I Quit My Job to Freelance Full-Time (Here’s Why You Should, Too) — Weekly Blog Post #16

I Quit My Job to Freelance Full-Time (Here’s Why You Should, Too) — Weekly Blog Post #16

This week turned out unexpectedly.

In fact, it marked the start of another stage of my life.

How — you ask?

I quit my full-time position!

I never expected I would so soon. 

I’d planned to long term, but this week — I caught myself by surprise!

I quit my job to pursue my passion, and today I would like to talk a little more about what I’ve learned!

Taking the Dive

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Taking my writing full time was an idea I’d always toyed with, but I’d constantly tell myself I’d do it later on. When I’d saved enough money, when I had more clients — I always had an excuse.

Until one evening this week, when one of my clients reached out to me, offering me a new position within their company.

I must admit, luck struck me. Many deciding if to go into freelance don’t have the privilege of their client asking them to increase their availability.

I did, and I am so grateful for that.

I didn’t want to turn down the opportunity or let it escape me. Yet, I knew, I wouldn’t be able to take on the client’s increased work-load and juggle my full-time job at the same time.

I questioned the sanity of the decision, the security of it. But then, I realized:

If I didn’t do this. If I didn’t do this right now. Then I never would. In a year’s time, I’d always wonder, “what if?”

So I said to my client I could increase my availability! That I would accept the additional responsibilities.

The next morning, I contacted my full-time position and apologized to them. I told them I wasn’t coming back, and that a role in my desired career had presented itself; a role I couldn’t refuse.

I felt awful, but the company I worked for showed understanding, and they even wished me the best of luck!

It didn’t feel real, but becoming a full-time freelancer had become my reality in a split-second.

It’s only been a few days now, but already, I am realizing a few things: The pros and cons of my decision.

Today, I would like to share them with you all!

The Pros of Freelancing Full-Time

First, I want to talk about the positives that I’ve discovered since taking my career to the next level!

The Freedom to Work When You Want

Photo by Frank Cone on Pexels.com

My most prominent discovery: I’ve got so much time on my hands!

I’ve still been setting myself hours to work, but that’s the key here: “setting myself.”

No longer is someone telling me how or when I should work.

When can I take breaks? It’s up to me!

It’s so gratifying.

If I get tired, or burnt out, nobody is stopping me from… stopping!

If I wake up an hour later, no big deal — I’ll just work an hour later!

If I fancy a cup-of-tea, that’s no problem too. I can take it to my desk, and this ties into my next positive.

The Ability to Pick Your Own Environment

Freelancing means you can work where you want.

While so far, I’ve only stuck to my computer desk, there’s nothing stopping me from taking a laptop down to Tim Horton’s and working.

If I return to my home — to England — that’s fine, too. I can work on the plane, and at the airport when I land.

I can even set up my base of operations in England instead of Canada if I wanted!

By going full time, I’ve given myself versatility. 

That comes with a sense of freedom, which I think everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

You Set Your Own Wages

Now, this one isn’t 100% true.

Some of my clients have set rates, and I’ve accepted those. However, with others, they’ve asked me how much I charge and that’s up to me.

Sometimes, the client negotiates my set rate, sometimes they’re happy. Either way, I’m not being told by a higher-up in a suit what I’m making and forced to be happy with it.

Here’s the key take-away from this one: By setting my own wages, I’m never working for less than what I think I’m worth.

I can never complain about my wages and if I want a pay-rise, then I can contact my clients and we can come to a new agreement.

You Make as Much Money as You Need

This one mixes my first and third positive together. 

As mentioned, I have the freedom to work when I want, and I’ve set my own wages.

With that, if I want to make more money, I can work more. There’s nobody stopping me. I can complete orders late into the evening, and I can work on weekends, too.

I can make as much as I need, then take time off to relax — providing I don’t have deadlines of course!

Speaking of deadlines, freelancing isn’t all heaven on earth.

It’s hard.

If it wasn’t, everybody would do it.

Let’s talk about the negative aspects.

The Cons of Freelancing Full-Time

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The Deadlines Can Be Tight

Freelance writing is a business, and one must keep clients happy. If I miss deadline after deadline, my client will go to someone else. You’d do the same, right?

I need to finish orders on time.

Yet, I also don’t want to say no to deadlines as clients present them to me.

When they ask me if I can get a piece out by a certain date, they want to hear “yes!”

The trouble is, I have multiple clients and they are all setting their own deadlines for work. Sometimes, I will have two pieces due out within a day of each other, sometimes even on the same day!

You can imagine how stressful that is.

When I said a positive about freelancing is that you get to work when you want. While that’s true, it’s not always the case.

If I have deadlines coming up, sometimes I have to work late into the evening, into weekends, and sometimes I even have to tell my clients it’s just not doable.

It makes my heart heavy when I have to do that, and that risks losing the client, your income, and your credibility.

This was the case even before I went full-time!

Photo by samer daboul on Pexels.com

The Wages Are Insecure

This is huge, and one that will no doubt appear on other freelancer’s variation of this post.

(Again, another contradiction to a positive!)

I said I set my own wages and work until I’ve made as much as I need to make. Yet, what if the work isn’t there?

Sometimes I get huge commissions from a client, sometimes I have tons of small ones that add up.

Yet sometimes, the well is dry.

When that happens I won’t make money and that means I am forced to find new clients, which can lead to me creating more deadlines for myself and therefore more stress.

It’s an uncertain job, and it’s impossible to plan. Want to save for that holiday? Who knows how long it will take!

Working freelance is uncertain, and at any point, you could go from making tons to barely scraping by.

