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Getting Started As a Freelance Writer

As a self-published author I can proudly tell you that I generate a nice extra chunk of change from my royalties. The challenge, however, is that once you finish writing your book you need to become a marketing savvy entrepreneur. Though it is extremely rewarding to start seeing the marketing efforts generate passive income, it is also exhausting.

At times I can’t help but wish I could just write an article then forget about it and still earn a couple of dollars.

Enter freelance writing.

Though I have no desire to give up authoring my own books, I am very interested in earning some additional income using my skills as a freelance writer. Below is my plan of attack to make this happen.

As I complete each phase, I’ll write a post that describes any success, pivots, and learning experiences.

Phase 1: Get Educated

I’ll be signing up for at least one of the two courses: Tom Ewer’s Paid To Blog course and Gina Horkey’s 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success.

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After doing quite a bit of research I’ve decided these two look like the they offer the most bang for the buck. My goals are to learn where to find jobs and how to get them. I’ll report back to let you know if either of these courses helped me achieve those goals.

Phase 2: Build A Portfolio

While I’m taking the course(s) I’m going to focus on writing within three categories:

The portfolio will include articles that I write that are published on other sites. These will cover a range of topics.

Phase 3: Start Pitching/Find Clients

No idea how to go about this but hopefully in a few weeks after a few articles I’ll be ready. Stay tuned for an update on this.

Phase 4: Increase My Rate 

Right now I’m thinking long term which means I’m not focused on earning a ton of money right now. As a novice freelancer I know that I’m going to have to prove myself as a reliable, high quality writer. Once I successfully do this I’ll shift my focus on increasing the rate. My goal is $100 per hour.

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My logic is as follows:

If I eventually charge $.10 per word for a 1000 word article, with an average word per hour rate of over 1000 words I can realistically earn $100 per hour.

Regardless of the outcome I’ll be sure to share my progress (or lack thereof) to help make the process as easy as possible if you decide to become a freelance writer yourself.

For now…go write!

 

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You DO NOT Have to Write Every Day To Be A Writer

It seems like everywhere I turn some expert out there is telling me I should write every day. Even if it is for a short period of time, I should make it a habit to write every day.  For the longest time I would find myself stressed out because for whatever reason I was unable to successfully make myself write every day.

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I am a father of two and I work full time (about 40 to 50 hours per week) for 10 months out of the year. My daily routine can be summarized like this:

Wake up around 5AM. Brush teeth, shave, shower. Get my outfit on. Get one of my daughters and get them ready for the day. Kiss my wife and kids head off to work (coffee on the way).

I work from about 7AM to 4PM (often later), commute home and arrive by approximately 5PM. I hang out with my wife and daughters and eat dinner.

At 8PM we bring the girls up to bed.

By about 8:15PM we begin our night time routine. Clean the house, get the lunches and outfits ready for the next day which brings us to about 8:45PM or so.

work-management-907669_1280At this point we are both exhausted but this is when we take care of our side hustle objectives. We usually sit side by side for about an hour on our laptops writing. I should point out that the writing doesn’t always last for
an hour because we literally can’t keep our eyes open.

In the past I would go to bed upset with myself because I wouldn’t be able to fight through the exhaustion in order to make myself write every day. In addition, if I was successful one week then I would find that my wife and I would become more irritable with one another because we often neglected the time we needed to give to each other.

I was in a no-win situation. If I wrote every night my wife and I would be driving each other crazy. If I didn’t, I would feel like a lazy slob who wasn’t willing to step up and do what was necessary to achieve the success I so ambitiously sought.
town-sign-749613_1280This was until it hit me that I don’t have to listen to the experts. In fact, the experts might be amazing at implementing a schedule that works for them but are they really experts in my schedule? Definitely not!

I decided to create my own rules to ensure that I was writing enough but not neglecting other important aspects of my life. For me, I set a goal of a certain amount of words for the upcoming week that I want to write. I base the number on the responsibilities I know lay ahead in the week to come. If I have a few late days at work I might reduce the amount of words. If I know I’ll be able to get out a bit earlier than normal for a few days I’ll increase the amount.

Using my productivity system that I explain in my book The Persistence Formula I break each writing goals into 1000 word chunks. If I am hoping to write at least 4000 words for the week I’ll create four goals of “Write 1000 words towards Book X (or blog)”

It is important that you realize that I am not telling you to use my system. In fact I am intentionally not going into great detail about my system for ensuring that I am able to write enough.

I ask you to consider the following when you’re attempting to create your writing system.

