Committing To A Writing Career: Accepting No less Than You Deserve

For a few weeks now, I have been consistently applying for writing jobs in various places. Remaining confident that something is bound to come up isn't always easy, but so far, I'm managing to stay strong. While it's true that in a previous post, I said my inbox was "flooded" with possibilities, some have panned out and some have not. One of the opportunities that did work out is on a very limited basis, so back to the job boards I go...

But something I have recently realized, is that I am ready to fully commit to my writing career. My time is now spent focusing on establishing a solid and steady writing  income that I can be proud of. As you may or may not know, I have spent the last nine years as an Independent Retailer (or in other words; selling stuff online), and while I will continue to do this in the foreseeable future, it is going to take a back-seat to my writing. This decision comes after years of struggling financially (more like beating a dead horse) in a fickle and depressed market, but aside from that, it comes from the desire to write and somehow be heard.

With my first real freelance writing job came the first real money I've made from writing, and boy did that feel good. Knowing I had this allotted amount of work and income for a period of time was so refreshing from what I have become accustomed to with the roller coaster that is retail, online or otherwise. While I understand that being a freelancer means constantly looking for jobs and assignments, having even a little stability for a couple of months makes a huge difference to me (and my quality of life). So, going forward, I am doing my best at accepting no less than the pay rate I received with the first big gig. Armed with a glowing recommendation from that editor certainly helps, especially when one of the top qualities she lists is 'good value'. This tells me I deserve at least what I was paid for that assignment, if not more.

So as I continue to apply to numerous freelancing opportunities, I am sticking to my guns about my rates because:
1.) I know I'm a good writer
2.) My time is valuable
3.) My knowledge is valuable
4.) I will work really hard to provide the best 'product' I can
5.) My rates are more than fair for my experience, but a bargain for my talent

There are many content mill sites out there where the level of work required for the meager level of pay is rampant, and I have chosen not to continue with those sites. For example, Textbroker 'grades' me as a 3-star writer, for which the pay is .01/word--IF you can get the work. This is their highest demographic, therefore the work that is available is snatched up in the blink of an eye. Now, I probably was a level 3 writer when I first signed up with them, but I have since improved my abilities a great deal. But even level 5 writers are only paid .05/word, and level 5 writers are reserved for professional/technical writing! So think how grossly underpaid those writers are for giving up their precious knowledge, time and skill. It was a great place to start and 'get my feet wet', but I have gratefully moved on.

Believe me, it's hard to turn down low paying writing gigs when bills are due and income is scarce. But the cycle has to stop somewhere, and at least for me, it stops at giving my work away for 'free'. I have spent my lifetime giving my work, time, expertise, knowledge and skills away for free, and it has gotten me nowhere. From this point on, I will accept no less than my last paid writing job, and will continue to strive for higher pay and better work. How about you? Happy writing!

Follow-Up To Recently Acquired Writing Gigs

Last week, I was flying high on cloud nine with all of the recent potential opportunities that have recently flooded my inbox. While I'm probably making this sound like more that it really is, it's huge news for me. So as promised, I wanted to fill you in on the completion of my first two assignments with CopyPress; I received my first assignments and quickly went to work on them to finish way before the deadline. There was quite a learning curve, as the assignments required very specific keyword formats, even more so than I'm used to providing. However, the pay is much higher than the majority of sites out there looking for product descriptions within the 150-300 word parameter, so I was willing to take the extra time needed to execute the project properly.

During this, the editorial staff at CopyPress could not have been nicer, or more helpful. These people really treat you like an individual person, and not a number. I couldn't believe the feedback I was getting for these two little assignments, and I eagerly look forward to more work from them. The workload is something that is rather vague, although writers are expected to deliver a minimum of 3000 words a week--when work is available. So far, there are no clues as to how often work will be available, or what the frequency of the assignments like the ones I just completed (which were from one of the biggest online presences) will be. So as before, I will keep you posted.

Something else keeps nagging me a little about CopyPress; the fact that there is so little information about them anywhere online. I don't yet know if this is one of the world's best kept secrets, or if they just don't advertise via the internet--which could very well be the case--because of the high profile clients they get. I dunno. Anyway, more on that after payment has been received and/or I'm given more work.