It’s Awful Lonely

I mean it. I wake up bright and early, and my girlfriend goes to work. Then I am alone, in the house, all day.

I can listen to music, I can relax — but I have nobody to share that with. And I am sure that’s the case for most freelancers!

 If they have deadlines, they must work on them and can’t afford to socialize.

You never have the same laughs that you have working somewhere with many colleagues.

Again, I am lucky in this respect, because one of my clients hosts an entire team of writers and they have a chat room. I have fond memories in there — but there’s nothing like having a laugh in person with a colleague!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

It’s Scary

This is the final one. The final negative!

Working as a full-time freelance writer is plain scary.

Maybe that’s something that will fade after these early days are over, maybe not.

Yet, knowing I have deadlines, knowing my wages can change in a heartbeat: it worries me.

I don’t know what my future holds. I don’t know if in a week’s time I’ll be happy, or regretting leaving my full-time position.

Working freelance makes the future uncertain. I could go from being successful to unemployed in a heartbeat.

Though that doesn’t mean you should run and hide.

Here’s Why You Should Go Freelance

You might have noticed I balanced the positives and negatives. I did this on purpose. 

Why?

Because like a yin and yang, like light and shadow — the positives and negatives will always go hand in hand.

Yet I am sure after reading my negatives you’re thinking, the freelancing life doesn’t sound as nice as it does on the surface! 

So, why do I think you should do it?

I think everyone should try it. 

It comes with a risk, but if you’ve got the skills, the talents, and know what you want to do as a freelancer, then why not give it a go?

You’ll always wonder “what if” otherwise, and if you take the dive and it doesn’t work out— you can always get another job again.

It might not be at the same place you worked at before, but at least you can fall-back onto something and start saving money.

I’m not saying read this, and quit your job to start freelancing tomorrow.

Make  a plan, save some money, and then when you’re ready:

Take that leap of faith!

It’s what I did, and I haven’t regretted it yet.


…And that’s that! 

If you’ve made it this far, I hope what I’ve said has helped spur your decision! If you’re just here out of curiosity, I hope I’ve answered some of your questions!

Now, regular readers, you know the drill by now!

 If you liked what you read, let me know! Comment your thoughts and opinions — even your own experience of leaving your job behind to pursue your passion!

Remember to subscribe via our mailing list for content delivered directly to your email and as usual:

See you next time!

An Effortless Way To Power Up Your Writing — Outlining Your Blog Posts – Weekly Blog Post #15

An Effortless Way To Power Up Your Writing — Outlining Your Blog Posts – Weekly Blog Post #15

I’ve been so busy lately. Every moment, I juggle jobs, and it’s chaos.

Or at least, it SHOULD be chaos.

Yet I’m standing proudly on the peak of the mountain, looking down at the work trying to creep up the side. I won’t let it overwhelm me.

Why?

Because I know a few tricks.

We already looked at How To Be A Time Management Mastermind, and that’s a significant step in the right direction.

Though, what more can one do?

How can YOU become a more efficient writer?

Let’s talk about outlining your blog posts.

Why YOU Should Outline Your Blog Posts.

Let’s look at Andy.

Andy has multiple articles due within a week, but he doesn’t outline his posts. He takes each article as it comes and writes without a plan.

Perhaps he prefers crafting his garden as he goes, and while he might produce something excellent, he won’t produce it quickly.

His other work is creeping up the side of the mountain, and he is so focused on the one article, he doesn’t see it coming.

He doesn’t stand much of a chance.

Annie — on the other hand — outlines all of her work.

She has the same amount of orders due as Andy does, but as they come, she zooms through them, laying out an intro, the headlines, and the desired call to action.

She only spends five minutes doing so on each article.

Yet, she produces work faster than Andy does.

Why Is This Effective? Benefits of Outlining Your Writing

With Annie’s outlines, she doesn’t have to spend as much time thinking about what she’s going to put on paper.

Consider each headline she’s written as a small writing prompt. She’s broken down her work and can take each section as it comes.

This allows for:

  • Increased MoraleA task broken into sections will seem less overwhelming and will have an end in sight.
  • Better ContentYou can always tell when a television show is improvised. Writing is the same. Having a script will always be better than the former.
  • Increased Research SpeedWith each task broken into sections, you know exactly what you have to research. You can even copy and paste your headlines into google!
  • Quicker Writing You don’t have to spend as long thinking about what to put into each section, or at a loss for what to do next. You’ve got a friend telling you each step.

As you can see, it’s key to producing quality content.

You might ask now, how does one create an effective outline?

Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.

How To Outline Your Writing

There are multiple ways to do this. If you wanted, you could write a list with your article’s title, and a few appropriate headlines that are relevant.

That’s the most simple way.

With a more complicated piece, you might have to do more. You could expand on the above, and add a few lines of research underneath each headline, so you don’t have to spend as long switching between your web browser and your work.

If you want to go even more deep than that, however, you could consider using outlining tools. Let’s go over a few:

  • MindMapperA great brainstorming tool, that does what’s in the title! Create a brainstorm with all the ideas you can delve into in your article.
  • CheckvistA To-Do List that allows you to send tasks directly to your email. Subscribe to their Pro version and you can even attach files to it! (Make a list of topics you want to cover and check them off as you hit them!)
  • ScrivenerThis one focuses on novels, but it has an excellent structure. Keep multiple drafts of your work, organise your research, and even pin pictures on their Pinboard!
  • StickyPadWindows 10 has a similar tool built-in, but this is a more lightweight version. It’s a great way to make brief notes that you can use to plan your writing.
  • NotepadEven more lightweight, and the bare minimum you need. Have a separate notepad open to your writing platform and chuck your ideas in there! It’s that simple!

