12 Inspiring Idioms for Aspiring Freelancers

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Whether you are new to freelancing, or just thinking about it, these idioms will help:

 1. Rise and Shine! Working from home is the best of freelance perks, but that doesn’t mean you should sleep in every day. Set a daily work schedule and stick to it.

2. Know the Ropes. The best way to get and keep clients is to understand the publishing industry. Read and learn about the publishing process (the steps to get a book from contract to print). Stay current with trends and what your clients’ companies are publishing.

3. You Can’t Judge a Book by Its Cover. Vet potential clients carefully, especially small or new publishers. Know exactly what is expected from you, the due date, how much you will be paid, and the payment terms. Always work with a contract.

When I began freelancing, I accepted an assignment from a promising, new company. The articles written about it were positive. But had I dug deeper, I would have discovered that this company was in serious financial trouble. Many employees had been let go, and the publisher was relying on freelancers to do the work. It went bankrupt, and I never received full payment for my invoice. A $5000 mistake on my part, and a reminder to you—do your homework.

dont-count-your-chickens4. Don’t Bite off More Than You Can Chew. As you add more clients to your list, there will be times when assignment offers overlap. It’s tempting to accept every offer, but remember that quality is more important than quantity. When faced with multiple offers, ask yourself: “How much of my best work can I deliver in the specified timeframe?” It’s better to turn down an assignment than to deliver less than your best or to miss a due date.

5. A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bush. There will be times when you need to weigh a “maybe” against a “sure thing”. For example, a client has told you that they might have a project for you in a month or so. Another client has approached you with a definite project due within the same time frame. Will you wait for the “maybe” project, or will you accept the sure thing? Sometimes it’s a difficult choice.

I did some work for an educational publisher, writing questions for standardized tests. The work was fun, and it paid well; however, the lead times (the time to complete the work by deadline) were short and the work was sporadic. The client would let me know that they might have work for me in a month or two. Often, if the work materialized, I would already have taken on a “sure thing” assignment and couldn’t fit their tight deadlines into my schedule. I ended up losing that client, but still, I feel that I made the right choice. The income I received from the sure assignments was, likely, greater than if I had waited.

6. Get Down to Brass Tacks. Freelancing is a job, just as if you were sitting at a desk in the publisher’s workplace. You need a home office, or designated workspace, free from distractions and interruption. Sometimes, you might need to get out of the house and write someplace else. Think about places you might go to write.

Visit your local coffee houses, and you’ll find people wearing headphones and working on laptops. Noise blocking headphones, or even playing classical music through earphones, can help concentration and block noise. Bonus—coffee houses are great places to meet other freelancers.

eligiblemagazine-com_7. Actions Speak Louder Than Words. Deliver what you promise. Always submit your best work, in the best format, and on time.

8. It’s a Race Against Time. The publishing industry is deadline driven. Schedules are created to meet a specific print date. If that date is missed, it costs the publisher money. Another idiom: Time is Money. If you miss your deadlines, it is almost certain that you won’t get more assignments.

9. Drastic Times Call for Drastic Measures. Sometimes you will be overwhelmed by work and deadlines. It’s important to remember that work comes first. It’s not like you can peek over the wall of your work cubbie and ask a co-worker for help. This is all on you! Plan for how you will handle freelance stress.

Prayer and meditating on God’s Word helps me during stressful work times. I also listen to quieting music. Pandora Radio is a great resource for finding soothing music to listen to while you work.

10. Go the Extra Mile. Do more than what is expected. Turn assignments in before the due date. Help your editor as much as possible by submitting a well-formatted manuscript (Spacing, paragraph indents, etc.).

11. Don’t Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth. Your clients don’t have to choose you for their assignments. When they do, it’s a gift and a testament to your good work! Be grateful, humble, and giving.

When a book I’ve worked on is published, I like to put a link to it on my Facebook business page. I always link to the publisher’s web site, and I thank them for inviting me to work on the project. This is one way to show appreciation.

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12. Be the Apple of Their Eye! Simply be the best you can be with a healthy dose of friendliness and humility.

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Filed under Freelance writing, The Business of Writing, Uncategorized, work for hire, working with editors, Writer's responsibility

Five New Year Resolutions for Writers

 

happy-new-year-2017It’s that time again! Here are five resolutions
to get your writing off to a great start.
“I (your name goes here) resolve to . . .

