Monthly Archives: February 2011

Smorgsborg about…um…something

Kind of a late start today, but this post has got everything. Action, adventure, mystery, murder, death, lots and lots of death.

Okay, I’m kidding. It’s just a regular post, BUT I do have a copy of articles you should read, cause they are awesome and well, I like them. So, let’s get started with the week that was.

The Week That Was

As unproductive as the week before. Well, sort of. I managed to muster the fact that rent was coming to finally say, “perhaps I should make some money to pay for that” Once again, this week, CW didn’t take no for an answer and was insistent that I work on things that had nothing to do with making money. This, of course, would have been great, if – you know – I didn’t need to be making money.

But luckily for me, somewhat, the urge for money did start reviving up Thursday and I have to say that I have managed to get CW and Pro Writer to get together and get something done.

Something of Importance

So as this is a blog that is supposed to be about freelancing and writing in general, I of course have to pimp out some stuff of importance. Today, the importance is an awesome blog by my Twitter buddy, Becki Sams. I finally got around to reading the tons of RSS feeds I have coming in and found three awesome posts from Becki, but you should just check out the entire blog she has cause it’s all awesome.

Here it is – The Writer’s Blog

Becki’s a student by day and a writer/blogger by night, so she’s got some insights on trying to juggle the life. Check out the blog! Do it!

And speaking of Twitter, this week was ultra awesome. If you’re a blogger or thinking of being a blogger or you like reading blogs, then you should know that ProBlogger is one of those big name blog sites for the blogging pro. And…Darren Rowse is following me.  That’s right – with no intervention from me, I’ve got someone important following me.

*fan girl scream*

That must mean you guys like me, you really like me!

Oh, and guess that means this blog’s gotta be about stuff now. Alright, fine. But this is a big deal. I mean, I have important folks in Denver and Colorado that are following and I even got a small following in the UK, but ProBlogger is like the world.

Now if only I could get LeVar Burton to follow me or Maroon 5, but hey, I’m happy with this. Serious.

And in Other News

I have remembered why I hate living in multiplex apartments. Apparently, there is an elephant/rhino/hippo hybrid that lives above me. I have no idea what it is that he or she is doing up there, but all I hear are thumps, bumps, and stomps. And usually at the worst times, such as when I decide that 9pm is a perfectly good time to go to bed or even if my alarm goes off at 4:30, 5am, maybe I just want to snuggle in bed for another hour or two.

My one bedroom in Tucson was one story, so I only had to worry about the person next door and the person behind me. It took like a month or two, but we finally got that area rocking in quiet. So quiet that I didn’t even know I had a neighbor behind me for three months. Yeah. I loved that. But…sacrifices were made to move to Denver and…while there are many a time that my mind screams, “OMFG, what have I’ve done!? I should have never moved!!” some semblance of…something tells me to calm the f*** down and life thus goes on.

Tomorrow’s post will be about…you know what, I dunno. Taxes maybe? Actually, know what, I should talk about my website. I mean, as long as you all are coming here and this is a blog about writing, I should be pointing you to my website, which showcases my writing. I think there’s a theme here.

Probably about my website.

Writer Spillage

So because I missed yesterday’s blog, you – my faithful readers (or reader) (or just me) – get treated to a 2 for 1 sale here at Freelancer R!

Today’s second post is what I like to call ‘writer spillage’. Last post I told you I wasted a whole week working on fan fiction. Well, let’s not say wasted, cause really any time that you – as a writer – are writing is time well spent. So, my time was spent writing, though not writing what I needed to.

You know the term writer’s block, which for any writer is like the seventh circle of hell within the seventh circle of hell. It’s like the eighth circle of hell if there were eight circles. Now, for anyone out there who doesn’t write, let me tell you about writer’s block. It is not, as you may think, something that writer’s think up so we can get out of writing.

Please. We’re writers. We can think up more creative excuses than that.

No, writer’s block is when the little creative voice in our head stops talking. Completely. Or just ups and leaves and doesn’t return for a day, a month, or even a year. It basically means that we can’t think of anything to write, much less write our way out of a paper bag.