You don’t have to use every idea. If you do, you might put out thin content and your article may end up being messier. But using these tools, you can create a pool of ideas you can pick from in your article.

It’s a great way to beat writer’s block!

So, to surmise:

Outline your work, because otherwise, you’ll get overwhelmed and struggle to keep up.

It’s fool-hardy to not do so, and in the long-run, you’ll only be making more work for yourself. Don’t get lost in the outlining and never spend over fifteen minutes doing it!

Remember: Check out some tools above to streamline the process and keep all of your ideas in one place.


Comment below your thoughts and opinions on this subject! Do you have your own outlining tip, or can you offer a tool below I’ve missed? Let me know!

If you enjoyed this article and want to see more helpful hints, be sure to subscribe via email below! Get content delivered directly to your inbox!

…And don’t be like Andy!

3 Simple Steps to Get Rid of Writer’s Block – Weekly Blog Post #14

3 Simple Steps to Get Rid of Writer’s Block  – Weekly Blog Post #14

It’s time I wrote something regarding writer’s block. The bane of all content creators around the world.

Sometimes, the well runs dry. In those situations, it’s hard to create new content. Novelists, songwriters, poets; we all suffer from it. It can leave one clenching their jaw and shaking their head.

But is it preventable?

Absolutely!

Join me, friends, because today we’re going to discuss how to overcome writer’s block!

What is Writer’s Block?

Writer’s block is a condition in which a writer will hit a brick wall. Beyond that wall is a well of ideas, yet the writer can’t reach it. The writer doesn’t know what to write about, and so all of their work comes to a grinding halt.

If you have deadlines to meet for clients, it can frustrate. Not only that, but it can demotivate, and for some, it can even be the final blow in their career.

It doesn’t have to be.

How to Get Rid of Writer’s Block — Three Simple Steps

  1. Take a Break

You heard it right. The first step in overcoming writer’s block is to stop writing. I find, for myself, if my ideas are running dry, taking a break refreshes my brain. It doesn’t have to be a long break, even a short walk will suffice. Either way, as soon as you see the writer’s block wall looming ahead, stop what you’re doing.

When I’m writing, I have this thing I call the sweet spot. It normally occurs in the first 30 minutes of my sessions, and that’s when I get all of my best work done. It’s almost as if I have a unique set of eyes on, where I see things I miss after the window. It’s my favourite time to write and when I struggle, I know I’ve surpassed that sweet spot. With that information, why force myself to carry on if I’m just getting frustrated and not writing like I did in that window? There’s no point. The writing will be bad, it will show in the work, and the pieces I submit will lose quality. It’s more of an investment to stop, take a break, and come in again at a new angle. Which takes us onto the next step.

Photo by mentatdgt on Pexels.com
  1. Try a new angle.

Imagine this, the writer’s block wall is before you, and you’re ramming your shoulder into it again and again. The wall isn’t budging, but your shoulder is getting bruised. You wouldn’t keep going, would you? You’ve taken your break. It’s time to take a fresh approach. We’re going to navigate the wall, instead of going through it.

This step can vary depending on whether you’re writing fiction, or for a client. If you’re writing a novel — jump ahead a few chapters! There’s no rule saying you must write a novel chronologically. You’ll find by jumping ahead, you might create some paths you can follow back which will knock the wall down in its entirety!

This differentiates a bit for article writing, since sometimes it’s not practical to jump ahead. So what new angles can you take when collating a piece for a client? You could try doing some research! Instead of putting words on paper, why not look at the subject you’re writing about? It can give you a fresh perspective. Or even consider looking at other articles! Compare yourself to the competition and see how you can develop to come out on top of them.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com
  1. Try Writing Prompts

I love a good writing prompt.

What are they?

Writing prompts are like call-to-actions, but instead of being for the reader, they’re for you. Someone will set you something to write about and your job is to do just that. Write about it! You can find books filled with writing prompts in superstores, but also a whole slew of them online. Try looking it up now! For fiction, you might get a writing prompt such as, “tell me about a cat chasing a mouse”. For non-fiction, “write about your favourite meal and why”. They’re simple and don’t have to be very long. How do they help with writer’s block?

Imagine a car with no fuel. It won’t run. A writing prompt is fuel. You’re filling yourself up and putting content down on paper. In doing that, you’re going to keep moving. A writing prompt may not bear a relation to your task at hand, but it might give you enough of a drive to break that wall! Below are ten writing prompts I’ve made for you:

Fiction:

  1. Write about a man who has lost his car keys.
  2. Write about a little boy who has gone with his parents to the supermarket.
  3. Write about a family lost at sea.
  4. Write about a group of pets in a pet-store. Yes, from the pet’s perspective!
  5. Write about a couple on their first date. What are they feeling?

Non Fiction:

  1. What’s your favourite TV show or movie? Why?
  2. What are your favourite meals to cook? Why?
  3. Why do you write?
  4. What gets you out of bed in the morning? What are you thankful for?
  5. What are you looking forward to?

They’re very simple, but answer them, and see how they develop. Maybe the fiction writing prompts will turn into a short-story. Maybe the non-fiction ones will turn into a review, or a source of inspiration! Try it out and see what happens!

Photo by Khoa Vu00f5 on Pexels.com

Follow these three simple steps and like that, you’ll get over writer’s block. It’s that easy! When a writer tells me they’re suffering from it, and they use it as an excuse to stop writing , I don’t believe it. Writers block is a problem! Yes, it exists! Yet, like every problem in the world, there’s a solution. Don’t lose to writers block, keep trucking and before you know it, that wall will be dust in the wind.

