Tag Archives: freelance writing

Making Money As A Writer

22 Oct

003Welcome back to our next installment on Artistry With Words. I hope your weekend was restful, and you are now chomping at the bit to get out there and gallop with your words.

Today let’s talk about making money.  How’s that for a subject all writers are interested in?

QUOTE OF THE DAY

All I ask is the chance to prove that money can’t make me happy.
Spike Milligan

Oh man I love that quote.  I would love to tell you that making money isn’t important to me, but that would be a bald-faced lie.  Of course I want to make money.  I get tired of mac-n-cheese just like everyone else. I’d love to have the money to take Bev out for a nice dinner at a restaurant or, heaven forbid, actually go on a real vacation like the ones I read about online.  I don’t need to be rich but damn, it sure would be nice to be secure. J

If I had to name the number one complaint I see from writers it would be related to making money….especially those who make money from online endeavors…blogging, writer’s sites like HubPages or Bubblews, content mills….everyone is looking for a bigger piece of the pie and I understand that.

Here’s what I think:

TIP OF THE DAY

What has worked for you in the past? Where have you had success, no matter how limited?  Figure that out and then replicate it.  As my dad was fond of saying, beating a dead horse does no good at all.  If something you are doing is not working then quit doing it.  Duh!  If something is working then keep on doing it.  Duh!

SECOND TIP OF THE DAY

Contact other writers who are finding success and brainstorm with them.  Ask for their advice.  Quit bouncing around your writing studio talking to yourself and seek the counsel of others who have had success.  I have found writers to be very generous with advice when asked, but of course I only hang with giving people. J

THIRD TIP OF THE DAY

Write a business plan for yourself. All businesses have them, and if you are writing for money then writing is a business.summer of 2010 015

FOURTH TIP OF THE DAY

Work harder!  I don’t see any reason to expound on this one.

FIFTH TIP OF THE DAY

Help each other.  Combined you can become a force; alone you can become a lost wanderer with barely enough money to buy a Big Mac.

Here, I’ll give you an example.  One of my favorite young writers, and a genuinely good person, is Marissa.  You can find her blog, Tiny Pilgrim, here, and I encourage you all to give her some support and spread the love.

AND THAT’S ALL I HAVE FOR YOU TODAY

No contests, no nothing other than the above-mentioned tips.  You know where to find me if you want to chat about making money.

Bill

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

A Writer’s Self-Image

17 Oct

003And a very happy Thursday to you all!  What’s happening in your literary world right now?

I have a rather self-reflective and serious question for you today.  I can hear you all groaning from here but that won’t deflect my purpose.  Are you ready?

How do you see yourself as a writer?  In other words, what is your writing self-image?

Let’s start with a quote and then we’ll discuss this more.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

The person we believe ourselves to be will always act in a manner consistent with our self-image.
Brian Tracy

I love that quote and it is oh, so true.

So back to the question: what is your self-image regarding your writing abilities?  This is a bit tricky, isn’t it?  If we say we are incredible then maybe our self-image is a bit inflated, and that isn’t good…if we say we are horrible then obviously we have some work to do with that regard.

Do you have a trusted friend who will be honest with you about your abilities?  Family member?  Do you belong to a writers’ group where you can get objective opinions about your writing?  Hell, do you even want to know?  LOL

Think about it.  We must believe in ourselves because let’s face it, our fan club is rather small on the best of days….but…..our image must be realistic as well so that we can move forward and affect improvement.

PROMPT OF THE DAY

street fair Aug 2012 013

Yes, you know what I want you to do….write 200 words describing this picture, but put it in fiction form today.

CONTEST OF THE DAY

The Colorado Prize For Poetry is accepting submissions. Entry fee is $25 and first prize is a $2000 honorarium.  This is for poetry books, or collections of poetry.  You can read about it here.

TIP OF THE DAY

Go find the best thing you have ever written.  We all have a favorite piece so don’t tell me that you don’t have one.  Now, read it and then ask yourself what it is about that piece that makes it your favorite. Once you have answered that question, then replicate the strength of that piece the next time you write something.  Build on your victories…they are your strengths….they are what make you a good writer.

MORE LATER

Time to go; I have a novel that is demanding my attention.  Have a great day writing!

Bill

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

 

Writers Struggle and Writers Succeed

15 Oct

003I just mentioned on Facebook that I’m growing my hair long. I figure if I’m going to be a struggling writer I might as well look like one. LOL  It’s all part of the five year plan my friends.

