Five tips for new freelancers

Day started out great today because I saw page views of our site has increased dramatically! I was very curious but the moment I opened my mailbox, I understood why. Our article was published at an excellent website for freelancers named Modern Freelance. It is a great website if you are a new freelancer or trying to grow. They have a good and growing repository of useful information regarding freelancing. Worth a check for sure!

If you are a new freelancer or trying to grow, get five tips that would help you along the journey. Click here to read the article.

Until then, happy writing!
How to Set Up Your Online Freelance Writing Business
Freelance writing business is the one of the least expensive online businesses to set up. Yet, it involves the same amount of hard work as any other start-up. See steps below to ensure a safe and successful freelance writing career!
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What to do when your customer doesnt pay

I know its painful. Lot of us have gone through that pain where your paycheck for all the hardwork you put in to write that wonderful piece is ignored and the promised pay never comes through. You chase, you send soft reminders, you beg, you threaten but nothing works. Your inbox still shows no mails from that "customer".

What can a freelance writer do in such situations? If you are expecting me to declare a secret weapon to make such frauds pay up, then you would be disappointed. Writing on web exposes us to such scams and most of the work here is done on goodwill. Though being a established writer helps where demanding a upfront payment is possible, little is open for the new writers who fear the loss of a client by demanding an advance. Therefore, most of us end up getting paid only after the whole thing is written and thereby, endangering ourselves to scams and cheats. 

So is there no solution to this? There are 2 things one can do when the "customer" doesnt respond:

  1. Sell the Articles: This is a very good way to get back what you have lost with him. Warn the scammer before you do so and exclusively mention that since he did not pay up, he does not hold the rights to it anymore. You are, hence, free to sell them. There are many sites where you can sell these. For example, article selling sites like constant content, article base are good options along with content forums like Digital Point. Who knows, you might also get a better price in the market selling them than writing them for this particular customer.
  2. Post Them on Online Forums: Almost every freelance writer today contributes to the content websites like Associated Content, Triond, Helium, Bukisa, etc. They pay you for posting articles through their advertising programs and posting these articles might help you earn some good amount. Of course, you have to drive traffic to those articles. But once you get enough traffic, these articles can be regualr income generator for you. This also ensures that the client cannot use these articles as they are alreasy posted by you and would only amount to plagiarism for him.
These are the only 2 ways I can think of to get back what you might have lost with the scammer. Of course, these are post-disaster. What can you do avoid this disaster? Check out the next post!

Is Triond and other such sites an answer to unemployment?

We can all agree to this – Getting unemployed is not pretty at all. It brings with us desperation that is ugly too. With half of the world on-line for half of the day, it is but natural that opportunities are sought on Internet. I have absolutely no problem with that. Internet is, in fact, a hive for job opportunities if one knows where to look. Yet, it worries me that lot of people think sites like Triond, Associated Content, Factoidz are an answer to unemployment. Considering these sites viable earning options is equivalent to thinking you would be a superstar by doing a gig in the neighbourhood.
There are various reasons why pay sites like Triond are being treated as alternatives to unemployment. Two most important reasons are:
  • Anyone can write! – Well that is the line that you would find in most of the sites encouraging freelance writing. I agree to the statement completely. Anyone can write! This makes most of us believe that writing is the easiest job on earth. What we all forget is not everyone can earn from writing! I have known many co-freelance writers who slog hours writing keyword rich articles to earn as low as $1 for each. And these do not come out of Triond! They write for websites. Imagine an unemployed writing 20 articles a day and earning not even $20. How can one ever make a living?
  • Triond Advertising – We have to accept that sites like Triond, Associated Content do advertise very well. They look lucrative and make us believe that we can earn lots of dollars every month just writing out what you like! Some writers do earn pretty well. Nevertheless, it is not all of them. Unless you have a fool-proof idea where you have decoded all the secrets to earn more on these sites, it is very difficult to earn a decent amount. 
Unemployment is a pain that unfortunately some of us have to face today. These are difficult times and therefore, you need to make sure that you are making no mistake about the next job you are seeking. Thorough research, both on opportunities and your skills is implicit. Do not fall for such pay sites until you have other credible sources of income. Triond is a terrific place to write. But to earn? Perhaps the last places you should come to!

