Ways to Keep Your Writing Alive

What ways can you keep active, even when you don’t have a specific writing project on the go? As I dodge responsibility left and right, I ponder how to keep viable as a writer. Solution? Write a new blog post!

Writing a blog post is just one tactic though. Even if you don’t have a bigger project on the go (or are stumped with what direction to take the one you are working on at present) what else can you do?

Ways to Keep Writing

Choosing a new place to write is a great idea, but leave trees out of it! Those inane scratches are permanent scars a tree has to carry forevermore. Make your words count!
  • review a book
  • comment on a book review
  • update your social media pages (Think Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. Add updates, refresh contact info and pictures, rewrite bio, etc)
  • start a new social media account (Haven’t tried Google+? Give it a gander. New to Pinterest? Pin on! Unsure about Snapchat? Get snapping.)
  • brainstorm for ideas for blog posts
  • edit an existing piece of writing (yours or someone else’s)
  • take a writing class
  • send out queries for new article ideas
  • write in a journal
  • write in a different place than you normally do
  • tackle a writing prompt (try writing microfiction, or write something from a photo or written prompt)

The important thing is not always what you write, but that you keep practicing your art. With time, comes comfort and ease in the process. Plus, the more you write, the better your writing will become! So get writing. I just did.

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Tips to Kickstart Writing

Back to school. Back to work.

Sun is setting on another glorious summer

Contrary to popular belief, I don’t take the summer off. I might not have the same writing output during the summer months, but I’m still around. Anytime I slip away, I schedule posts to publish while I am gone, but places that require real-time presence slip a bit.

My established clients are okay with that, but ultimately will only stay my clients if I come home at some point. Their social media pages need to stay active.  If their pages aren’t active, then their presence diminishes. Which means a potential downturn in sales. Less money on hand means cutting costs, first up of which would be me. So yes, I still maintain their presence, even if the effort isn’t quite as thorough.

Now the kids are back in school though, leaving me with more time on my hands. Sure, that means that extracurriculars will be starting up, but that doesn’t fill the daytime hours. And it certainly doesn’t refill coffers spent on lazy days, road trips, and adventure. It’s time I looked at adding more writing to my days. How can I do that? More importantly, how can I do that and get paid?

Tips to Kickstart Writing

Time to get back into the swing of things and focus on writing again!
  • submit queries to journals, magazines, and newspapers
  • write poetry, short stories, creative nonfiction pieces to submit to contests
  • join a networking group to meet new people/potential clients
  • finish editing my book (or yours!) to get it ready for publication
  • take another writing class to finish my Creative Writing certificate program (check with your local library, community college, or city to see what writing courses might be out there for you)
  • contact old potential clients to see how their social media platforms are holding up
  • ask other writers if they have any connections they may be willing to share
  • advertise services;
    • via blog, Facebook page, on Twitter, LinkedIn, etc
    • create a website outlining services
    • once other social media links are updated and in place, share links to them on other platforms

Note that YOU can do any of these things as well. This is about motivating me today, but I hope to motivate any other writers out there who might need the kick in the pants that I do. Of course if you are looking for someone to write blog posts, magazine articles, schedule Facebook updates, tweet or any number of other tasks, contact me today! I’m sure we can figure something out. Until then…

Happy writing!

A Guest Post: The Hitch…

Done!

I just finished a difficult article that challenged my writing skills, and sense of diplomacy. Writing skills might be self-explanatory, but diplomacy, you ask? Yup. Let me explain.

A Guest Post

Everyone says it’s good to accept guest post roles on other blogs, and to feature them on your own. And I agree. Unfortunately, the process is not always as smooth as it could be. That was the case for me with this particular article.

Now I should say that I did do my research beforehand. After receiving the offer, I checked out the third party’s website, read google reviews on the company, checked them out on Houzz and the BBB. They seemed like a decent company, offering a quality service. So I advised my client that it would be a fine idea to go ahead with the project. We exchanged emails and agreed upon content for each other’s blogs. No problem.

The Hitch

The hitch came when the person I originally dealt with disappeared and was replaced by someone new. Things seemed to go downhill from there. I can roll with the punches though, so I kept on. In for a penny, in for a pound, right?

I researched and wrote an article for the other party. I do that all the time, so fairly straight forward process. Check! Step one done, I sent it to them. Within the week, it was published on their blog. Yippee! I followed this up with my due diligence and flogged links to the article on my client’s social media sites. Check, check! Can’t say I don’t know how it is supposed to work.

The Switch

Then I waited to hear about the reciprocal blog. And waited. My new contact got in touch with me. They assured me the article was coming. They had just been bogged down, but were on it. Of course …. In the interim, I continued to write articles for my client, worried I may have just wasted their time. Sure enough though, an article came through.

