Monday, March 20, 2017

Dreaming of Dragons - Loving Our Writing

Last week I was driving to our local wal-mart with my 4-year old with me. We were having some daddy-son time by shopping for toys, getting groceries and getting his free pizza from Pizza Hut because of the reader program.

As I was driving, I glanced in the mirror and saw him staring out the window making facial expressions from epic to happy. I had the soundtrack of a Two Steps From Hell blaring and when I asked him what he was thinking about he answered, "Fighting dragons."

I think as writers, we sometimes forget to stop and enjoy our stories. I know for me, I can get obsessive about my story, making sure that it is working, the grammar is correct, and that there isn't an obvious error. The problem though is that I forget to stop and enjoy the story. If you aren't, you're missing a great part of the entire writing process.

We, as writers, have the power to create people, worlds, and adventures. We should take the time to enjoy the company of our characters and exploring the unknown with them. The time to worry about prose and grammar can come later.

I do not know about you but stories are something I cannot do without and I need to work on taking my time with them. I know that if I do, I can imbue it with more love and magic than I already am.

How about you? Do you enjoy your stories? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Are you Saying Women Can't Write?

Lately, with the Women's march and the strike wednesday when women did not come to work, I still cannot figure out how people who believe in either active or passive sexism think it makes sense.

What really crystalized this for me was reading a blog post about how quickly a woman's manuscript is rejected because it has her name on it. I don't know if it's because of misconception that women can't write certain genre's or that women "can't really write". Whatever you are thinking, it's bull.

I have read some amazing women writers and that they are forced to either publish under a pen name or use their initials to mask their gender is an insulting slight.

I will support women writers and I hope you will do to. All manuscripts and all books should be judged by their content, not by the gender of the writer.

Let's stop this crap and support our women writers in our community and make sure that the publishing industry know that they aren't going anywhere and they have the backing of an awesome writing community.

Friday, February 17, 2017

3 tips About Dealing with Criticism

I think one of the things that scares writers the most is criticism. I am not just referring to the constructive criticism we like to get but also that comment or complaint haunting our book's page.

Criticism can be both a blessing and a curse as it exposes your work from the vacuum of your own mind to the thoughts and ideas of the rest of the world.

The biggest reason that authors struggle with criticism is that our writing is an extension of ourselves and we have a tendency to take any positive or negative comment and apply it to ourselves.

Here are a few tips that could help you cope with feedback.

1) Though important, take feedback with a grain of salt. Everyone has their own opinion of writing just like art. If you feel the feedback is just taste, then you can safely move on.

2) If the feedback has points, consider them. Our profession is unending and we are always learning. Your commenter may have some valuable insight that you would have never considered.

3) Ignore the trolls. This is, after all, the internet. There are people who take great pleasure in attacking people for the sake of attacking. If their review is unfair and you can respond, do so in a calm manner. The response is not for the troll but for the future readers that might stumble on your work.

Above all, remember, if you like your work, that is the most important part. It is good to take your reader's thoughts in mind as they are paying customers in the indie world but the integrity of the work is yours.

Have any thoughts, comments or stories when it comes to feedback? Let me know if the comments below!

Friday, January 20, 2017

What I hated about Freelancing



It has been awhile since I released anything to my blog and that is because I have been blessed with a career change that was not so draining upon my ability to think. After spending six months in total as a freelancer, I have made quite a few discoveries that anyone thinking about the job should consider.

It sucks trying to hunt down new gigs
The hardest part and what I hated the most was hunting down gigs that I could apply for as many times the gigs out there are from people who do not understand how much an author really costs and so has high expectations for little to nothing in cost.

For every ten applications I submitted, maybe two or three would be nibbles and then one would be for sure but the problem was for every one job I picked up, two finished leaving me behind by one. As I was unemployed and doing this as a means to live, it was a challenge to get all the bills paid.

People demanding masterpieces for a Pittance
This irked me the most. Not because I was greedy and expected people to pay me a lot (as of 2016, the minimum a freelancer should expect is .02 cents per word or $10.00 for 500 words) but there were people contacting me who wanted a 50,000 word novel for only $100 dollars and a timeline of one week including second draft and editing.

Every time I said, “You do realize a good piece of work can take up to six months to write, especially when you are only providing me with a 50-word description of the entire story”. The usual response to this was both silence and a lost job or “We can find someone else if you don’t want it” which had me respond, “Go ahead and good luck getting anything decent.”

I can understand people who want to get a decent deal and are usually funding out of their own pocket but at some of the prices offered, it's downright robbery and an insult to a writer.

All the Extra Fees
As a beginner freelancer, I am forced to work on projects like freelancer.com or upwork.com and there they charge you a percentage of your income just for getting a job. A lot of these places even charge the client who is trying to hire and so both sides are losing money for the third party service. This, in itself, is not a bad thing because third party companies need money to keep going but it is very hard when you’re hired to write a 500-word article at $10.00 and have to give 20% of that to Upwork for their services. (Take a look at their sliding scale for more information).