However, today’s second post is not on writer’s block. No, it’s on writer’s spillage.

What, you ask, is writer’s spillage?

Well, it’s something that I like to coin to explain any time my creative writer won’t shut the hell up. It’s when ideas are flowing so fast, it’s like a virtual tornado of words, ideas, places, characters – basically the Wizard of Oz tornado of creativity. Now, I don’t know about you, but I have issues with writer’s spillage.

Don’t get me wrong; I love when I can sit down and get an idea and can either start it or just write notes on it. It’s great. However, it can also be a distraction. Take this last week for example. Obviously, I’ve been a little stressed –

  • big friend fight
  • experiencing cabin fever
  • probably a little depressed (due to fight and cabin fever)
  • Bills are coming, yet no money to pay them

Just a big list of stress. Last week, my little creative writer woke up and told me to stop. Just stop. I was too strung out, I needed a break. And the best way to get a break was to…of course…write something. Creatively. Read something that wasn’t research or article based, wasn’t job descriptions or qualifications, just…creative bliss.

Now, if my creative writer had said exactly that, I would probably have been a bit more productive. But no. No, my creative writer doesn’t speak in those types of terms.

No.

It just blurts out ideas in any shape or form. Constantly. Never ending. All. Day. Long. All. Night. Long. My creative writer does not care that I have bills to pay or articles to write; it understands that – subconsciously – I need a break. And if I can’t have a break with friends, I will do what I have always done. Lock myself up and write something.

All. Damn. Day.

So most of last week, I was inundated with ‘Good Mornin'” from Singing in the Rain. All because I wanted another song for my alarm clock. But it doesn’t end there. Oh no, no, no. That would be too easy. So I found it and watched the scene from the movie. Over and over and over and over. And when that didn’t satisfy me, I downloaded it – remember, the alarm clock – and then listened to it. Over and over and over and over.

Oh, but creative writer was not done.

Creative Writer has a tendency that, whatever is currently on my mind – usually something I’ve watched or have written – I will then begin to envision it in my thoughts. Creative Writer decided that I needed to write something creativity and the thing that was on my mind was that of my TNG fic (well, the current one). I needed to work on that.

Star Trek: The Next Generation + Singing in the Rain = humorous, but annoying distraction.

Admittedly, it was fairly interesting the first time it was in my head. Actually, it was still amusing after the fifth time, but now the song is stuck in my head. And I can’t seem to write anything BUT this TNG fic I’m working on.

So now I have a creative mind in overload, driving down the creative highway, in a car with no brakes.

Upside – I may actually finish this fic, maybe tidy up and finish the other one that I started, before winding down to the next fic I should have finished (cause you know, the Smartians and ReBooters are going to have my head soon, that is if the KOTOR folks and Ninja Turtles fans don’t chase me down with lightsabers and shurikens first)

Downside – Ideas that won’t stop. Any time I start down the fan fic road, it’s only with one idea. Just one! And before I know it, I’ve got a series going with no end in sight. Plus, CW doesn’t want to stop. My one solitary idea with TNG has now morphed into at least five and sadly, they’re all good ideas. Really good to the point where I do wanna write them…one day. Maybe.

Oh, and of course the major downside is that I can’t seem to get anything else done.

Oh and the major downside – with no brakes on my Createmobile, poor Creative Writer is going to crash into something and die a horrible death. Meaning that, Writer’s Block is looming in the distance and that’s always bad. That’s months or years of not thinking up anything. Years of stories and fics just sitting around, years of readers going, “What the hell? Are you going to finish this?”

And hey, I’m a reader as well as a writer and nothing kills me more than finding a good fic and then finding it’s not finished and hasn’t been touched in five years.

I love you, Creative Writer. I really, really do. You stuck with me even when I gave you the cold shoulder at times. But listen…I really do need to get some work done. Now, you’ve fooled around long enough and it’s time to let Professional Writer take over for a bit. One day, you too will know the awesomeness of getting paid for your brilliance.

But it is not this day.

I can see the same fear in your eyes that would take the heart of me and one day, the age of man will…

Damn it, Creative!

