13 December 2009

Creativity, productivity and December in general

Half way through December and I don't feel like slowing down at all. It might be the fact that Christmas are closer and closer and I will finally have some time off before I have to go back to work, or maybe simply seeing the results of my work makes me all warm and fuzzy inside...

Chris, over at Chrisblogging, posted an interesting question, whether or not Freelance writers need a business plan. That post made me think, because it's an interesting dillemma.

By all means, a writer needs a business plan like a fence needs a hole; which is: not much. But once said writer decides to go freelance, decides to earn money with his or her writing, a business plan should be among the first things they write.

See, in my opinion, once you decide to make money with your writing, you need to start thinking about your writing as a business. And treat it as such. Numerous pro bloggers and freelance writers agree on this one. If you don't treat your writing as a business, it won't bring you much money.

I wrote a business plan for myself, when I decided to start freelancing. I took into the account the fact that I have a rather limited writing time, at the moment, that I work fulltime and I don't want to quit my job just yet, and I had to remember that I study on the weekends, so I can use that time to move my writing forward.

To be honest, I completely forgot about my little business plan untill that question, Chris posted. It also promtem me to join in on the fun and I wrote a small article on how writers can create a business plan. I hope those of you who haven't yet attempted a business plan will find it useful. It's definitely good to set up long-term and short-term goals and set up some sort of a road to success.

To move to other topics I wanted to cover.

While I already told you how nice it was to see that despite my complete lack of activity anywhere I earned money at Helium anyway. The truth is both Helium and AssociatedContent earned me money, but only Helium saw such a nice increase in the revenue. But in no way, I want to just sit around and hope for the best during December.

I already wrote four new articles and I'm in no way done for the month.

Practical guide to visiting Madrid, Spain
Creating writer's business plan
How to choose a blog name
How important is studying abroad for your career?

I also have several ideas for other articles, only hoping I'll have enough time to write them all.

I'm also thinking about reevaluating the business plan I wrote, adapt it to my current situation and the goals that changed a bit since the first time I decided to make money with my writing.

If it so happens that I don't post again before Christmas, I want to wish you all Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and good luck in the New Year.

7 December 2009

Residual income vs upfront payment

I did mention in my previous post the big dicussion about content mills that's been making its rounds around the freelance community. I've also expressed my opinion in various places, which is that I have nothing against content mills, I quite enjoy them in fact. I can understand writers who are strongly against, quoting low, "insufficient" pay, hourly rates or pay-per-word. It all valid arguments.

Me? I enjoy the fact that Helium paid me in November, even though I hadn't written a word. I like to know I can write on any subject that strikes my fancy for AssociatedContent and still have those article bring me a penny or two. And I fully intend to post articles I'll be writing formy ebook online, before gathering them all in one nicely done pdf file.

Passive income is definitely something I will be pursuing even after I move to bigger projects. Simply because I know that while I'm not getting paid immediately after writing the article, those articles will be earning money for me over and over again, even years into the future.

Obviously, another revenue stream I considered is upfront payment. The lack of it available for non-US citizens such as myself made me ignore AssociatedContent for a long time. I did get a taste of being paid for my articles when I soldmy article at Helium Marketplace and when I was writing Press Releases for one of the online SEOs companies. It was an interesting experience. I certainly learned about bidding for jobs, applying and selecting samples.

The rejection is still something I'm not entirely sure how to deal with, but it is a part of a freelance life. And since upfront payments are something I want to explore further and soon, it's something I need to familiarize myself with. Though, hopefully, I won't have to (yes, I'm staying possitive).

Nonetheless, I decided to look for something long term (as I prefer to stick to one place... It's in my nature, you might say) and I applied to Lovetoknow.com.
Now, most of the writers out there would probably call that site a "content mill" and they would probably be right. The site pays $20 per article of min. 650 words. It's not the highest price for an article, though it is one of the highest upfront payments on content mills I've seen. They also require a lot of commitment, but I applied for "Study Abroad" section and "Travel"; categories I have a lot of experience in and I love them dearly. I'll keep you updated, of course (hopefully they both will like my application and hire non-US writers).

3 December 2009

Recovering from November - update

As expected, I was completely quiet in November. And while I did great at the very beginning of the month, getting to an impressive 15k in the first week, unfortunately I succubed to flu and spent the rest of the month trying to recover. Because unlike one of my best friends, I am completely incapable of writing while on meds.

In case you're still wondering: no, I didn't manage to writng 50 000 words in one month.

