16 January 2012

Announcing the great move

I bet you're surprised to see an update on this blog. After all, it's been uiet in these parts for a year now.


I can finally tell you the reason behind the silence.

I spent a lot of time studying and researching and working on the side so that I could save up enough money for a hosting server and my very own domain. (I've been also dealing with some family problems for a bit there during 2011)

You guys have been with me for a very long time and you've been incredibly supporting. So I'm pleased to announce that I'm moving homes. You'll be able to find me at Writing4Rent now. It's a website that I wanted to open ever since I started this blog. I hope it will grow to be one of the best sources for beginning writers out there.

Also: if any of you want to share your stories, advice and experience there, please let me know by commenting or emailing me.

14 January 2011


A few days ago, I spent a truly scary amount of time staring aimlessly at the screen of my laptop.
I could blame it on several factors, but it wouldn’t change the facts.

This aimlessness caused me to miss some self-imposed deadlines (self-imposed, yes; but still important) and fall behind on my writing goals. In fact, when reporting my word count today at FindYourWords, I was 500 words short of my writing goal for the week.

In an act of desperation, since even reading my RSS Feed felt like too much work, I decided to steal a resolution out of Joanna Penn’s New Year’s Resolutions. I unplugged.

I turned off my laptop, instead of just closing it and letting it hibernate (which felt symbolic and made me feel stronger), I took my notebook and went to bed.

And I started to write. Something I couldn’t accomplish with my laptop on, apparently.

It’s hard to call those days of aimless staring a writer’s block. My creativity was there. I just didn’t feel like making an effort.

Maybe I was just burned out? I wouldn’t be able to tell for sure as it was the first time I felt like that.

Since the next three months are going to be very intense, because I have a lot of stuff on my plate that I just *have to* complete, I will have to learn how to pace myself.

Or I will have to learn how to do it better. I guess I really can’t keep the same writing speed I had during holidays. Not with a regular 8 hour work day on top of that.

It’s a learning experience, figuring out everything connected to writing and earning money.

Here’s hoping I’ll manage to get everything settled soon.

8 January 2011

About that Writing Schedule thing

I’m not going to tell you that keeping a strict writing schedule helps you avoid the writer’s block and develop a writing habit. It’s been said before over and over and over again. Instead, I’m going to tell you how I go about it.

Writing comes first

Yes, the first thing I do after starting up my laptop is checking my email, RSS feed and my Twitter for any interesting links people I follow might’ve shared over night. But after that, writing takes priority. I set a goal for myself saying that my first action after catching up on all the feeds is to write something. It doesn’t matter if it’s a story, a part of a story, an outline, a blog post, an article for a content site or writing for a client.

And I don’t do anything until I finish that first writing piece. Sometimes it’s just a slash fiction, maybe even just two points in my outline. But it’s somehow sets a mood for the rest of my day.

Day doesn’t end until I’ve written something

While this might seem like a silly rule (especially when put right after “writing something first thing in the morning), it actually helps me a lot.

See, I made a word count goal for 2011. That goal translates into writing at least 2000 words a week and 290 words a day. It might not seem like much, but in this word count, I don’t count outlines, my academic work or the brainstorming I do for one of the clients. So sometimes, after a whole day of writing in various projects, it might turn out I didn’t add to my official word count at all.

I don’t deny, sometimes it sounds rough (and it is), but I don’t go to sleep until the daily word count is reached. Last year I sometimes ignored that rule, but this year I’m much more motivated (and hoping this motivation won’t go away.)

Make plans for at least a week

Last year when it came to writing, I just “went with it”. I wrote when I felt like it and ended up not writing much most days. This year, I’m planning all my big fiction projects and all my nonfiction writing. I plan deadlines, milestones and word count goals for all my fiction projects. I also plan who I’m writing for each day, when it comes to my nonfiction.

I was hesitant about it at first, but a second week in and I’m focused, I keep having inspiration for my nonfiction writing and all my fiction projects are steadily moving forward. It really is something.

Reporting on my progress

Every week I report my word count to FindYourWords community. You can report it on Twitter (even using the hash tag #wordcount) or to your writing group. You can report it on your blog, as your Facebook status or just texting your regular writing partner.