To Write or Not to Write

This past week has been awful.

Well awful in the sense that I haven’t been quite up to snuff. It doesn’t help that I’m having personal issues, but they have apparently affected my semi-professional one.

I’ve already spoken on distractions and procrastinating as a freelancer, especially considering that you work primarily out of your house (unless of course you don’t and you sit at a coffee shop all day); the same four walls, sights, and sounds can really bring you down.

Now here’s my kicker –

With only one week left in the month, I really should be buckling down and trying to make some money. Bills don’t pay themselves, you know, but this last week, I only had one day of actual effort. Well…one day of actual professional effort.

So what was I doing when I should have been writing?

I was writing.

Say what, Gina?

Confused? Yeah, me too.

See, last week was the aftermath of a big misunderstanding between a friend and I and – according to another friend – we’re both too stubborn to admit fault in this. So of course, the nasty little voice in my head started in on me and not only last weekend, but the majority of the week was a complete bust when it came to getting any articles done. Which of course sent me into a panic, as – insert sarcastic laugh – I do need that article pay to you know, make sure I don’t get thrown out of that new apartment I’ve been raving about.

So last week, I was professional unproductive.

However, I seemed to be creatively productive.

How’s that?

Again, you might remember that I happen to indulge myself in fan fiction. Say what you will about it – copyrights, intellectual property, blah blah – for me and many other fan fic writers, this keeps us writing or manages to boost our writings to the point that we become actual writers. Heck, there have been cases of fan fic writers who became writers for the fandom they were writing in. Look at Star Trek.

And speaking of Star Trek and fan fiction, last year while I was living without cable, I discovered not only the joys of YouTube, but that of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Now I had been a fan of the show when it first premiered and, like any show I haven’t seen in a while, I suddenly had the feeling that I wanted to watch it again. Especially when syndication moved the show around and I completely missed a season and a half.

Random point – I seem to do that a lot. That is, get really into a show, and then suddenly it gets a new time slot or it moves to days where I can’t watch it and suddenly, I’m a whole season behind. The same thing happened with Deep Space 9 and the 2003 version of TMNT.

And as I am sometimes compelled to do, the ideas came and were persistent until I said, “fine, damn it! I’ll write it.”

So yes readers – while I managed to not get actual work done, I did manage to work on a fan fic. Which of course caused me to go, “What the f***?”

I am well aware of the current responsibilities that I have and of course am aware of what needs to be done in order to get those things done and yet…even yesterday when I ran hours behind and had a to do list (the same list, of course, from last week), I still ended up working on this TNG fic of mine.

That makes me go, “why?” Knowing what needs to be done, I’m writing fan fic?! Worse, I’m reading fan fic; actually, it’s much worse because I am re-reading fan fic. Does this mean I am completely lazy and don’t really care about the situation I’m going to land in?

Or….

Or?

Or…is it that I am so overwhelmed by my own depressing thoughts, as well as outside influences, that I headed for the first thing that brought an escape? After all, isn’t that what writing has always been about, for me, that is? An escape from the pressures that were going on around me? To be fair, I often let those pressures get the best of me, to the point where the dreams of being a big time author became little more than a side project or a hobby that would probably not go anywhere further than the accolades of the fan community.

So maybe this is my creativity’s revenge? It certainly isn’t unheard of for my mind to be fixated on something to the point of distraction. It took will power not to start writing Harry Potter fan fiction and don’t get me started on my sudden obsession with the song, “Good Mornin'” from Singing in the Rain. Perhaps my little creative writer has gotten tired of taking a backseat to the ‘professional’ writer who just works on articles all day (or tries to).

While helpful to some degree, it did of course offline me, which means I now have to pound out articles without fail for a while. See? See what you’ve done?

Aw, I can’t stay mad at you. Skies fall, buildings quake, and the Earth opens up when you rebel. Otherwise known as writer’s block. Guess what the next blog is about, kiddies. Stay tuned!

