Friday, July 13, 2012

Blogging Like Your Life Depends On It

Many bloggers are seeking to profit from their time and work, and even hope to see full-time income potential in doing what they love to do: write. But one of the things that so easily slips past the hopeful blogger is that blogging, like any other job, requires a steady amount of work and input. More than that, it requires the same amount of time, and often more, as a regular paying job. This may sound like discouragement to those of you who may seek instant gratification from your writing, but it is - my friends, the truth. 

When working a traditional job, the formula is standard and basic: Your time doing their work in exchange for prearranged regular pay. A person generally depends on that formula to live. They are working because their lives depend on that "time + work = money" formula. The employers are typically not paying people to watch television, hang out in the kitchen in their pajamas, chat with friends on Facebook, or plant trees in FarmVille. This is pretty much true of blogging, too. You should be, as you would in any traditional "time + work = money" job, using the majority of the work day doing research, writing, promoting, analyzing, or otherwise building your audience and your blog

If you are doing any of this in only small amounts, or part of the time, you can probably expect that your blogging income will be slight, as well. Unless you've really latched onto a brilliant and nearly untouched niche  subject that people have been dying for information about, you're blog will probably not flourish on its own. You will need to work on it continuously... More specifically, you should be blogging as if your life depends on it. Your blog, like anything else in life, will yield the rewards of the efforts you put forth. Your time plus your hard work will produce an income. How much you earn will be a direct result of how hard (or even how long) you work. 

Stick to the formula, whether you seek traditional employment or work on your own. 
Time + Work = Money

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

Welcome to the Comfort ZoneThe comfort zone can be a nice, cozy place to hang out for a while. It's safe, familiar, and doesn't require you to do anything that might make you feel too - well... uncomfortable. The freelance writing business, for some, is the entrance to the comfort zone; it's full of the possibility for writers to accept less that what they are worth, simply because we've become comfortable. We too easily settle into that comfortably routine groove. It's as if - now that you have work, you are less apt to going after something bigger and better. You're making money. 

Why fix it if it ain't broke?

Underachievement can be deadly to the freelance writing career.  Complacency will cause you to miss out on opportunities with the potential to bring in business that will facilitate your overall success.Once you've made the leap into writing part-time or full-time, you may think all of the hard work is over. Think again. It's just the start of a growing process than can be painful, frustrating, exciting and exhilarating as you grow improving your knowledge, skills and the way you operate your business. Here are some common comfort zones we freelancers can so easily settle into:

Stuck writing for low pay content sites

When you're first starting out and you land a couple of paying gigs writing for content sites, you feel ecstatic. Imagine: someone's going to PAY you to write! So say you're being paid $5 or $10 per 500 word article. You may spend end up spending several hours seven days a week writing enough articles to pay the bills each week. Ideally, you'll take this experience and quickly move on to higher paying clients, but many writers continue the cycle of searching out more of these low paying content sites instead, never really meeting their income goals.

Some writers get very comfortable with having someone bring the work to them rather than going out and finding it. If you're okay with the hours you work and the money you bring in then it's all good; but even if you are okay with it, what happens if the content site folds? It happens all the time, and the danger is even more prevalent in this struggling economy.

Fear of Marketing

This is really an extension of the previously mentioned comfort zone. I was once on a writer's forum brainstorming with others about how to get better rates. Most of us were echoing the same idea: market, market, market to more private clients. Again, you have a better chance of setting fair rates for your writing services this way. One writer honestly stated that she hated marketing, even though she was among the loudest complainers asking for someone to point her to the higher paying opportunities.For some it's really a fear of rejection. No one likes to hear "no." I think if you make peace with the fact that you will get a few "no's" or no responses, it won't seem so devastating when it happens. Stick with it and you will turn up some interested candidates.

Not Keeping Current with Industry Trends and Technology Changes

Big mistake. Now I'm not usually one to worry so much about competing against other writers for gigs; but if you're not educating yourself about trends and changes in the industry, you're doing your business and your clients a huge disservice because you can't give them what they need. Meeting your client's need is pretty much the basis of any service based business. When you get a new client and you can effectively explain how search engine ranking is achieved, sales conversion techniques or how they can benefit from  social networking sites to connect with their customers, you are further establishing yourself as an expert in their eyes. 

As far as technology is concerned, you ever come across something that's too technical for you to handle (web/blog set up and design, etc) hire someone to teach you or outsource it to someone who knows what they're doing.
Staying in the comfort zone is easy, but taking some calculated risks will net you far more rewards.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Boost Your Blogging By Borrowing Six Inspiring Ideas

Explore the Underside
If what you think you know about a subject is ALL you know about it, think again. What if you took the position of "devil's advocate", or asked a question that you think you know the answer to, but take up the opposing point of view?

