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.