Why Do I Like Writing for Triond?

It has been two years and few odd days since I have been a Triond member and I am still writing for it. As I mentioned in my previous post about how tricky it is earn from Triond, I still like writing for it. It seems insane, but I do. Here’s the reason why:

It’s called Freedom! – Apart from Plagiarism which is essential, no one dictates what and how I should write! Triond gives me the freedom to express myself the way I want it…it lets me be me! I love that feeling and words flow through my fingers on to the keyboard typing frantically to keep up with the words! No other site is wonderful enough to let you know this!
It’s easy! – What will do with freedom if everything I touch turns out to be too complex to deal with? Of course nothing. Suddenly, the guidance and supervision of your editor seems so much more comfortable. However, Triond lets you have the freedom and the ease to enjoy it! Whether it is uploading your article or typing it on the on-line editor, Triond makes it all easy. It relaxes me instantly which helps me be more creative than ever!

It’s interactive!- I have made some great friends here! Triond has grown in to an amazing community of writers who initially signed up tp earn quick bucks but in stead got addicted to it forming a small family helping each other through written words. I have had the good luck to read some amazing articles that are hard to find anywhere else in the web. The community is down to earth and ever chattering! I adore the Triond crowd!
If the above reasons don’t seem enough, here is the final one!
It pays! – Though I have not really earned enough to buy a candy, but I know there are many who see a good amount coming there way every month. Triond doesn’t cheat the way lot otherwebsites do and it genuinely pays.
If nothing else, then this reason is enough to keep writing on Triond…for years to come! I am proud to be a member of Triond!

Triond Earnings - How?

I know some of you are earning hundreds of dollars from Triond, but I wonder how? Earning from Triond seems to be more tricky than I thought and makes me wonder are the dollars going to be restricted only to those lucky few (I am sure they are working really hard for this!) or would it ever trickle down to lesser mortals like us! :)In the two years I have been in Triond, I travelled from extremes of enthusiasm to disappointment to hope to desperation. One day I have hordes of people visiting my articles, and the other day no one seems to care! Every month I would wait for the cents to convert in to a dollar but the buck would stop somewhere around that! It is shocking but my highest earning till date was 6.75$! Sigh…
However, some writers here have learnt to earn from Triond. The secret seems to bemore and more content. The more articles you write for Triond, the more you earn from Triond. I am trying very hard to get those written and posted here. Slowly and surely, I would be there. However, is that the only thing that matters in Triond?

he other point that I feel works a lot is writing on the hot topics that Triond keeps prompting on your face. Those are the keywords that Triond is trying to push in to the web and those are the articles that would help one earning more at Triond. One should aim to write more on those. I know its difficult to write about any of those hot content like Mitch Fatel or Yale student death, nevertheless, I think we can still find those topics that might interest you…for example, writing about “More to Love”…hmm that seems interesting!

Finally, the most difficult part – advertising. No matter how much triond thinks about you, it is inevitable that you have to sell your articles to earn money on triond. Yet, I think how many of those readers actually click on those ads so that you can earn! It weird, but is that the only way one earns by writing on Triond – ads? I would really like some of you to enlighten me on that!

I have decided to work hard to get more hot content on to Triond and advertise it as much as I can…but how? What are the other ways to advertise your Triond articles to earn more other than Triond itself?

Building a writing profile – Part 2 (Resume)

Creating a writer’s resume/CV is as important as your website. Most of the submissions ask for a resume and lot of your chances of publication depends on it. Therefore, one should be careful when making one.

Though there isn’t much difference between an online profile and a resume in terms of content, it is the arrangement which would matter. Below is the recommended format:

• Objective
• Experience by category of writing
• Experience by years
• Publications/achievements
• Educational background
• Hobbies/interests

Contact information which includes address, phone number and website should be at the top right of the resume. One can also put it at the top centre right below the name.

As with online portfolio, mentioning experience by category like editing, proofreading, ghostwriting, etc would help giving the resume meaning. It is important that you keep the descriptions short and crisp highlighting your expertise in the area. Too long description not only spoils the look of the CV but also, reduces the reader’s interest.