Just tell somebody how much you’ve written in the past day/week. You don’t even have to report your word count. Did you finish your story, that revision you were slaving off with? Did you sell an article? The positive feedback you’ll receive to your successes will be the best motivation, believe me.

That Writing Schedule Thing

I don’t make plans to write every day from 5pm to 7pm. mostly because my days and plans are so irregular that I would fail to do so within the first week and I would lose interest in trying soon after that. This would really hurt my writing.

Setting a firm schedule doesn’t work for me, it might work for you. Just like the little tricks I shared here are working great for me, but might not work for you. That said; I’ll be very interested to hear what your tricks to write regularly are. Feel free to share them!

6 January 2011

5 ways to turn your website into a passive income source

Having a website (especially one with a blog) takes a lot of effort. But websites are still one of the most common and most reliable sources of passive income. As a first part of my “Passive Income for Freelance Writers” series I’m giving you 5 ways of earning passive income with a website.


Incorporating ads into your website is still one of the most popular choices when it comes to monetizing your website or blog. The most common tool is Google AdSense (or Chitika, popularized by Darren from ProBlogger.net). But it’s worth remembering that once the website is popular and has a lot of readers, you can always cut out the middle man and start looking for advertisers directly.

Many popular websites and blogs use their sidebars to display “sponsors”. Many of those websites are direct clients paying monthly for the exposure. You can also use the advertising spots on your website to display banners from your affiliates about more on that later.) The key to a successful ad is to make sure it fits into the general topic of the website. The ads will bring profit only if they are of interest to your readers.

Affiliate marketing

By promoting other people’s projects, you are earning a percentage of the profits from each sale. Your partners usually provide you with great promotional materials that you can use to promote their work.

If you’re wondering where to find the right affiliate programs, you’re not looking right. Your first choice should always be products and programs you have personal experience with. It’s the ultimate truth – it’s easier to promote something you know and something you believe in.

When choosing the affiliate programs keep in mind what it is that your readers are looking for. And try to provide it not only with your content, but with the products you promote as well. Even if you choose to work with Amazon Affiliates, you should select the products that can benefit your readers.

Self-made products

You either build a website around a product you wish to sell, or you promote a product on a site you already have. Either way a website has an enormous potential of helping you sell those products and, once again, it allows you to cut out the middle man and earn a bigger profit (when you don’t have to pay commission to anyone else.)

Freelance writers usually decide to create eBooks or online courses and tele-classes and share their knowledge with the world. But those are not the only products that can be sold and/or promoted with a website.

Membership sites

Majority of the websites offer some sort of content to the readers. If they are product pages, they offer information on the product. If they are websites of companies or people, they offer information about that. There are sites that have been created and published and are updated rarely, but there are also websites that are updated every other day.

Websites like that can be turned into membership sites, charging readers a monthly fee, providing them with exclusive content (either in a way of a premium newsletter, special blog posts, eBook reports etc.) that they are interested in. Obviously, the details all depend on the niche, but the general idea remains the same.

But what you need to remember is that nowadays, with all the free content you can imagine, you need to be offering something spectacular and amazing to convince people to join the website. You might consider teaming up with somebody else: a graphic designer, or a programmer; where you provide content and all the written material and they add the extra content.

Launching platform for other projects

Sometimes, you don’t have to earn the passive income directly from the website. But if your website is good and provides great content, attracting a lot of readers, it can become a valuable platform from which you can launch your other projects (especially if the projects are in the same niche, or your website is a personal one.)

Whatever your next project is a CafePress shop, another website covering your niche from a different angle, a book deal or a class you can plug it on your website and some of the readers will follow.

Final notes

No matter how you decide to turn your website into a passive income source, there’s one thing you need to remember. No passive income will earn you money if you just set it up and forget about it. It will only bring in profits if you promote it, offer great content and supervise it regularly.

For the entire series on Passive Income click here.

4 January 2011

How Somebody Who Hated Change Decided to Become a Freelance Writer

If you ask anyone, who knows me, they will tell you that I don’t deal well with changes. It’s a God honest truth: I HATE changes. It doesn’t matter how big or how small the change, I will always try to resist and whine about how much I hate the new thing.

