Archived entries for writing

Three Sites You Should Read

I firmly believe in the importance of continuously working to improve my writing and grow my skill set—and I don’t just mean the writing-related ones. I also am constantly looking for new products or processes for improving efficiency, sales tips and business practices. I follow business blogs as well as writing blogs and niche industry blogs (like pet stuff, since I cover pet topics).

Today I wanted to share a few writing blogs I read regularly that I think get paid less attention that they deserve. So many sites out there rehash the same information over and over and over again—they are worth keeping up with, for the rare occasion that they mention something new, but few sites really manage to offer new fresh content regularly. Each of these 3 are the exception to the rule. They continually provide new ideas and new perspectives from experts who are out there walking the walk every day. Continue reading…

Accepting Rush Jobs

One of the reasons I was able to go freelance was because even before I resigned I was fairly confident I’d be able to get regular work through my boss. And, upon talking to him as I was leaving, he assigned me a regular column. Currently, the work I’m doing for him is my most regular work; in addition to the column, he gives me other pieces as often as he is able.

He knows he can count on me to deliver the quality he needs and to understand the publication’s audience and tone. So it just makes sense to him to give me the work, rather than assigning it to another freelancer. As my most regular client by far at this point, when he emailed me recently asking me if I had time to take on an emergency assignment, it was really hard to say no.

Why I Accepted the Assignment

First of all, the piece would mean another $250 added to my bank account; and since I’m still new enough that the future feels uncertain, that made for serious temptation. Second, I didn’t want to tell him no, because it might mean he wouldn’t come to me with similar pieces in the future. Third, it didn’t seem like a time consuming assignment; it was just a company profile, so it only required doing one interview and writing the piece up based on that information.

What I didn’t count on was how difficult it would be to reach someone at the company who could set me up with someone to interview on such short notice; I only had 3 days to turn around the assignment.

Where Things Went Wrong

The piece might only require one interview, but I had a lot of difficulty getting someone at the company on the phone to do that interview. They were all at an industry event, and weren’t available. I kept the editor in the loop, and he pushed back my deadline from Friday to first thing Monday. Finally, after trying since Tuesday, I got someone on the phone on Friday evening.

That was the same weekend that I spent 4 hours at the vet while on deadline for another assignment. So I didn’t get to do anything with that interview until Sunday. On Sunday I worked all day on the piece; I transcribed the interview and pieced it together any additional information I needed from their website and a special anniversary site they had created for their 50th anniversary last year.

I finally finished the profile just in time for the extended deadline, and sent it out at 2:21 AM Monday morning. In the end, it was an extra $250. And once I got the interview, the piece didn’t take that long to put together. But not being able to get ahold of someone at the company almost made me miss the deadline (if I didn’t know the editor so well, it might have been a huge issue—fortunately, by communicating what was going on, I managed to get an extension instead) and an unexpected emergency threw things even more out of order. While I would probably still accept the assignment if placed in the same situation today, I’d definitely have more to think about…

What about you? Ever not thought out accepting an assignment? Had something crazy go wrong? Or maybe just bit off more than you could chew…? Tell me about it. 

P.S. Check out my guest post from last week over at Diary of a Mad Freelancer. I share some secrets I learned while working behind the scenes as a business to business magazine editor. 

[Photo Credit: Klynslis]

Sh!t Happens

I’ve been staying with my grandmother in North Carolina while beginning to hunt for an apartment in South Carolina; this past weekend my grandmother went on a retreat with her church and left me to watch the house and her dogs.

She has a large fenced backyard where she puts the dogs out during the day. Saturday night I let the dogs in, and one of them had a large gash down his side; he was bleeding all over the place. You could see the muscle underneath. It was terrible.

I called my uncle, who lives down the street, and we hauled the dog down to the emergency vet clinic half an hour away. We were there for four hours.

And, as if all that isn’t bad enough—I was on deadline for a client project. Ut oh.  Continue reading…

My Freelance Business Plan

I’ve known I wanted to be a freelancer for over 6 years–finally, last month I took the plunge.

How the heck will I make any money?

Well, I’m glad you asked. As a new freelancer, there are people who think I’m crazy, leaving a stable job and a life where I manage to make ends meet every month, for a life that’s unpredictable, where I’ll never know where my next dollar is coming from. But what they don’t know is that I’ve got a plan. Continue reading…

Recap of Week 1: Not Quite What I Expected

I’ve finished my first full week (well, almost full week) of freelancing.

