Internet is dead for writers. There is no longer money to be made writing on the Internet.”

“Blogs are dead. You can’t make money writing on or for a blog.”

“Content mills are dead. You won’t be able to make money writing for content mills.”

And from a previous day, “Generalists are dead. You can’t make money as a generalist writer.”

Hum…

So, what, I’m supposed to pick a topic and go door-to-door and ask to write about it for the business? Are you saying I HAVE to return to print media?

Oh, wait — “Print media is dying. Soon you won’t be able to make money writing for print publications.

Uh huh…

Do you all know how utterly idiotic you sound? You are basically saying that soon SOON…a writer will not be able to make a living…ANYWHERE, ANYHOW.

Really?

C’mon folks, enough with the doom and gloom. As long as there are people who need to say things, but don’t know how to say them, writers will have work.

As long as things need to be sold, writers will have work.

As long as people continue to read, writers will have work.

(OK — so that last one if kinda iffy, but I still stand by the statement, for now.)

But my point is, just because the genre is changing and just because the format is evolving, this does not mean writers are going to go the way of the dinosaur. Sure, there will be businesses who decide they can “do it better, since, really, how hard can writing be? I did get a B- in English in high school after all,”…

But the savvy business owner quickly comes to his senses and hires a professional to fix what he created.

Now, yes, this does mean that as writers, you might have to develop a new skill set, but hey, researching and learning new things and writing about them is a large part of what you do as a writer anyway, so this truly should not be a daunting task.

Especially if you’re…*gasp* a generalist. (Or a generalist with a specialist bent.)

So, folks, don’t put down your pens or close your word processing software just yet. We aren’t going anywhere!

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