How Do I Become a Freelance Writer?

How Do I Become a Freelance Writer?

Productivity
  If you've always dreamed of seeing your name in lights, or at least a byline in a magazine, but have no idea where to begin, this post is for you. Some folks just start writing stories and sending them to editors, hoping for a bite. But that is putting the cart before the horse. Magazines don't accept already-written stories. Others email editors expressing interest in writing for them but offer no ideas for stories. While this might work for a small startup publication, it's probably a long shot. If you want to break into the magazine industry, you need to have your ducks in a row before you begin communicating with editors. Let me rabbit trail a bit.   I hate using a GPS app on my phone when…
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3 New Year Planning Tips for Freelance Writers

3 New Year Planning Tips for Freelance Writers

Productivity
  If you've read this blog for a little while, you know that I am a planner addict. I have lived my life making lists and taking notes on little slips of paper. I've used planners, notebooks, 3x5 cards, Post-It notes, you name it, to organize my thoughts. I've tried digital and analog tools. I spend way too much money in the stationery aisle of any store! Thing is, none of those tools and trinkets are worth a dime if they aren't helping me to focus, get things done, or plan for the future. Generally, this time of year, folks are making resolutions of one sort or another. I don't make New Years Resolutions. But I do plan for the future. I schedule my time. I create content calendars for myself.…
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5 Pitfalls to Avoid in Your Freelance Writing Business

5 Pitfalls to Avoid in Your Freelance Writing Business

Productivity
  I recently attended a training event for a direct sales company I represent in my very spare time. My upline was speaking about growing your business and he said, "You know how some folks sign up, tell their friends about the product, they try it and love it and tell their friends, and the next thing you know that new rep is hitting platinum level? Well, that's not how it happened for us." Well, that's not how it happened for me, either, in my freelance writing. I started off very part-time. I was homeschooling the older of my six kids and my baby was only 4. We also lived a homesteading lifestyle which required many hours of gardening, animal tending, harvesting, food preservation, and property management. But I would write stories…
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The Time Management Myth–Busted

The Time Management Myth–Busted

Productivity
    When it comes to productivity, there is one myth that needs busting—the idea that you can manage your time. Everyone is given the same number of hours in a day—24. Oh, we all wish for more but that ain't gonna happen. So, folks think they need to manage the hours in their days better. Makes sense, yes? No. Oh, sure, you can quit wasting time. Stay off Facebook and do the work, yes. And you can organize the time—my work hours are 9-5 Monday through Friday. And, you can even work longer hours and quit taking vacations. But that isn't managing time; that is making a decision about what you are going to do with your time. What you can manage is your energy. And the more energy…
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Planning for Writers — Why, What, and Methods

Planning for Writers — Why, What, and Methods

Productivity
    This week I conducted a workshop for my local writers group on planning for writers. Since it went so well, I thought I'd share my top points with you here. I have always been a planner. In fact, I used to spend the greater part of my shopping hours in November-December looking for the perfect planner to use the following year. I've tried them all--from spiral bound, to three-ring, to leather-bound books. But nothing has worked for me like the Midori Traveler's Notebook and the Hobinichi Weeks. The Traveler's Notebook is simply a leather cover with elastic bands that hold removable inserts. My Midori will hold up to four inserts before I have trouble closing it. This year, I use it with my Hobinichi Weeks as one insert…
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Make Technology Your Friend

Make Technology Your Friend

Productivity
  I started my freelance career without an internet connection. And yet when I started getting assignments, and running back and forth to the library to use its internet became a hassle, I embraced learning my way around. I designed and set up my own blog. I taught myself to transfer that blog from Blogger to a self-hosted WordPress site. I started another blog, and another. I took courses and read tons on SEO, keywords, metadata, social media, affiliate advertising and more. Once, an editor asked me for a certain size headshot. I didn't know a pixel from a Pekingese. So, I found out. Another editor sent me a W-9 to fill out and return--electronically. I had no idea how to do that. So I found out. As a freelance…
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Batch Writing

Batch Writing

Productivity
I write different kinds of things for various clients. I write magazine articles. Some short, some long features. I write blog posts, my own and for other blogs. And I write emails. I also edit and proofread--magazine copy, websites and blog posts. In addition to writing and editing, I have email to answer--from several accounts. I have invoicing, research, phone calls, and a myriad other job duties. How do I get it all done? In batches. Once your brain gets into a gear, it's easier to just coast in that gear than it is to switch gears, mentally. (Picture coasting in 5th on the highway versus constantly shifting between 2nd and 3rd in city traffic.) In other words, your productivity is higher if you do a batch of blog posts…
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How to Write with Kids at Home

How to Write with Kids at Home

Productivity
  Sitting at the kitchen table with my laptop, I finally hit “print” for the article I’ve been struggling with for days. But nothing happens. Then the message appears: “The printer is out of paper.” “Not again,” I mumble as I hoof it to the next room, tripping over my six-year-old sprawled on the floor with crayons and paper spread about. “Like my pictures, Mommy?” That’s where my paper went, again. Many moms wait until the day their child gets on the school bus for the first time before they begin a home business. As a homeschooling parent for over 20 years, I’ve never had that option. Consequently, I’ve learned many ways to work alongside them. So, whether you have pre-schoolers or homeschoolers, the following ideas will help you write…
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3 Secrets to a Productive Day

3 Secrets to a Productive Day

Productivity
Many writers struggle with productivity. No wonder. Distractions come at us from every angle, every hour of the day. If you work from home, the children vie for your attention. If you work online, Facebook disguises itself as a chocolate bar--tempting, tempting, tempting. Business coaches have seemingly bred like rabbits, all eager to tell us how to spend our time. Yet the activities they promise will "move our business forward" don't actually get our work done. Writers need to write. Putting pen to paper, so to speak, is what generates income. Posting to social media channels, writing our own blog posts, live streaming on Periscope, creating fremiums to build our email list, researching markets, while all worthwhile activities, do not pay the bills. Secrets to a Productive Day So what…
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Have You Met Trello?

Have You Met Trello?

Productivity
Have you met Trello? O.M.G. I LOVE Trello. Trello is my new organizational tool. It is the only digital organizational tool I have stuck with using. You see, I'm really a paper and pencil kinda gal and the digital things like Evernote are great at first. Then, I just can't see enough. I can't touch enough. And I ditch them like a bad date. But, Trello. Oh, someone heard my sighing. Trello is like using sticky notes on a bulletin board except they don't fall off when someone walks past your desk. And I can set up an entire project in one screen. Boy, do I wish I knew Trello when I was writing my book! Now, I use it to layout the magazine I edit and a blog I…
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