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Archive for the ‘freelance writing’ Category

A Web Writers Beginning

In freelance writing, home life, writing on February 9, 2010 at 6:17 am

I’m a seasoned writer. My career began back in the early ’90’s as as joke. I had written a fictional piece targeted at my current boyfriend. It was all about how he should appreciate me and women in general more (long story…I’ll tell ya about it sometime) and I kept getting compliments on it. So, I sent it in to a magazine on spec and it was picked up. I began writing for them regularly, moved on to other similar magazines, added a few regional and local newspapers…there you have it.

I didn’t start writing web content until probably 7 or 8 years ago, maybe a little more. But to me- the web content wasn’t really writing. It was just something I could do for extra money. It would irritate the shit out of me to have people call themselves “writers” when all they had ever done was write some web copy. Call me pretentious if you like (I’ve been called worse) but I truly felt that writing web copy did not a writer make.

I began to have issues with it myself. I quit the job I had as a columnist and crime writer for a local paper ( the publisher’s wife was a psycho bitch with a history of crack use and an addicted ex husband to prove it. Yet another LONG story I’ll tell you about later if you get really bored). I picked up a few gigs writing for various print magazines like PREP and Southern Living writing columns and sidebars. I started to peddle my Woman Condemned book to agents and publisher. But I needed the extra dough and writing web copy seemed to be it. 

 I had issues upon issues with it. I was embarrassed to tell my colleges I did it. I would belittle myself for doing it. Telling myself I had lost “IT” and was just another uneducated copywriter telling the world I was a PROFESSIONAL FREELANCE WRITER.

BUT there is a happy ending  (or a happy medium I guess) to this story. Years have passed. I started back to school to finish my Masters and I noticed all the classes and new majors for online journalism (cough…that still gets caught in my throat…a little…) But the fact is, it’s happened. People are becoming more aware of online writers. Bloggers are making a bigger impact in the writing world. I’ve had to make a serious change in my thinking and I think all the old school writers will eventually. I think those of us that have worked in print for years have to realize that there is a new beginning coming. Maybe it will be beneficial for all of us.

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Writing For Demand Studios

In freelance writing, Wahm, work at home, writing, writing mom on January 17, 2010 at 2:02 pm

There is much controversy in the writing community on whether or not Demand Studios is the place to work or if it is a cesspool of bullshit articles for bullshit pay. It isnt so bad really. I registered with Demand in 2008 and wrote for them sporadically. They pay on time  but it isnt an easy place to work. The constant differences in what editors tell you is ridiculous. I have had one editor tell me to do something one way and then another ask for a rewrite for doing it that way. Im not the only one that has noticed this. Look around at other mom blogs and on WAHM forums and you’ll see.

The pay is considerably lower than what Im used to as well. Freelancing at magazines and newspapers will bring in quite a bit more but for web content it could be worse. So for now, I’ll keep my two private clients and use Demand Studios to hit the low spots in between. They do try to be consistent, fail as they may. They also take themselves and their writers seriously. That is important for a web content provider. Writers hate to be treated as expendable- even if they are. We like to know that what we have created for you is something of value that you appreciate.

So, as I said, I shall plod on for the time being…

a guy walks into a bar…

In blogging, freelance writing, Wahm, work at home, writing, writing mom on January 8, 2010 at 6:58 am

Ive been reading Get Known Before the Book Deal by Christina Katz.

Ive seen her other book, Writer Mama but Im already doing fairly well as a writer raising a family (I do an inordinate amount of screaming and yelling and ordering people out of the room but Im paying the bills…lol) so I didnt see the need to buy that book.  Of course that might change.
But I saw a tweet of hers about the Get Known book and thought… What the hell…
I write about crime, inmates, and women on death row. Its important to me for many personal reasons but also because the death penalty is just plain wrong. Ive been doing it for over five years. I planned to write a book about my experiences with the women on death row but then three things happened to me that stopped me dead in the water-

My mother died of lung cancer and I sat and watched it. Its a heartbreaking, earth shattering thing. Not long afterthat  I had a person I thought of as a dear friend try to ruin my life after she used me incessantly for years and then my father died of lung cancer.

I was emotionally drained and it was all I could do to just make enough money to pay my living expenses. It seemed life kept firmly sticking its celestial finger in my solar plexus and giving it a good jab just for the hell of it.

Any way- back to Christina. My book was a dream I let go a long time ago. Life had taught me the lesson that I was no one to have any dreams. Just give it up Kelly and do the 9-5 thing and realize your just another writer out there. No one special. I bought Get Known Before the Book Deal because I wondered if my work Id done so long ago could be revised at all. If it was still valid platform building work. I wondered if it had been working for me all the while I was giving up on it.

I read the first few chapters and realized I did have a platform for my book. I have the website that gets 1000 hits or more a day, my blog gets several hundred a day and my articles at Ehow and Associated Content on the subject are hit on every single day. Hmmmm…

In Chapter 6 Christina talks about crafting your niche. I almost skipped over that part. I have my niche crafted for me. Its the women on death row right? Wrong. I read on and discovered I didnt REALLY have a niche. While women on death row is a fairly small area of capital punishment it isnt a real niche. I went back and made a few changes to my blog. On page 38 she talks about condensing things to make yourself more accessible to the public. I took that advice (or I have started to.I think this will be a process) and then I updated my contact information and changed things around a little.