Thank you for reading! If you try my prompts, be sure to comment on your answers below! Same for if you have your own tips, or scenarios where writing block has really made you suffer! I want to build a community. Let’s do just that!

Be sure to give this post a like, and subscribe via email below if you want tips, tricks and content by me delivered right to your inbox!

Thanks for reading! See you next week!

How To Find Writing Jobs Online — The Simple Way – Weekly Blog Post #13

How To Find Writing Jobs Online — The Simple Way – Weekly Blog Post #13

In my experience as a content writer, I’ve had many people reach out to me, asking how to find writing jobs online.

I’ll be honest with you — I’m not the old, all-knowing, owl. In fact, I’ve only been in this game for a little while. However, today I’m going to share with you what I’ve gathered so far, hoping you can apply it to your own budding writing business. Why? Because if you succeed and you have an overflow of work, I hope I’m the first person who comes to mind!

Without further ado, how do you start an online writing job?

Starting An Online Writing Job

Your first step is research, and if you’re reading this, you’re already well underway!

Refer to my last blog post (How to SEO Your Website — The Power of Keywords) to learn about keywords. You want to know what people are searching for and begin developing your niche in that area. Remember, write what you know and focus on a subject you’re passionate about. Otherwise, you are at risk of burning out.

Once you know your niche, write about it.

That’s a really important step, and such a simple one in finding writing jobs online. Most clients will ask for samples of your work, or experience in your niche. If you’ve got nothing to show, they’ll hire the competition. Set about writing a few thousand word pieces about your topic you’re ready to send out in an instant. Make sure these pieces are perfect. No grammatical errors, no syntax errors — check, check, check!

You can upload them to an online portfolio — such as a WordPress website — or you can sit on them until someone asks. In my experience, it doesn’t really matter. Just as long as they’re ready when a client asks.

When you’ve got a good portfolio, you’re ready to start.

Photo by Ju00c9SHOOTS on Pexels.com

Where To Find Clients

This is the part of the blog post you’ve been waiting for. Having a good portfolio is great, but it’s not much help if you don’t know where the clients are hiding, or how to find writing jobs online. Word of advice before I begin, though?

DON’T JOIN A WEBSITE YOU HAVE TO PAY FOR.

I can’t believe this is a genuine issue! Many websites — I’m looking at you Contena — talk about how they’re the number #1 writing website for professionals. Yet, pay to join?

They try to say your payment is an investment, but in most cases, they’re just aggregator websites. They search the web and compile all the jobs they find into one place. Everything they offer is already out there for free. If you know how to research, you’re throwing money to nothing. You’ve never had to pay to apply for a job in the corporate world, have you?

Yeah, so avoid those websites.

The same goes for content mills! Honestly. A mill is constantly running, right? That’s what you’ll be signing you up for. You’ll be spending all of your time writing for a little turnaround. If you want your business to be serious, avoid them. Write some fantastic samples instead!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Job Boards

This is the most basic way to find writing jobs online. What’s the difference between a job board and a content mill? A job board will have some serious clients, with some serious cash.

Job Board examples:

Fiverr — Fiverr is my favourite job board. You can post your gig, advertise it across all of your social medias, and wait for the clients to come for you. This is a rare job board where it works that way round. You have to pass a writing test to get acceptance, but it’s easy if you know your trade.

Freelancer — I liked this website, but it’s VERY competitive. Their vetting process isn’t great, and your bids — cover letters, if you will — are public (unless you pay a fee), so it’s easy for other users to steal them.

Upwork — Similar to Freelancer, but they have a vigorous acceptance procedure. You can’t bid on jobs unless they’ve accepted you as a member, and sometimes that can be difficult. For example, they may reject your profile just because they’ve had a large influx of submissions from other freelancers. This can demoralise, and I don’t rate them very high because of this.

Job boards are a great way to start, but they’re not my favourite. It’s in job boards where the competition really comes through, and they hold your clients hostage. You can’t give clients your external email; so if you leave the website, you lose the client.

Social Media:

Photo by Tracy Le Blanc on Pexels.com

Yep! I mean it! Social Media — Facebook in particular — is a great way to find writing jobs online. In fact, it’s where I source most of my work. I’m not saying post a Facebook status asking your friends and family to hire you, that wouldn’t work! Instead, check out Facebook groups such as Cult of Copy and Science of Copywriting. They update their job boards daily with new jobs, and you can message the clients directly to open a channel of communication with them. If you have a good portfolio, it’s a brilliant way to start out!

Pitching Businesses.

This is a classic way of doing it, but it works! Take a pen and paper and walk through your local area. Write the names of businesses, research them, and then email them. Tell them how you can benefit their company. Nobody wants to part with money, so you need to write an interesting pitch that promises a good turnaround. This is where your samples really shine — proof-in-the-pudding if you will.

Consider this cold calling. 99.9% of the emails you send will receive no response. However, the few that do will earn you a good profit!

…And that’s the basics of how to find writing jobs online!

To summarise:

  • Build a strong portfolio.
  • Don’t subscribe to paid aggregators.
  • Avoid content mills.
  • Check out online job boards.
  • Look into social media groups.
  • Pitch local businesses.

Thanks for taking the time to read this blog post. Got your own advice? Comment below! If not, be sure to subscribe via email and have my content delivered directly to your inbox!

Thanks again!