One important feature of a writer’s resume is publications. Since not everyone is published in New York Times, it is essential that a background of the publication is included along with it. A typical publications page in the resume would go like this:

Newspaper/magazine/Website name
Article title and date
Article genre
Publication background

Again, make effort to keep it short.

A repeated concern expressed by lot of writers is how to include the samples in the resume. I find it unnecessary to include them in a resume. It is equivalent to adding Java codes in a Java developer’s resume! A resume is a summary of your work history and it is wrong to include any pieces if writing in there. Your experience and publication information you have included would speak volumes of your writing skills. The purpose of a resume is to induce enough interest for someone to ask you samples. One can do that by inserting a line after experience part or publications stating that samples/published clips can be provided on request. Proactively, one can also attach few samples along with the resume when you are approaching a publisher. However, never add your writing samples in the resume.

Last but not the least, edit your resume often. A writer’s resume is a living document. Not only should you keep updating with the latest in work life, one should also modify it to suit every submission’s requirement. Your potential customer would be receiving hundreds of applications every month. Putting in phrases or keywords that he is looking for would help you in locking his attention on to you for sometime.

Writer’s resume is a very important document that every writer should go around with. Therefore, it is often recommended that it is done by an expert. Resume writers specialize in this field and investing in your resume is not a bad idea at all. After all, the returns are much higher!

Building a writing profile – Part 1 (Online)

As the first deliverable of the N2FW project, let us take a more detailed look at promoting your writing and eventually, you, the freelance writer. I would like to break this in to three areas that I would deep dive in to in my blog:
• Building your profile

• Promoting online

• Client relationship
I would cover the first bullet in this blog and will keep adding my notes as and when I have enough analysis done!
Hmm…so how does having a writing portfolio help you? Have you ever seen a model applying for agencies without a portfolio? No? Then how can you, a freelance writer, expect to go around anywhere without a writing portfolio? Just like a model’s portfolio showcases his/her best looks, your writing portfolio is your identity and needs to be built with as much care as you would take for writing the precious articles for your clients.

And one wouldn’t really like to go about meeting clients or advertising oneself without first having a professional profile built. It would not only make your clients leave in a hurry but also leaves a very bad impression about one’s unorganized self. That, useless mention, is fatal to any business. Therefore, the first step in promoting yourself as a freelance writer is to build a professional writing portfolio. I would further divide this area in to two:
Online portfolio
Print portfolio

Since both these topics are vast enough, I would discuss building online writing portfolio in this blog.

So, how to build an online writing portfolio? The first step is getting your website/blog up and running. If you haven’t done it still, please stop reading this and create one (do come back for the next steps!).

Creating an online presence is a no-brainer. We have so many sites offering free websites and blogs that can do wonderfully well to build a profile. With a little or no HTML knowledge, you can play with the fonts and various features to come up with a really neat writing profile. Googling for such sites is easy and most of them work fine for a simple site like portfolio.

Of course, creating a site doesn’t create a presence. It is what you put it in there is what matters. This is where it is important we start thinking like a client. Imagine, if you were to hire a freelance writer, what would like to see in his online writing portfolio?
• Who is the freelance writer?

• The writer’s niche/expertise

• Years of experience and details

• Samples

• Contact information

• What can the writer offer me? Any personalized service?

Though not in the same sequence, above are the features that your portfolio should display. Let us elaborate more on the above points:
• Who is the freelance writer? – This should ideally be the front page of your portfolio website or the side bar of your blog. In this “no-time-breeze-through” internet world, it is very important that your “About me” should be as visible as possible with all critical information. The introduction should not exceed more than five lines though as most chances are your client doesn’t have much time to know your history!

Your introduction might go like this –

A freelance writer since last 10 years, I enjoy ghostwriting fiction for my clients. I specialize in romantic and thrillers and my customers range from magazines to publishers. Please see my samples here (a link to your sample page). If you like to contact me for a quote, please find my details here (a link again!).I would be honored to write for you!

