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Getting Paid – Don’t Let Anyone Devalue Your Writing


Getting Paid
I don’t only write novels, I also freelance as many writers do. Let’s be honest, while it would be awesome to be able to live of those book royalties, it is rare that it actually works out that way. Many writers take side work, editing, ghosting, article writing…and yes I do all of that and more. While freelancing helps pay the bills there is a bit of frustration that comes with it as well…those clients who don’t think they have to pay for your work.

Over the years I have had some great clients. In fact, I am the type of writer that many of my long term clients have actually become a part of our family as well. I enjoy the connections that I make and I value those I work with. Writing together is an intimate process – I don’t know how you couldn’t become personally involved. Having said that though, the other side of the coin are those people who hire me and then decide at some point that they don’t have to pay up when the work is completed…that is frustrating.

Writing takes time…lots and lots of time. As a writer I often work late into the night and through weekends. I put my clients before family if there is a deadline looming and I make myself available 24-7. I am personally invested in the work I do and I always strive to do the very best job I can. But this is what makes not getting paid for it so tough. I can’t repo the writing. It’s done. When a client gets the work I am left trusting that they will pay me for it and sadly there are a number of people out there who won’t. I have done many an assignment only to have the client walk away. This happens a lot with college students who need help with their papers.

When I was younger I use to let this make me feel as though my writing wasn’t good enough. I would convince myself that if the writing had been amazing the client wouldn’t have had a choice but to feel they should pay the final bill. I would spend hours coming down on myself for not having been good enough. It took me a lot of years to realize that I wasn’t the problem….some people are just dishonest.
Not getting paid for your work is, unfortunately, is sometimes one of the side effects of freelancing. Because there are rotten people out there you do stand the chance of getting cheated, however, don’t let that stop you from doing what you love. Today, I have more clients who pay me than not and of those clients I am very proud to say some of them have gone on to be very successful writers/authors. For me, seeing someone whose work I have edited make it as an author is more than money can provide…and I get to know the person as well. If you are going to freelance understand that there may be times when this happens but also realize that it’s not you, it’s them. Don’t devalue your work…it’s not the work…..

© The Writer’s Advice, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

 
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Posted by on July 29, 2015 in Writing

 

Sanity??? What’s That and Where Do I Hide From It?


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Some days I think that sanity is an illusion. Life, after all, can get pretty crazy and when it does and all hell breaks loose, I run and hide in my pages; all writers do. There is just one small problem with doing that though…most people don’t get it and will run you down for turning to your writing during tough times….don’t accept that.

As a writer my writing is my anchor. It is not only what I do, it is literally who I am. When I hide out in my pages it isn’t me avoiding life, it is me doing what makes me feel safe, and for a moment, sane. It amazes me that people in other professions never get questioned when they hide out in their work. The guy who stays at the office later, the minister who takes time to pray alone or even the waitress who refuses to cook or serve the family at home…everyone understands them and why they do what they do. But hide out in your writing and most people will look at you like you are nuts.

The core problem with this is that most of us have folks around us who think that writing is a “hobby”. It couldn’t possibly be a “job” if you aren’t making tons of money doing it. I am not only a novelist but also a freelance writer. I take many writing jobs and I make decent money at it, it pays the bills, at least some of them, but I still have family and friends who deem my writing a hobby and not a job. I have learned over the years that I can’t really fix this…some folks are determined to just remain stupid. I, however, know what it is I do and I am proud of my work. I make no excuses for hiding in it from time to time.

So when life gets ridiculous, don’t feel bad if you have to run and hide in your writing; it’s the best place to go. Yes we have the added incentive of being able to run free in a created world of our own but that is one of the bennies of being a writer…we have someplace to go when things get tough. Make no excuses for how you deal with life’s insanity…if you were a minister you would just lock yourself in a room and pray and no one would say a word…so lock yourself in a room and write…in my world, after all, that’s a form of prayer too.

© The Writer’s Advice, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

 
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Posted by on July 27, 2015 in Writing

 

A Good Ghost Writer is a Must


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You want to write your story but you aren’t a “writer” per say. Lots of family and friends have been telling you for years that you need to get your story down in book form because it is so incredibly interesting. Still…how do you find someone who can help you get that story out? My answer….very carefully….

As a life-long writer I see the importance in story. I believe that we all have one and that everyone should be able to tell that story if they feel so inclined. I also feel that there is absolutely nothing wrong in hiring a ghost writer to help you with that task. It’s still your story…you just need a little good old fashioned know-how. I don’t do plumbing but if I want my pipes fixed I’m definitely going to call a guy who knows his stuff.

