Monday, March 31, 2008

Blogging for Yourself


My blogs always come second, no matter how many times I tell myself I want to get a blog going and establish it in the blogosphere. I just cannot keep myself committed because the work I have to do for others always comes first. What is funny is this is a perfect reflection of my personality. I am a caretaker type of person. The reason why I received a degree in counseling and counseled for so many years was so I can help others. Do I help myself? Not as much as I should. I find comfort and pleasure in making others happy. Is that right? I guess it is in a way but it's certainly not fair to myself.

I have decided to write about why everyone should blog for him or herself. This way, I can look it over on the days I put other work ahead of my own and help others who do the same. So here goes:

  • Recharge Your Passion

When you write for yourself, you give yourself a chance to unwind and write about what you want to write about not what your client wants. You can interact with your visitors the way you want to and without pressure to do anything. This sense of freedom is enough to recharge your passion for writing and give you that push towards doing better work.

  • Using Your Work for Your Own Benefit

Why is that most of us are so willing to write for others but we aren't willing to write for ourselves. We make money for other people and much more than we received for the articles. It's time to take our articles and turn them into profit for ourselves.

  • Recognition for Your Hard Work

For those of us who ghostwrite articles, we will never see our names on the work we do for clients. Blogging or writing for yourself will give you the recognition you deserve. You work hard on your writing and you need to receive recognition for that, at least sometimes.

  • Having Fun with Writing

Writing is always fun but we all know it's more fun to write about what we want to write about. This goes along with recharging your passion but is a bit different, which is why I made its own separate category. I know some people who write so much for others they have lost the fun involved in writing. These people can't even find the enjoyment in writing for themselves. This is why it is important to remind ourselves that we started writing because we find it fun.

Well, those are some of my reasons why I need to blog or just write for myself more often. Do you have any others to add to help the cause of writing for ourselves?


Monday, March 24, 2008

Quotes on Writing

I have always loved quotes and would write them often in high school. I haven't written quotes in a long time but I still like to read them. Here are some of my favorite quotes on writing.

And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt. ~Sylvia Plath

Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia. ~E.L. Doctorow

The act of putting pen to paper encourages pause for thought, this in turn makes us think more deeply about life, which helps us regain our equilibrium. ~Norbet Platt

Writing became such a process of discovery that I couldn't wait to get to work in the morning: I wanted to know what I was going to say. ~Sharon O'Brien

Writer's block is a disease for which there is no cure, only respite. ~Laurie Wordholt

My favorite:

If you have something to say and no one is around to hear it, write it down.

I saw this on a journal at the bookstore - I will have to add who said this next time I go.

What are some of your favorite writing quotes?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Listening to Music While You Write

There is no point in listening to music when I write. I won't listen to it and will completely tune it out while I work so there really is no reason for me to play anything. I think I acquired this ability while in college. I am an only child so I never really had to deal with a sibling who was loud or playing loud music while I was doing something. When I started college, my roommate would play a CD while she studied and so I would have to listen to it as well. I didn't mind because I learned quickly that I needed to tune it out or I would never get any work done.

Listening to the Television

So this may sound weird but I do put the TV on when I work. I am not watching it, I am just listening. It helps keep me motivated and entertained while I write. I tune it out just as with music but for some reason, I like it better. Once I complete an article, I will look up really quick to see what is going on before starting something else. For some reason, I think subconsciously I am really watching it while thinking and typing. Hhhhmmm…I wonder if there are any studies on that. Anyway, that is what I do while I work, what do you do?



Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Handwriting vs. Typing in Journaling

I have been thinking about this a lot lately. I wonder if there is any difference in the benefits of journaling through writing or typing. Can you achieve the same level of introspection typing out your thoughts vs. writing them down in a journal or plain piece of paper?

Pros of Handwriting

  • You don't only have to stick with words, you can draw.
  • You can think about what you write and reflect on it.
  • Make tables easily to set up a plan of action or a list of pros and cons of a decision.
  • You can take a journal anywhere, no need for electricity.
  • Take a break from typing and the thought that you should be working on an article.
  • There are fewer distractions because there is no e-mail to check or instant messages.

Pros of Typing

  • Most people can type faster than they think so thoughts can flow quickly.
  • You can create many different journals for each section of your life, such as work, family, and hobbies.
  • You can create a blog journal and share it with friends.
  • You can use spellchecker and grammar check.