Please note this is not a standard that you need to follow. Try your creative juices and come up with a introduction which you feel describes you and your skills the best!
• The writer’s niche/expertise – Now if there is anything that is more important than an impressive and professional introduction, then it is how you showcase your expertise. Your client would be targeting experts in there are of concern and it is equally important for you to target those businesses that can give you business. Therefore, highlighting your niche becomes critical. There are many ways you can do it, however, there is one way which I prefer and feel is very effective – group your expertise and note down your experience below it. Something like this:

o Content Writing: Have written over 100 SEO articles in last six months. My articles include well-researched content with the correct mix of keyword density that helps my clients reiterate their online presence. Keen on delivery high quality on accepted timelines of the project, I prefer understanding my customer’s business and their objective before I start on any project. My delighted customers include, Mr. XYZ, etc.

Add a testimonial from one of your customers below to hit the right spot!

• Years of experience and details: This can be added below, preferably in a tabular format with the time period, company worked for and in what capacity. Giving the designation and the kind of writing you did gives more clarity to your writing profile. The key is not to leave any unanswered questions in your reader’s mind. Unanswered questions mean undecided clients which is not a very good news. Remember your online portfolio is not a mind reader that would pop out answers for them. It is static but still needs to answer everything that your client might want to know!

PS: I know if you are a new freelance writer, adding experience to the portfolio is a big challenge, but your samples should solve that problem for you where you can put in your best foot forward! Research your targeted client and their typical requirements, write down some sample articles and upload them on to the site! That way, not only are you creating some samples to your clients, you would also gain enough expertise in your targeted domain helping you create a niche for yourself.
• Samples: Now, in an online portfolio, you would have the capability to upload the documents on the website. Do not copy-paste them on web pages, because they would not be read. One good way of showcasing your work would be to categorize them on to something that would appeal your audience. For example, if you are a fiction writer, you can categorize your samples in to romantic, fantasy, thriller, etc. If you are content writer, you might want to categorize them by industries. The point is to attract attention of your targeted audience. Another very good way to showcase your work would be give the links of your online published work. That would be a living proof of your accepted work and actually works wonders.
• Contact information: Now this is a very important information that should be as accessible as possible. Make sure you leave links to your contact page in all your pages. And your contact information on your online writing profile should include your email id and phone number if you are comfortable. I know there are many customers out there who might want to just pick up the phone and talk to you rather go through the whole mail trail which might take up some time, especially if they are in a hurry. Quoting your rates on the webpage doesn’t sound too good to me but it is one’s personal choice. Also, ensure that testimonials are clipped right below them to show off your previous successes. Please don’t be shy about it. After all, if you wont market yourself, then who will?
• What can the writer offer me? Any personalized service? – this is a tricky question. A online portfolio which is accessible to everyone around the globe anytime even if you must be tucked cosily in your bed means it is very difficult to personalize it to match your client’s special requirements. However, leaving a note somewhere, especially in your introduction page about your flexibility in catering to their requirements goes a long way in convincing the client that you might just be the one!

Do you think there is more that one can do? Lets share!
In the second part, I would look at how to build your print writing profile/resume that one can send to your clients! Keep reading!

You can also read this article in here!

If freelance writing was a project....

You must be wondering where was I all these days...well, my full-time job demanded much more of my time than before. For all those who do not know what my full-time job is - I am a project manager, trying to mess up projects as much as I can!! :)

