Tag Archives: blogging

Freelancing Like A Boss

I’ve been in a bit of a writing funk for awhile now. The combination of leaving college, working a crap hourly job to pay the bills, and going through some major changes in my life has left me a bit out of my usual rhythm. I’ve been struggling to get back into a regular writing schedule, including blogging, but I’ve only been averaging one blog post per month and barely doing any other writing or revising in a long time.

This past week, however, I’ve been working some freelance writing projects. This has been a great experience for me. I’ve done freelance work before, but because of life circumstances, it had been about a year and a half since I’d done it. Now, I’m on my second paid writing (!!!) project of the week, with more opportunities on the horizon. It’s feeling pretty good, and I’m getting back into a “writing every day” habit.

Having a deadline is great for that.

Hopefully, this will not just help me pay the bills, but also help me get back into a regular rhythm. I’ve got the creative juices flowing on a daily basis, and I’ve got an external pressure forcing me to turn off Netflix, close the DS, and open up OpenOffice to get some writing done every single day. It’s just a matter of time before this leads to spillover into my personal projects, like getting back into a regular blogging schedule, and working on revisions of Contamination.

So here’s hoping these changes work out for the best, and I finally get my writing career moving on the path I’ve been striving for over the last several years.


mani_promoManifestation is available in paperback format through:

CreateSpace and Amazon

and in ebook format through:

Kindle and Nook

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New Year, Three Weeks Late

If you’ve been paying attention, you might have noticed an extreme lack of blog posts lately. I blame a combination of depression, unemployment, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer (not necessarily in that order).

Today is the first day of the new semester at Rowan University. The last semester before I get my master’s degree. After a month off, I really need to be back in school. I find I don’t do well without some sort of schedule or routine to keep me in check. The result is lots of lazing around, playing video games, and not doing any work on my revisions. Feel free to berate me about that last one in order to get me back on track.

It also leads to quite a few days where I say “I should write a blog post today,” then I end up not writing one. Mostly because it’s hard to find inspiration in a bag of Doritos and a Final Fantasy marathon. Those things are, however, chock full of calories and ennui.

On an up note, I’ve been talking to several people this past week who told me they finished Manifestation. Tock seems to be a fan favorite. I suppose that’s what happens when I take a cross between Kaylee and Agatha Heterodyne and give her flashy magic powers and a bad attitude. She’s quite neat.

I suppose that about covers what I’ve been up to. Hopefully today will be the real start of the new year for me. Though I do still have a princess to track down in FFIX, so I may be otherwise occupied.

Changes to the Blog

Hi folks. I’ve got a little unscheduled blog post now (which feels a bit weird since I’m on this whole “following a schedule” thing now). I’m posting this unscheduled since it’s more of a “personal stuff” blog post and not so much of a “professional stuff” blog post. I feel like the scheduled posts should remain more devoted to specific stuff and be less ramble-y (yes, I’m a professional writer, and I just used the word ramble-y).

So anyway, the point of this post is to mention that I’m in the middle of some adjustments to the blog setup. They’re not done yet, and I may continue fiddling with things for awhile. The main changes so far, and the most noticeable, is that I’ve taken “Manifestation,” including “Gabby’s Diary” down from the blog.

There are several reasons I decided to do this, but the most prominent one is that the novel has changed a lot since it was originally posted here. I’ve cut quite a few bad scenes (totaling easily 20,000 words), and added quite a few new ones that were never originally posted on the blog. The “main” core of the story has mostly remained the same (give or take some general revisions), but the beginning and part of the ending are substantially different. I didn’t want to leave the old version posted online when it now represents a substantially different story. It would be kinda like showing the “Director’s Cut” of a movie in theatres instead of waiting until the DVD comes out. When the two versions of the movie are so different, you need to decide which one the audience will first be exposed to.

Revisions, meanwhile, are moving along at a slow pace. I’ve been distracted by a few side projects (such as freelancing work for clients). I’ve also got a #SuperSecret project coming up, but Shhhhhhh, you’re not supposed to know about that.

Also, I’ve added a new Published Works page to the blog. There’s not much there right now, since I’ve only been “officially” published in one location (plus two flash fiction pieces I posted on other blogs). However, that’s going to change in the not-too-distant future, so I figured I should get a place ready for them.

That’s all for now. I’ll be back on Sunday with another “official” blog post (and no, I have NO idea what it’ll be about. I’ll probably make something up right when it’s due.).

My Journey as a Professional Writer, Part 4: Time Management

One of the first lessons I learned when I began doing freelance writing is to keep careful track of my time. The first few jobs I took on, I didn’t really anticipate how long they would take me. I was used to only three previous types of writing: personal fiction writing, blog writing, and school essays and assignments. These types of writing are very different from a “time management” perspective.

With my personal fiction writing, I never really need to pay attention to how long a project takes. I know from doing word sprints on Twitter that I can write anywhere from 1000-2000 words per hour when I’m focused (and I tend to write a lot more when I’m really inspired and in the zone). I don’t really “track” that kind of writing, though. When I wrote “Manifestation,” I didn’t really have a specific word count in mind. It ended up over 140,000 words, and it took me about three months to write, but that was in between work, school, and other parts of life getting in the way. I don’t really know exactly how many hours I put into it (though somewhere around 140 hours on the first draft sounds about right).

Blog writing also isn’t something I really track too much. An average blog post might take me between 30-60 minutes, depending on the length. But since I write blog posts on my own time, and I don’t get paid for them, they aren’t worth tracking too specifically.

School papers are probably the only type of writing I was used to writing on a deadline. Like many students, I often wrote a paper the night before, and often this led to being up until all hours of the night because I hadn’t managed my time very well. Looking back, I think it would have been valuable for me to learn more back then about how long a piece of writing takes. In general, though, I estimate a rate of 500 words per hour on academic assignments, since they take more research and that slows down the writing speed.

Now that I’m taking on freelance writing assignments, the length of time a project takes is very important. If I take on a job for a certain fixed price, I need to be able to accurately estimate how many hours the project will take to complete. If I accept a job at a price of, say, $100, but the project takes me 20 hours to complete, I’m earning less than minimum wage. As a college educated writer, I know I should be making a lot more than that.

In order to help with future estimations, I’ve started tracking the specific lengths of time I take on each job. I downloaded a free time clock application to my computer, and I clock myself in and out when I’m working on a job. The hours spent are tracked for my own purposes only; most of the jobs I take on are for a fixed price that won’t change regardless of how much or how little time I spend on the project. Keeping track of my hours helps me better understand how long each project takes, and helps me know the hourly rate my pay equates to.

Since I’m trying to build up enough of a writing career to quit my pizza delivery job and write full time, it’s important for me to know how much time each project takes compared to the pay rate. I can’t support myself writing full time if a full 40 hour work week doesn’t provide enough pay to cover my living expenses. A job that takes 40 hours to complete but pays less than a weekly paycheck at a restaurant isn’t worth it. That’s why time management has become so important to me; I need to be able to judge how long each project will take me in order to decide which projects to take, and which to pass on.

I’ve only been freelancing for a few months now, but this has been an important lesson for me. If you’re also a freelance writer, or thinking of becoming one, the best advice I can offer is to always consider the value of your time. Otherwise, you’ll end up working 60 hours a week or more just to get by, and that’s no way to make a living.