Well, I have come up with many more pros of handwriting a journal than typing. I guess you could say that my blog here is a journal but I don't really feel like it's a real journal because I don't let myself go as much as I would if it were a personal journal. I can't say everything I think about and I can't let myself just type without thinking about grammar or if my sentences make sense. To me, a journal is something you can free yourself with. You start writing and just let your mind unload onto the paper. I don't think I can do that on the computer. I just feel like I need to be doing something else… It's time to close the screen, take out my trusty journal and start handwriting.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

What is Your Blog Style?

When looking for a blog, what do you like? You know, a blog you add to your list you check religiously. After looking through several blogs, I found there are certain things I look for in a freelance writing blog. I guess you could call it my blog style.


I like blogs in which the person writes like he or she is talking to a friend. The person is real and does not try to be the guru in writing. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of well written, informational blogs out there and I do benefit from them. However, when I am looking for something fun to read on freelance writing, I enjoy people who are talking about their life as a freelance writer.

New Material

Many blogs talk about the same things and although it's nice to hear other people's opinions, I enjoy reading about things I haven't read about before.

Colorful and Attractive

I am a judge a book by its cover kind of person. I love blogs that are nice looking. They keep me interested and it's pleasing to the eyes.

Surveys are great because it gives people information about others without divulging people's names. Surveys such as, "How much do you write in a day?" or "How much do you charge…?" are always interesting.

Freelance Writing Jobs

Okay, I will admit, I do like blogs that post jobs. Have to make a living somehow, right? So yes, I will visit blogs posting freelance writing jobs.

Well, that's my list. What do you look for in a blog?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

My Writing Pet Peeves

Sometimes my own writing annoys me. As much as I try not to write certain things, I do it anyway. Then, I have to backspace or correct it when I proofread it. Once you correct the same thing 20 times, it gets a little annoying. I just cannot break the habit though…

What I am talking about is my use of the word, 'that'. I don't even know why I place it repeatedly in articles but I do it in places where it's not needed. I don't have an example, but I do it all of the time. I am surprised that I haven't….SEE! Right there. I knew I would have an example if I wrote long enough. I simply do not need 'that' there but I write it repeatedly. UGH.

Oh well, the first step in solving a problem is knowing you have a problem. Hopefully, someday I will release the word, 'that' from my fingers, which type faster than I think at times.

Getting Ready to Write

So I have a ritual when I am getting ready to start or work on an assignment. First, I check my e-mail, respond and think of any friends I haven't written to in awhile. Then I head over to my Google Reader and see who has posted some new posts. I read them, comment, and then go through the list again to see if anyone has updated their blog since I first started reading. Then I check the message boards to see what everyone else is up to for the day. To get me in the writing mode, I will write here or just write on a subject I enjoy. After that, my juices are flowing…usually. If not, then I have to just make myself write.

Forcing Creativity in Writing

It really doesn't work that way. You can't force creativity. Creativity is something that you need to find within yourself and release it. If it's locked away somewhere and you are not mentally prepared to release it, you won't produce great pieces of writing. Forcing yourself causes you to put pressure on yourself and that stresses you out making you forget the reason why you started writing in the first place. You are not a machine spitting out words on a page. Writing is an art. There is a difference between wanting to write and having to write, and that difference will show in the quality of your writing.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Working At Home versus "The Outside"

Before I start, do not get me wrong, I LOVE working from home. It allows me to stay home with my child, feel productive, and pay the bills. These are all the things that I love about working from home. Oh, and I almost forgot, I really LOVE writing too. Anyway, like everything in the world, it has its drawbacks. Let me tell you what I thought of and if you have any, feel free to add your own!

You don't work you do not get paid.

When you work outside the home, most of the time you work for a salary (at least I did). This means that if you have days that you just don't feel like doing much, you can usually be a slacker and do enough to get by that day.
Freelance work is not that flexible. If you don't write that article, you don't get paid. So that means, you need to actually work every day. There really isn't any down time that you get paid for like you do in other jobs.

There is no lunch break.

Of course, you take a lunch break to eat lunch. What I am talking about is how when I worked on "the outside" I would go out to lunch with my coworkers and we would have a great time. Granted, I worked in the mental health field so the lunch was mostly a mental health break for me. However, it would be nice to have this in the freelance writing field.

Minimum social interaction about work.

Since you don't work in an office you don't get to complain to others around you how boring something is or how much you don't want to work that day. I am slowly discovering that message boards and blogs are my "office" and can serve the same purpose except you really need to watch what you say out there on the World Wide Web.

Okay, that's all I have for now, they are just the biggies that I often think about. Like I said, I wouldn't switch because of those things, it's just something to think about.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Your Business, Your Rates

There is always discussion among freelance writers about how some people prefer to charge low rates for their work and this brings others down. I have read about it so much that when I find something else about it, my mind usually goes blank and all I read is BLAH BLAH BLAH. It's one of those things, if you've heard it once, you've heard it before.