Today, when I finally got a chance to shut down my official computer and caress the keyboard of my beloved laptop, I wondered what if establishing freelance writing business was a project. It was an interesting thought and I decided, I need to pen it down here. So, here we go...
When a project starts, as a project manager, following are the questions I would ask immediately:
  • What is the project about? - as in what is the objective?
  • What are my deliverables? - is it a new product, service, earnings?
  • How much time have I got? - 1 month, 1 year?
  • What is my budget? - do I have to elaborate this? :)
So, with the questions above, if I were to make "Nobody to Freelance Writer" - "N2FW" as my project, I would answer the above questions in the following way -
  • What is the project about? The objective of N2FW project is:
    • Establish a nobody with no stream of income as a successful freelance writer with a working operating model, thereby maintaining a steady inflow of income.
Now that the objective is clear enough for a project manager to get an idea of what he is going to work on, let us now define the various deliverables of the project:
  • What are my deliverables? - this is always a tricky question and needs careful analysis of the scope of the project to determine that. Since I do not have the luxury of business analysts doing the homework for me, lets do some quick thinking on this. N2FW should be turning around the fortunes of a not-so-successful freelance writer in to a very much in-demand writer! This cannot be done till people know the writer and once they know, work starts flowing in and hence, more earnings!! Therefore, the very first two deliverables are popularise the writer and increase in earnings from freelance writing. Apart from this, if we revisit the objective, one would notice that we are also interested in establishing a working operating model to have a steady flow of income all throughout the year. Hence, our third deliverable that is screaming out of this page is a operating model to ensure the freelance writer is always earning! I have bulleted the three deliverables below for you:
    • Popularise the freelance writer
    • Increase in earnings from freelance writing
    • a successful operating model to ensure steady earnings
I am sure most of us would agree with the above ambitions. After all, we would definitely like to earn something from the words we type without tiring for others. If anyone feels we need to add something more than what is placed above please let me know, I would be happy to incorporate. But my project management instincts tells me to warn you that the scope cannot be modified in later blogs...if you need more then this is the time to shout!
  • How much time have I got? - Now this is indeed an interesting question. With the above deliverables, I would say anywhere between six months to one year would be a good bet. However, with a one-woman army who has to do the role of a business analyst, IT developer, business change manager, and a project manager, I would say one full year looks more realistic. At the very first analysis, some of the tasks that comes to my mind are - research, professional profile, marketing, client list, communication model, etc. Each of these and more would be analysed in detail in later blogs. So, let us agree on one year. If anyone feels that it can be done sooner, I am happy to make him/her co-project manager and ofcourse, need not mention who will benefit from this!:)

  • What is my budget? - Last but not the least and definitely not unimportant is, how much am I ready to invest in this project. With a no body who doesnt have any stream of income, it is but difficult to invest in huge amounts. What I mean is a newbie freelance writer's marketing campaign would be small, he/she would not have a fancy website, and neither is she/he going to buy a organizer to organize their calendar. So, the budget would be very small. Say, 50$ per month? This is a constraint that every newbie freelance writer has to live with. Unfortunately.
So, am I ready to take one more project under my wing and turn it around? I think I have to do this...along the way when I would be making progress from project charter to progressing on my deliverables, I would blog this down to share with you all. I am hoping that I would be able to help some freelance writers turn in to superstars!

What do you all think? Is this a good idea?

sharing your workload? 3 things to look at when hiring your writers!

It is a wonderful problem to have - too many writing gigs and too less time! If you are facing such a problem, then there are lot of writers out there who would envy you - and would be willing to help you out as well. However, one has to be very careful when selecting writers for work and quality that you have committed to your client. When your employer trusted you with his writing needs, it goes without saying that he trusts you with his business growth. That needs to be maintained at all costs. Therefore, you need to make sure your hired writer also displays the same qualities that your client expects. In fact, his/her writings reflect the style that matches yours. But how do you make sure that this writer would deliver what you asked for just like the way you would do for your clients?

Here are three things that are absolutely necessary to look at when hiring a writer -

  1. Always ask for a profile - Having a good profile shows the past experience of his/her writing. It gives out not only the writer's qualifications (if required) and also his/her area of expertise that is fundamental to any writing gigs that anyone has to offer. However, it needs to be noted that new writers might be at a disadvantage over here, but there are other ways to gauge the writer's skills which I would explain later in the blog. Also, a profile shows a well-prepared writer which is always a good news!
  2. Always ask for samples - Ask for samples that relate to the field or kind of writing your client wants. I wouldn't ask you to make the writer write a sample for you. I think the previous samples of the writer should be enough to understand the writer's style. Ofcourse, if it is a new writer, you might want to see how the budding style in him/her. But samples are a must!
  3. Check for plagiarism - Once bitten, twice shy. I learnt this in a hard way but made sure that I don't repeat this again. Checking for plagiarism will help you not only make a mistake of hiring the wrong writer, but also would save you a client and more importantly, your reputation as a writer! Getting fired for plagiarism is a nightmare that every writer has...and to be penalized for someone else's fault is unacceptable. Make sure that your hired writer is honest and clean.
Are there more things that you would look at? Share it with me...