How to SEO Your Website — The Power of Keywords – Weekly Blog Post #12

How to SEO Your Website — The Power of Keywords – Weekly Blog Post #12

I’ve wanted to write an article about SEO and how it works for a while. I know there are a thousand guides on the internet regarding it already, however consider this my spin!

SEO is short for Search Engine Optimisation. In short, it’s the practice of using certain techniques to increase your page’s listing on web crawlers — or in laymen’s terms — search engines. The higher your listing, the more traffic your website will receive, and in terms of monetization, you can already see how important that is!

But what are the techniques? How do I SEO my website?

The first thing you need to understand is keywords. When you write something into — let’s say Google — it picks out certain words from your search (keywords) and displays the most relevant results based on them. These words are usually what others are searching for.

How can we use that to our advantage?

This is where SEO tools come into play. Using a website such as wordtracker.com, you can research what others are searching for. For example, if I was to type in, “Cheap Hotels.” on this website, I recieve the following information:

As you’d expect, most people are searching for cheap hotels themselves. But, I can also see people are looking for, “cheap hotels near me”, and “cheap hotels in Las Vegas”. With this information, I know to write an article about cheap hotels with a heavy lean on Las Vegas.

Let’s talk about Keyword Density.

With what I’ve told you, you’re probably wondering why I can’t write a blog where I repeat “cheap hotels” a thousand times, and jump straight to the top of web crawlers. Search Engines are smarter than that, and it won’t work. They know people utilise SEO and if you try to trick the system by doing that, you’ll get punished for it.

I’m not saying the police will knock on your door and arrest you! However, it will hurt your ranking and you’ll drop in listings. Because of that, you need to know about keyword density. To SEO your blog, scatter your keywords within the text — but only to a certain percentage based on your word count. Sounds complicated, right? Don’t worry, we can use tools to do this again. Websites, such as SEOreviewtools.com or Yoast.com, can look at your text and let you know the density of your keywords. They’ll warn you if you are using the word too many times.

Cater your blog using your keyword research tool and density checker and you have the makings of an SEO friendly blog.

The trouble is, everyone else is doing the same.

I’ve written my SEO friendly blog about cheap hotels in Las Vegas, I’ve followed the exact steps above, but I’m still not getting a lot of traffic. Why? There’s too much competition.

I’m going to introduce you to Long Tail SEO.

This is like the former, however it utilises keywords which have less incoming traffic. The term long tail comes from the fact these keywords are usually longer and more focused. For example, instead of making my keyword “cheap hotels in Las Vegas”, I might make it “cheap hotels near Las Vegas Airport.”

Compare the volumes:

So now, you’re thinking, I’ve just killed 90% of my potential traffic. While you’re right, I’ve also leaned myself toward a targeted audience. 7679 people are searching for cheap hotels in Las Vegas and the comptition is going to be thick, but only 132 people are looking for “cheap hotels near Las Vegas Airport.”

Those 132 people are for more likely to come to my powerful SEO blog with a clear, focused topic.

Not everyone prefers doing that. Some love the thick of the competition! However, it’s something to consider!

… And that is the basis of SEO! It takes a little research, and getting used to, but use these methods and watch your traffic soar! Still, make sure your content is quality. You want to keep your readers coming back, after all!

I’ve mentioned this several times in my blog before — but here’s some advice! If you have an image heavy website, make sure the page has over 350 words on it. Web crawlers don’t see images, and so if you have fewer words than that, they’ll mark the page as lite on content and you’ll fall down the listings. Even if it is the most SEO friendly blog on the web!

That’s all I’ve got time for today, folks! I know this is just a brief look — there is so much more! Keywords are constantly changing, and some people even develop tactics to predict what keywords are likely before the fact. However, for those just starting out, I hope this points you in the right direction. I want to see your business soar and knowing how to write articles with SEO friendly content will do just that.

For further reading, look into Google’s snippets, Google’s “People also ask box” and the dangers of putting out duplicate content. These are massive in writing SEO friendly copy and can help you with your keyword research to a great degree.

Got your own advice, you want to add? Comment below! Also, subscribe to my email for a notification every time I post. Get writing advice delivered directly to you! What more could you want?

Thanks for reading! See you next time!

3 SIMPLE Tips to Make YOU a Time Management Mastermind! – Weekly Blog Post #11

3 SIMPLE Tips to Make YOU a Time Management Mastermind! – Weekly Blog Post #11

The more time that goes by, the less of it I find I have. It can be stressful and leave me feeling overwhelmed. Especially with customers coming from different time zones wanting fast turnarounds!

I have my novel to work on; I have a paid trial for a prominent company; I have my individual clients; I write AND run a Dungeons and Dragons campaign for my friends; I work a full-time job, and I’m in a relationship maintaining a loving family.

Sounds like a lot, huh? I wanted that paragraph to be a mouthful, so you’d feel the same way I often do!

However, it doesn’t have to be difficult! With a strict schedule (and yes, I mean strict!) I often get everything I want done and always please my customers. In doing this, I’ve learned various effective time management skills that I want to share with you today! So read on to hear some tips of the trade!

Photo by Bich Tran on Pexels.com

What is Time Management?

I know, it sounds like a silly question. But it’s an important one! It’s easy to assume time management is a simple case of managing one’s time. Trust me, there is more to it than that! If you can manage your time, you’re off to a flying start, but another important aspect is organising what you do with that time. It’s not about working hard, it’s about working smart. So for this blog, we’re going to define time management as the effective use of your time, and to do that, there are two key things you need to be succeeding at it:


1. Pleasing your clientsIf you’re good at managing time, you’ll never miss a deadline.
2. Not getting stressed Don’t drown in your work! Don’t be afraid to ask for help!