There's still next year, right?

In other news, I was pleasantly surprised to see that while I haven't written any new articles or stories, I still got some passive income coming my way. The biggest shock was the fact that my earnings at Helium tripled and I earned in November three times the amount I got in October.

In a way, I think it's a direct result of my activity on social media, especially Twitter. Now, intelectually and from some minor past experience, I knew that Twitter and other social media help to market your writing, Helium provided me with actual, hard evidence (that is much more pleasant than the google analytics I had so far).

I wrote in the past about how to get more readers and promote yourself on the Internet:
Why Having a Blog Can Improve Your Earnings
Promoting your writing on the Internet

But I'm thinking about writing some more detailed pieces on that, because while not every writer who has an online presence has to think about marketing their work, it's certainly something worth knowing.

And the last thing I want to mention in this update is this whole "rates" discussion that has been going on recently on most of the blogs and websites for writers that I follow. The general consensus is that the rates are low and "content mills" are paying poorly, which affects the quality and the ability of writers to negotiate better rates.
Now, I don't want to add to this already heated discussion is a simple link to a guest post over at About Freelance Writing. You should also read the articles linked within that particular post. As the writer nicely points out. The only thing that stands between you and success is you. If you're earning poorly, you're the only person you can blame.

For example. I don't earn as much money with my writing as I could be. But I know that I'm the only one to blame here. I have a full time job, I study to get a degree, I RolePlay, I write fanfics instead of original stories I could publish and earn from them, I spend hours simply watching TV. And while I welcome all the income, I don't actively pursue the freelancing. If I did, I would no doubt pay more attention, I would limit the procrastination and my earnings would be much, much better.

Because no matter what are my rates, the only thing thast stands between me and success is ME.

30 October 2009

Things before NaNo: Articles and Helium Marketplace

Before I move to the actual point I have some articles to share.

New articles:

- Is donating blood good for you? which is an article I wrote for Helium Marketplace but it didn't get purchased.

- Everything You Need to Know About Helium Marketplace published at AssociatedContent.

Now, this second article needs some disclaimer. I've written three articles for Helium Marketplace. First one, about Tattoo Removal techniques was purchased. The other two weren't. One was about effects catnip has on cats and the other (linked in this post) about donating blood.

Like I've written in the article about Helium Marketplace, I still want to write articles there, but I don't think it's a perfect place nor that it's for everybody.

Next, because it's the end of the month,l I wanted to do a little of statistics.

Top earning articles at Helium:

- Experience with ReviewStream.com
- How young is too young to wear makeup?
- Which is better for writers: Finding a print or online publisher?

It's fun to see the top articles being from different categories and still performing well.

Unfortunately, I won't get paid from Helium this month. I find their minimum ($25) a bit too much to achieve in one month given my amount of involvement (which isn't much, and could be more). I won't probably be able to do much in November, with NaNo on my mind. But hopefully December will prove to be a lot more profitable than October.

Top earning articles at AssociatedContent:

- Get Paid to Write Reviews with ReviewStreamCom
- 6 New Years Resolutions for Freelancers
- How My Blog Earned Google Page Rank in Just Two Months

Now, I made a decision to be more topic specific at AC and so far I stuck to the freelancing, but it's very possible that I'll branch out a little. Either in December or next year. I also expect that the New Year Resolutions for Freelancers will have it's peek in December/January. For obvious reasons. I'll also get paid from AC, but it's not that difficult to achieve as the minimum payout is only $1,50

Now, you can see that the most popular article on both sites is the one about ReviewStream. And it's understandable, because it's an interesting concept and I still write for that site. Though, I have to admit, the minimum you have to reach is a bit overwhelming and not as easy to achive as on those others sites.

Alright. That's all for statistics. I just want to warn you that I won't be posting much during NaNo as I want to save up all my wordcount for fiction.

Please wish me luck :)

24 October 2009

Worth Your Attention - End of the Week Extravaganza

Every day I'm ready many, many articles about writing, editing and publishing. Sometimes I spend more time simply reading than I do writing. And while that particular attitude is probably not healthy if one wants to earn a lot of money with writing, learning certainly helps you improve.

Bellow is a round-up of links to articles I found especially interesting and/or helpful. While most of them (but not all!) could've been found on my Twitter as I was reading them, not everybody is following me. Here's the list. I hope you'll find it interesting.

