Tag Archives: freelance writing

Satisfaction in a Job Well-Done

6 Dec

003The snow is falling here in Olympia.  It’s the first sighting of snow in two years here, and it’s beautiful.

We don’t get much snow here, so I make sure I enjoy it as much as possible while it lasts.

And that just happens to be my message, to you and to me, this Monday morning.

But first, a quote.


“Happiness does not come from doing easy work but from the afterglow of satisfaction that comes after the achievement of a difficult task that demanded our best.” Theodore Isaac Rubi


I doubt seriously if I will ever be a famous writer.  Riches do not seem to be in my future.

Still, I write!  Each day I get up and do the best I can with the words, and talent, I’ve been given.  There are days I will not hear a word of praise from family or friends.  There are days I will not sell one book.  There are days when, what I write, will not affect a single human being.

Still, I write!  And because there are many days when tangible rewards do not appear, I have to find satisfaction in the fact that I am doing the best I can to add to the beauty in this world.  I am trying, hard, to perfect my craft, and in so doing to raise the bar in literature.  I try hard to support other writers and encourage them through my comments.

I have talked to countless writers who all say the same thing, that they receive very little support from family and friends, and they are discouraged.  And I say to them that happiness is an inside job, that we must learn to find satisfaction in a job well-done.

That is my message to you this morning.

That is my message to me this morning.


Linda, are you paying attention?

If you consider yourself to be a freelance writer, or if you have formed a writing business, you are eligible for certain tax deductions.  Do the research and benefit where possible.  A tip before you venture into this scary area:  the IRS loves documentation.  Keep all your receipts.  I’ve been using these tax deductions now for six years and not once have I been questioned, but if I am questioned in the future, I’m confident I can support my expense claims.

Documentation is the word of the day!


The best time to try and pitch your book to the public library is during June or December . . . right around budget appropriations and spending seasons.


Don’t get so busy that you don’t take time to give back to your community.  If you are asked to speak for free at a writer’s group or a school, jump at the chance and say “it’s an honor.”  You may not be getting a speaker’s fee but you are still getting free publicity.town_904


Get out there and promote.  Ask local businesses if you can sell your book in their store, even if they aren’t a bookstore.  What’s the worst that can happen? They’ll say no!

Call up local newspapers and radio shows, and ask for an interview. What’s the worst that can happen?  They’ll say no!


Yes, my new novel, “Shadows Over A Hangman’s Noose,” is being released this week on Amazon.  It should be out by Thursday and I’m excited by it.  It is the best thriller I’ve written to date.

And I’ve decided my next book will also be in the Shadows series.  The plot came to me this weekend and I’m eager to get started on it, so my Sixties reflective book will have to wait six months.

Such is life!


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”


A Safety Net of Multiple Income Sources

8 Oct

003My goodness I’m busy.  As some of you know, my wife, Bev, was named supervisor for the entire state by her merchandising company, so she’s a busy little beaver, and I’m helping her out on Fridays with deliveries.  Although that doesn’t hurt my writing business it does scrunch time a bit and make every minute count for me….so yes, I’m busy.

I recently self-published “The Ultimate Writing Guide” on Amazon in paperback and ebook, so I’m glad that’s out of the way, and my first “Shadows” novel, “Shadows Kill,” should be published in another week.  I’m now working on the second draft of the next in that series, “Shadows Over Innocence.”

But that’s not what I wanted to talk to you about today.  Let’s get to it!


It’s not only moving that creates new starting points. Sometimes all it takes is a subtle shift in perspective, an opening of the mind, an intentional pause and reset, or a new route to start to see new options and new possibilities.

Kristin Armstrong




I’m not sure if I mentioned it before…if so, forgive me…but recently I lost a customer I’ve had for three years.  It was one of the first freelance writing customers I had, and the loss of that customer cost me about $300 per month.  It happened through no fault of my own, so I didn’t beat myself up about it but still, the loss of that income hurt a bit.

But that’s the freelance business.  You win some, you lose some, and you keep moving forward.  Luckily, I believe in diversification.  I like having multiple income sources so that if one fails another can take up the slack.  And that’s the whole point of today’s post.