But how do you do that? Do you use tools? A worksheet?

HERE ARE THE TRICKS

The first thing you have to do is create a working schedule, and stick to it!

Every day, I dedicate an hour and a half, AT LEAST, to writing. During that time, my writing is akin to working for a corporation. I don’t allow myself to get distracted, and it’s all I do.

I understand you might not have an hour and a half to put aside every day, so here’s a little trick.

SET A TIMER.

Upon my desk, I have a timer next to me – on my phone. I set it to an hour and a half and hit go. Sometimes life happens, and I get distracted. My partner needs me, or we have visitors show up unannounced. Instead of getting frustrated, I hit pause on that timer and see to them. As long as that timer hits 0:00, and I’ve spent every second of the countdown writing, I know I’ve put my time in for the evening.

The best part about doing that is every night when I go to bed, I can’t feel bad for the amount I’ve done, because I can tell myself, I put in the same amount of work as I did the night before.

I even sometimes do extra! For example, I call Wednesday, “Writey Wednesday!” On that day, I set the timer to two hours!

Photo by Mike on Pexels.com

REWARD YOURSELF

We’re all human, and a key thing in life incentive. Why should you put the work in every night, when there’s no gain from it? For me, my incentive is that I get paid. But what if you’re building a portfolio? What’s the incentive when you haven’t got guaranteed customers?

I use an android app called DoItNow!

It’s a real simple app – that I keep meaning to write a full article on – where you set yourselves tasks and upon completion of them, you earn virtual coins! Those coins you can then exchange for rewards, which you create! An hour and a half of writing earns me 15 coins. For 50 coins, I can go on Amazon and buy myself something nice! I buy nothing for myself on any other occasion and it’s a HUGE motivator.

KNOW YOUR DEADLINES AND UNDERSHOOT THEM.

This one’s important. It took me a long time to learn and believe me; I annoyed previous companies by not being good at this. I’m proud to say I am now. If you have multiple customers, don’t just REMEMBER your deadlines, KNOW THEM, and BEAT THEM. How can you do that?

A spreadsheet.

Every time you receive a new order, ask your client about their turnaround. They’ll likely give you a range, such as 5-7 days. On your spreadsheet, enter your customer’s details and create a “due date” column. Order your spreadsheet by that column, so you know your priorities. Then, enter a definitive date to finish the client’s article by. Make that date AT LEAST one day before the customer requires.

This way, should life happen, you have breathing room. Should you need to make last-minute revisions, you can. Should everything be in order and you send your article to your client earlier, you have one happy client!

Don’t forget to use colours, too!

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Pexels.com

You want your due dates to stand out. If you have time to work on something, or a deadline is far off, highlight it green. If the deadline is coming up: amber. If it’s gone by or imminent: red.

If you don’t use colours, it’s easy to miss something!

Follow these three quick tricks, and you’ll find already, you’re building an organised business. Remember, only work within the time-frames you set yourself! Outside of those times, spend time with your loved ones, doing what you want and having fun.

Why?

What’s the point in building a freelance career if you’re not enjoying doing it? Money is little more than digital numbers on a display.

Thanks for checking out this week’s blog post! Tune in next week for more writing tips, advice, or to just hear about how I’m doing!

Don’t forget to comment your own advice below, subscribe to my email list and get in touch! I’m always looking for more clients, or to discuss the craft of writing!

See you next week!

Goodbye to an Old Friend – Weekly Blog Post #10

Goodbye to an Old Friend – Weekly Blog Post #10

This is hard to write. Today, we’re going away from my writing topic, to honour a close friend of mine. I wanted to talk about my novel going to my line-editors, I wanted to talk about how I spent the time in between – what I did to remain productive until they got back to me. But tragedy struck and at 15-years of age, we lost my best friend.

My cat, Charlie.

On the very same day, I had people come up to me and say, “At least it wasn’t a family member,” or, “It could have been worse.” And I get those people wanted to help. But it spells ignorance. It says to me: You’ve never had a pet before.

Losing a pet is difficult, and it’s okay to be sad.

Charlie had been in my life for 15-years. He was there since I was a child, growing up. I remember when I was 12-years-old, my parents bought this small little tabby kitten home with them. They put him on my bed and fleas crawled all over him! The runt of the litter! He sat next to me, while I played video games. We had a bond straight away!

But we had another cat: Jonsey (God rest his soul).

He was a little older and when he played with Charlie; he was rough! So much so, my parents worried he would injure him. Charlie was only tiny, after all! They decided to take him back to the pet store, to be safe. And how I fought!

I had bonded in an instant and I knew, the moment I laid eyes on Charlie, he was the cat for me.

And I was so right! He had 15 fantastic years in my family and I will never, ever forget him.

He was there through the happy times, and he was there through the sad times, too. He was more than a family member; he was a staple in my life and without him today, a part of me is missing. Without him, every day feels like a struggle.

I know it will get better. I do! But until then, it’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to grieve and struggle with the loss. It’s okay to become a recluse, to hide behind closed doors and want nothing more than to be alone. But I say again:

It will get better.

I’m saying this to myself, as much as I am to you. Surround yourself with loved ones and do the best you can to get through. It’s all you can do, right?

I wasn’t going to post today, but rather than say nothing, I thought I’d just put something small while I cope in this hard time. There’s no call to actions, no writing tips, no insights on the tricks of the trade. Just a post in his dedication.

We’ll get back to the normal stuff next week, but for now:

This one is for you Charlie!

2005-2020.

Rest easy, pal.