To give you an idea of how extreme my dislike for change is: I only eat one type of pizza (or no pizza at all), I dropped out of my studies because getting a degree and defending my thesis was too big of a change from my usual way of doing things (and it took me two years to go back to school), I don’t like meeting new people, because, well, they are new people and they don’t understand how OCD I am about the smallest things.

In fact, my entire writing career moves at a pace everybody else would consider “barely not moving backwards”.

It took me years and meeting very supportive people for me to start writing more seriously in the first place. It took an extremely enthusiastic writing cheerleader to talk me into writing my first novella. I hesitantly wrote what I thought would be a good story but didn’t like the results. But the feedback I got was encouraging, so I decided to try writing another novella the following year... It took two years, a support system and four big fiction projects for me to get comfortable with an idea of writing a novel.

My freelancing career went almost the same.

At the very beginning (back in, I think, May 2008) the idea of receiving payment for my writing seemed rather surreal. I didn’t treat it seriously, so when I stumbled on Helium, I looked around and set up an account, because it seemed harmless.

And I did nothing.

I sat on the brand new account for a few days before I decided to see what the whole thing was about. Because it’s just my luck, I had no idea what to write about, so I randomly searched for an Empty Title and wrote my very first advice article about treating painful periods. I did research on natural remedies to have the knowledge, but I winged everything else.

I knew nothing about a proper article structure for online content, I had no idea what a keyword was and why it was important. I just wrote an article to see what would happen.

Or rather, I was conflicted between wanting to see what would happen and being terribly afraid of what would happen. What if the article was terrible? What if people wouldn’t be interested in what it said? What if the article didn’t earn any money? Or worse, what if IT DID?

In the first week after publishing, the article earned one or two cents from pageviews. I found that idea absolutely terrifying and closed the browser. I didn’t touch Helium for another month after that.

I returned to the site in June and started to write simple opinion pieces on topics I knew from personal experience. Nothing I would have to do research on. The idea that anybody could take me for an expert was too scary.

By the time December rolled in, I was comfortable with an idea of getting paid for my writing, out of curiosity I was reading blogs about freelance writing and publishing articles from time to time.

All the blogs I’ve read seemed unconnected to what I was doing. They were all talking about setting up websites, blogs, pitching editors, being able to pay bills from money earned with writing... The idea of giving up my cozy and safe job to pursue something that earned me cents seemed ridiculous.

Then, by complete accident, I sold an article in Helium Marketplace. After the initial euphoria that somebody liked my article and wanted to pay for it (and after the panic that followed: “what if they change their mind and demand a refund? what if they clicked the wrong button and they really wanted the article next to mine?”) I realized that you can earn more from writing than just cents based on pageviews.

I filed that information away, because “why mess with something that’s working just fine?” But just to be sure, I did some additional research and found online marketplaces like oDesk, Guru and eLance. They all seemed really scary and confusing and there were some fees involved and I decided I really don’t like the idea of exchanging my Helium earnings for what seemed to be very stressful and demanding.

I kept writing for content sites (expanding outside of Helium was a nightmare, but I knew that keeping all my eggs in one basket would be unwise if a dreaded change decided to surprise me).

Nothing changed for a year in my writing career (which I considered to be a good thing, most specialists would never agree with me) but then I started to get bored with my day job. Long time ago I learned to recognize boredom as a first symptom of change and I did what I’ve always done when I felt change coming. I started to make plans how to make that damn change as painless as possible.

Which brings us to six months ago and my new year’s resolution to switch to full time free end of this year.

It’s worth stating that I admire people who can quit their day job and become freelancers in a day. People who take risks are amazing, but I’m not one of them. If there’s a way to avoid the change, I’ll take it. If I need to go through a change, I will hate every moment of the transition.

I need numerous support systems, safety nets, cheerleaders and people who understand that I need to have complete control over the process or my stress levels reach catastrophic very quickly.

At the same time, I love writing. I get huge satisfaction from it and I love looking at the finished product and knowing it’s worth something (I feel even better when other people say the same thing). I want to keep doing it!

And yes, for some, the pace in which my freelance career is moving, might seem unwise, or time-wasting. To some, my choice to keep writing for content sites while I pursue other freelancing options, might seem counterproductive. But the truth is I like the passive income. And another change (in addition to all the changes that will happen to me this year) might be too much for my poor little heart.

