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Monthly Archives: July 2012

Watch Out….It Might be a Trap


A word about freelancing…

I do a lot of freelance writing in order to support my habit of novel writing. None of the freelance jobs are huge jobs, in fact, I couldn’t live off of most of them but the extra cash helps buy some items like food and stuff. (For some reason my family actually wants to eat…go figure) But if you are going to freelance there are some hard fast lessons that you learn right off the bat. Here are a few of those lessons and what I have done to combat them.

  1. Freelancers have trouble getting paid…A LOT – This is so very true and perhaps the most frustrating aspect of freelancing. I have never understood why people don’t feel the need to pay their writers except that unlike electricians, there is nothing for us to “turn off” if we don’t get paid. For that reason it important to make sure that you are covered when it comes to taking on a freelance job. Make sure that you have a contract and make sure it is a written one, not a verbal. If you do get screwed on payment, report the person to the BBB as well as the local job board where you found the job announcement.
  2. Deadlines are yours to set – Don’t allow your freelance job to take over your life. I learned this the hard way and still have some problems with one of my ongoing freelance jobs. If you aren’t careful your client will begin treating you like an employee. I have one job where the guy sends me stuff and then tells me he needs the work asap. I end up working the job like it is a full-time gig. Don’t think that the client doesn’t realize what they are doing, they do. Set your own schedule and then make them adhere to it.
  3. Keep accurate records – I can’t stress this enough. Many writers don’t keep up with their records and that can bite you on the behind at both tax time and if you do find yourself in court over getting paid. I once worked for a newspaper that I discovered years later, never paid taxes on my despite having taken it out of my wages. I had a hell of a time fixing that problem because I had not kept all my records. Keep everything…it’ll be worth it in the end.

These are just a few things to consider when you are freelancing; there are a lot more. Freelancing seems like an easy way to make money but it really isn’t unless you follow these rules and a few more like, getting jobs from reputable places and following up with the jobs that pay. I can guarantee that, at some point you will get screwed, all freelancers do, but you can keep that to a minimum if you pay attention. Whatever you do, don’t get trapped by some guy who says he’ll give you the moon…follow up, pay attention and set the pace. You will only make money freelancing if you are in charge, not the client.

 

© The Writer’s Advice, 2012. 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 30, 2012 in Business of Writing, Writing

 

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Reset Sunday – A Lesson for Writers from the Olympians


On Friday evening the world turned the television on to see delegates from all over the planet come together to play. I know, I know…it’s not “playing”….it’s the Olympics. Let’s be honest though, it is playing on some level and we all need to take a lesson.

I watched the marching in of the delegates and one of the things that struck me was the fun they all seemed to be having. They were enjoying the attention but they were also enjoying each other’s company. Then it struck me…your Reset Sunday mission….to spend time with another writer doing something fun.

Writing is a lonely profession. It is something that finds us working alone and not getting much of a chance to spend time with like-minded people. For this reason we have to strike out on our own and make a point to spend more time with other writers….just for the fun of it. Who else on the planet understands you? Who will get your preoccupation with pens, paper and all things communication oriented? Who else will find your Comma Sutra shirt funny as hell? (yes I have one of those) The truth of the matter is that only another writer will really “get” you.

I have a few writer friends and we don’t spend nearly enough time together. We get together once and a while and have lunch, make fun of the latest vampire novel and then promise each other that we will do it all again real soon only to find ourselves another 6 months out before meeting again. Why do we do that? The answer is, I don’t really know but it’s kind of stupid not to spend more time with people you enjoy.

So call a writer friend today and go have some fun just being silly. It’s Reset Sunday after all and you don’t need any other reason. But if you really need another reason….do it because it will make you a better writer and a calmer person. Everyone needs to spend time with a friend who understands.

 

© The Writer’s Advice, 2012. 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 30, 2012 in Reset Sundays

 

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August 2012 Newsletter


The August newsletter is up on the site here https://thewritersadvice.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/august-2012-newsletter.jpg

Take a look. This month we show case writer Jeannine Vegh. She is using her life experiences to bring better understanding to a difficult subject. Check out her site and consider buying her book. I’m going to….

 
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Posted by on July 29, 2012 in Writing

 

Don’t Let the Negative Ninnies Get to You


There are a lot of things that can get to a writer. Not having enough time to write, writer’s block i.e. not being able to concentrate, not having enough support…but perhaps one of the biggest things that can get to a writer is bad reviews. You know what I mean, those nasty negative reviews of your work that are often the product of someone who is jealous of the fact that you are chasing your dream.

Don’t get me wrong….there are times when a negative review may be spot on…but I am not talking about those reviews. I’m talking about the nasty ones that have nothing to offer but “you suck”. I’ve been watching people go crazy across the web dolling out negative reviews left and right and you can tell when they are legit. The thing is a nasty review can be devastating to writers.

So how do we combat those idiots out there that have nothing better to do than to be mean? Well, the obvious is hiring a big guy named Bob to beat the snot out of them…(and yes, I know a big guy named Bob…) The less obvious is to take the high road and ignore the review…..naaaaaahhhhh…that doesn’t work of me either. So let’s go middle of the road and exact a little revenge. Do I mean be mean back? In a way…you need to be mean back by writing even more.

Let’s be honest, we know that jealousy is what drives these nasty reviewers anyway so why not give them something to really be jealous of. Bad reviews should make you a better writer. They should drive you to hone your craft so well that someday you can flip your nasty reviews off from the couch on the Today Show. (Come on Matt Lauer won’t mind.) Sure we can sit on our thumbs and cry in our beer over those reviews OR we can “writer up” and show those naysayers that they are the losers we know they are.