8e355989e12212c3efde652892d26ce0“Set just one writing goal per week.”
Think about the big picture: what do you want to accomplish? State it in one simple sentence. Write it down. Working toward a weekly goal (Write one chapter in my WIP) can be less stressful and easier to accomplish than setting a series of smaller goals (Write 2500 words each day).

“Begin and end each writing session with a prayer.”
Spending quiet time in prayer eases you into your writing and helps you relax when you’re through. Think of it as a warm-up and cool down. Beginning and ending with a prayer also helps to set apart your writing time from other tasks.

4dcd288658631c6ed9f0ee71452af663“Schedule breaks.”
Long writing sessions can lead to losing your objectivity. Even a short break helps you refresh and regroup your thoughts.

“Take things one step at a time.”
Remember the fable about the tortoise and the hare? Slow and steady wins the race! Just keep putting one keystroke after another as you work toward your weekly goal.

preview“Forgive myself.”
Nobody is perfect. There will be times when life gets in the way of reaching your goal. When that happens, sigh big. Say, “Oh, well.” Then move on.

Remember: Every new year is filled with 365 fresh starts.

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A Writer’s Wish List for When Your Spouse Says, “Honey, What Do You Want for Christmas?”

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When your spouse, or significant other, asks, “Honey, what do you want for Christmas?” here are some suggestions.

A Writer’s Retreat
Writers’ retreats can be as extreme as a cruise or as simple as a few days at an Airbnb.

A Writer’s Conference, Seminar, or Class
If you Google conferences, seminars, or writing courses for 2017, you’ll find many to choose from.

awm_primarylogo_195x195A Literary Trip
Travel to the setting of your favorite novel, or the setting of your work-in progress. Visit literary landmarks throughout the USA. Be one of the first to visit the American Writers Museum, opening in Chicago in 2017.

Take a virtual tour online.

A New Laptop Computer
A laptop allows you to take your work with you wherever you go. If you already have one, then add to your gift list a carrying case or sleeve.

Professional Feedback
How about a consult with a literary agent, or hiring an editor to help with your work-in-progress?

postcards-002Business Cards and Other Promotional Items
Vistaprint makes it easy to design your own business cards, and it’s affordable! Use their designs, or your own. Add a calendar, tip table, or other information on the back side. Check out other options like their marketing materials for book signings, etc. Along with competitive pricing, Vistaprint ships fast.

New Software
Is your software old? Add an upgrade to your gift list. Or ask for new software to make your writing tasks easier.

Noise-cancelling headphones
If you want to shut out distracting sounds, get some noise-cancelling headphones. You can listen to music while you write, or write in silence. Check out ten recommendations.

Your Own Website
Ask your honey for the gift of a professionally designed web site. Every author needs one!

office-makeover-reveal-4Home Office Makeover
Start the new year by giving your home office a fresh look. Some paint, new carpeting, bookshelves, maybe a new desk . . . put these on the “honey-do” list, or hire a professional.

Take a look at this makeover from “Love Grows Wild.”

A Writer’s Shed
Every writer wants one of these. A quick search on the Internet will provide you with plenty of options from plans to prefab. And don’t forget about big box stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot. Garden sheds are easily converted to outdoor office spaces.

Cleaning Service
A cleaning service takes a big item off your weekly to-do list and frees up more time for writing. Angie’s List offers tips on finding a reputable cleaning service near you.

A Virtual Assistant
This won’t cost your honey a dime—if he or she is willing to to do your grunt work: printing, mailing, schlepping to the store for supplies and other tasks that whittle away your writing time.

Peace and Quiet
Ask your honey for peace and quiet. Have him or her take the kids out, once a week, so you can have a few hours of uninterrupted writing time. BONUS: Your kids will love spending fun time with one parent while the other writes.

11388026183_18186c3f74_o-copyDon’t forget coffee and chocolate!
A coffee gift card is always a good gift for writers. Or how about one of those fancy coffee makers so you can have espresso or lattes at home? And chocolate—ask your honey to fill your Christmas stocking with chocolate to snack on while you write.

How to drop a big hint to your honey: Vistaprint has blank gift certificates starting at $2.79/10. Order today. Then print out this list and leave it along with the gift certificates where your honey will find them. What happens next—is a surprise.

Good luck!

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and inspiration for writers.

august2016wordpress
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*NOTE: Any ads appearing in this post were not put there by me nor do I endorse them. WordPress sometimes posts ads in exchange for hosting this free blog.

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Filed under Christmas, Gifts for writers, Uncategorized