I’m optimistic though. I have a plan, which includes several safety nets and contingency plans (and contingency plans to my contingency plans) and for a first time in a very long time I think I might be able to handle the change. That I might even like what it’s going to bring.

Still, I’m not going to jump head first. I’ll keep poking at the idea, moving forward slowly. It’s going to take some time to get where I want to be. But it’s okay.

2 January 2011

Passive Income for Freelance Writers

5 ways to turn your website into a passive income source

I hope you all had a very good start in the New Year. I kicked off 2011 by writing two articles (total over 1300 words) and it made me feel really good. I also decided that January will be a month of Passive Income here at WritingMakesRich.

I consider passive income to be one of the more important revenue stream for freelancers. There are only that many hours you can work in a day and at the same time, raising your rates stops being enough at some point.

I’m not going to hide, this Passive Income series is going to serve mostly as my very own resource center as I learn more about passive income opportunities and try to find out which work best for me.

Freelance writers have a lot of options open to them, though most of them demand a lot of time and effort before they even start paying back.

I’m at the very beginning of my freelancing career. I don’t work non-stop and I don’t have a whole bunch of clients. Which means that I do have the time to invest into my future income. There are many things freelance writers can do when they don’t have enough work and while I keep applying for various jobs, I always preferred investing in myself.

Working an hour a day or so on a personal project that has the potential of bringing extra money in might seem like a big commitment, especially if the money isn’t anything impressive at the very beginning, but I believe in planning and considering all the options before actually taking the jump.

I will no doubt write about revenue streams that I’m not involved in personally. I will mention things that are great for writers, but take a lot of time, which is why I’m not tapping into their potential just yet. But they are nonetheless good opportunities and every writer should at least consider them.

It seems like it’s going to be a very productive and a very interesting January, and hopefully a year. Happy New Year everybody!

29 December 2010

Where Freelance Writers Can Find Work?

Because of my grand plan to become a freelance writer full time in 2011, I’ve been thinking about all the possible revenue streams that I could support myself with. And since I’m a nice person like that, I decided to share my conclusions on my blog.


Right now, oDesk represents my biggest source of income. It’s a marketplace for online freelancers, not only for writers. Once you register, you big on projects along with others and the employers choose the person they want to work with. You can charge an hourly rate or a fixed rate and oDesk adds a fee to your quote (which is how they profit from the entire arrangement).

There are other marketplaces similar to oDesk: Guru, eLance, Freelancer.com. But I’ve registered to all of them, and I found that oDesk works best for me. If you’re looking for a good site, you should check out all the possibilities before settling for those that work best for you.

It’s worth saying that at the very beginning I was afraid that with my high rate, I wouldn’t be able to find any work – a fair concern since a lot of workers bidding on jobs are from the Philippines and their rates are often below $5 per hour. But I find work and I didn’t have to lower my rate, so it’s good to know that if you know your craft, you can find work no matter your rate.

Job Boards

A good place to find writing gigs is searching on various job boards. Personally, I prefer Job Board over at Problogger.net. But I also subscribe to Anne Wayman’s About Freelance Writing where she regularly posts a huge number of jobs available to freelancers that she found all over the Internet (including Craigslist).
If you, like me, have an account with Helium, it’s always worth checking out their Marketplace. The articles that don’t get purchased are turned into regular Helium articles and will bring passive income to the author.

Don’t look for jobs, create them yourself

And by that I mean creating sources of passive income of course. Things and assets that will earn money even after you stop working on them. The website/blog combination is the first idea that pops in mind, and it’s also a great tool for exposure. It makes it easier for future clients to find you and your work. And it can help with starting any future projects.

EBooks are also very popular when it comes to creating passive income sources, but freelance writers shouldn’t limit themselves to just eBooks, because the online world is full of possibilities and you can always think of something that will have the potential to bring in great revenue.

So here you are. Those are the ideas I got for bringing in various income sources. I will most likely brainstorm and come up with several others. And if you sit down and think about it, you will probably find something that will work best for you. Good luck!