Written by others:

On Efficiency, Or How To Get Everything Done As A Multi-Tasking Writer @ The Creavite Penn
Writer’s Guide To Twitter @ Inkygirl.com
Prizes for Writers - list of contests for writers @ Bizzia.com
Inside the Agent/Client Revision Process @ Kidlit.com
Why e-books are hot @ Smashwords
4 Questions Asked and Answered about Writing for Magazines @ AboutFreelanceWriting
10 WordpressThemes for Writers @ EditorUnleashed
Why keepig business hours is the right thing to do Part 1 and Part 2 @ Bizzia.com
Tips on why your short story didn't win (longer fiction writers should read, too) @ The Willesden Herald
The Path To Becoming A Power Writer | Train yourself to write everyday @ FictionMatters
What it is like to be a stay-at-home writer @ Helium.com

Written this week by me:

Preparing for NaNoWriMo: 5 things to do before November @ AssociatedContent
Is donating blood good for you? @ Helium.com

19 October 2009

Planning for the future and Links

With NanoWriMo coming up in just two weeks I should probably be at least outlining those three stories that I want to do during the November extravaganza. But instead, I'm slowly getting my writing up to speed. Meaning I'm trying to train myself to write those 1670 words a day and not get a writer's burn-out.

Which probably explains why the first article I published after the long break is Preparing for NaNoWriMo: 5 Things to Do Before November.
I've written about NaNo before, but it's the first time I actually offered some tips. I hope you will find them useful.

On a related news, Joanna Penn at CreativePenn posted a great article: On Efficiency, Or How To Get Everything Done As A Multi-Tasking Writer which I found extremely useful. Especially since I'm doing a lot of multitasking nowadays.

Apart from being busy with training myself before NaNo, I've done a lot of thinking about how I want my freelance career to look like. And what I decided on was to create an e-book. A guide for aspiring freelance writers who are not necessary based in the US. Non-US writers face different problems, have to go around things in a slightly different ways. Some venues are more friendly for Non-US writers and others are completely closed for them.
That said, I don't want to alienate US writers completely and I feel they would find that ebook useful as well.

It won't be ready this year, of that I am sure of. However, I want to have a first draft ready before June 2010. I know! I know! It's not a very immediate deadline, but there is a lot of research I need to do. And I need to keep in mind that I already have writing projects on my plate: NaNo and then a story due to May 2010. Not to mention the article writing for Helium and AssociatedContent. And I want to write up some reviews to reach payout at ReviewStream.

See? A lot of work.

In the meantime:
My Helium Portfolio
My AssociatedContent portfolio

12 October 2009

Projects worth considering

Let's start with the obvious one, at least for those of you who write stories and novels or really want to.

It's October, and therefore it's time to sign up to NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo is an annual online event. Every year since 1999, November become the month when all over the world, people are writing their novels.

I haven't participated in the event since 2007 and I decided that since 2009 is a year of great changes in my life, with the job, with finishing a bigger story for the first time and with my first actual income from my writing; it might as well be the first year when I manage to write 50 000 words in a month. I did a little math, it means writing 1670 words a day. Do you think you can pull this off? I suggest you at least check out the main NaNo website, and the forums.

I already signed up and if you want to add me to your buddy list, just leave me a comment with your ID at NaNo and I'll add you.


Another project I decided to take on is the new contest over at Writer's Digest. I have never entered in a competition before but I think I could actually pull this off. Even in a recession, $15 entry fee doesn't seem like much. And hell, from where I'm standing it's going to be not only a good writing experience, but also a great adventure.

So if you don't plan on entering, keep your fingers crossed for me.
And if you do enter. Good luck!


I think taht's all when it comes to an update on me and my writing projects. Other than the fact that ReviewStream finally set up a Control Panel for its writers and I can finally track my submissions. If you write for them, it's definitely worth checking out.

10 June 2009

Of Updates and Noteworthy

I decided to change one or two things about this blog.

First of all, I changed the layout, this one is much more clear and easier to use. And let's face it. Usability is something very important on the Internet.

Another thing you might notice is the Twitter feed in the sidebar. I've been using Twitter for a long time now, though admittedly I use it more ever since I got a Twitter desktop client (I'm not a big fan of staying logged on the site, it distracts me like nothing else).

Why the Twitter feed?

Because apart from random, RL tweets, I'm posting links to my articles almost immediately after they're published. I've written about it before, but it is worth repeating. Twitter is great when it comes to promoting your work.

Feel free to follow me on Twitter, but don't worry if you don't. I will keep posting links to my articles in my blog posts.