The only place I ever found that never did that was writeraccess.com and as of 2017, I highly recommend them. They have a steep application that proves that you can write before letting you onto their program but they only charge the client and not the freelancer for work.

It’s great as a side business
Freelancing is fun, do not get me wrong. I just struggled with it as a full-time occupation and it gave me a lot of nights where I just stared at the ceiling trying to figure out what to do the next day. I still do it as a part-time hobby because I could never truly get out of that world but I know longer feel the need to apply to some job because I need the money they are offering.

So, if you are still considering getting into the world of freelancing, try to take these things to heart because at one point you will find yourself staring at the screen wondering a lot of these questions yourself.
What do you think? Did you have a good/bad experience or advice for others? Share it in the comments!


Thursday, September 1, 2016

So...You Want to be a Freelancer: Let's Make Sure You're Ready



If you have been aspiring to be a writer like I have been for quite a number of years, you have dreamed up this amazing life where you write for a living and can enjoy the awesomeness of creativity. What I am writing to tell you (and what so many writers before me have said) is that the vision you see, does not exist till a long way down the road.

So, you want to be a Freelance Writer is the first step in a series of articles I plan to write on my blog that can give an aspiring writer like yourself an introduction in to the world of freelancing. I have had some ups and downs entering it myself and wanted to share those difficulties with you.

Let’s Get This Straight
Just so there is not any misunderstandings, I want to explain to you exactly what type of freelancing I am referring to. With the advent of social media and the desire of many companies to have blogs a long with their products and services, it has opened up an amazing market of writing that they need filled.

The freelance writing that has the money in it is not the creative writing of short stories and novels like you might think, but the dry copy writing or marketing articles, advertisements and ghost writing. It’s dry, long, and sometimes you just stare at the screen thinking, “How am I supposed to put this article together?”

Honestly, I have come to enjoy working on these types of writings. Instead of taxing my creativity side, these types of articles spend more time taxing my analytical side as it seems to be more of a puzzle to put the research I have done together.

How Do I Start?
The first thing you need to do is to repeat this four times. “I’m not going to make a lot of money at the start”. If you have a day job, I highly suggest you keep it until you are making enough money in your writing to justify leaving. At this point, I have been doing freelancing on and off for six years and still require a day job. Freelancing is pretty much what buys me my toys.

After that, you need to make sure you have the grit and determination to stick with it even when the going gets tough. You will reach a point where you just don’t want to write anymore and that’s not an option. Your money is reliant on you putting out a product and making sure that product is the way the client wants it, not the way you want it.

Finally, the last metaphorical preparation you should do is to be ready for failure. Starting out, you may not give an avalanche of work and you might have to go for a job that is a bit lower in pay than you want. This job is not an instant success story and if you think it is, I would recommend against starting it. Like any business you are starting, it takes time, effort, and diligence to build it up in to anything worthwhile. If you still with it and you have an iota of talent, you could be on the way to a great career!

I’ll cover more in the specifics to the freelancing world in the next post, so stay tuned!


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

So, I've been Freelancing and Noticed Something...



For those of you who do not know, I have recently upped my game when it comes to the freelance writing market with quite a bit of success. I have a good handful of clients that provide work on a regular basis and enough one time jobs to keep me happy. It has been a very interesting experience to delve in to the world of the freelance and wanted to share something that came to mind. 

For anyone reading this who has done freelancing before, you probably can relate to the fact that many of the clients out there on the website like upwork.com and writeraccess.com offer well below the value of what your work is worth. 

At present, the lowest side of the pay is .02 cents per word which amount to $10 dollars per 500 words. In my browsing of the freelance market, I have found clients who want 1,500 to 2,000 words for only $5 or $6 dollars. For every one good job I have found to apply for, there were seven or eight that were just ridiculous in their demand. 

More and more I have found that people who utilize something that is considered art, are routinely never really given credit or value for your work. A good artist friend Kathleen Ruhl has told me about times that clients want expensive work for pennies on the dollar. 

Do not get me wrong, a lot of freelancers are not greedy or want to charge an arm and a leg, but on the flip side clients and people who want to hire a writer or artist need to understand a lot goes in to their work. An artist has to pour their time and creativity in to their pieces while writers put a lot of mental energy in to the pieces they turn out. At the end of the day, I have found myself really exhausted and unable to write the things I want to write due to having to complete an essay or blog someone hired me for. 

What is the point of my little article? If you are a person looking to hire a freelancer, I am not trying to damn you for looking for a deal, but on the other end of the equation, remember that your freelancer goes through a lot to provide you a quality piece and what you pay is truly what you get. 

Do you want to know more about what freelancers go through? I highly recommend taking a look at http://clientsfromhell.net/ for some idea what we have to go through.