5 reasons why you should write what YOU know best

Have you been writing about automobiles when you actually are passionate about fashion? Or is it the other way round? Not sure about everyone, but there have been so many times when I did something like that and I dont care about reading it again...I just fast-email it to the publisher (as if email can be faster!) and try to forget about it as soon as I can. No matter how much I try, it does not give me the satisfaction of writing from my soul. And sometimes that's how our clients feel too...

Write what you know best because:

You are good at it! - Yes, thats the first reason you should write them. It brings out the best in you and that's the only reason why anyone would like to publish your words. Writers are creative and hence, they are lucky when it comes to springing out words for unfamiliar topics. However, it is never a match to what they can do with the topics they are good at.

Your words are important to your client's business - It is always very important to remind yourself that you are not writing for your own readers. You are writing for your client's business. Your words are supposed to bring in more business to him and that's why he is investing in you. It is, therefore, essential that the words in there are good and true. And that would be when you are passionate about what you are writing. By accepting to write something because you are paid for it doesn't justify it. His customers are as passionate as he is about his business and you are not that.It would show somewhere in your article, perhaps the humour or the detail...something would stand out. And then you just helped your client lose one of his customers.

It will help you create your niche: The more you write about the topics you love, the better you would be. Your natural interest in it makes you research and string words together better than lot of us. Your words definitely sound better to many and slowly, but surely, you end up carving a niche for yourself. It is always good for your writing business being a niche writer than writing just anything for anyone. Niche writers are more in demand for the simple reason that they know what they are writing about. It all comes back to the same point as above - the clients are investing in you and they would want nothing but the best. Its almost as if going to any burger shop rather than mcdonalds (that's my idea of best burger!). But all you want is to eat the best burger. Why would you not buy it at McDonalds? That's how your potential clients feel too!

Niche writers are not affected by recession! - People talk about recession and about missing jobs. They say you should take in whatever comes in your way. But are any of those jobs coming your way good? I dont think so. Because most of the writing jobs are going to the best - in other words, to the niche writers! Performers are not affected by economic conditions. They are not affected because they have built their profile. Look at any of those successful writers and you would see they specialise in just one or two fields. And they are doing always good (Well, everyone has their bad days but they are definitely doing better than most of us!). Therefore, all the more important that you create your niche!

You enjoy it! - If all the above reasons are not why you are writing, then perhaps this should work. You should write what you like to because you enjoy it! If not nothing else, the pure joy of seeing some real talent spread across that page should be enough to scribble those words. Your readers definitely deserve it! :)

Do you all feel the same way? Any more reasons why we should build our niche?

5 ways to get rid of writer's block

It's inevitable - the block gets us one day. It is as if the words refuse to flow, thickened somewhere in the brain, not moving, getting hazy as moment passes...nothing to type. The familiar keyboard doesn't help. If you do use the keyboard, it is the backspace that gets the most hits! Does it ring a bell? Yes, we all go through this and you are not alone. We cannot avoid it - but we can definitely come out of it faster.

Here is how -

Write, write and write - The most easiest way to come out of writer's block is to write! Forcing yourself to write something no matter how ugly it is would help getting the juices flow. I feel that the block is nothing but the fear of writing something terrible, something you would hate to know are your words. The best way to shoo away that fear is to actually put in those words out in the open. Good thing is you need not have to show it to someone else. You can be the only reader! Once the worst is over, you can only get better!

Go back to your favourite author - One of our most common inspirations are our favourite authors. They have inspired, coaxed, demanded and threatened us to write and write better. Sometimes, writer's block is a plea for a break and it would be great idea to go back to our masters and get rejuvenated! We have discovered our talents in their words and I am in no doubt that when you have finished reading them, you would ache to come back to your desk and type away the rest!