Another thing is a recommendation.

279 Days to Overnight Success
, a free manifesto by Chris Guillebeau. It's a great ebook telling a story of how Chris became a full-time writer in less than a year. More importantly: how he is now capable of supporting himself purely on his writing. It's good to see that while Chris' website isn't huge, he still manages to earn enough money to pay the bills AND travel the world.

And while at first the idea of creating a successful business in under a year was a bit surreal, I quickly remembered that all you need is the right approach and everything is possible. After all, I did manage to get a Google Page Rank for this blog in just two months...

Visit my Helium profile
Visit my AssociatedContent profile

4 June 2009

Jane Update for June

I've recently read three very interesting articles. "Success At Your Own Risk: The Monkey Bar Theory", "How to Achieve Ridiculous Goals" and "11 Pointless Blog Posts that Waste my Time". I have to admit they've made quite an impact on me. Because for the entire May, I've been procrastinating like there was no tomorrow...
Not to mention, they made me feel better about not posting regularly here. Made me realize I'm not spamming this blog. Which at the same time is a good and a bad thing.

Because I'm not posting regularly, I tend to forget I have this blog. Which usually leads to forgetting about the writing gig (especially when it's really busy at my day job). But because I'm not spamming this blog with pointless entries, I keep this serious. Not an excuse for a blog.

What the articles I linked to made me think about is setting up goals. Realistic goals to be completely within a month. And since I need a motivation, and nothing's a better motivation than avoiding public humiliation, I'll be posting those goals here and then reporting my progress at the end of the month.

Freelance Writing:
- Write 15 pieces (articles, reviews) capable of earning money.
- Make one post per week at Inspired.
- Go back to using Qassia at least once a week.

- Pass all exams in June.

- Finish editing Monster Story
- Write 1K fanfic for fic exchange
- Reach 6K total wordcount
- Limit RP time so it doesn't take over my life.
- Going to gym at least two times a week.

Those goals seem realistic and enough of a challenge for the first time. I'll let you know how's it going.

17 May 2009

Rediscovering the Internet

So it's been some time since I actually wrote something for the Internet and got paid for it. Or, to be honest, since I wrote something. Period. Editing of the big fiction piece is taking up all my time and there are exams that I need to pass.

Though I really want to start writing short articles again. I have some started, and I even wrote a review, but I think it's going to be at least two more weeks before I can say I'm back in business.

My very own journey of coming back to writing is pretty inspiring, and I'll probably be commiting few articles analyzing that. After all, your own experience is usually the best source for your articles.

In other news:

I had to give up my writing gig at Scribophile. This doesn't mean the site doesn't rock and you shouldn't check it out. To the contrary. People there are amazing and I wouldn't exchange them for any other social site. So if you're a writer, Scribophile should be one of your stops.

People connected to the site are also publishing their very own online magazine full of really great stories. Ruthless Peoples Magazine is made by people who are very passionate about their writing. AND. They are accepting submissions, so it's worth checking out. I encurage you to check their submission guidelines and submit something. Not only you'll be able to add it to your CV, but they will pay you for your story.

Writing challenge to help with your muse

This week (From Monday to Thursday), I'll be a guest host at Comment Fic. I'll be throwing themes at people, and other people will be leaving prompts in hopes of getting a flash fic in return. It's a very popular community, and even though it's mostly fandom related, I'm sure it still can help you with finding some inspiration.

If you write anything for the comment fic while I"m guest hosting, please let me know, I'd love to read it.

2 May 2009

Dead, but not Forgotten

Yes, I am, in fact, still alive. Yesterday, after almost two months of writing, I finished the 20K story. It ended up being over 25 000 words (54 pages in word) and right now it's more of a first draft.

I wasn't online, and I disappeared from all my writing communities, because I wanted to prove myself that I can do it. That I can write a longer fiction piece and make it not suck. Too much.

Now that the story waits for the first edits, I can slowly reintroduce myself into the fold. I should probably check my Helium and AssociatedContent profiles. AS well as start writing short articles to keep my non-fiction skills high.
But first, I"m going to sleep for some time and hide my laptop somewhere I won't see it.

Finishing your first novella is exhausting.
But, damn, it's such a high :)

I'll keep you updated :)

15 February 2009

Big Come Back!