So next time a nasty review comes along, print it out, hang it on the cork board and thank the reviewer for reminding you of your purpose….to be the best writer possible.

 

 

© The Writer’s Advice, 2012. 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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Zombies Are Sooooooooo Overdone


Writer’s Note: This is the final catch up piece…now we are all caught up to date on columns….yeah!

I love zombies. I love the idea of zombies. I have seen every episode of The Walking Dead and I have read all the comics. I have seen all of the movies and I can’t wait to see what they do with Lincoln as a zombie…but here’s the thing…I would NEVER write a book about zombies…because it is so overdone.

There are a lot of writers out there who watch the trends and then write towards them. This, my fellow writers, is a very bad idea. First and foremost, by the time you finished the entire process for a book that you started now about zombies, they will be very yesterday. Second, maybe zombies aren’t your “thing”. Maybe unicorns are your “thing”. Whatever your “thing” is…don’t force a zombie on it just because you might think they are cool.

I admit it is a grand temptation to follow the writing crowd. Let’s face it, right now; zombies are “working” for a lot of people. That’s where the money is at for those writers who are good at zombie stories but just because it is working for someone else doesn’t mean it will work for you. You have to write what is in your guff, not someone else’s. (Trivial Pursuit Alert – A “guff” is historically the place where souls wait to be born)

So before you go forcing your main character to munch out on the rest of your characters…stop and ask yourself…am I a zombie writer…chances are if you have not been munching on people all along you aren’t so move on and write what you write….

 

© The Writer’s Advice, 2012. 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 26, 2012 in Writing

 

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What No One Ever Tells You about Writing


Writer’s Note: This is a catch up piece. I owe you all one more….

I’ve been a writer most of my life. Because I have been a writer all of this time, I have never actually sought out advice on if I should or shouldn’t become a writer. I am one of those people who just “was” a writer…I didn’t “become” one. This has been both a blessing and a curse for a lot of reasons. One of the biggest blessings has been that I was already knee deep in the craft before I realized some things that may have stopped me in my tracks had I had the chance to consider them.

  • Writing is hard – Not difficult, not challenging…but hard. If you think that it is easy to churn out pages and pages of verbiage that makes sense, you have another thing coming. Getting your butt into the chair every morning is the first challenge and then after that…there are days when it is all up hill.
  • Writing can be taught – Okay…to some degree this is true but great writing cannot be taught, it just is. That’s not to say that a person can’t be taught to write and then produce a great book…I think they could…but it’s a lot harder for those folks than the ones who were born with a pen in their hand.
  • Everyone loves a writer – Sooooooooo not true. I have discovered that many people that I mean who are non-writers think that we writers are arrogant smucks. We are often prejudged because of other people’s insecurities. If people you meet are impressed that changes quickly as soon as you explain that your novels are in the book stores but not on the New York Times Best Seller list.
  • You have to love it – You have to love writing to be a writer. If you don’t love it…go get a degree in chemistry because you will fail as a writer. Writing is tough (see item 1) and it takes a whole lot of work. People aren’t always kind to writers, (see item 2) and it can be a lonely business. You have to love it in order to put up with all the crap that comes with it. (i.e. editors, publisher, people who think they can write your books better than you can…)

These are just a few of the basics I have learned along the way. If someone had pointed these out to me in the beginning, would I have become a writer? Probably…but it might have been nice to know in the beginning that I would face these and many other challenges. Here’s the thing though…if you love the writing, constantly hone your craft, understand that people can be cruel and idiots a lot of the time and work hard at it…the benefits far outweigh the crap you have to put up with.

 

© The Writer’s Advice, 2012. 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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My Productivity has been Hijacked!


I have ideas…lots and lots of ideas. I can sit on any given day and daydream about this story or that. I can spend hours musing over what would happen if I tried writing a story about dragons, or cars, or dragons that turn into cars. It begins as a “what if” and then quickly becomes a hostage situation…my productivity gets hijacked by my creativity.

We are writers and there is nothing we can do about getting inspired. We want to be inspired after all, if we aren’t…what’s the point? But what happens if we are inspired so much that we aren’t getting any one project done? There are a lot of theories as to why this happens. I happen to think that my over inspiration is the result of my being afraid that I can’t finish the current project I am working on. I have noticed over the years that if I am having issues with something I am working on my muse takes a hiatus and starts making new crap up. I think we, my muse and I, are avoiding when that happens.

All writers have moments of doubt when working on a project. Questions rapid fire in our brains and flood our confidence like a tsunami that wipes out whole villages. When it’s over, we are usually left hunched over at our desks considering a career in the field of garbage collecting.  This is when our protective muse starts streaming in new ideas in order to reassure us that we can still write. He/she doesn’t mean to keep us from finishing that current project but all those new ideas stop us in our tracks and before we know it, we are sitting at our desks trying to figure out what to do with so many ideas….the answer to this dilemma…stop!

When this happens there is only one thing that separates the writer from the newly minted garbage collector….the ability to start again on the project that has you stuck. Realize that you are avoiding and consciously stop yourself from pursuing those other ideas. There is nothing wrong with writing some of them down for a later date but it is really important to get back to that story you were working on. If you don’t you will make a habit of stopping when the going gets tough and before you know it you will have a gazillion half-finished stories.

So call in that hostage negotiator and free your productivity…you need that after all to become the famous writer with all those FINISHED books that you know you can be.

 

 

© The Writer’s Advice, 2012. 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 26, 2012 in Inspiration, Writing

 

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