  • Hiring a good ghost writer is important if you really want the story you tell to be yours. I have seen a lot of writers over the years try their hand at ghosting and it is not as easy and one might think. There are some hardcore “musts” that you ghost writer has to have in order to be able to work with them.
  • Time – Hiring a ghost writer who is overwhelmed with other clients is never a good idea. Hire someone who only takes on a few projects at a time.
  • Experience – Hire a ghost writer who has ghost written, not a writer who thinks they can pull it off. Ghosting takes a unique set of abilities such as listening, reporting and compiling someone else’s story without trying to make it their own. Too many times I have heard stories about how a ghost writer came on-board and suddenly the story took off in a different direction. A good ghost writer will tell your story, not their version of your story.
  • Tier payments plans –I am a huge believer in tier payment plans. If your ghost writer has set up their contract write the contract will tier the payments at important points in the project. Part down, part on first 50 pages, part on first draft delivery and the rest on final draft; this way both writer and story teller are invested in the project.

These are just a few of the things to consider when hiring a ghost writer. Something as precious as your story should not be left to a hack or someone who doesn’t care; it needs to be done right. You need to have a connection with the person telling your story…without it your story will not be what you envisioned. Take your time and find the write ghost writer…in the end it will be worth it.

 
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Posted by on July 26, 2015 in Writing

 


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In Your Write Mind – A Writer’s Thoughts on the Writer’s World is a 74,653 word layman’s manual on how to be a writer. We have thousands of books out there now that “preach” at writers but there are very few that “talk” to the writer. The tone of In Your Write Mind is one of humorous common sense. It is written as though two writers are having coffee and the “seasoned” writer is pointing out the obvious, weeding through all of the “advice” other writers impart.

In Your Write Mind addresses some of the age old advice such as “write what you know” and offers new writers another way of considering that advice. This book speaks to the writer through common sense and humor thus helping them to remember what is being imparted while ensuring that they won’t be snoring by the end of the book. In Your Write Mind is laid out as 150 days of advice, each day offering the writer another way to consider what they have been told. It also offers some new ways to tackle being a writer and it addresses some of the challenges in such a way that writers don’t have to feel overwhelmed or alone in their endeavors. And it will make you laugh.

Buy here – http://www.amazon.com/Your-Write-Mind-Writers-Thoughts-ebook/dp/B00HERH8WA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1437666320&sr=8-1&keywords=Jai+Colvin

 

 
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Posted by on July 23, 2015 in Writing

 

The World of Reading is changing but that’s Okay


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Books are some of my favorite things. As a kid I used reading to escape the horrors of childhood and to learn about the world. I read everything I could get my hands on and still do. I would actually sit at the breakfast table and read the back of the cereal box if I didn’t have a book. Books actually kind of had a hand in raising me so my loyalty to them today reflects that.

I know that the world of books is changing. I own a Kindle and shelves of books. I own the Kindle because I can literally carry all my reading material around with me and I still buy books because…well…they are books. As a writer I have a natural love for the smell of a book and I still like to see my own work published in the traditional sense. Although I recognize that electronic publishing is still publishing….for me, it’s not quite the same.

Those of us old writers (the ones who have been around before the advent of the Kindle or the Nook) tend to still want paper books around. For me books give a home a warmer feel. The younger generations however lean towards the electronic age and don’t even purchase actual books anymore…I think that this is sad. Let’s be honest there are some down falls to having all your reading material on a Kindle…

  • What if the power goes out and you can’t recharge?
  • What if you get a virus and lose all your books?
  • What if someone takes the cloud down and you can’t get access to your books?
  • And of course the biggest reason of them all….zombie apocalypse…need I say more?

In terms of these scenarios having a paper book is a good thing which is why I personally have both. I understand that technology is changing the way we live but don’t let it change you so much that you never experience the coolness of owning actual books with actual paper. There is a certain thrill in cracking the spine of a book for the first time and then dog-earing the pages. You can’t do that with your Kindle. My advice….own both. Take advantage of the electronic books in terms of being able to have your collection where ever you go but also invest in some traditional books so that you don’t forget where we, as writers, have come from. Reading is changing, and that’s okay but be mindful that there are advantages to both types of books.

© The Writer’s Advice, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

 
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Posted by on July 7, 2015 in Writing

 

Bulls*#t Writing Advice You Should Never Follow


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There is a lot of writing advice out there. A lot. Tons. Scads. There is probably more writing advice out there than there are geeks who watch the Walking Dead in their underwear while eating Cheetos. (Trust me, that’s a lot) Here’s the thing though…a lot of that writing advice is bull pucky…

I have been writing most of my life. When I say that I don’t mean from diapers of course, although who knows how creative I was in the womb, but I did sell my very first piece when I was 9 years old. I’m in the 48-55 category now so that’s a long time. Over those years I have heard, been given and had forced upon me a lot of advice. Some of it has been invaluable like use commas or make sure you have pants on when writing in cafes but some of it has been crap too.