I Finished Draft 2 of My Novel! What Comes Next? – Weekly Blog Post #9

I Finished Draft 2 of My Novel! What Comes Next? – Weekly Blog Post #9

On Wednesday, I finished draft 2 of my novel! The journey isn’t yet over, but I’ve passed milestone on the ride. Today I want to discuss that, what comes next and how you can strive to complete your manuscript too.

It’s no secret that I wrote my book during NaNoWriMo 2019. I’ve written a lot of articles regarding that — but for new readers — it’s a challenge every year in November, where you have to write 50,000 words in 30 days. It sounds insane. And it is! Yet, I endured, and I completed it. My novel was a mess, so I did a second draft of it. Little did I know, writing that draft was when the real journey begun.

It took me seven months to go over the 50,000 words! I found a lot of them were rubbish, a lot of the story didn’t add up, and most of my ideas were just… bad. I found it a little demotivating. Believe it or not, when I completed NaNoWriMo in November, I told myself: “Finish the book this month, find an agent in January, and the book will be on shelves by February!”

I couldn’t be more wrong!

Even if I tried to publish draft 1 (which would never happen in a thousand years), finding an agent and publisher can take years! Sure, self-publishing is doable in that time zone, but that’s not what I want to do. My point is, it’s so funny comparing that to now; how ignorant I was to the market. Novel creation is hard and publishing is even harder.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

But I digress!

We’ve spoken about publishing in previous blog posts, and I want to discuss finishing my second draft today. So over the past seven months, I went through my manuscript chapter by chapter. I found my characters were flat, and they loved contradicting each other, repeating phrases or bringing up ideas and forgetting about them two pages later. Draft 2 is all about where you bring your ideas together and give your characters personality. So, most of what I wrote had to go. I mean it! Out of the 50,000 words I wrote, I killed or changed at least 45,000 of them. Which raises the question: Why did you even bother with NaNoWriMo? Why did you write a first draft if you rewrote your novel for draft 2?

Good question!

Draft 1 gave me structure. And while most of the content didn’t survive into draft 2, I had lain down the foundations to build upon. That gave me guidance in which to follow, so my second draft could shine the way it does. I focused less about what my characters were doing and spent more time studying how to make their actions stand out. In that regard, draft #1 is essential. The 50,000 words were the foundation. With draft 2, we put up the structure… What happens next?!

Draft 2.5!

Yep. I’m coining the term. What is draft 2.5? It’s a quick, simple run through where I kill spelling mistakes and get rid of redundancies. This is important for me, because my novel is going to line editors at the end of the week. Whilst I’m using them first to find mistakes, I want them to enjoy reading draft 2. Because draft 2 is readable! We have a beginning, a middle and an end. So when my line editors come back to me, I want them to tell me about ideas that don’t work, plot points that are boring and characters that need developing. I’d much rather this than them pulling up a typo because I didn’t bother with this quick draft 2.5

But then we go onto draft 3! Now, draft 3 happens when my line-editors get back to me and this is the one where I plan to decorate our house. We have the foundation, the structure, and now I want to put furniture in and wrap a safety net around the house. By that, I want to flesh out whatever my editors consider the novel is lacking and put on a net up to catch whatever I’m missing. I can’t speak much about this draft, since it’s not happened yet. But when that’s done, I hope to have a novel I can send to publishers — but who knows! I thought I’d have that after draft 1, so maybe there is a draft 4 on the horizon.

Photo by Josh Sorenson on Pexels.com

What’s my secret? A friend has asked me several times how I endured for so long and kept going. He asked me to teach him, so he might write his own novel. The secret is it’s difficult. The idea is charming, the thought of sitting down and knocking out a story in two months, but the reality is an uphill battle. Your first manuscript will always be terrible. But there’s nothing wrong with that! Once you’ve got it down, you shine it. Yet many people will find it demotivating having to destroy their work. Kill their darlings, as the in-house terminology goes. And it can be. But you have to endure, stick to it and remember, if you delete something you can always put it back again. Keep enduring, never give up, set as little as 5 minutes aside every evening and before you know it, you’ll have something golden before you.

Thank you for tuning in this week! I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Remember to subscribe via email for updates sent directly to your inbox. Comment on your experiences in writing! And follow my Twitter to keep up to date!

See you next week!

Dungeons & Dragons. Why Is It Good for Writers? – Weekly Blog Post #8

Dungeons & Dragons. Why Is It Good for Writers? – Weekly Blog Post #8

Today, I am running a Dungeons & Dragons campaign. I’ve worked on a few bits and pieces to prepare for it, my stomach is is tight with nerves, and I’m worried I’ll disappoint my friends. I’m doing it anyway —

Hold on a minute! This is a writing blog. Not a pop culture nerdy game blog! Why are you talking about Dungeons & Dragons?!

My friends, Dungeons & Dragons, involves a heavy writing aspect! The game is the highlight of what I’ll be doing in terms of creativity this week, and today, I would like to discuss that. Let’s begin!

What is Dungeons & Dragons?

Dungeons & Dragons has existed in many forms, from the standard edition, to a board game and even a video game! The standard edition can also come in various forms. You can sit around a table with a group of friends, or play over the internet using a service such as Discord. In simple terms, Dungeons & Dragons is a role-playing game where one person – the Dungeon Master – allows adventurers to embark on epic quests, gather loot and earn experience points. One of the key things about Dungeons & Dragons that has always stood out to me, is the freedom of choice allowed to other players. The restrictions video games possess no longer exist, and therefore, you’re free to be whoever you want. You can be a brave knight, a cunning mage, or even a simple beggar on the street.