Welcome back to Artistry With Words, the blog by writers, for writers and about writers and writing.  No fees or dues here; just discussions, observations and helpful tips.

And today we are going to talk about struggles….but first, a quote.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

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

I hear often from new writers on HubPages who grow impatient because they are not receiving the number of views they expected.  And my response is always the same:  be patient and keep working on your craft and your plan.

You do have a plan, don’t you?  I have mentioned before that I have a five-year plan in writing.  Now five years may seem like a long time to some, and probably, since I’m now sixty-five and beginning Year Three of my plan, it should seem long to me as well, but…..Steinbeck went something like seven years before selling his first short story to a magazine….so I’m not feeling real bad about Year Three.  The way I see it, I’m four years ahead of Steinbeck.  LOL

If you are a person who simply wants to make some online passive income, then go to Bubblews and click away.  If you are a writer who has a grander vision, then keep working and be patient.

TIP OF THE DAY

Write out a business plan for your writing endeavors.  It will give you focus and a blueprint of success to follow.  Otherwise you will be like so many writers first starting out, wandering aimlessly hoping to find success by osmosis.  Is that really what you want to be doing?

CONTEST OF THE DAY

J.F. Powers Prize For Short Fiction, taking submissions of up to 8,000 words through November….NO ENTRY FEE!  Did I mention there is no entry fee? First prize is $500 and national recognition.  You can check out the submission guidelines here.

GET AWAY SITE OF THE DAY

Would you like a residency in Portugal for a few months? Check it out here.

PROMPT OF THE DAY

odds and ends in Feb 2012 007

I’m still on the five senses kick. Write 200 words about this picture and appeal to all five senses.  Great drill to help you relate to readers in a way they all can understand.

OPPORTUNITY OF THE DAY

Hey you recipe writers and food writers…Louisiana Cookin’ accepts queries and is a nationally recognized food magazine.  Check them out here.

THAT’S IT FOR TODAY

I’m actually late and I apologize. I forgot to write this Monday so here I am at 9:03 PDT putting the finishing touches on it. I hope you found it useful.  I’ll see you again on Thursday provided I remember.

Bill

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Learning To Be A Good Writer

10 Oct

003First, I have to thank all of you who voted for me for Best All-Around Hubber.  I don’t think any of us are immune to the wonders of praise, and I am humbled and honored by your faith in me. I will write an article about my HubPages experience next week but for now, my sincere and heartfelt thank you.

Now on to the business of the day…learning to be a good writer.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.
John Wooden

What wise words from a wise man.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY

This business of talent with regards to writing is an interesting topic so let’s explore it a bit.  Are great writers born with exceptional talent or did they work to maximize what gifts they had?  I personally think is a combination of many factors.  I think having a solid foundation is important.  As much as I hated the nuns for drilling into me proper grammar, I can now look back and say thank you for doing it.  I know that my mom and dad insisted that I read and read often, so I’m sure that had a role in helping me to become a writer.

I have read about many of the great writers of our time and every single one of them had determination and a willingness to go to any lengths to succeed.

I know from my time in a classroom that a mediocre writer could become a good writer with proper teaching and encouragement.

So what is the answer?  I think, and this is just my opinion, that anyone with a pinch of talent can develop that talent and become a good writer.  I won’t use the word great because that word is bandied about too often.  Great is Blake.  Great is Hemingway.  Great is Hawthorne and great is Steinbeck.  The rest of us are just trailing in their path hoping for some crumbs of greatness.

To develop talent requires hard work.  Writing is considered an art form and as such it requires constant practice and constant attempts to improve.

Let me ask you this:  what have you done to improve your writing skills this week?

PROMPT OF THE DAY

summer of 2010 004

You know the drill.  Write 200 words about this picture and appeal to all five senses in those 200 words.

CONTEST OF THE DAY

Gemini Poetry Contest is now taking submissions.  The application fee is only $5, which is a very reasonable fee.  Submit three poems before January 2nd and you just might win $1,000 or a number of secondary prizes.

OPPORTUNITY OF THE DAY

Chicken Soup of the Soul is taking essays about how you have rebooted your life.  I believe they pay $200 if they accept your story.  You can submit your story here.

THAT’S ALL FOR TODAY

But I’ll be back next Tuesday with another installment. I hope you all have a great weekend and thank you for dropping by during your busy day.