However, I feel the need to state my opinion here on my blog. I think everyone has to start somewhere to gain experience, confidence, and knowledge about the industry. If this means charging clients .01/word, so be it. The key is how long someone stays at that rate. It does not take long to understand what the market is looking for and what you need to do to market your writing. That is, if you don't completely fill your plate with these .01/word projects.

Once you work up the confidence, just throw caution to the wind. Don't think about the possibility of not getting an assignment or project because your rates are too high (because they won't be). If the client chooses you than great, if not, keep going. Weed through the clients because there are fields of them available to you. If you need to lower your rates so you can get some experience in a specific niche, go right ahead, but then use that to get higher work. Don't get stuck.

My next tip is just to APPLY APPLY APPLY. You never will know if someone didn't choose you because of your rates or your experience. However, the more you apply the more experience you will receive in writing cover letters and selling yourself.
Finally, this is your business so you can charge the rates you feel are fair to your clients as well as to you. Do not short change yourself. You work too hard and need compensation for it.

One more thing, I visit Writing World and there's a great post about this same subject. There is a survey that was taken on how much people charge for a 500 word article. The results may surprise you and show you that you don't have to charge clients such low rates because many others are working less and getting paid more.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Did you Reach your Writing Goal Today?

After starting my day on not a very motivated step, I have accomplished everything I wanted to today AND watched a little TV with my husband. You must think I watch a lot of TV since I have already mentioned it three times. Yes, I am a trash TV junkie, can't fight the addiction.

Anyway, in the beginning of the week, I write down everything I would like to get done that week. Then each day (usually before I turn in or first thing in the morning), I write down what I want to accomplish in that day. I only write down what I feel is a manageable goal and will still get me to where I want to be by Friday.

If I get what I need done early in a day (that is a GREAT day) I either take a break or I keep going so I can take a break later (depending on how I feel). So far, I really like my system. It keeps me motivated and gets my work done. If I have a day like the other day in which I get a migraine or other illness, I just have to rearrange my schedule to accommodate. It means, of course, I have to do more work the following days. As long as I can keep my head above water, I am good to go.

Lesson #2 Keep a Schedule

Lesson number two for today is to make a schedule. It will keep you on track, motivated and will help you prepare for the unexpected.

Motivation…Motivation…Oh Motivation, where are you?

It's Monday and my headache is finally gone…only three days later. Now, I am sitting here with a list of things to do and NO motivation. UGH. What happened to that surge I talked about in the last post? Must have jinx myself. So in my attempts to get started I thought I would write a little on this blog.

My Procrastination Tactics

In my procrastination tactics, I just looked through my Google Reader for all the new posts for today. I applied for a couple of good gigs. That is always exciting.

Feast or Famine in Freelance Work

Freelance writing or any other freelance work is such a feast or famine type of thing. Either you have too much on your plate or you have almost nothing at all. I apply for jobs everyday or whenever there is something that I may be interested in. That way I cut down on the time that I am in famine status. Sometimes I get a little overwhelmed because I worry that jobs will overflow my inbox and I will not have enough hours in a day.

Ready to Work

Well, I think I have broken through the motivation glitch and am ready to get started. Thanks for listening to my rambling. My lesson for today is when you are stuck or lack the motivation to write, just start writing anything. You will break through that mental block you have and get ready to start the real work.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Feeling Sick and Writing

It's just not possible. You just can't be sick and write quality pieces. I have tried and all I end up doing is going back and rewriting practically everything I wrote. Not only that, it took me forever to write the article. I have to stop and force myself to concentrate and then force myself to try to get it out on the screen.

Yesterday, I was at the coffee shop doing some work. On the way, I started feeling the migraine aura I usually have right before a whopper of a headache. I took some Tylenol and had a Carmel Macchiato but to no avail, the migraine hit like a ton of bricks. DARN. I had big plans for my time at the coffee shop. I wanted to get ahead for the week. My head had other plans. I tried to write anyway but like I said, it took me forever and half the time I could not really see what I was writing.

Finally, I just gave up and came home. The whole night I tried every home remedy I could think of and took more Tylenol. I passed out around 9:00 (after Kings of Queens) and that was it for my "productive" day.

The good news is that after my migraines, I have a rush of motivation. That means I get more done than I can on normal days. I think it has something to do with being OUT for a day or two and needing to do something with all of my energy.

The lesson of the day is if you're sick, it's better to just give up and get well. You will not do your best work and it will take you twice as long to do your work. When you feel well, you can come back refreshed and ready to get all the work you need to do and then some.
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