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Plan regularly – every Sunday evening I write my goals for the week (which is based on my monthly goals). This is a regularly scheduled time that I allocated towards how many words I want to write for the week.

Follow through  – I believe the reason so many successful writers suggest writing every day is because they’re afraid of the procrastination and work avoidance that can stem out of a lack of a daily writing routine. I can very honestly tell you, however, that I do not write every day but I do continue to write on a regular basis.

Learn instead of stressing  –  though for the most part I am able to accomplish my weekly writing goals, every now and again I might miss a 1000 word block. Rather than beat myself over this missed goal I would reflect on what prevented me from achieving my goal(s) then adjust my future goal setting accordingly.

Write even if you’re not inspired – unfortunately your schedule will not always align with when you’re feeling inspired. Develop a way to capture your ideas when inspiration strikes so you have a data base of great ideas waiting and ready for you when you are able to sit down and write.

Regardless of the system you choose just remember that though there may be many experts out there that can genuinely help you. There may be times where you have to be your own expert and determine what works for you.

Happy writing!

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We All Think We’re Terrible Writers At One Point Or Another

despair-513529_1920I just finished the first draft of my fourth book. I should be excited, right? Nope. Not in the least. This goes against my character. Typically, I’m a pretty positive guy. However, the reason for my atypical negativity is a direct result of the feeling I had the entire time I finished the remaining final portion of my book.

The entire time I was writing it I just kept thinking to myself this is horrible. This is awful. Who would want to read this? People are going to think I’m full of bologna.

I am speculating at this point but I believe the cause for such a detrimental outlook was derived from the lack of clarity in my mind as to what I was ultimately trying to say.

Due to a few family issues the progress of this particular book was slightly delayed a bit so when I returned to finish it I felt like I had lost my voice. Since I am a firm believer in getting things done I worked through my negative outlook. I ignored the rude, hurtful comments my inner self was trying to convey and I wrote.

When I finished the book I felt relief but it was quickly overtaken by the fact that I had just completed a piece of trash. Here is why, ultimately, despite everything I am telling you I am still moving forward with this book.

  1. I hired an editor that understands my voice and knows me as a writer, at times, better than I know myself. He will repair any damage I’ve done.
  2. I reviewed some positive reviews from my other three books.
  3. I read a few paragraphs from my best selling book.

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These three things are enough to convince me that the negativity in my mind will pass and though I require help from others to perfect each book, that is all part of the process.

Here is what I’d like you take from this article. If you are new to writing then just be proud of yourself for completing a book or an article. If you’re a bit more experienced then leverage all the positive feedback you’ve received in the past to get you through your low moments.

Either way do not quit.

As I sit here writing I can’t help but reflect on what writing means to me. It means expression, freedom, value, problem solving, community and so much more.

Oh yeah and one more item…therapy.

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Thanks for letting me air out all my baggage.

Now enough reading, start writing!

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Two Affordable Ways To Transcribe Your Words

This one will be quick because I am operating under the assumption that you’re looking for faster, more creative ways to increase your word output. Below are two ways I use transcription for exactly this purpose.

Personally, I believe these are good strategies when you’re struggling for time and/or motivation to sit down and type. Sometimes talking is just a bit easier.

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Strategy #1: Hire A Transcriber Via Fiverr.com 

So the last couple of weeks have been particularly busy for me and the time required to sit down and type just wasn’t available. During my 40 minute commute to work I decided to record myself with my phone using my Bluetooth function. Do not do this if it is any way unsafe. By the end of the commute I had just under twenty minutes  of audio based content.

I added the file to my Evernote account, saved it to my account and boom, I now had the files available on my computer. I hired a transcriber via Fiverr.com for $10 (one $5 gig got me 10 minutes).

I am still waiting on the finished product but I’m expecting to see approximately 1800 words. A few quick internet searches taught me that the average person speaks at approximately 110 words per minute. To be conservative I brought it down to 100 words. 18 minutes times 100 words equals 1800 words.

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Strategy #2: Use the Dictation Function on your computer (Mac users only)

This is a game changer for me. For a function that comes installed on a MacBook I thought it might not work so effectively, but it read my words very accurately. To be honest the amount of mistakes it made was probably less than the amount of grammatical errors I typically make when I’m typing.

If you have never used it before follow the instructions below to activate the function (by default, it is not activated).

  1. Open System Preferences
  2. Click on Dictation and Speech
  3. Click “On” (make sure “Use Enhanced Dictation” is checked off)
  4. Open up word processor (Pages and a WordPress post have worked for me) and press the function button twice.
  5. Start talking and watch the words appear.

Now go get writing (or talking)!