Bill

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

 

 

 

You Can’t Fake Quality

8 Oct

003Welcome back to a new week of writing discussions. I trust your weekend was rewarding and restful.  Now let’s get to work.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

There are as many opinions as there are experts.
Franklin D. Roosevelt

And you know what they say about opinions, don’t you?  It’s a bit gross so I won’t repeat it here. J

THOUGHT OF THE DAY

The point is this:  simply stating that you are an expert in the writing business is practically worthless.  That statement and a couple bucks will get you a small coffee.  You had better be able to back up your claim.

I liken it to building a house.  If you use sub-standard materials you are most likely going to have a pile of sticks the first time a good wind blows, or you’ll have a small pond in your living room the first time a cloud burst arrives.

Building a writing platform and establishing credibility takes time.  You can only fool an editor once.  You can send the greatest query letter in the world, and an editor will bite, but if the promised work is sub-standard you will never hear from that editor again.

The same can be said for those customers who want you to write for them, be it a newsletter or a blog or whatever.  If you promise quality writing you damn well better be able to deliver quality writing.  You might be able to fake your marketing campaign but you’ll never be able to fake good writing.

Work on your craft!

RESOURCE OF THE DAY

Check out Janine at J9 Designs if you want help setting up a profitable blog. I have known Janine for over a year now and I can tell you without hesitation that this lady knows her stuff.   She is a perfect example of claiming to be an expert and having the platform to prove it.  You can find her company here.

PROMPT OF THE DAY

winter in my little slice of heaven 009

Remember the five senses.  Do a little writing exercise and write a couple paragraphs, based on this picture, that appeal to all five senses.

CONTEST OF THE DAY

Writer’s Village has an international short story contest going on now. Cash prizes and feedback from professionals about the quality of your short story. Deadline is November 30th and work max is 3000 words.  You can find them here.

TIP OF THE DAY

If you want a successful and professional platform then work at building it.  No shortcuts.  Learn as much as you can about freelance writing or just writing in general.  Read the classics.  Join a writer’s group.  Look for feedback.  Try different genres.  This is how it’s been done for decades and it is a proven path for success.

MORE ON THURSDAY

I need to get back to work so that’s it for today.  I’ll see you in two days with more thoughts on writing.  You can find me on my other blog, A Moment With Bill, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Bill

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

 

 

The Definition of a Writer

3 Oct

003Happy Thursday to you all!  I hope this finds you well.  Shall we begin?

What is a writer?  I’m going to write an article about this topic in a few days, but today I’m going to take a different route in answering that question.

If you were to look at the dictionary definition of a writer you would find:

: someone whose work is to write books, poems, stories, etc.

: someone who has written something

 

Well that’s a bit nebulous if you ask me.  Someone who has written something? Come on Websters; you can do better than that.  Does that mean someone who writes a grocery list is a writer?  I think not, and yet they certainly fit under the second definition.

But what about the first definition:  someone whose work is to write books, poems, stories, etc……the word ‘work’ throws me just a bit.  Does that mean writing in pursuit of money?  Do you see why I’m having trouble with the concept of what a writer is?

So let me tell you what I think a writer is.  A writer is a person who puts one word in front of another, and another, and another, in an attempt to advance literature.  To my way of thinking, it all comes down to intent.  If your intention is to improve your skills and in so doing to better the art of writing, then in my opinion you are a writer; if your intention is to simply make money without any consideration to the art of writing, then you are not a writer.

Snobbish for sure but there you have it.  Writing is a craft…part of the arts….THE ARTS….and it needs to be treated as an art form.  I don’t care if you just write blogs or if you are a content writer or a writer on Bubblews or just write for yourself….if your intent is to improve your craft then in my book (pun intended) you are a writer. Otherwise, if you are just writing for clicks and views, you are nothing more than an accountant.

TIP OF THE DAY

Try writing in a different genre.  I said for years that I could not write poetry, but I forced myself to write a poem titled “I Cry Real Tears.”  It did not springboard me to fame but it did help me, in the long run, to write better free-form prose and so it was well-worth the effort.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

Become addicted to constant and never-ending self-improvement.
Anthony J. D’Angelo

CONTEST OF THE DAY

Another opportunity for self-improvement as a writer is to enter a contest and test your skills against thousands in a competition.  Here’s one that might interest you.  The Baltimore Review’s Winter Contest has several genres that you can enter, and the entry fee is only $10.  I believe the entry deadline is November 30thYou can find the details here.

PROMPT OF THE DAY

Bevs pics 003

I wrote an article yesterday about using all five senses when writing to appeal to the reader.  Try it on this picture.  Use your five senses to describe this prompt.

