Tuesday, 24 February 2009

The colour of money

There are numerous discussions flying around the Web at any time about how much a freelance writer should a) expect to earn b) actually earn and c) need to earn.

Deb Ng over at fwj recently posted on empowering those new to the business to realise their worth and don't accept rates that, frankly, take the mickey. This, I think, is a good thing, but will not solve the issues entirely, although every little helps!

For instance, I started my attempt to be a freelance writer, sorry a professional freelance writer (I am a writer, I just don’t earn enough to keep myself in bunny slippers) by signing up to elance. Which is great in theory, except $1 is nothing to me, but a great deal to someone in India, meaning I would always be undercut on price.

What we need is for those seeking writing services to realise that you get what you pay for, much like, I don’t know, a shirt. If you want a shirt to wear once or twice, that no-one is going to look at too closely, you might buy one from WalMart or another supermarket for £5. If you want a serviceable professional shirt, you may try Marks and Spencer or a department store and spend £25-£50. If you want the best, you will go to Savile Row or Jermyn Street and pay £hundreds, because you know that shirt will last you as long as required, will look and feel great, and will fit you perfectly, having been crafted just for you by a skilled professional.
The problem with selling writing services is that a) everyone thinks they can do it and b) you can't try before you buy. I know you can provide samples, and testimonials and buyers can get a feel for your writing style, but if you are trying to differentiate on quality and personal service, no-one knows how good a job you will do for them until you do it.

So we're back to that age-old adage, it's not what you know, it's who you know. If you can garner yourself a reputation for providing quality, tailored writing, you will get more, but the only way to get such a reputation is to do some work for people. And until you get that reputation, it is harder to command the highest rates, no matter how good. Which leaves us in a kind of vicious circle…

Monday, Markets and Money

As a pre-cursor to a post I will publish later, I am thinking about money. It makes the world go round as they say and is the root of all evil. If money didn't exist, or if I had none, would I be any happier? I know I currently feel trapped between needing to earn the good wage I command in the 'day job' in order to feed the family and wanting to spend time writing. More on this later. Hopefully someone will read it!

Anyway, Jodee's Monday Markets are in. Interestingly it could be said that all stereotypical women of a certain age are covered- they either have children or cats!

Sunday, 22 February 2009

February 22nd

Happy Birthday to me.

Did you know that I share my birthday with two luminaries of the modern world- Mr Abraham Lincoln and Mr Bruce Forsyth.


Saturday, 21 February 2009

new name and a question

I renamed the blog. The original name was, let's face it, not very interesting.

I like the new one (even though it wasn't my first, or even tenth choice!). Let me know what you think (I am aware I am probably talking to myself and am therefore unlikely to get a surprising answer. Sigh)

I also have a question. The Google ads showing on my site (hey, we've all got to try) are offering a cure for bad breath. As this is the first time I have metioned those words, do you think Google Adsense is so far advanced it is trying to tell me something? Or, indeed, knows something about my readers...

Friday, 20 February 2009

Blogging is a full-time job

And unfortunately I already have one. If only my family didn't need a roof over their head and to eat I would have the time to devote to this blog and my other web and literary pursuits they deserve. Never mind, my best will have to do!

Fact of the day. A peanut is not a nut. It is a legume. Therefore if you have a peanut allergy (an affliction I have just discovered affect my son) you are as likely to be allergic to baked beans as you are to hazlenuts. Interesting eh?

I thought I'd post this rather offtopic jobsite too. If you have stumbled here (or arrived here by way of a backlink invitation (see James yesterday)) you may well be an impoverished wannabe or underutilised freelance writer. And if you need a job to pay the bills, why not get one in a good cause?

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Winnie the Pooh

I saw this, and couldn't resist posting it here Winnie the Pooh's guide to blogging. And it is written by James Chartrand from Men with Pens no less (I have heard much of this Chartrand and was pleased the copyblogger post that caught my eye was his) If you ever swing past this way James, give me a wave...

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Oh, forgot

Online link to my latest tax technical article in Tax Adviser magazine is now available. And useful! Enjoy.

New writing sites and news

Well, twice in one day. We are privileged!

Just thought I would note a great new site I've found (when I say new, the site isn't new, but it's new to me) Kudos Writing. Not only is it a great resource for writing competitions (I've noted a few down that end in Feb) but you can also submit to sister publication Orbis (follow the link on the main site). You can even join the Orbis facebook group.

Other things, well I thought I'd link to Jodee's Monday Markets on fwj to share the link love.

Also, I have entered the Leaf Books nano fiction competition (closed 31 January), keep your fingers crossed for me- results due March.

Finally, I have signed up for the Writer's Weekly 24 hour story-a-thon on 25th April. Writer's Weekly (run by Angela Hoy) is another great resource. I had better get updating my useful links :)

A new beginning

Right, start again

Hello and welcome to the revamped(!) blog.

Aiming to be a bit different this time, I do intend to continue to cover and discuss writing stuff but I may also offer my own humble opinion on things going on in my world, and the world in general. Like the pitiful sentence handed out to the lorry driver that killed an entire family on the M6. Whilst I appreciate he didn't mean to kill them, surely the fact that he was using a laptop (albeit to see where he was) whilst driving at high speed is sufficient to constitute dangerous rather than careless driving. With a maximum jailtime of 18 months, that's just three months per life, and likely to be as low as two months each. Read the full story here.

And continuing the theme, the latest road safety speed kills advert is deadly. I had to cover my eyes the first time I saw it. It makes me want never to drive again. Let's hope it saves some lives. For those who haven't seen it, make sure you are sitting down and click the video link on this site.