I’m going to being making YouTube videos about writing.  Why not, right?  I monetize them and I make money, and with the following I have, I should be able to make a steady income.  I won’t get rich from it but that’s not the point. The point is to have another income source to protect me from the harsh winds of freelance winter. J


Do you have alternate sources of income? Are you diversified?  Have you considered it?

Share your thoughts and ideas in the comment section, please.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”


Are Your Titles Dynamic?

6 Mar

003I’m all off-kilter this week, but if I’m not mistaken today is Thursday, so welcome.

I’ve been so busy with my first re-write of my novel “The Long Walk Home” that I’ve kind of ignored my blogging this week.  I’m pretty sure you have carried on nicely without my blogs, but just in case I will apologize.

Let’s see…why don’t we start with the Quote of the Day and then I’ll toss a few things at you.


If you think you’re too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito.

Anita Roddick
Isn’t that a great quote? I’ve been laughing all day at that one…but it is true.


And today’s thought has to do with titles.  Talk about having an impact!  I’ve written often about the 10 Second Rule, the fact that you have about ten seconds to interest your readers enough so that they will continue reading your article, story or book…..well, you won’t even see the 10 Second Rule in play unless you have a title that can knock the socks off of your audience.

Now we are tiptoeing onto some thin ice.  When we are talking about the world of SEO, then we have to be very careful that we get keywords into that title….but….that does not mean the title has to be bland.  Even one word can make a difference.  You could have a title that looks like this…..Ten Ways To Make Money Online….which of course has been done to death…or you could change that title to read….Ten Innovative Ways To Make Money Online.  The first option is bland at best; the second option at least has a chance of interesting those who are into “new” and “innovative.”

When it comes to stories or books, the title is crucial.  Unlike an article where the topic is in the title, for a story or novel we have to give the reader a glimpse of the story line in a few words. This is not an easy thing to do.


Enlist the help of family and friends when titling your next book.  Brainstorm a whole list of titles and find a consensus for the best title.


Say hello to Liz.  Her title at HubPages is epbooks, and she is a lover of animals and a friend. Stop by and see her here.


July drive in Olympia 042

See if you can’t kickstart your creativity with this picture.


Feel free to do a guest blog on this site.  Get in touch with me at holland1145@yahoo.com and we’ll chat about it.


Hopefully I’ll be a little more responsible next week with this blogging thing, but I make no promises.  My novel is my first priority until it is finished and ready for publication, so bear with me until it is finished.

Thank you and have a great rest of the week.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Make Time For Writing

18 Feb

003Welcome back to the third full week of February in the year 2014.  I am rested; I am frisky; I even had snow a week ago which pleased me endlessly; in other words, I am ready to write.

In fact, I have so much to do this week that I just made an executive decision: this is going to be a short post.

First a quotation.


You can’t move so fast that you try to change the mores faster than people can accept it. That doesn’t mean you do nothing, but it means that you do the things that need to be done according to priority.

Eleanor Roosevelt

I have heard this often; I don’t have the time to write every single day.

Well, of course, that is just so much nonsense.  The correct statement would be:  I don’t make the time to write every single day.

If you are serious about your writing then writing will become a priority in your life. Period!  As a priority, it will be allotted time each day.  Even if it is just a half hour daily, writing needs to be done.

Can I be clearer than that?


Stop and reflect over a normal week.  When can you squeeze in an hour of writing?  Late at night before bedtime? Early in the morning before the kids get out of bed?  Find a time that works and then commit to writing at that time, daily, for one week.  At the end of the week adjust accordingly; the only adjustment you are not allowed to make is to quit writing.



Here is your picture of the day. I think this is a new one; obviously my mind is on gardening of late, and I’m wondering what to do with the room we have left out back.


The Innovative Short Fiction Contest is taking submissions now through March 15th.  Submissions can be 7,500 words or less and the entry fee is $15. You can read all about it here.


If you don’t know Ann then go meet here now at her HubPages page; she resides there under the profile name of Annart….find her here….she really is a very good online friend of mine and a very nice lady.


