Monday, September 20, 2010

A Freelance Writer is a One Man Band

You Are on Your Own in More Ways Than One
this was originally posted at

A common misconception about freelance writing is that it is glamorous and fabulous with work coming in all the time and everything moves swiftly and smoothly. Are you ready for the hard truth? It ain’t all cherries and roses!

As a freelance writer you are a one man band. Below is a list of just a few hats you will wear.

Everyday you will be pimping yourself out to new clients. You have to call, email and practically harass everyone you know to get work. Once you are lucky enough to get work, you have to convince these people they still need you.

Bookkeeper and Accountant
You are now responsible for sending invoices, paying bills, following up on payments. You also get to have the task of making sure supplies are stocked up.

Time Manager
You have to run the whole show and decide what will fill each hour you work. When will you go to lunch? What time can the meeting with a potential client fill? How long can the meeting last?

Radell Hunter said, “Learning to manage our time is an important way to reduce stress in our lives.” View her top ten time management tips HERE

There is no one else to answer the phone, check email, send the faxes, doing research etc… All these tasks that can be delegated to others now fall on you. However, there is the option of getting a virtual assistant. The catch is making sure that they won’t cost you more than you are making.

Ferrero Stella said, “Virtual assistant offer you all the facilities, which you can avail from an office-based personal assistants. Their tasks range from appointment scheduling to internet research to offer you an ease in completion of your numerous tasks.” Read her story on How to Select a Cost Effective Virtual Assistant HERE

In many cases you will end up having to take your own pictures. For some people just the thought of using a camera for professional use is a scary thought. Hiring a photographer can get pricey and depending on your pay for an assignment it might not be practical.

Photo editor
Now that the photos were taken by you, you have to edit them to make sure they are print ready.

Once you finally get an interview or a subject to write about, it’s time to write the article you hope to be paid for.

Copy Editor
Don’t forget once the article is written it has to be checked for spelling and grammatical errors. Make sure the word count requirement is met too.

I’m sure there are a lot more hats I haven’t listed here, but all these hats are what keep freelance writing so interesting. If freelance writing is something you are considering pursuing, it is important to think about all of the factors involved. Sometimes it can make the decision of whether or not to pursue it as a full time job an easy one.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Writing for One, for All - by Kai Elan

Hello fellow writers,

The below post is by Kai Elan, a freelance writer and blogger currently sharing her experiences from halfway around the world on her blog. Check out her work at and enjoy her post below.

Happy writing,


Writing for One, for All
by Kai Elan

In the course of writing, there tends to be pressure to be a great writer. Even good would suffice. Being a good writer can involve several techniques: the techniques of the creative input, the organization of the writing, the voice of the writer, the choice of words, fluency in the sentences, and the grammar consistency ( These techniques for evaluation are important, however, pertaining to writing; good writing is not all of these factors. From the writing observed, and in my own writing, there are just a few which compose good writing.

These elements involve:

The topic matter. Is the topic matter interesting, relatable, and relevant? Obviously, people read something because it is interesting. A part of it caught the person’s eye, which influenced the individual to read further. This could be on a conscious level or a sub-conscious level. The piece was relatable in regards to what the person wanted to know about. It is relatable in the sense that the article is about enjoying tennis, and the reader plays tennis or would like to learn about tennis. The writing is also relevant through displaying current information; the reader is able to incorporate it in their life in some way. Old news stories, for example, don’t attract many readers because the stories are no longer relevant.

It is also the grammatical structure. Yes, grammar rules are crucial in writing. However, understanding the difference between a noun modification versus a noun phrase, is not; this is an instance of grammar rules getting even the best writers down. Grammar is constantly changing and evolving. Writers should not feel as inclined to always follow grammar rules as the rules will often change. Grammar rules are important, for the reason, if a sentence is formatted incorrectly or words are spelled wrong, readers are puzzled or frustrated by the message being delivered. Readers know the speech taught and grasp the basic fundamentals of grammar, so it is best to know and understand more than the basics to come across as a competent, good writer.