My relief was quickly snuffed when I read the article though. Keep in mind that the article was to be featured on my client’s blog. And I pride myself on the quality of the content published there. All articles are read and re-read by myself before publishing, any mistakes made get addressed quickly and professionally, and I do my best to ensure that my client is happy with what I write. This article was not up to those standards. Not even the pictures they sent me really worked with what I wanted to put forth.

fudge…

The Solution

What would you do in that situation? I couldn’t publish it as it was. I thought about cutting my losses and chalking it up to lesson learned. But the third party had made the effort to get me something. And they had stuck to their side of the bargain by publishing our article. Plus, they followed up with the first email with another asking when it would be published. So I made the decision to see how best I could salvage the situation (after agonizing over it for a few days).

After doing a little tuck tail, apologizing to my client for the less than ideal outcome, and almost completely revamping the article, I published it today. I included snippets of what was originally sent to me, but filled in many of the holes with quotes from our resident expert, plus info from other experts in the field. Really though, I could have skipped the middle man and written the entire article by myself, foregoing the angst, multiple emails back and forth, and a heap of edits. I still feel like it was a good exercise, but unfortunately, got bogged down with being offered an inferior product in the exchange.

What did I get out of the deal? Well, I lost wages, as I didn’t think it fair to charge my client for all the excess time spent dealing with the issue. But in the grand scheme of things, I was given the compliment that my writing is good. Better than good, as my client loves my work and appreciates the voice I bring to their blog. And the third party also commented along the way that they like our blog’s content and style as well, hence why they sought us out in the first place.

So perhaps what I have learned is that I need to value my personal writing style and voice a little more. I put time and effort into my writing and it shows. You cannot fake quality. And I’ve got it. If you want it, you’ll have to earn and deserve my skills. Because it’s not worth my time to just throw it away in the future. While I won’t rule out doing another guest post or accepting one on mine or a client’s blog, I certainly won’t accept just anything.  Networking is valuable, but not if it doesn’t offer a return for the efforts. And I am better than just throwing out my writing to just anyone for free.

As a writing teacher once told me—a writer can die from ‘exposure’. No need to make that mistake again.

Head in the Clouds

My head is swimming. It doesn’t even have much to do with work today. After being away for a week, I put my head down and got right down to it. I got posts scheduled for clients, announcements finalized and published, and a nomination application draft sent to another client for feedback. It’s been a busy day!

The problem is my head is still in the clouds. Darn jet lag has my brain feeling mushy. Here’s hoping it’ll come in for a landing shortly!

clouds
Head in the Clouds

Pep Talk

Time has a way of ebbing and flowing. Every time I think I am one step closer to ‘making it’, a stumbling block humbles me all over again. Thus it goes in the writing world. I shouldn’t be surprised.

I cannot complain though. Life has been busy with more than just work and having those extra hours to devote to family plans and emergencies is one of the reasons why I have stayed with the job of Freelance Writer. Perhaps my most recent ebb has more to do with the universe knowing I need time to process life?

It really isn’t as dire as I let myself believe at times though. While one client scales back, another is ready to ramp things up in the new year. And while a client is parting ways with the founders of her company, they both look forward to new projects and have asked for my help and insight along the way. That kind of sounds like more work overall, if I think about it that way.

In the interim, I am given the temporary gift of time. As a writer, that leaves me vulnerable to too many time-sucking distractions; ie. Facebook, Twitter, the endless stream of memes on cats and the US election. Ack! It’s a hazard of the job though, when I need to wade through it to fulfil my mandate of content curation for clients. And I still have some who like all my treehugger posts!

I just have to remember my internal pep talk on the days that I falter. You know the drill. I should be writing. I should be editing my novel. I shouldn’t be looking for ways to eliminate grass-stains from my kids jeans, but Oh! I could share the hack to reduce my plastic dependence on a client’s page! Head down. Move On!

It’s hard not to get sucked in, but what I really think I need to do is stop worrying so much. If I need more clients, I need to contact people who might send me in the right direction of some. If I want to write my own independent pieces, perhaps I need to spend a morning brainstorming ideas of what to write about and where to solicit those ideas to. Or perhaps I should recalculate my daily schedule and slate in some mandatory editing, instead of hoping that the hours and whims will strike me at more regular intervals.

I know all of these things, and yet I allow myself to wallow in doubt and self-pity. Take the bull by the horns Katherine! Set a schedule, pencil in a coffee date alone, and with some key contacts. Go for a walk. The fresh air and vibrant fall colours do wonders to melt away worry (and maybe an extra pound or two that dogs you for sitting in front of your computer all day). And whatever else I might do, I have to remember to give myself these occasional pep talks to keep me going.

Time for some fresh air!

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Inspiration