27 December 2010

Make Plans for 2011

I hope you all had a very good Christmas. For me it was a time of procrastination when I did absolutely nothing productive and watched an obscene amount of Christmas movies. Although I did read the Unlimited Freelancer eBook and found it extremely useful for my plans for 2011.

Like every year during Christmas, I also started on my New Year Resolutions. In previous years my New Year’s Resolutions were more like wishful thinking of what I would love to do next year. This time, I decided to be more serious about it and make actual plans.

-          Write 100 000 words in 2011
Every year I participate in the challenge over at FindYourWords. In 2010 I wrote over 85K and I plan on writing more actively next year. My three bigger commitments as far as fiction writing goes mean I will write at least 41K of fiction in 2011. The rest I plan to reach with my freelance assignments.

-          Finish and defend my thesis
This goal has a very strict deadline because I need to finish it by the end of March and most of my time will be devoted to writing it.

-          Set up a website
I actually have plans for two websites in two different niches, but I want to be realistic which means that I want to end the year with a fully functioning website with an incorporated blog, capable of bringing me revenue (either with passive income, or with actual clients)

-          Switch to freelancing full time by the end of the year
I wrote on numerous occasions how I’m not ready to become a full time freelancer. I already thought it through when I wrote the 5 step guide to becoming a freelance writer. And when I graduate in 2011, I will no longer have major expenses and I’ll be able to save up for a safety net and switch to full time freelancing by the end of the year.

Those are four major goals I want to reach in 2011. They are big and require lots of smaller sub-goals and a lot of planning. But this year I’m determined to make them happen.
And what are your goals for 2011?

19 December 2010

Part-Time Writer, Full-Time Dreamer

It feels like a voice beyond a grave. My life was so crazy these past months that I honestly didn’t know what to put my hands into. During that time I struggled with a major Writer’s Block, a general bad mood and school.

Make no mistakes, I’m still struggling with school, I have three months to finish my thesis, and absolutely no time to actually sit down and do what’s required of me. I still need to write one research paper for my University to even consider accepting my thesis (once it’s written).
On top of it all, I’m seriously considering not extending my contract when it ends at the end of March.

So I’m working on the side, to have as much savings as possible. Having a safety net will definitely help while I’ll be reevaluating my future.

I’ve done at least an outline of what I need to consider back when I’ve written 5 Steps to becoming a freelance writer.

Because I need a lot of savings, I’ve put the passive income sites on the backburner and instead decided to try higher paying gigs. Because right now, I don’t really have time to look all over the internet for writing jobs, I reactivated my account at oDesk. I’ve applied for some jobs and I am now steadily working. My social life suffers from this multitasking and I have very little time for friends, but some sacrifices must be made.

To paraphrase a certain character from a certain movie about dreams: I’m not afraid to dream a little bigger. Keep your fingers crossed.

18 June 2010

Last-Minute Writing

Remember when I posted about writing ahead of time? Yeah. It doesn't work out all the time.

Case in question: this very post.

Due to unhealthy amount of studying,my brain had been in overload and I've been struggling with a terrible case of Writer's Block. Not only that, I've also practically disappeared from Twitter, stayed away from my RSS and generally spent time studying and watching summer programming on TV.

But as the deadline to post on this blog approached, I started to stress more and more. Sure, this deadline is self imposed, but still. My brain registered the routine I've developed and the deadline became real. And so, I'm doing some last-minute writing.

I don't know about you, but in my case, that last minute writing is never as good as it could've been. I don't have time to edit properly, rearrange sentences, para-phrase or fix pacing. It all feels rushed and I always worry the reader notices all the flaws as well. I always obsess that the reader feels the idea for the article was rushed and not thought out properly.

And it adds up to the stress.

Sure, sometimes last-minute writing can turn out into additional 5K of words on a novella. And those words might be brilliant.
But I always have to ask my editor afterwards to be especially hard on those last words, pay attention to pacing and word choices.

Not to mention the fact that I often get sidetracked and my writing shows it too...

I suppose the answer to this last-minute writing problem is proper time management. Finding time to write way before the deadline, brainstorming and being more organized. But it doesn't always help. Like in my case right now, sometimes life just throws stuff at you and then you find yourself staying up all night, because of the deadlines.

Then again... Every once in a while probably doesn't hurt much...