The voice of the writer is important. It was a tie between voice and word choice. The reason why voice is important to a piece of writing is because good writing utilizes the actual voice of the writer. Writing should sound as if the writer is speaking to its readers. It happens to be through visual words instead. The voice invites readers in or it shuts them out. It showcases the personality of the writer as well as the mood. The questions asked while writing: is the piece inviting, casual, informative, professional, and angry, etc…? Voice creates an angle of objectivity and subjectivity. Based on the voice, it can swing around the entire tone of the piece.

There was hesitation to mention word choice because word choice is a cautious path to take in writing. The issues with word choice are the manner in how words are used, the comprehension, and the suitability of the word. The vocabulary used can confuse the reader, turn the reader off, or appeal to the reader. Not to mention, confusing the writer as well. Yes, the thesaurus feature is great, and it adds some entertaining elements to a bland topic. However, if the writer is not familiar with the particular word, it is best to not use it. The thesaurus does not tend to explain the context of said word; it only relays the definition. The word selected may not make sense to the reader. Word choice can also turn the reader off by simply making them feel incompetent or stupid. Worse even, the reader viewing the writer as stupid because the piece wasn’t written for the proper audience. The goal with word choice is to appeal to readers and even inspire readers to further their writing abilities. Using appropriate words that deliver the effective voice and tying the ideas together.

Good writing and a good writer have different meanings. It is trivial to get caught up with being a good writer. This takes time and practice. This can be about churning out consistent work and utilizing all the methods of good writing techniques. Good writing means, the certain writer was able to relate to their audience and take the piece to another level. Meanwhile, it doesn’t mean the next piece will be as good.

The point is to write because it is enjoyable, not because of a specific writing formula. Writing is a hobby, a pleasant talent to take part in; it should not be viewed as a chore.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Just take a step back...

Okay, I don't feel too bad now. Here I was thinking that I'd let this ass-slicing little site slip off my focus again, but it's been less than a month since my last post so it's all good. :)

I don't know if it's the fact that I'm getting older and seeing so much around me change, but lately, I've taken particular notice to the role that timing plays in everyday life. I'm not certain what the rhyme or reason of it all is... what endgame it's all leading to... and I'm not even going to breach the subject of whether or not there's some higher power overseeing it all because, in the end, it doesn't really matter.

The harsh reality is that everything in life is centered on timing. Call it fate. Call it destiny. Or even a random sequence of events. Everything depends on timing. The job you could've had. The relationship you could've started. The life you could've had. It's all a bit moot to even think about since there's little point in looking back on the missed opportunities of the past. Granted, it's never too late to make changes in life. If you're unhappy about something, stop bitching about it and get a move on.

However, some events are so dependent on all the pieces falling in just the right places for the puzzle to be complete that it becomes a bit like catching lightning in a bottle. As hard as you try and as much as you may want it, you'll never be able to capture that chance again. It's sailed past you, off on its course toward that little corner of your mind with the rest of your life's regrets.

This may sound disparaging, but there's a plus side as well. Here's an example from my own personal experience. During my adolescence, I wasn't particularly social, to the point that I now wish I had taken better advantage of my high school experience and made a little more effort to venture out of my shell. On the other hand, would I have performed well enough academically to get a scholarship for college? Would I be the moderately successful professional I am now if I'd never earned my degree... or would my professional life have remained frozen in place?

I guess my point is that, although it doesn't feel like it at the time, everything we do and every single moment in our lives is a relevant one. It's all leading someplace. Every experience we have affects who we are and how we react and relate to the world around us. It affects our future choices, and each decision we make, each person we encounter and each day we're lucky enough to walk this earth is a critical part in deciding where you'll be 5, 10 years from now.

It's all part of a larger picture, and while some of us (guilty!) get a little too caught up in the big picture, I personally find it a bit perplexing when some people are so devoid of self-awareness that they totally miss out on what's happening around them.

True, in my life, there's a good deal of decisions I would change, of opportunities I would go back and take advantage of. But it's all important in forming who I am today so in a way, I wouldn't change a thing. All I can do at this point is be mindful in the future and try to do the very best I can with the people who enter my life, hoping and praying that each decision I make will lead me to a better place. Because, when it comes down to it, it all matters.

Just take a step back... and look at your life as one big picture. You'll see what I mean.

Happy living, fellow writers...