Planning Your Writing Day
Your computer’s calendar is your best friend – the best tool to plan a day’s full of writing and other projects. Time goes fast when you write, and the hours do not seem enough to cover everything that you have to do in a day. Learning to log your tasks in your calendar and timing them, is a big help to focus and handle your most important assignments.
When logging your tasks, prioritize them from the ones that are due first and assign a time to work on them, set an automatic reminder to let you know when your next task is about to commence, so you know how much time you have left with the present task. Also, spend and hour in small tasks that can take 10 or 15 mins – you will eliminate the small tasks and will warm up for your bigger tasks. Don’t forget to allocate a few minutes here and there for breaks and lunch, and of course personal time and errands.
This is not to say that you have to function like a robot tied to a computer. It just helps you to keep track of time and also to organize your writing throughout the day. It also prevents the wasted minutes surfing the net. At the end of the day, when you look back at your schedule, the satisfaction you feel for a good work’s day will become fuel to make you more productive. It will all pay off in the end.
When you write for a living, you will probably cram your schedule with as much writing as you can, and many projects at once – some short-term, others, long-term assignments. A lot of time can be spent in projects that do not generate enough income. Learning to decide which projects to put aside and which ones to pick up is not as easy as it seems.
While a project may give you instant rewards, another will reward you much more in the long run. Also, you may have to put aside your favorite project to handle a more profitable one. Or you might have to cut a project to a few days a month, if that project is not generating what you want – and sometimes, cut it altogether.
This is why writing for a living is like a juggling or balancing act – you have to be balancing projects and deciding which ones to give a priority, which ones fit your needs at the moment, and which one to drop or revisit later. Timing is also important, as a project that may have seem profitable initially, may not be, if you are spending more time in it than you originally planned.
To start the kick-off of Inkspeare Poetry Month I will post my latest poems. I’m far from being a poet, and my poetry does not follow any rules. So, think of it a freestyle poetry – if there is such a thing. To view some of my poetry, please visit the tab Totally Inspired on this blog.
Pricing your content
There is no right or wrong here, in my opinion. It comes down to what works for you and the time that you are willing to spend on a project and at what cost. As a freelance writer, and independently employed, it is up to you to choose the type of work you want to do, and price it according to your needs. There is a lot of competition in writing, and sometimes, it comes down to grab the assignment that will put food on the table. However, you have to decide the amount of time that you are spending on a project, and if it is worth it. Is that time better used to get other assignments that will pay better? I have seen very low offers for work – as low as 20 cents for a 100 words … It may not appeal to some, but to others, it will make a difference. The time that you will spend writing that 400 word article (or any other project) at that rate, is what you should weigh.
When pricing your content, take your personal needs into account, as well as the going market price for writing projects.
As a freelance writer, especially if you are doing it full-time, you have to get creative to bring the bacon home. Article writing can be a good way of supplementing your income. You can also take on blogging to add a few dollars to the pot of gold. Whatever you decide to take on, there is one thing that is essential – selling your content.
Assuming that you have material that is original, interesting, informative, and free of errors, the next step will be to see how you can get money out of it. I already mentioned PLR packages on my earlier post, a way you can use to market several articles on one topic. You can search online for writing sites that will pay you for views and clicks on your articles, or you can take on blogging assignments, or sign up with sites that will hire you to complete writing tasks. Some of these gigs may become long-term gigs, if you are good at it.
Another option is to sell your content on your website or sign up with a site where you can post your content for sale. You will have to share a percentage of your earnings with the site, but that is part of using their services.
Promoting yourself in social networking sites, your blog, your web, and placing ads in the newspaper or around the community or colleges, is another way to sell your content. Send proposals out to prospect clients. Sell your content to magazines or newspapers. Local publications is a good way to start, although these last two venues are full of competition. This is a characteristic of freelance writing in present times. The internet has opened a whole new side to freelance writing, and many writers – good and bad – are taking advantage.
If you are going to sell your content, make sure that you approach clients in a professional way and that you take pride in your work, by fulfilling your part of the deal as promised.