Yes, I’ll be back Thursday.  I’m debating how much longer I want to do this blog. I don’t know that it serves a purpose.  I really don’t have that many followers and I’m not sure these tips and suggested sites are used or needed.  Let me know your thoughts and I’ll talk atcha again on Thursday.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Pay Your Dues and Wait Your Turn

28 Jan

003Welcome back this last week of January. I’m sure many of you reading this are quite ready for winter to end.  As for us on the west coast, this was the winter that wasn’t.  Soon, and I mean soon if this weather continues, it will be time to start the garden……sheez, I’m not ready for that!

Let’s talk about instant gratification today.  So many people want it.  We want to laugh immediately when watching a comedy. We want our burger and fries immediately when at a fast food restaurant.  We want instant success as a writer, yes?  We write an article and want hundreds to read it that same day. We write a book and want a publisher to knock on our door offering us five figures for a bonus signing.

Nope, doesn’t happen!

Success in writing is a methodical process.  You have to slowly build your platform and you have to keep improving, all the while the voice screams inside your head that you are wasting your time and what an idiot you are.

Well you aren’t an idiot….you are a writer.

If you have been writing for some time now, say one, two or three years, think back to when you first started.  Can you see the progress you have made? My goodness I can.  I can’t believe how far I have come in three years.  Over 400,000 views…a novel….several other ebooks….one novel ¾ done…two others waiting in the wings….oh my goodness yes, progress has been made.

Have I been approached by a traditional publisher yet? No, but that just means my time hasn’t arrived for that milestone yet….yet….so I keep writing, keep improving, keep doing the things that are necessary so that I will, eventually, be approached by an agent or publisher.

You have to pay your dues in this business; there is no other way.


All life demands struggle. Those who have everything given to them become lazy, selfish, and insensitive to the real values of life. The very striving and hard work that we so constantly try to avoid is the major building block in the person we are today.
Pope Paul VI


Make one new contact today…set a goal to make one new contact each week.  A peer in the writing business, a new agent, a new bookstore owner…someone who might be a valuable contact in your future.  It’s all part of building your writing platform.


card hands 004

You know what to do.  Give me 200 words based on this picture. I know you can do it.


The Erma Bombeck Writing Competition is accepting entries now through February 17th. You can read all about it here.


If you have your own blog may I suggest that you highlight a new writer each week? Spread the love and the love will come back to you.


My goodness gracious this has been a productive day. I hope it has been for you as well. I’ll see you in a couple days. Until then, keep writing and await your turn for success.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Is Your Writing Original?

23 Jan

003And another Thursday is upon us. I hope my friends in the Midwest and East have recovered from yet another snowstorm.  Hopefully February will bring you some relief.

Meanwhile here in balmy Olympia, all is well. I continue to make progress on the novel….I’m 80,000 words into it and still don’t have a working title. LOL  No hurry I guess.  When I finally finish this novel then I am going to turn my attention to several ebooks that have been in the planning stage for quite some time.  By year’s end I hope to have three of those done and published.  So it is a busy time here and I’m sure it is for you as well.  That’s what we writers do you know….we write!

Today I think we’ll talk about originality, but first a quote.


The world in general doesn’t know what to make of originality; it is startled out of its comfortable habits of thought, and its first reaction is one of anger.
W. Somerset Maugham

I love that quote but I certainly hope you don’t face anger from the public for your originality.

A truly original thought in writing is rare.  The major themes have been done to death, have they not?  Truly good writers, however, can take a theme that has been beaten into a bloody pulp, and give it a new twist….a new approach….a touch of originality in how that theme is handled….and suddenly success arrives.

As you contemplate your next article, or your next story, or your next book, look for that new twist…that new approach.  I think your readers will be quite pleased that you did.



Come on….you know you want to write about this. J


Give this one a try and see if it doesn’t get the juices flowing.  The Super Bowl is coming in a little over one week from now.  Write 200 words related to the Super Bowl.  You don’t need to be a football fan to do this; in fact, not being a fan might be an advantage with regards to originality.