The Dungeon Master does everything, from telling the story, to engaging the players, and leading their quest to wherever their vision might take them.

But back to my niche!

Why is Dungeons & Dragons good for writers?

For me, as a writer, playing Dungeons & Dragons is an excellent way to improve my craft. An important aspect involved is world creation, and in this week, before our game, I’ve been doing just that: creating my world. I’ve spent hours with paper to pen, coming up with ideas from city names, to religion and how culture works. You’re creating a fantasy world, and to engage the players you want that fantasy world to be real. You’re writing a story, but instead of the arduous process of publication, and waiting for others to have a read, you’ll be telling it live.

Dungeons & Dragon’s isn’t easy to master. There are a lot of rules, minor details and blindsides you will have to be aware of. However, from a writing perspective it also allows a window of creativity. You must improvise, too! A player can ask you anything, and you need to be ready to prepare an excellent answer. Hesitation can break immersion, uncertainty can ruin a game. As Dungeon Master, your job is to take players to the world you created and sell that world to them. It’s their desire to live in it as an escape to the actual world. You should make it a good one.

As a writer, doesn’t that sound tempting?

Nerdy pop culture aside, all budding writers, in particular those in the fantasy niche, should give Dungeons & Dragons a try. The game can be inspirational, and with the pressure of having to impress other players, it helps you think on the fly. It’s also an excellent way to come up with ideas for your story! I can guarantee novels exist based on people’s D&D campaigns.

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

The Potential for Publication

When you’re playing D&D, the outside world need not know you are. Say you’ve written an excellent story, a believable world, and your adventurers – your friends – are making decisions that are interesting. Why not compile your adventure into a short story? Of course, ask your friend’s permission first. You don’t have to say it’s based on Dungeons and Dragons; you don’t have to copy it word for word. The chances are, it won’t be a best-seller (not to shoot you down or anything), but it’s a splendid avenue to self-publish some work. You’ve had an excellent adventure with friends or family. Why not share it? Or even just for yourself, finish some writing prompts!

It’s fun. More so during these trying times, when there’s much uncertainty. Are you ever you lost for ideas for your fantasy novel? If you want to explore creative avenues, and are unsure where to start, try a D&D campaign. Many places online exist, where you will find other players! Why not check out some public Discord rooms? As an upcoming writer, I recommend it!

That’s all I have for D&D today! I understand this is pushing the boundaries of my niche, yet I’m hoping to inspire people to give it a go. If you’re a writer unaware of its potential, try it out! If you’re suffering from writer’s block, you never know it could be your solution! Or if you just want a break, but with a desire to keep your creative juices flowing, Dungeons and Dragons is the answer!

Photo by fotografierende on Pexels.com

Thanks again for checking out my weekly post this week! Be sure to check back next week. Subscribe to my email if you want content sent straight to you.

Further to that, have you played Dungeons and Dragons yourself? Comment below on your thoughts and experiences on how it helped your writing!

I hope I see you in a game soon, adventurers!

ProWritingAid. What Is It and How Does It Help? Weekly Blog Post #7

ProWritingAid. What Is It and How Does It Help? Weekly Blog Post #7

Hello again! Saturday is here, which means it’s time for another blog post! Before I begin, I will say this week may be shorter than usual, because I’ve been on vacation! Let me tell you now – I needed a break. The escape from reality came as a welcome relief. Yet, I still finished some writing! Those of you who tuned in last week know I’ve given myself a deadline with my novel. I set myself a minimum requirement of 700 words a day (not as crazy as NaNoWriMo) and I am plodding along. Draft 2 of my novel will be ready on time!

In my endeavours this week, I discovered a tool called ProWritingAid. I’m enjoying using it so much, I thought I would share it with you today! Let’s discuss!

What is ProWritingAid?

ProWritingAid is an application for Windows and Mac (with a web editor too), that sells itself as being your personal writing coach. It is like Grammarly and Hemingway Editor, but more catered toward novelists instead of article writing. I downloaded the 14-day free trial and my writing now shines. ProWritingAid picks up on little things, such as missing punctuation, incorrect grammar use and passive voice. It also goes that extra mile and suggests stronger adjectives if there is room for any. There’s a built-in thesaurus, the ability to study overused words and phrases, and the tool can even point out cliches in your text or dialogue. Also, you can compare these to the averages shown in published text! You can see, for example, if your writing has an insane amount of adverbs compared to what agents accept. ProWritingAid is comprehensive and by far, my favourite writing assistant tool.

How does ProWritingAid help?

I established before the uses of ProWritingAid, but how does it help your writing? The tool doesn’t make a writer out of you. Only words on paper can do that! Yet I find it’s a great tool to challenge your work. Don’t rely on it. If you do, if you make every change suggested, then your work will lose value. Remember, ProWritingAid is an AI and isn’t always correct. However, if you challenge your work, then you can pick up on small things that will then lead you to saying:

“I can do this a little better.”

In other words, don’t let ProWritingAid hold your hand and lead you to water, allow it to point you in the right direction.

Photo by Bri Schneiter on Pexels.com

That’s all I have to say on ProWritingAid today! We didn’t go too in depth, however, check out the website HERE for a more thorough look and give ProWritingAid a go yourself! Remember, even though the best help comes from a real beta reader, or editor, we can still get a little help on the way!

Thanks for reading this weekly blog post and apologies again that this instalment is shorter than usual. I am focusing on my novel right now and I’ve been on vacation! There haven’t been too many fresh developments this week. Though thanks for tuning in as usual and be sure to subscribe to my email, check out ProWritingAid, and check back next week for more!

Thanks!