AND THAT’S ALL FOR TODAY

I’m over 500 words and that is more than enough to get my point across. I hope you found this helpful. In no way am I trying to insult anyone regarding the definition of writing.  I just feel strongly that real writers should try to advance their craft and improve.

Have a great day and a great weekend.

Bill

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

 

Constant Change In Writing but Quality Is Still King

1 Oct

003What day is it?  Oh…okay, Happy Tuesday and welcome back to Artistry With Words.

Changes are in store for this writer…and really they always are. I’m constantly taking a look at my long-range plan and tweaking my weekly efforts to better align with the plan.  Since it’s October now that means it is time for another tweak.  Note that my plan doesn’t change. My five year plan has remained the same since Day One of my writing adventure.  What does change is my approach to that plan, depending on all of those influences that hit us writers almost daily.

So that will be our focus today…..adjusting the approach to our plan.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

Man’s unique reward, however, is that while animals survive by adjusting themselves to their background, man survives by adjusting his background to himself.
Ayn Rand

Let me admit right here and right now that I have never liked reading Ayn Rand….but…I like this quote.

TIP OF THE DAY

What has worked for you in the past with regards to writing? Find your successes and repeat them.  What has not worked in the past? Either change your approach or stop wasting time repeating failures.

CONTEST OF THE DAY

The Permafrost Book Size Poetry Contest is accepting submissions. Entry fee is $20 for up to 50 pages, and the deadline is November 15th. You can read about it here.

MONEY SITE OF THE DAY

Ucross Foundation is accepting applications for their 2-8 week residency for artists and writers. Located on a working cattle ranch in Ucross, Wyoming, the Foundation offers an excellent retreat for those needing to get in touch with their artistic talents in a supportive community.  Applications can be found here.

PROMPT OF THE DAY

loggers

What do you see? What do you feel looking at this picture?  Can you write 300 words on it?

WRITER OF THE DAY

Say hello to my dear friend Mary, or Tillsontitan on HubPages. Mary is the perfect example of niche writing with her series on the Academy Awards.  Check her out here.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY

Don’t be afraid of change in this business.  The online writing stage is changing almost daily, and you need to change with it….but above all, and I say this in all seriousness….work on perfecting your craft.  I don’t care what approach you take and how many things you try to change; if your writing is subpar then people will notice.

 SEE YOU AGAIN ON THURSDAY

Every Tuesday and Thursday you can count on this writing blog to appear. I hope you find something that is helpful, and thank you for visiting during your busy day.

Bill

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

 

 

Reading Is To Writing As Whipped Cream Is To Pumpkin Pie

19 Sep

003Happy Thursday to all of you!  If it’s Thursday, and it is, then it must be time for Artistry With Words, so let’s get a move on and toss out a few ideas.

Today’s topic is…..drum roll please…..working at your craft.

Check out the quote below and then we’ll chat.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

The most important thing is to read as much as you can, like I did. It will give you an understanding of what makes good writing and it will enlarge your vocabulary.
J. K. Rowling

There are some lessons we could learn about perseverance from Rowling, but today let’s concentrate on her words in that quote.  “Read as much as you can….”

I read a fascinating blog yesterday, recommended to me by my good friend Lizzy, and in that blog the writer talked about his success in blogging coming from the fact that he was smarter than most other bloggers.  Now before you start screaming, hear him out.  The point he was making was that good writers, and good bloggers, are inherently interesting people, and they are interesting because they know a great deal about many subjects, and that makes them informative and yes, fascinating, so that you can’t wait to read what they have to say.

He went on to say that he spends hours reading newspapers and online stories and watching documentaries and such, and his research into life in general far surpasses the amount of time he spends writing.  You can find his blog here.

Anyway, the point is that the more we prepare and gain knowledge, the better writers we will become.

Another friend of mine, Sha, reads, I swear, every single “how to” article about writing, trying to pick up bits and pieces of information that will help her improve.

The bottom line is this:  writing is work.  Few of us are so damn gifted that we don’t have to work at it; most of us have to constantly try to improve our skills, and along with that we need to increase our knowledge.

TIP OF THE DAY

I’ll keep this short and sweet:  read a minimum of one hour per day.  When I was a teacher this was my number one piece of advice to parents who wanted their children to improve in writing….have them read.