I know, I know. I've been silent for what seems like ages. All is to be blamed on school. I had to face the finals which made me unable to write as much as I would want to.
I of course did write a piece for Scribophile every week and in between studying I wrote following articles there:

Learning (about) your characters
What type of McWriter are you?
Antiheroes: when good vs evil isn't enough
Challenges, contests and Writing Olympics: why do we participate?

It's all targeted at fiction writers, but mayne those of you who concentrate on other types of writing will find at least some of those interesting and helpful.

My piece about getting a page rank in two months got published at AssociatedContent, so head there if you're interested in how I did it.

In other words, I decided to return to fiction for a while. Mostly because I missed writing plot. Don't get me wrong, writing non-fiction articles and press releases and SEO posts is fun, but nothing is as satisfying as writing a good novel and having people comment with feedback.
I signed up to a chalenge that requires me to write 80K of fiction this year, including 20K long story by May.

Considering that last year I barely wrote 10K of fiction, I was concerned about my mental health, but even with finals, I managed to get over 8K of words in the last two months (almost 6K is one long story). So I'm thinking I'll be able to pull this off.
Keep your fingers crossed. I might manage to get some fiction published this year. And that would be awesome.

On the other hand, my non-fiction writing will definitely suffer, as apart from Scribophile articles I won't be writingany non-fiction until I finish the big project.

Good luck with your writing!

17 January 2009

ReviewStream experiment update and other news

I got an e-mail from ReviewStream regarding my voting experiment.


we strongly suggest you stop the voting system manipulating.


Meaning they probably have some sort of software registering IP addresses of people who vote on reviews. Which at the same time means that you can't vote for your reviews (unless you have a modem connection and everytime you connect to the Internet you get a brand new IP). And as a result of that, getting 50 votes on one review is pretty much impossible.

I have to admit, it's a bit disappointing. I was hoping for a more possitive outcome of my experiment. Oh well. LikeI said, when I annouced it, I lostnothing, but I learned something. And knowledge is important, especially nowadays.

In other news, the last three days I had a cold. But since I had to go to work everyday, I couldn't just sleep in and try to recover. My writing did suffer from that. As in I didn't do much of it. Unfortunately. Today and tomorrow I will be catching up on everything as my deadlines are here and look scary. Of to do a lot of writing.

8 January 2009


I started Inspired to test a theory (I start things just to test a theory all the time. My recent experiment with ReviewStream a fine example. It's going alright by the way).

I wanted to find out if I can actually get money for blogging. But the key was whether or not the money would still be coming if I didn't advertise the blog or do anything to get the page rank or anything (meaning not doing all the things I've done for WritingMakesRich). Mostly because I have a short attenton span and I didn't wanted to distract myself from working on WritingMakesRich.

So basically the only effort I put into Inspired is putting the content in. And I'm not even doing it religiously. When I get an idea or when I get inspired by something, I make a post on the blog. So basically not much (if you think about it in the contemporary problogging way).

I started the blog in December. It has eight posts (including two entries I made in January). At the beginning of January I got a notification that my blog ranked #34 and I got paid.
Not much, mind you. Cents. But for 6 (then) posts? I think it's a promising start.

So check out Inspired. And if you decide to try the platform yourself do link me to it, so I can visit :)

Now if you excuse me. I have articles and press releases to write... *headdesk*

5 January 2009

Good news, Better news and more news

Before anything, I have two published pieces I want to share. First one is my regular piece for Scribophile about putting new spins on old tales, it's mostly for fiction writers as that's who the Scribophile members are in majority. Second one is finally published article for AssociatedContent and it's 6 New Year's Resolutions for Freelancers. That's basically 6 steps to further your career. And at the same time my own plan of what to do this year.
I have to admit I'm quite proud of both of them, though both took a lot of editing.

Another thing for those not following me on Twitter. I found out today that WritingMakesRich has it's own pagerank. Those who speak Google know it's a very good news. Especially since it's 3/10. For a little blog of only two months it's not bad. Not bad at all :) I'm planning on writing an article on how I achieved that sometime during the weekend or the first free moment I have.

Which brings us to Better news.

I landed another writing assignment. This time to write Press Releases for a SEO company. It's not a big one, but because of the deadline being this Friday I won't be able to write much for my passive income sites. Which means it will have to wait for Sunday (after my weekend classes). With this additional work and busy time at the office (now I understand why they say being part-time freelancer is challenging) I will probably have to write my weekly material for Scribophile tommorow at least...

It's exhausting but I think I like being busy with work. At least I'm working towards my projected income for this year.

My AssociatedContent profile.