"Word-a-day" - I remember inventing this game in my initial days as a writer. I would often be at a loss of what to write due to various reasons (that should come in a separate blog :)) and I would think of ways to make myself write. "Word-a-day" is simple and effective. I would look at my surroundings and pick up any object among them randomly and say, "Ok...this is my topic. I need to write 250 words about this". Lo! I would force the words to come and as days would pass, I would start deliberating picking some things over others because they would interest me! As I said, it is very simple game to play. All you need is a determination that you would write those 250 words without giving up! The rest is easy.

Turn in to a critic - If you cannot write than start reviewing your older work. Some find it very embarrassing to read their work later, but that's one of the highs I get in my life! Reading and commenting on my articles/writings makes me much more aware of what kind of writer I am. It simultaneously also infuses in me the excitement to write something better. When you are short of words and are reviewing your own work, don't forget to keep pen and paper handy. I bet there would be moments when you would feel, "ah...this line is what makes it attractive", "oh...this could be phrased better!"...and so on. The important thing is it is making you think about words and hence, your brain is trying to form sentences again!

Do not give up and go on a long break - Going on a long break is the greatest danger during these times. I did it once and I regret it till date. You need to realize that writer's block is temporary and is not a proof that you are a bad writer. This thought scares the writer away in to oblivion and all that is left is lost clients, projects. When you get the inspiration again to write, all you are left with is starting everything from scratch. No need to add, it is not a pretty picture! So, do whatever you can, but do not be away from your writing desk for a long time.

Finally, any career would have its ups and downs and freelance writing is no different. In fact, the decision to freelance in much braver than any secure company job and it demands much more patience and work from you. You have taken that decision which means you are brave. Do not let a tiny obstacle like writer's block stop you! All the best!

What if your content is stolen?

Yesterday I went through a nightmare which I guess every writer goes through atleast once in his/her career - stolen content! I was aghast finding my article published in one of the websites without my knowledge. The individual who published it as her own was in fact one of the buyers in a freelance job website. In her job posting, she asked for a sample article to test my "skills" which I prompty provided. However, though my article was considered "good" by her, she found me too expensive. Nevertheless, that didnt stop her in going ahead and publishing it in one of the articles-for-money websites as her own without my knowledge and also earning from it!!
Not surprisingly, I felt angry, humiliated and violated. I remember getting goose-bumps seeing my article among the list of articles, word by word and finally ending with author's name which didnt spell like mine. It is another thing to have agreed to be a ghostwriter (and seeing your work published) and quite another when your work is stolen. I resolved that the individual has to pay for this.
I immediately plunged in to action and reported abuse to both the freelance job website and the content website where she posted it. I made sure that the content is removed and she is banned from both the websites. Such unethical practices cannot be tolerated anywhere. I had almost prepared myself to take it one step further by posting it on as many sites as possible about the fraud if the websites dont take action. Fortunately, they did and both the content and the individual was removed from the websites. I dont know if the individual in question had any effect but it did help me in getting my content back (and perhaps saving many other innocent writers being duped)!
This, however, has shaken my faith in all buyers when they would ask me for samples. How do we know that our content is not being published somewhere else without our knowledge? Just imagine - an average freelance jobsite has thousands of service providers and most of the projects have atleast 30 bids. If the buyer asks sample articles from each of them, and he likes atleast 15, he can easily go ahead and publish them somewhere else and still not choose anyone! So, he gets 15 articles free-of-charge! I understand not all of them are like that, but are we confident our content is safe? Internet makes it so easy to copy-paste other's work as their own...does copyright really work?
Next time when someone asks for a sample article, how sure you are that it wont be abused? I am not sure anymore...

Freelance writer - the one-man army!