Learn from the BEST
Hunter S. Thompson used an old typewriter to type out some of the literary classics... He reportedly used a typewriter to copy the books The Great Gatsby, (F. Scott Fitzgerald), and A Farewell to Arms, (Ernest Hemingway), so that he could learn how to write as great writer's did, having the experience of using the writing style, the use of language, and, of course, the feeling of using of an old typewriter to compose a great work. Although he was frequently fired from many of his early jobs as a journalist, he went on to create quite a name for himself as a freelance writer, a non-conforming journalist, and one of the more controversial authors of our time.

Listen, and Eavesdrop
Popular culture is not just about what you hear on the radio, watch on TV, or see in the movies... Pop-culture is also the made clear by listening to the conversations you find yourself privy to. You can learn a lot about what's happening in your local and national culture by listening to the everyday conversations that take place in the real-world social scene. Not everyone who's hip is linked in on Facebook or Twitter, although it may seem that's the mainstream, many more of the socially publicized biggies are not found on the net. So head out to your local coffee shop, bar, or social hot-spot, and listen in. Listen, eavesdrop, and let it permeate your mind... Soak up the conversation around you, and you'd be surprised what you'll find yourself writing about next.

Raise the Bar...
Darren Rowse (of ProBlogger), set out to become a successful blogger. He mentioned on his blog that his wife gave a time-frame in which he was to generate an adequate income, or get a part time job. According to his story, the agreement was that if he didn't succeed, he would go back to working a traditional job. His determination left him with one goal: To blog like his life depended on it. For him, it did.

Switch Your Writing Platform
This may sound silly in theory, but in reality, inspiration can often be sparked by using a different writing platform. For example, if you typically write using your blogging software, try Notepad, MS Word, or even grab a note book. Yes, even something as simple as a blank piece of paper can provide an alternative perspective, and even send a jolt of inspiration coursing through your veins... Just start writing, you can transfer it once you're finished with your work, but by simply choosing a different "canvas" on which to create your work of art, you may suddenly find yourself inspired.

Switch Your Daily Media
If you start off each day listening to the local talk radio station, or reading internet news such as MSN or AOL, switch it up... Instead, read a newspaper, watch the morning BBC news broadcast, or find another venue that is new to your life. You may find it inspiring, frustrating, benign, mundane, or you may experience a whole new set of emotions. The point is to jar something new inside your mind... something you may have forgotten, or perhaps never even thought about.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Letting out the Write Emotions

Combating Writer's Block
Distinguishing between those who call themselves writers...

Many people aspire to be writers, some even call themselves a writer. What does it really mean to be a writer? That you should have already written a best-selling fictional novel? That you are published in major magazines? Are bloggers writers? Can a novel writer blog and maintain their credibility? What is the accurate description of what it means to be a writer today?

I have been writing for years, however, I have a friend that I didn't even know was interested in writing who revealed that there was a book that had been waiting to come out for years. The artwork was done, the theme and some details had already been worked out. We found out that we each had an interest in writing, and recently engaged in an encouraging (not competitive) exchange of written material, originally intended as a tool to get us both to begin books that we have been talking about writing, instead of writing, for years.

The deal we settled on consisted of one chapter each month, or essentially every thirty days. This is so much easier in theory than in practice. The first month we were both eager to submit our work to each other. However, by the second month, both of us were exhausted, and I wasn't even sure that the subject I picked was what I
really wanted to write about.

Now, being in the third month, I can honestly say this: Working with (or in friendly competition with a partner can offer a steady stream of encouraging banter, but when working on separate projects, you are still going at it alone. So what do you do to battle through the empty thoughts? To put a stop to the blank stares at a stark white screen or paper, you must be determined to fill it. Not just with words, but with something that comes from deep within. You must find that place within yourself that your emotions flow...

This is where you should start thinking like a rapper. That's got to sound crazy, I know, but just humor me for a moment. Get a handle on what I'm saying and THEN you can say what you want. By thinking like a rapper, I mean putting your emotions into your words. If you are angry about something, speak up about it. If you have overcome obstacles that make you want to share your story with others, let it out.

You've undoubtedly heard the saying that a writer should write about something they know, and it's true. You know your emotions better than anyone else, and with your flare for words and knack for storytelling, you can either use that energy towards blogging, fiction writing, a novel, a screenplay, or anything else that you can think of putting your emotions into. The point is to be passionate about the subject. Whether it is a subject you have learned, or experienced emotionally, if you have the ability to express it to others in a way that is inviting and compelling, or even rebellious and expressive, people will read what you have to say.

Let it out... Be expressive... Be emotional and raw. Don't think about what others will say, or worry about offending anyone. If you want to remain anonymous, then do so. Otherwise, proudly vent on the public... Write what you feel, and feel what you write. Put your emotions into your work, and don't hold back what you really mean to say.

Anyone can write what people want to hear... People want to read what they don't necessarily want to hear... Let go - and see where your imagination (and your emotions) will take you.