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"If you combined the lyricism of Annie Dillard, the vision of
Aldo Leopold, and the gentle but tough-minded optimism of Frank
McCourt, you might come close to Amy Lou Jenkins.Tom Bissell
author of The Father of All Things
"Sentence by sentence, a joy to
read." —Phillip Lopate, Author of
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Karyn Martin was
cautious about launching her freelance career online, but she soon
remember the days when I dreamed of being a freelancer," she says.
"The word seemed magical to me somehow. Romantic, almost. Now, after
having actually been a freelancer for a while, the scales have been
lifted from my eyes and I have seen the light. You pay for being able
to manipulate your time. You pay by working more, working harder, and
- hopefully - working smarter. But what you get in return is
priceless. Now I can call the shots about when I work, for whom I
work, and how much I make."
One day, Karyn decided she was no longer willing to commute in
smog-laden traffic to sit in a cubicle for eight hours, come home,
eat, sleep, wake up, and then do it all over again. Going through the
same routine, day after day, week after week , only to wake up one day
old and tired - wondering how life might have been if she'd had the
guts to go it alone.
So she decided to become a freelancer - but how would she find work? She
had spent endless hours surfing the 'net, signing up with one
freelance site after another. Yet there was an incredible amount of
competition. She never seemed to win any bids, and was adamant about
not lowering her hourly rate.
"Then I discovered Freelance Work Exchange," she says. "I had heard
"don't pay to work!" repeatedly, and I was too poor to risk getting
scammed, but I took a chance one day when I was flush and sent twenty
bucks to gain access to the Freelance Work Exchange Professional
"Since then, I've edited a sales letter, a follow-up letter, an
11-page Web site, and a brochure. I'm 'on call' to do pinch-hit
proofreading for a medical newsletter editor in Florida while he's on
vacation, sick, etc. And I've landed a gig editing a new Canadian
magazine coming out this fall. All this from taking a $20 chance on
Freelance Work Exchange."
Of course, it helped to send prospects a few previous work samples
she'd had the presence of mind to scan and save on disk. Also, since
she has been 'in the business' for more than five years, she has a
fairly good résumé with some experience to back up the claims, along
with a strong list of references.
"For every one of you out there feeling a little discouraged, and
especially for those of you on the verge of throwing in the towel, I'm
here to tell you this. There may not be a Santa Claus, but there is a
place to find work without paying some ridiculous "transaction fee" or
never knowing whether or not the projects are 'fresh' - and even the
name is easy to remember - Freelance Work Exchange."
Be the next work-at-home success story. Click here to get instant access to hundreds of freelance jobs.
feast or famine?
By Amber McNaught
Sometimes a freelance writing career can feel very much like
"feast or famine".
At the very beginning, it's almost all famine. You spend more
time looking for freelance writing jobs than you spend actually
writing, and, quite apart from being utterly demoralizing, when
you have a mortgage to pay and mouths to feed, it can be
absolutely terrifying, too.
Of course, once you get past those early days of struggling for
work and start to build up a portfolio and a reputation, you
move into the "feast" era of your freelance writing career and
everything should be rosy.
The problem is however, that those early days can be hard to
forget. You can't help but remember the days of living off ramen
noodles while trying to get your freelance writing career off
the ground, and there's no way in hell you want to go back
there. Like Scarlett O'Hara you vow never to be poor or hungry
again – and so you accept every single assignment that comes
your way, and end up working yourself into a greasy spot at the
Rather than a feast, it starts to become a binge, and before you
know where you are, you're struggling again – albeit this time
you're struggling to get the work done, rather than to find it
in the first place. Your home life and health starts to suffer,
and, if you're not careful, so does the quality of your work.
So what do you do?
Well, if you think you could be on the verge of a writing binge,
here are a few tips:
1.Dump your toxic clients
Toxic clients are the ones who cost you more in terms of time
and effort than you ever get back from them in dollars. These
are the clients for whom everything is a problem: they're not
happy unless they're complaining, and you end up spending more
time coddling and cajoling them than you do working for them. At
the start of your career, you'll probably just put up with the
toxicity. Once you start to get busy, however, it's time to get
rid. If a toxic client feels like more trouble than they're
worth, they probably are: so dump them, and stick with the ones
who actually reward your effort.
2.Look carefully at your prices
How much are you charging? Writers who are new to freelancing
are often tempted to reduce their prices in order to secure
work. This can work very well; once you're more established in
your field, however, it can start to backfire on you, because
once you have a reputation for being good and cheap, you'll end
up with more work than you can reasonably handle. If this sounds
like you, it may be worth considering accepting fewer projects,
but charging a higher rate for them. That way the quality of
your work and life remains high, and you still have the
opportunity to increase your earnings.
3.Learn how to say no gracefully
Turning down work can be frightening. No matter how successful
you are, when you're a freelance writer there's always going to
be a little voice whispering in your ear that although you're
doing well this month, next month the work could dry up. While
it's never a good idea to become complacent, you do need to
learn when to switch this voice off. If you're good at what you
do, and you've built up a strong portfolio and network of
contacts, there will be more work. Sometimes it's better to turn
a project down than to take it on when you don't have time for
it – and risk your reputation by doing it badly.