Take a break.  I’m going to go eat lunch and then I’m going to go for a walk. I need it. I’ve been cooped up  in this studio for almost three years now and the walls are starting to squeeze me.  It’s time for some fresh air and a new perspective.


I hope this weekend is restful for you.  Spend some down time from writing and think about where you are headed.  Are you meeting your goals? If not, what’s holding you back?  Are you satisfied with your writing?  What can you do differently to jump start your writing career?

Have a great weekend and thank you for stopping by.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”


Setting Goals As A Writer

21 Jan

003Welcome back to another week of improvement.  I hope your weekend was restful.  Our local football team made it to the Super Bowl so all is right in our little corner of the world.

And since the Seahawks met one of their goals for the season, today seems like a good day to discuss your goals as a writer.  Do you have goals?  Do you have a plan?  Serious question for serious people, and I only ask it because I am a bit surprised by the number of writers I run across who don’t have any direction whatsoever.

Now let me begin by saying if you simply write because you have the passion then that is good enough for me. The goal, in that case, is accomplished every single time you sit down to write and I say bravo to you.  Anyone who has followed me even a little bit knows how I feel about writing with passion, so I’m in your corner all the way.

If, however, you have other goals, say to write a book, or to make it as a freelance writer, then may I suggest breaking your goals into smaller, more-manageable goals that are doable in the short term and will give you some quick success?

For example, let’s say your goal is to write a novel.  Well great, but how are you going to go about it? Do you just want to write one before you die?  A bit nebulous if you ask me.  How about setting a goal of writing one chapter every month?  That way you will have some good feelings about your accomplishments.

Writing is a tough gig, and I think it is important that we give ourselves attainable goals so we can experience some “feel good” sensations along the way.


It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.
Leonardo da Vinci

Yep, I have to agree with old Leonardo on that one.


Writer Advice has a flash fiction contest going on with a deadline of April 18th. A $15 entry fee is charged.  Check it out here.


How about a music prompt today.  Here is the link to a Youtube video of a song I love.  Check it out and see if it doesn’t prompt some writing out of you.



For those of you who hate music.  What does this picture say to you?


I never remember who I’ve highlighted, but oh well.  Here is my friend Donna with her blog…check her out; she’s a nice lady and a darn fine writer.


Happy writing to you all this week. I’ll check with you on Thursday and see how you are doing with those goals.  Thanks for the visit.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”


Scheduling and Chillin As A Writer

16 Jan

003Happy Thursday to you all, the 16th day of January, 2014.  Where oh where does the time go?

I had an interesting day yesterday. I doubt it was interesting to anyone else, but since I am somewhat of a reflective person, looking back on it was definitely interesting.

I have mentioned many times the importance of having a schedule if you are a freelance writer.  Writing is a business, and you can’t expect to succeed in a business that you do not treat like a business. I have regular business hours and during those hours I write.  Period!

So yesterday, when Bev’s son needed to go to the dentist for oral surgery, and I had to take him because he couldn’t drive home after having anesthetic. I was two hours late starting my writing day.  I was, in a word, flummoxed. LOL  My writing day was completely turned upside down and I never really recovered.  I was in constant catch-up mode and I eventually just gave up trying to work on my novel. I literally had to take a deep breath and tell myself to chill out and relax.

Yes, I can be a bit anal.

So there are two lessons today: one, I do believe freelance writers should have a schedule; two, it’s okay to chill when things don’t work out like you planned.



Think of an experience from your lifetime that relates to this picture….then write about that experience and how it changed your life.


The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.
Stephen Covey

This one was for me. J


If you are a freelance writer and you are looking for customers, try contacting local businesses.  You have a leg up on competition because you are local.  Approach them by explaining what you can do to improve their business by putting a professional face on their website and in their blogging.


Hey, I’m running late, and I have to cut corners somewhere.  I promise to have more for you next week.  Have a productive remainder of the week.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”


The Writer And Agent Relationship

19 Dec

003My goodness, is it Thursday already? This week has flown by. I still haven’t done any Christmas shopping and it’s now what, the 19th?  To my defense, I don’t have a car since Bev uses ours for her job, so it’s a bit tough for me to get out during the week. Looks like Saturday will be the day for me to get it  all done.