The very next day I received an email from a lady in Australia who said shed found me through my Ehow articles and then my site and blog. She had questions about how to find an inmate she was interested in writing about and how to go about it. I thought, Holy Shit. I think I have a platform. I think I have the beginnings of a platform, at the very least I am doing on or two things right.

So just for shits and giggles, why dont you follow me while I follow her advice and see if this thing really works out for me! Oh, and wishing me a little luck would be cool too.

Pomodoro- Yummy for your mind and schedule!

In freelance writing, tips on December 17, 2009 at 8:11 am

When I mention Pomodoro I am not speaking of tomatoes, though they are juicy and delectable.
I am speaking of a time management technique called Pomodoro. In short, you download their timer and work in spurts of 25 minutes to a earn a five minuet break. After four 25 minuet spurts you get a 45 minuet break.

It sounds simple I know. Long time readers will know I have battled with disorganization (inorganization, unorganization?) forever and a day.

I really should have thought of this on my own but it really seems to be working for me. I have upped my income by nearly half this month as compared to this time last month and this time last year. Neat, huh.
Try it and get back to me. I’m interested.

Working at home with Family Issues

In freelance writing, Getting started wah, home life, work at home basics on September 26, 2009 at 1:08 pm

One thing that many newly appointed work -at- homer’s do not take into consideration is what I like to call the “qualm quandry”. The qualm quandry is the never ending battle to stay working and keep on top of your game when your family is fighting against you, either purposely or not.

In the time that I have had this blog and the blog that preceded it, Managed Mayhem, I have had several catastrophes. I mean biggies. So I come from expereince. My m other died of lung cancer, my home flooded, I had someone I considered a close friend whom I had helped out repeatedly turn on me and try to ruin my career, I had marriage issues, teenage son issues and my father sied of lung cancer. I have had a breast lump issue that continues to haunt me and a tumor in my stomach. Is that enough? I have more if not.

The point is that during all this, I still needed to eat. My children still needed shoes and I had to keep the lights on.

What to do? Ah the “qualm quandry”. There is a way out of it. And its the only way.

Follow these tips to make through to the other side- ALIVE!

PRIVACY!

You must have privacy to work at home. Thats one of the biggest mistakes Ive ever made in my work at home career. I would work in the living room and in the kitchen. “After all-” Id say to myself, “I work at home to be around my kids and family. So why not be around them!”

But then someone would need a drink, someone would need a kiss, a fight would need refereed, hubby would need attention, a funny commercial would come on, the dishwasher would over flow, and then SHAZAM! the day would be gone and so would the work that I never got to do in the first place.

It is imperative to have privacy. Besides the reasons above, when tragedy strikes or qualms arise, there has to be a place where the entreprenuer can go to feel safe and at ease and able to think clearly for even just a few moments.

Seperation

Being able to seperate your home life from your work life is extremely hard when their all held within the same four walls. But again, it is imperative. When you go into work, you have to shut the door to your personal life just as you would if you were at an office, a restuarant or a department store job. Do your job. Concentrate on it and shut out the rest. This not only helps you to get your work done but eases your mind from the constant diatribe of of problems that race through when times are tough.

These are only a few of the things that have helped me in my quest to work from home. I hope that they help you as well.

The Biggest Lie WAHMs’ Tell

In freelance writing, Getting started wah, home life, Kids and family on January 22, 2009 at 4:40 am

Almost all of the advertisements you will see for companies hiring work at home moms will have the words “spend more time with the kids” or “stay home with your kids” or some variation thereof in the text.

May I just say – What a crock.

Oh you are home all right and the kids are too. Thats about the extent of the truth of that statement. No work- or very little- actually gets accomplished.
Working at home is no alternative to childcare.

If you work a telephone customer service job you know what I mean. You cant service the customer with little Billy clamoring for a juice box and his goldfish crackers.

I write from home.

Even that seemingly “do it anywhere” type of job isnt so easy at home. Have you ever tried to write a 1200 word white paper with 2 children wanting you to referee a fight, 3 involved in a discussion about who gets to squeeze the oranges for juice and 1 crying because her agenda flew out of the bus window on the way home from school? (Yes, that really happened.)

Truth is, if you work at home you will still need childcare. The idea of working at home with children under foot is a misnomer.
Thats not to say it cannot be done.

I know. I do it. But it is no way the sunny, delightful experience some companies paint for you.

I know this because that very fact is why I began to work from home. I had 4 children at the time and day care costs were more than I could make at any job with only an associate of science in business and journalism.
So how do you get work done and save on child care expenses? The answer is simply stated but annoyingly hard to accomplish.
I quickly learned that to work I needed to get creative. Get up earlier, stay up later and house work…fugettaboutit.
Ask for help from friends and relatives. Let the kids play out doors more often and set up “stations” for play ONLY when mommy is working. This helps A LOT!

The real point here is that if you want to do it you can. You will find a way to get it done if it is really in your heart to do it. You might be sleepy and have to buy new clothes sine you havent had time to do laundry since the 4th of July.
But it gets easier. Hang in there.