4.Make friends with your competitors
Yes, really. Your fellow freelance writers don't always have to
be "the competition". If there's another freelancer in your
area, or in your field of expertise, why not contact them when
it's busy and offer to recommend them to the clients you don't
have time for, on the understanding that they do the same for
you next time they're busy and you're not? This kind of
reciprocal arrangement can work out very well for both parties:
it means that you're not having to flat-out refuse work, for one
thing, and it also gives you something of a safety net if things
suddenly get slow, but your competitor's workload is more than
they can handle.
About the author:
Amber McNaught is a freelance writer and editor, and the owner
an online agency for freelance writers, editors and
Title: Starting a Freelance
Writing Career (or How I Sifted Through the
Muck and Found My Way)
By Michele R. Acosta
So, the decision is final. I am a writer.
Actually, I have always been a person who writes, but I have
never applied the term to myself in a professional sense. Having
pushed aside my financial fears and gained the requisite
self-confidence, I began to surf the net in earnest for
information about how to begin a freelance writing career. The
vast amount of information was daunting enough, but when I
realized how much time and effort would go into an attempt to
get published, I almost quit.
Several thoughts are keeping me going. A lot of it has to do
with my personal history and the role that writing plays in my
life. When I was 8, I left notes around the house asking my
parents for an increase in my allowance. When I was in college,
I was the nut who took three journalism classes and three
literature classes in one semester. When I went to graduate
school as an adult with two small children, my ability to write
well saved my sanity.
I pushed on. My initial research told me that I first needed to
learn about the business of writing because I knew nothing of
queries, markets, or copyright. Once I learned what content
should be included in a query, writing them was not difficult;
however, researching the various markets has been incredibly
time consuming. At first, I hit dead ends. I started searching
the typical job sites, but most of them did not post freelance
Then I came across several subscription sites that claimed to
connect freelancers with writing markets. I was concerned that
some of these sites might be scams, but after spending several
days exploring one site in particular, I had almost decided to
subscribe. Before I took the leap, I came across an article
which criticized the site. It did not appear to be a scam, but
it was enough to validate my initial skepticism. I placed this
market source on hold to explore other opportunities.
A few other market postings also begged caution. One in
particular sounded like a great opportunity for new writers to
get published. I started to complete their online application
form until I arrived at the page that asked for my social
security number. They claimed that they needed it in order to
pay me, but they had not even seen my ideas or any of my writing
samples. I cancelled the application and moved on.
Perhaps the biggest shock to my English teacher sensibilities
was the listing for "academic writers." I thought: "Great! This
I've done." I clicked the button that led to more information
and realized that these "markets" were actually students trying
to cheat their way through school. Again, I moved on.
Although my early attempts to find writing markets were clearly
filled with concern, caution, and a certain degree of paranoia,
my experiences thus far have been mainly positive. I found
several sites that posted seemingly genuine paying markets. Even
if the information does not lead to publication, many of these
listings sparked ideas which I can pitch to other markets. Even
more important, the generation of ideas has lifted my spirits by
making writing for a living seem more realistic.
My biggest morale booster is no secret to most writers. Before
purchasing Writer's Market, I knew that it contained market
listings and informative articles. I did not know that it
contained lists of contests and awards, some of which are
designed to assist writers financially while they are writing. I
may never win such an award, but somehow, knowing that such a
thing exists makes my goals seem more attainable.
Finally, I am almost ready to start submitting queries. The
queries are written and effectively target the appropriate
markets, but I am still confused about copyright. I'm beginning
to fear that my grasp of copyright law is going to become
something like my grasp of the offside rule in soccer. My oldest
son has just completed his second year playing travel soccer and
each time I think I understand offside, something happens that
makes me question my understanding. The same holds true for
copyright. I understand the concept of first rights and I
understand what it means to submit simultaneously. But when a
market indicates that it buys first rights and also accepts
simultaneous submissions, who gets first rights if two markets
opt to purchase the same manuscript? If they both print the
story, they can't both have first rights. Can they? Since I do
not have the answer, I do not plan to submit queries
simultaneously - yet.
The most important lesson I have learned during this journey is
that the faith I have in myself and in my aspirations must rise
above the confusion and chaos created by the pursuit of the
About the author:
Michele R. Acosta is a writer and former English teacher who
spends her time writing and teaching others to write. Visit
www.TheWritingTutor.biz for other writing and educational
resources. Copyright (c) 2004-2005 The Writing Tutor & Michele
R. Acosta. All rights reserved.
The Best Place to Find Freelance Jobs Online Today
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For many millions of people, this kind of lifestyle is already a reality.
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But where would you find the jobs and projects you need to succeed? And where
can you find the advice, information and support you need to get started?
Recommended Site - Freelance Work Exchange
No problem. There are a number of web sites that specialize in helping
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This site has been established for a number of years, and has a great record of
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Thousands of Fresh Jobs and Projects
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For times when you are Not Writing Fiction, rather
seeking freelance jobs: increase your arenal of writing power with the
free reports and newsletter from the Freelance Work Exchange .
‘How to Find Freelance Work’
‘The Secrets of Work at Home Success’
‘Start Freelancing for Profit Today’
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