Anyway, I hope you are all enjoying the holiday season.  It is always a bit of a difficult time for me, but there is no reason to go into that right now.

Today let’s talk about finding an agent and keeping an agent, and what your job is during this process.  First, a quote.


As a producer, sitting on the other side of the desk, I have never once had an agent go out on a limb for his client and fight for him. I’ve never heard one say, ‘No, just a minute! This is the actor you should use.’ They will always say, ‘You don’t like him? I’ve got somebody else.’ They’re totally spineless.
Orson Welles

Well, it is pretty obvious how Mr. Welles felt about agents. LOL

A few days ago I was contacted by an agent….true story.  She wants to represent me and help me to land speaking gigs, book signings, etc, and she wants to help me promote my new novel due out in March or April.  All well and good and yes, I am a bit excited.


Here’s the thing to understand about agents…..they are, first and foremost, a business entity.  They have numerous clients and they will put their time and effort into the client that gives them the most to work with….this is a key point to understand.

It is my job to continue to build my platform.  It is my job to continue to improve as a writer. The agent has their job and I have mine, and if I don’t do my job there are plenty of writers out there for the agent to choose from.


November 2012 around Olympia 030

Have some fun with it. Let your imagination flow. Hopefully you will find an article in this picture. I did!


The Chattahoochie Review has a short story contest, fiction or non-fiction, with a deadline of January something or other. J  Entries of under 5000 words.  Here is all the info on it.  Think in terms of your platform; winning a literary contest looks great on the resume.


If you don’t know what I’m talking about when I say platform, think in terms of your entire body of work.  I wrote an article about it and you can find that here.


I’ll be back next week with more tips.  If you can’t wait you can always check out my writing tips on HubPages. Three days a week I toss out information on writing, so check it out if you have time.

Have a great weekend and Happy Holidays to all of you.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”



Censorship and Writing

10 Dec

003Welcome back my friends. I hope you find something in today’s post that interests you and maybe even helps you along your writing journey.

I have so many topics I want to write about today. I was going to write about reaching out and helping another writer, mainly because I am still blown away by the number of writers who have blogs and yet do not highlight other writers on those blogs.  Hello!!!!!  We are each other’s support groups.  Anybody listening????

But I don’t want to write about that today. Instead I want to write about censorship.

But first, a quote.


The only valid censorship of ideas is the right of people not to listen.
Tommy Smothers

How cool is that? I found a quote by Tommy Smothers. LOL

This subject came up yesterday when I was downloading a new article onto HubPages. Immediately a notice was posted telling me that automatic filters determined that the article was in violation of whatever and that advertising would be disabled.

Shucky darn!

I have six articles that have had advertising disabled. Five are on child abuse and then this new one about suicide.

What’s up with that?  Is HubPages telling me that nobody in the world wants to read about those two subjects, or are they telling me that the subject matter is too intense for most people and the advertisers don’t want to be associated with anything that causes people to, oh, I don’t know….THINK!

It makes no difference to me, but I do think it is a bit idiotic.  If they really want to make money at HubPages, they will publish controversial material.  Places like Reddit thrive on controversy.  People in general love controversy.  If you really want readership wouldn’t you want to give the readers what they obviously want?

Anyway, censorship…..something to keep in mind.  If you are a writer and you are discouraged from writing something because someone finds it distasteful, then shame on you.  We have this thing called Freedom of Speech in this country, and as long as you do not do harm to others then you are free to speak, or write, your mind.

Remember that!


A shout out to a friend of mine….Susan….and she has this thing going about random acts of kindness. A subject that is near and dear to my heart, so check her out here and give her some support.


The Crime Writers Association has a contest going on right now for unpublished novels in that genre. You can read all about it here.


winter in my little slice of heaven 014

Hopefully this picture will stir something inside of you and be the genesis of a new article.


GrubStreet is offering forty scholarships of $200 each to writers to use for any class they want to take. Find out about it here.


I’ve got things to do, places to go and people to see, and I’m sure you do as well, so let’s get busy. Until Thursday, have fun writing.  It is supposed to be enjoyable you know.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”