Next! The most amazing news of all is that your truly is going to be teaching classes in the Fall on how to sell online via Etsy and other marketplace platforms. The process was so easy, it's still hard to believe it's really going to happen. I'm including this news here on my writing blog, because in addition to the campus classes I'll be teaching, the additional possibility of online classes is a very real one. Which would of course mean that the entire lesson plans would be written. This has the potential to bring in a steady stream of income, not to mention that I can work form home--or wherever I wish. How cool is that?? I will share the news as it develops.

This post has turned out to be more show & tell than an informative one, but then again, if we can't talk about our successes, how do we continue to make them flourish and expand? Not every post can be for the benefit of others, sometimes it has to be for our own selfish reasons, right? I mean, whose blog is it anyway??

What's Coming Up This Week...

This week should be an exciting one on the freelance writing front. Today, I'm supposed to receive my first three assignments from CopyPress. Being that I have just been accepted here, and am still in the process of their rather extensive enrollment process, I'm still on the fence as to whether this company is legit, and if it will be a constructive use of my time working with them as well as a helpful addition to my finances. They claim to have a lot of work available, but their forums are suspiciously quiet, with most threads having no new posts in them for at least six months. I'm really hoping I didn't just give a bunch of my personal information to a defunct 'business'. Sigh...we shall see....NEWS FLASH: upon writing this, the first assignments have hit my inbox! Details on this will be forthcoming soon.

Next, the interview for my class proposal at my local Community College is coming up on Wednesday, and I'm really looking forward to it. Putting the final touches on my class outline while trying to figure out what to wear (to the interview) is my biggest challenge. A whole new world of opportunity could very well open up for me with this endeavor, and it has the potential to be a long-term situation, which will help my financial situation considerably. Stay tuned!

When It Rains, It Pours...Gigs Galore!

When you apply to over 20 places looking for freelance work, the law of averages says that something is bound to turn up. And true to the "feast or famine" reality which comes with freelance work, the harvest has finally come! Last week, I literally sent 20 applications out to various freelancing gigs, among other opportunities, and my inbox is beginning to show and influx of exciting possibilities. Three of which I will share here...

First, there was an acceptance from CopyPress, a content mill site which seems to have more work available than TextBroker. TextBroker, for me, has fallen by the wayside because there simply is not enough work in my designated pool, it seems to have all migrated to the level 4 area, which I am not. I considered opening a new account, now that I have more writing experience and my writing wheels have been greased properly to perhaps start at a four star rating, but because I have been paid a MUCH higher rate for my work, it's hard to go back down--even in my semi-desperate financial state. That being said, CopyPress doesn't pay much more than TextBroker, but the work is consistent, and easier. At least, this is what I have gathered from the little bit of research I did before applying to the site. We shall see...and I will keep you posted on my new experiences there.

Next, I received a query request from a real magazine! If accepted, it will be the first time my writing has made it to print, aside from my college newspaper. This would mean REAL pay--triple what I received on my first real freelance gig--which was 10 times what I was getting through TextBroker. Amazing, huh? This one is a little scary, but with the help of my trusty Writer's Market, I'm going to respond with not one query, but two. GULP.

Last, and most importantly, I submitted a class proposal to my local Community College which has been accepted. The process was very simple, and is moving forward like the easiest, most natural thing in the world. Which is exactly how most every amazing thing that has happened in my life has come to fruition. My interview/sign up is coming up soon, so I will keep you informed of the results. This could mean a regular position, and possible added opportunities in directions I have never thought of before, so I am super excited.

So the lesson within this post is to:

1.) NEVER GIVE UP.
2.) Apply to opportunities that are a bit outside your box, out of your expertise, or over your experience level--because you just never know, and stretching yourself only increases your knowledge and life experience, regardless of the outcome. (and you might make a few bucks in the meantime, so it can't be all bad)
3.) Apply to as many opportunities as you can, because you might be surprised as the floodgates open up, and you can perhaps pick and choose the best of the bunch. Good luck!