CONTEST OF THE DAY

Cutthroat Poetry and Short Story Contests are taking submissions right now with a deadline of October 15th. Entry fee of $17 and first prize money of $1250.  You can read the guidelines here.

CONGRATULATIONS OF THE DAY

To my friend Ruchira who just published her first book called “Choices.”  Great accomplishment Ruchira!

PICTURE PROMPT OF THE DAY

DSCN0939

You know what to do….write 300 words about this picture.  Who knows, maybe there is a short story in it and you can enter the Cutthroat competition.

WRITING PROMPT OF THE DAY

Finish this sentence with 300 words of free-form writing……..”The day began like any other day until…….”

MORE ON TUESDAY

It’s time to get to work so I’ll wish you all a great day of writing AND reading.  I greatly appreciate each and every one of you, and I hope you all know that.

Join me Monday, Wednesday and Friday on my other blog, “A Moment With Bill.” You can find it here.

Bill

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

 

Trying Different Writing Styles

17 Sep

003And a very Happy Tuesday to all my peeps.  I hope you had a great weekend and a productive Monday.  Shall we get this day started?

I published an article today about our loss of innocence with the signing of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution in 1964, effective giving the President the power to send troops into Vietnam without Congressional approval.  You can see it here if you want.

But the reason I bring it up is because it is written in free-form, a stream of consciousness method where you just randomly toss out thoughts and brain messages without any concern for proper grammar or punctuation.  The purpose is to see how many verbal images you can come up with about a significant event.

When you toss out the rules and just write, it is amazing how freeing it can be.  Your imagination is given free rein and it is allowed to gallop across the page without restraints.  I had a ball writing that article and I hope you give that technique a try as well.

By the way, on the subject of inspiration, the idea for that article came from the song “American Pie” by Don McLean, one of my favorites.  Listen to it and you will get a better feeling for what I was trying to accomplish with my article.  His song, as you may or may not know, is about the day the music died, or the day that Buddy Holly died in a plane crash, but it is also a nostalgic look back at the early 60’s, as is my article.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

All I’m writing is just what I feel, that’s all. I just keep it almost naked. And probably the words are so bland.
Jimi Hendrix

Great quote by Hendrix, and although it is about songwriting I think you’ll agree that it applies to writing as well.  Keep your writing naked if you want the feelings to shine through.

TIP OF THE DAY

Use the free form, shotgun method to write 300 words about an event in your life. Don’t worry about grammar or spelling or punctuation….just let it flow.  This is a great exercise in developing voice.

CONTEST OF THE DAY

The first annual Wild Light Contest for poets, sponsored by the Los Angeles Review….cash prize and inclusion in the Los Angeles Review.  Check it out here.

PROMPT OF THE DAY

whidbey 5

All five senses…what do they say about this picture? Now, free form writing for 300 words about it.

MONEY OF THE DAY

The Artsmith Residencies are taking applications for those interested in staying at a writer’s colony for a week in January, 2014. The Residency is in the beautiful San Juan Islands of Washington State, so you might want to take a look at this offering.  You can find them here.

AND THAT’S ALL FOR TODAY MY FRIENDS

But I’ll be back on Thursday with more things to consider.  You can always check out my other blog, A Moment With Bill, on the days I don’t post this blog.  You can find that blog here.

As always, I greatly appreciate you taking the time to visit with me. I hope you found something worth keeping.

Bill

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

 

 

 

The Brotherhood and Sisterhood of Writers

12 Sep

003And a very Happy Thursday to you all!

Okay, now is where I come clean….I forgot to get a post ready for today.  I am totally unprepared, and since it is actually seven pm Wednesday night, trust me when I say I have no plans on trying to put together sites, contests, tips, quotes and suggestions for you today.

Having said that, I have one quote for you and then I’ll leave you to take care of other business.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand.
Henri Nouwen

As I was frantically scouring my mind for something to say in this post, friendship came to me in a flash.

My two best friends in the world are Bev and my son, but they are not why I write about friendship today.  Today I want to acknowledge all of you, my online friends and my writing brothers and sisters.

Only you know the struggles that a writer goes through.  Only you can accurately feel the joy when a minor success comes our way.  And only you understand the passion that keeps us going against ridiculous odds.

For almost two years now I have needed you, and I have come to consider many of you very close friends even though we have never met.  I have shared my weaknesses with you. I have shared my triumphs and my fears and my hopes with you, and throughout it all you have been accepting and compassionate and yes, loving.

I am proud to be a part of your community.  Thank you and love to you all.

Bill

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”