My eyes started watering by the time I completed my job search today - its an entirely different story that I couldnt find one single project that gives me all - decent pay, and a remote job. If both are available, then its wants an unimaginable number of words at an incredibly short time! Like I said, its an entirely different story!
After the painful task, when I finally settled to pen my blog of the day, I could have only on thought in my mind - isn't a freelance writer the one-man (or woman!) army?
Not convinced? OK...let's analyze what does a freelance writer in a day goes through.
Morning ( the administrator) - Typically, every freelance writer starts his/her day by checking his mails...I know, I know, how your day suddenly looks exciting if you have responses in your mailbox! But irrespective of the content, the mailbox is the link to your market. There you start off the day with a to-do list - a typical secretary job who marks the calendar, tidies up the to-do list for the big-boss (Cheers! - you are the boss!)
Afternoon (CEO and the office-boy) - For most us, our work day starts right after mails are cleared (if there are any!). A freelance writer would spend his day at his desk on the same laptop submitting work like the average employee, negotiating deals like the super-salesman and then signing off projects like the CEO! In between those important typed words, he runs around for stationery, laptop charger and the ocassional (and relaxing!) coffee...playing the role of office boy! Now, thats what I would called multi-tasking!
Evening (Public relations Office) - I let the evenings be used for what they are made - social engineering! When the sun starts setting and normal people go out socialising, I socialize at a very different social interactions! It is time to don the advertising cap and show off at as many places as possible (and whoever cares to read my scribbles!) . There I go all dressed and ready as the public relations officer and by the time, I am tired and out and ready to type the last words of my day in my blog...I wonder what a hard day I had!
Wow! Have you ever thought of this? Every freelance writer should congratulate himself/herself for putting themselves through this every day and yet never giving up. Thats the spirit that we all need to keep up...
And whoever said working from home is fun - they have never been a freelance writer! :)

Low-paying writing projects - Should you take it?

Getting desperate with no work? Is all that you are offered are $1-$2 writing jobs? You are not alone...
I have never understood why writing is not paid as good as any other profession that involves intellect. Every writer, whether print or online, knows what goes in to adorning the page with words every time he/she writes and yet, all that is being offered for the work of the mind is $1. Of all the emotions that goes through then, it is the emotion of shame and despair is what dominates everything else...Is my writing that bad? Can I never make a living out of it? Is this all I can get? Should I continue writing? These are some of the questions that crop up in our minds and rightly so. However, do not let these doubts bog down your indomitable spirit. High - paying writing jobs are out there - we just need to know where to look for!
I admit it is hard to find and I have been going through the same rigmarole every morning and night. However, I do not believe in giving up searching at all. Every now and then, my keen eye does spot a good opportunity in the making and if not at all times, it does strike the right chord! It would be utterly wrong on my part to say that good projects are hidden in only one or two sites. They are scattered all over and it is as important to explore a low paying site as it is to explore a premium site. However, they come to only those who seek it passionately. One of the things I do everyday is set aside an hour each every morning and night and spend solely on seraching for these precious gems. I must confess it has helped stumble upon real good places to find some decent work. The important point here is the dedicated and planned combing of the internet everyday to smoke out the good ones and discard the bad ones.
It would be endeavour to post any good opportunities and places that I would find so that you guys can explore as well. I am sure you might find right what you were searching all this while!

Again, it would be very wrong to quote a indecent price if you are just starting out. It is a good practice to start off with a lower but good price till you gain enough experience to challenge the market! I think $15-20 per 500 worded article is a price you can quote if you are just starting out but have enough grey cells to provide exceptional quality.
And that's what we should be doing instead of accepting the insulting 1$ jobs! It is our right to be paid decently for the wonderful work we do. We wield our pen (and keyboards!) to give words to the emotions when others cant think of any and we should demand a decent pay for the same! Therefore, say NO to $1 jobs!

Write easy - the easy way to write is back!

Ah...after 8 months of absolute no freelancing but only fiction writing, I am back! All the 8 months that I was absent from the scene, I was concentrating on my two unfinished novels (still!!) and my ever busy worklife which allows me little time for anything else. However, coming back was a decision that I was delaying for sometime since last couple of months. With pressure at workplace going down and fiction writing stabilizing, I thought this is the bes time to start out on freelancing again and lo! what do I find? Competition has increased so much in such a short time! Well, honestly, it is starting from scratch for me...but that makes it even more challenging! I am looking forward to it and unlike last time, I decided to share it all with everyone who gives two hoots to freelance writing! There are many fellow travellers with me...and this is an attempt to make the journey more interesting!
Happy writing folks!
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