I arrived in NC on Tuesday about midday and spent that evening as well as the rest of the week working. The thing that surprised me most? How much it doesn’t feel like work. Not having to go into an office and sit at a desk for 8 hours a day has meant I work from about 9:30 in the morning until close to midnight most days–but there are many more breaks, including some that last a couple of hours. As a result, I feel fresher and actually accomplish more.

I’ve also been surprised Continue reading…

Tips on Getting Published in Trade Magazines

Hey ladies and gents–the gracious Denene Brox did a interview with me recently over on Freelance Write Now to find out more about writing for trade magazines. Writing for trade magazines is a great way for beginning freelance writers to learn the ropes and gain some clips for their portfolios. The competition is often much lower at trade magazines and I have found that editors are much more responsive and open to offering freelance writing jobs to beginners. Check out the piece here!

Lessons From An Editor: 5 Tips for Phone Interviews

This is a new series here on Jargon Writer. I announced recently that I’m heading into the world of freelancing full time–but I learned a lot while working full time as a trade editor, and wanted to share those lessons and tips with you. 

In the last three years I’ve done more phone interviews that I could count for more articles than you’d want to read. During that time I’ve picked up some tips and tricks for keeping the interview process smooth, your information organized and to ensure you come off as professional as possible. Continue reading…

I’ll Admit it… I’m Terrified

So it’s official. I’m going FT. As I walk bravely into the unknown I thought I’d share my concerns; then in a year ill come back and repost them, with how these things turned out.

Things I’m worried about :

1) My funds. I’ve set aside enough for 3 months living expenses at my current lifestyle; but I’m cutting expenses by moving into a place with cheaper rent. However the move requires acquiring a car. So there’s that. Still, the amount I have set aside should last me 6 months at my estimated cost of living in the new location–yet I’m terrified it won’t be enough, and that I won’t be able to make money to replace my savings.

2) My diligence. That once I’m out of an office and working from home I’ll find I lack the motivation necessary to truly succeed. That I’ll become lazy, and get up each day around noon, never change out of my PJs and fail to overcome the fears listed here because I never truly try. I’ve been in positions before where fear of failure prevented me from success. And I’m scared it’ll happen again.

3) That I will try, but I’ll find I’m just not good enough. That my writing will never by published or paid for; that somehow the freelance work I’ve done up until this point and my job as a writer and editor has been a fluke accident and no one will ever pay me to put words down again. Continue reading…

A Big Announcement

I’ve been a little scarce around the blogosphere lately, but there’s a good reason. I was ramping up for a big announcement. On Thursday I officially put in notice at the magazine where I’ve worked for the last three years. The magazine has a great team and I will miss all of them, but I reached a point where I felt a bigger goal that I’ve had for a long time was within my reach, so I’m going for it. My last day will be August 15th; then I’ll be freelancing full time.

I’ve learned a lot during my time at Pet Business and have built many wonderful relationships with my coworkers there.Without the chance they offered me, right out of school, I wouldn’t be the writer and editor I am today. I’ve grown a lot, both in who I am and in my skills and abilities, since I first took the job. Initially, the job offered me something few entry level positions would–a chance to immediately begin writing and seeing my work published. Unlike many positions, where I’d be restricted to answering phones and filing work, I’d be able to use the Masters Degree, which at that point I was still in the process of earning.

I’m leaving on good terms, with plans to continue writing for the magazine on a regular basis as a freelancer. My current boss has already asked me to  take over one of the regular monthly columns on a freelance basis. I look forward to continuing to contribute to the publication in that role even once I leave.

My freelance business will have three parts. First, I will continue to write for magazines, pitching articles to various publications including Pet Business. Second, I will build upon the copywriting work I have been doing part time for the last year. Third, I will offer my skills as an editor, working on both copywriting projects and on ebooks and book-length pieces.

I have many big goals for the road ahead, and many many fears that I will have to face–and gradually overcome. More on that later. For now, I’m excited about this new opportunity to grow.

Full time freelancers, do you have any tips for me? Part timers, am I crazy? Share you thoughts below.

Pitch Event for Moxy

July of last year I mentioned a new project I had in the works–an online magazine for women. That project took form over the months that followed and launched officially in November of last year as Moxy Magazine: A magazine for women with big cojones and bigger dreams. Recently I had the chance to attend a pitch conference thanks to the New York Women Social Entrepreneurs and Goldman Sachs. The Social Innovation Workshop involved meeting with several different groups and pitching a business idea. Below is the final pitch I shared for Moxy. Feel free to share your feedback. Continue reading…

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