We are, after all, humans and we are pretty ego driven so we often think we know it all. Something may work for a writer and suddenly they are an expert. Our egos don’t account for luck or right timing, instead it tells us that we got published and we did a certain set of things to do it and by-god we are now experts who have to share our secret…no matter how ridiculous our method may have been. I once met a first-time writer at a conference who had written a book and had it published on its first round out. She had it in her head that the reason she had been so blessed was because every night before she went to bed she went outside with a glass of wine and looked up at the stars and thanked Hemmingway for her skill. Hemmingway…a glass of wine….it’s as funny as it is ironic. Upon a bit of research into the company who had accepted her manuscript I discovered that they too were first-timers…the young woman had, in fact, been the benefactor of good timing. Let’s hope that by book 4 she isn’t an alcoholic or that she doesn’t start telling people that Hemmingway is a lost Greek God. And what happens when her next book doesn’t get published? Will she keep writing or think that she has fallen out of favor with the long dead author?

There is a lot of bad advice out there and a lot of crazy things that writers do as part of their ritual. Here are three pieces of advice I have heard over the years that you should steer clear of. (Trust me, these are some of the worst of the bad)

  • Write what you know – I just saw an article this morning giving this stupid piece of advice. I’m a writer which makes me a student of life. If I wrote only about what I knew my world would be so limited. One of the best things about writing is that you get to learn and grow. Think of all the worlds that would have never come into being if we only wrote what we knew? Think of the Disney and Universal Studio rides that would have never existed because some writer somewhere had made up the Pirates of the Caribbean or Harry Potter?
  • Set a specific time aside to write – This one irks me to no ends. I am a writer and, as far as I know, I wasn’t born with a timer. I write when the inspiration hits me and sometimes that is at 1 a.m. and sometimes it is right after lunch. I have never been able to pigeon-hole my writing into a 2 hour time block. If you set aside a time and stick to it and only it, you will never get anything done. Now I am all for setting aside I time block to work on your writing or editing bit don’t hold yourself to just that time block.
  • Write locked away in a room alone only – This is a piece of advice that gets plastered everywhere on a regular basis. While I think it is a great idea to have a writing spot, and who doesn’t want their own writing room, I think it is ridiculous to tell yourself that you can only write if you have a “spot”. Writing is life and life cannot be confined to a room. As a writer, unless you decide to stay single, childless and/or disavow your family, life will happen around you a lot. You have to learn to write where the Universe allows you to. I have my own office space now but it is in our family room/den and of I couldn’t write with things going on around me I would never finish another book. Oddly, the other people in my family want to eat and the kitchen is right here so….. Also, if you section yourself off how are you supposed to breathe life into your characters? Alone time is good, being alone is not…create a space if you can but don’t not write because you don’t have one.

These are just three of the pieces of advice I have had flung at me over the years that suck…there is tons more out there. The best advice I have ever gotten…trust your gut. Writers are the most individual people on the planet. While the basics, grammar rules and such, work for every writer…not much else does. Find your own writing method and then use it but try and refrain from making it a rule that all writers have to follow because, chances are, it won’t work for everyone else.

© The Writer’s Advice, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

 
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Posted by on July 5, 2015 in Writing

 

The Concept of Time for a Writer


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Time…it is the bane of our existence in so many ways. From birth we spend our days fighting against the clock. It begins early with our being taught that there is a time to eat, a time for bed and a time to play. This concept is passed down from generation to generation and we get to carry it on blissfully unaware at how much damage time keeping can be.

For a writer time keeping can suck the life out of your work. Between our own super imposed deadlines, the editing deadlines and the publishing deadlines you can lose your work. I was a journalist for over 30 years so the concept of deadlines is so deeply ingrained in me that I have a hard time working at all without first drumming up a sense of deadline doom. I often even find myself waiting until that last minute on a project just to feel that feeling. Sick huh?

While I think that it is always important to keep the deadlines you have agreed to, I would advise you, as a writer, not to agree to too many of them. Don’t set deadlines for yourself….instead set goals. When you set a deadline you are forcing yourself to complete the work and the anxiety that comes with that is more trouble than it is worth. If you instead set goals you will get a sense of building towards something instead and your writing will reflect that.

  • While I understand that we live in a time laden world I still don’t like it. Humans are the only species on the planet that holds itself to a made up sense of time. I challenge you to throw out the concept of time, at least as it relates to your writing. Here are some suggestions on how to do that…
  • Figure out when you work best and roll with it – Forget the “I work better in the mornings” or “I can only write at night”…just write when the mood or inspiration strikes.
  • Give yourself a goal, not a deadline – Even the word “deadline” reeks of doom. Set a goal instead.
  • Don’t allow demands – Don’t allow an editor or a publisher to demand when your work will be completed. We writers have more power than we give ourselves credit for. It’s our work they want.
  • Don’t demand too much of yourself – Allow your stories to write themselves, it is the only way to stay true to the story. When we impose deadlines we make the characters react and that is never good.

In the end we need to give ourselves the time we need to write the story. I know that I hate feeling rushed and I guarantee that your characters will too. Slow down, allow the story to flow and throw out those deadlines…your characters, and your peace of mind, will thank you.

© The Writer’s Advice, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

 
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Posted by on July 2, 2015 in Writing

 
 
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