So You Want to be a Copywriter

Last week, I had an epiphany. Two things came to mind right around the beginning of the week –

  • This month of February marks the one year anniversary of my freelance adventures

February 2010 was my first big hit as a freelance writer when I started doing articles for an online movie site. And this lasted for a few months until my contact person ended up leaving the site. However, we enjoyed working with each other and hope to find another project to do. This is good.

Next month will mark my one year anniversary as a writer for Bright Hub as well, which is where the majority of my contributions (and money) have been.

I really can’t believe that it’s been a year since I decided to be a freelance writer. It wasn’t all good, as I had to contend with real life and an actual job and the cabin fever of being at home all the time. This year of course will be the big one, as I try to make an actual living as a freelancer.

  • I decided to become a copywriter

So I came to the decision that, while article writing was great, that I needed to expand my horizons. A good writer knows how to write in a variety of different subjects, especially a freelance writer. That doesn’t mean you, a new freelancer, has to learn everything under the sun. Just means you happen to have knowledge on different subjects. And that’s how I came to the next level of the professional writing –

Copywriting.

What is copywriting you ask? It’s basically promoting a business, a person, or an idea to someone else. You know those ads you see in a magazine or on TV. That’s probably done by a copywriter. A copywriter is someone who uses words, images, or other persuasions to make you – the reader – buy what they are showing you. Copywriting is a mix of creativity, marketing, and writing.

I think I can do that. Maybe.

See, I just got this idea and am going to run with it. No means am I giving up the article writing, at least not now, but I am going to figure out how to jump into the shallow end of the writing pool with this. So far, Copyblogger has a pretty good 101 crash course on copywriting that I was checking out, but as someone who’s a bit poorly, I need to find some stuff on the cheap aka free.

Still looking on that, so make sure to come back and see how well this works.

 

 

TweetUps & You

In my move to a brand new city, I knew that I couldn’t exactly just have the three friends that I had already known when I moved here. Despite my loner qualities, I actually do enjoy meeting people and one of the first things that I did – well, before I moved to Denver – was to check in on this thing called a TweetUp.

What’s a tweetup, you ask? It’s basically meeting those people that you talk to/follow on Twitter who are local to you. After I made my decision to move to Denver, that was what I did. Made friends with Denver and Colorado people on Twitter. And that’s how I heard about the tweetup.

So for my very first tweetup, it was great! It’s definitely an excellent way to network with different people, as well as meeting those folks that  you’ve been replying or DM-ing on Twitter. I got to meet Jerome Shaw (@jeromeshaw/@DenverTwitr) who I have been asking about Denver for at least a month now and the awesome Ashley Kingsley (@ashleykingsley), who was not only awesome for putting everything together last night, but cause she’s short and that automatically makes her awesome!

Now I’m sure you have questions…

Do I have to be on Twitter?

Nope. In fact, a couple of people were using Facebook or weren’t doing any type of social media at all. These were also friends or spouses, but it was still great to meet some really nice folks. I even met some Arizona folks, so it was great speaking about our ‘special’ state.

Should I bring business cards?

In a word – YES! I’m so mad that I didn’t think to make business cards. See, this is why freelancers should get business cards, so that you can pass them out to people. BUT don’t let that discourage you. Not everyone had a business card and when in doubt, people used planners or their phones. I actually downloaded a notepad on my phone just so I could start writing down real names next to the Twitter name.

I just started freelancing; is this a good way to pimp my name?

Yes, but don’t treat it like you’re only there to do business. But also don’t make it a down home party either. If you’re new, people are going to want to know something about you, especially those folks that don’t follow you on Twitter. So tell that what you do. As I said, it is a good way to network. There were a lot of big names that are ‘in the know’ about social media, marketing, writing, freelancing, and business in general.

For instance, I happened to mention that this week I had been thinking about getting started in copywriting and lo and behold, there was someone there who happened to know and do some copywriting. See? I just mentioned when asked what I was doing.

So this social media works then?

Do you remember one of the very first posts I did about social media? You don’t? That’s okay, I’ve linked it for you. Anyway, one of the first posts I did was about how I was starting to use Facebook and Twitter to tell people, “hey, I wrote some stuff and I think you should read it!” And behold, here you are reading this! See? See how that works?