About Private Level Rights packages
Mostly known as PLR packages or bundling, these are articles on a theme that are sold together, such as ten articles about gardening. Due to the fast request and search engine hunger for content, these packages have become popular. Many freelance writers will bundle a few articles and sell them as a package. PLR packages can be packs of 10 -20-25 articles.
Packaging your articles will allow you to sell them faster to interested buyers and also to play with the price, as it is easier to price a package than sell one article. You may or may not discount the price, it is up to you. If you feel that your single articles are not selling fast enough, maybe you should try bundling them instead. This can also be applied to any other artistic material you may have such as photography or e-books. Test the waters and see what best works for you as a freelancer.
What stops you from writing?
Since I can remember I’ve had a love affair with the written word. I’ve been an avid reader my entire life. My desire to write was in the back of my mind for many years. Deep down, I knew that I was meant to write, but I could not start. It was always something I would do one day, when I had more time, and life wasn’t so busy. Many years passed, and life got busier and busier, and I completely forgot about it – or at least did not think about it that much. It wasn’t until a series of unfortunate events, that I was forced to slow down and look into my soul. There it was, my desire for writing. Since I had nothing to lose, I gave it a try. It felt like a good pair of well-fitting jeans – comfortable and fitted. That day, I decided that no matter what happened I was going to continue writing – and I have.
There are many things on my plate now, but I won’t stop writing. Take a look into your soul – what is stopping you? For me it was the illusion of more time and the fear of not knowing what to write. At one point I was petrified, to glance at the piece of paper in front of me. It took something bigger than my doubt to put things in motion.
If you have thought about writing, but it seems very far in the future, get that image out of your mind. Pick up that pen or PC and start writing whatever comes to mind. It is just that first step away.
PARTS OF A BOOK
Most writers are also avid book readers. The amount of time that we spend reading is above average. We also love the feel of a book, and yes, the smell. I appreciate the new technology on electronic books, but nothing compared to handling a tome. This got me thinking that many of us are not familiar with the proper names for the parts that make up a book – the physical parts. So, I decided to make this post and include an image to point them out. In this case, pictures say more than words. Here it is.
Emotions are everywhere, there is no way to escape them. From the very happy cashier to the very upset man next to you in traffic, from the time you wake up till the time you go to rest – even in your sleep, while having some very emotionally charged dreams. So, if emotions are all around you, why wouldn’t they be part of your writing?
When writing a piece, pay special attention to the emotions of the characters. Emotions should match the situation, and the character type. It would be weird to have a character that just suffered a heartbreaking loss, be worried about triviality (just to continue the story) – unless it is done on purpose to stress the unusual personality of this character or the particular way to cope with trauma. Such is the case of the serial killer experiencing ecstasy while murdering someone. It is all a balancing act. When you balance emotions in a piece of writing, it helps the natural flow of the story.
The question is, can you use emotion to dictate the story? Some pieces of flash fiction are a very good example of this. It starts with an emotion and the emotion develops the story to the end. Do a little experiment; when writing your next piece, pay special attention to what the characters are feeling and see how it is relating to the flow of the story.
Starting to live a simple life has not been easy. Mostly, because it has been a slow process and one that has been the result of some good and not so good events. It has been ticking, and finally the pieces are starting to fall in place, slowly, one by one. It is a process of shedding, not only the material, but of the feelings attached to those material things. It’s been a time to shed emotions, and of retrospection; a time of discovery, and of realization. It has also been a time to do just the opposite of what had been expected and go against the current, of letting go. That has been the spiritual side of it, although the material part has had its own challenges.
Once you see the material for what it is, it becomes less important, little by little, step by step. What used to be hard to get rid of, one day becomes easy, the feelings attached are still there, but you realize that the feelings will always be there, and they don’t need the physicality of an object to be brought to memory. Most of it is crap, from shoppaholic days, or the result of some old empty void being filled at the time. Once acknowledged, it is free to let go, and so is all the stuff that goes with it.
There are catalysts in our lives that act as switches, to turn us on to achieve our next level as evolving human and spiritual beings. These catalysts can take the form of persons (even the ones that may hurt you), events, and things. So however we have arrived to the start of living a simple life – I thank the persons (good and bad), the events, and the things, which have made it possible.
Once the switch has been flipped, the rest of our life – the simple life – follows.
Flip the Switch