In the end, most importantly I had a really great time and met some new people in the city I now live in. I wish I had gotten everyone that I talked to on Twitter *grr!*, but hopefully when another one of these happens, I’ll be there again. So, my young freelancing padawans, if you’re looking for people to follow on Twitter, I’ve put some of the awesome people down on the list here. They have awesome things to say and share with folks, so if you aren’t following them, you should!

Ashley – @ashleykingsley

Jerome – @jeromeshaw and @DenverTwitr

Betti – @nowmedias

Patti – @thebusinessloft

Donna – @donnafeldman

Stevie – @stevieknight

Tomorrow, my crazy decision on being a copywriter! No, seriously.

The Super Long Weekend Update

Hello all!

How are you? Thanks for tuning in for the super long weekend update! Why is it super long? Basically, I didn’t send love the blog way yesterday. I have an actual excuse though – I’m sick. Which, if I haven’t stated before, I hate. I mean, I hate being sick. I really, really do.

With a passion.

Thankfully it’s – hopefully – just a head cold and I’d like to keep it that way.

In other news, today is the day – the actual day – that I move in to my new apartment in Denver. To recap, I moved from my hometown of Tucson last month for the new adventure of living in a new city and state (which I have never done before). With this move, I declared myself a freelance writer.

I saw potential. I saw…a promiseland.

Well, like everything else in the world, my plan did not work out so good. And, as usual, it all came down to one thing – money. If you want me to explain it, ask and I’ll send you an email about it, but it was a long, arduous process of screaming, frustration.

Here is an important fact, kids – freelancing is hard. I know, complete revelation, but it’s hard. Now, hold on y’all, don’t be leaving the blog just yet. I knew what I was getting in to – kinda – when I started this. Freelancing, if you haven’t discovered, is often quite easy whence you have a job. Now that I don’t have one, that fact is of course painfully clear.

Now, with all that said, I have learned a few things as a beginner freelancer, which I shall share with you. Cause, you know, the blog has to teach you something once and a while, right?

Things I’ve learned –

1. I do not like working at home.

Now, you may be thinking, “Gina, as a freelancer, you have to work from home.” and while is mostly true, I think e two years of working from home for actual work kinda ruined the actual illusion of awesome work from home coolness. It’s not.

See, I’m the type of person who does very well with deadlines, as well as having someone asking if I’ve gotten anything done (in a timely and professional manner, of course). And I’ve discovered that I like working in an office. Working in an office allows for ‘home’ to be the relaxing place where work dare not tread.

2. Freelancing Takes Discipline

It also takes focus, which if I’m staring at my apartment’s four walls for hours on end, I have lost. Now, perhaps this month was a bad one to start up the freelancing. I mean – I’ve spent the last two years working from home and experiencing cabin fever like never before and increasingly became aware that what I wanted was not where I currently lived.

This isn’t to say I’m not disciplined; there are days where I am so productive, I’ve managed to out do myself, which is awesome. There are also days in which I just want to watch a movie or TV show. That of course works much better if I had an office job, where I could come home or call in sick (which is usually when I’m actually sick). Can’t really do that in freelancing, at least not for an extended amount of time.

3. I Really Hate Rejection

I will say that for freelancing, and for anyone who is going to use freelance writing (or whatever) to move on to a bigger portion of that, it’s good for getting rejected. By rejected, I mean writing that isn’t accepted, obviously. I know that not everyone is going to like what I write, I know this, however in the professional world that I’ve come to experience, sometimes even just claiming something can lead to rejection.

Unlike previous months where I was doing at least part of  rent for my current apartment, this month I’m not even sure I made half, because a lot of things that I wanted and claimed were rejected. The hardest thing is, I don’t know why. I was never told, which if anything is just frustrating. At least tell me why it was rejected.

However, with that said, I’d like to be an author one day, so rejection is really a part of the game.

Does this of course mean I’m gonna throw in the towel? No. It’s hard, but what is anything without the benefits of hard work, right? So march on, freelancers.

Tomorrow, a rant about being taken away from the freelancing.