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Monday, November 24, 2014

Vacation Week: Favorite Reads

This is a vacation week. Forget getting any work done -- your clients and mine aren't here. They're grabbing some free time, as we all should.

I'm working, but only today and tomorrow. I have a client script project due next week, so I want to get the drafts completed, today if possible. Wednesday is prep day and baking day, and Thursday is the feast. Friday I'll rest.

I hope most of you are off enjoying time with family and friends. If not, thank you for coming by. I'm grateful for your company and your camaraderie. Without you, this freelance writing stuff would be so much tougher.

So today is fun stuff, and I'm encouraging you to join in by listing your favorite books. You can tell us why you like them, or just list them any way you like, and as many as you like. Here are some of the books I think belong on all bookshelves:

Light in August by William Faulkner. Forget what you know about Faulkner's hard-to-read style -- this book shatters that image and delivers a rich, complex, very readable tale.

Jazz by Toni Morrison. Toni Morrison is the only person who can out-Faulkner William Faulkner himself. Her writing, while nowhere near as convoluted, is complex, poetic, experimental in spots, and satisfying all around. Each sentence is something I want to chew, savor. She's that good. This, to me, is one of her best.

The Liars' Club by Mary Karr. I have a friend who hates memoirs. Too bad -- she's missing out on a fantastic story. I read this book nearly 15 years ago. It's as fresh in my mind today as it was then. Mary Karr writes a ballsy, smart-assed version of a coming-of-age book. It's as though she's taken a knife and opened herself wide to her audience.

Cannery Row by John Steinbeck. After reading this book, I want to live in Cannery Row. I want to know all those quirky people and live in a place where weirdness is rather normal. A warm, human story that shows the tight fibers of a small community.

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving. I love a philosophical story. I love writing that reads like poetry. I love a story that surprises. This book is all three. John Irving starts with what I think could be the best first sentence ever, and he draws you into the story of Owen Meany, the boy with the wrecked voice, and shows you just how important even the smallest among us can be.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I read this in high school, and I can still smell the magnolias Lee describes, still see the scene in my mind, and still remember the details. That's damn fine writing.

Paula by Isabel Allende. Isabel Allende started writing this story from her dying daughter's bedside. Who knew something so tragic could turn into such a wonderful, dare I say uplifting, story? I loved this so much I gifted it to three people.

The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan. Don't poo-poo this because it's a historical account of the Dust Bowl era. Read it because it's the story of the Dust Bowl era as told by the people who lived through it and their writer, who delivers a beautifully crafted account of a terrible era.

American Gospel by Jon Meacham. For every religious person who believes God is the center of our government, read this book. Meacham gives us an unbiased account of the exact opposite of what we think is true -- that God and religion were intentionally avoided by the founding fathers, and why they felt that was best for the country to survive. An excellent read no matter which side of the debate you're on.

My Family and Other Animals by Gerard Durrell. When the Durrells move to the island of Corfu, the younger son, Gerard, takes notes of their new adventure. The result: a hilarious story about a family trying to fit their habits into a new culture.

Please share some of your favorite books.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Free Advice Friday: Surviving Holiday Writing Project Pauses

What's on the iPod: All Too Well by Taylor Swift

Writers: Be sure to catch an all new All Indie Writers podcast by Jenn Mattern! Her guest this week is Princess Jones.

Well, I started the week with two projects. I now have seven projects with shorter deadlines coming up on a holiday week. I'm not complaining; in fact, I love it. November, notorious for being slow, is going to end very well.

Likewise the start to December with projects due mid-month. During the slowest period of the work year for us freelance writers, we can't ask for a better set up to the new year.

Still, there are those holidays to deal with. In past years, I've seen my holiday fly up on me and nearly zip by without my noticing. When I emerge from under the last deadline, I'm always a bit disappointed that I didn't enjoy it more.

I know -- boo hoo. She's got work during the slowest time of the year. Cry me a river.

Let's just say it's better than last year, when things weren't busy at all and I was looking more at the bank account than the calendar, hoping the numbers I saw were still acceptable. I wasn't able to get the earnings up in the November/December period.

So what to do about that?

Plan ahead.
It doesn't help to hear this now for this year, but right now, open your calendar program. Flip to July 2015 (another slow month). Write a goal to try for double your income that month and each month going forward. Jot down ways you can do that. Send out twice as many magazine queries since most freelance budgets are still plentiful in July. Map out how you're going to hit August by storm and what you'll do those two weeks before Labor Day, when clients are starting to think about projects again.

Come to the desk every day.
Even if you're not working, you can check email, plan marketing, or hit up social media and make connections. Putting in eight+ hours every day might not be needed (and could be frustrating if you're just sitting there), but checking in the morning and somewhere around 2 or 3 pm is enough to catch any projects that may come in requiring a quick response.

Pick up the back-burner project.
I picked up my poetry work this time last year. It became a habit, and now I'm about to be published in an upcoming journal. Maybe you want to learn SEO or Wordpress. Maybe now would be a good time to put together a six-month marketing plan or find a new set of clients to market to. Spend your idle time being productive. It does wonders for your morale.

Look, it's the holiday. Do what those clients who aren't getting back to you are doing. Make time for your friends and family. Take a walk and enjoy the season from outside the house. Decorate like you're Martha Stewart's stunt double. Plan a trip to see a relative or a place you've always wanted to visit. Volunteer at a food shelter or a retirement home. Find whatever will make the holiday season memorable for you and do it.

Writers, how do you fill in those empty hours?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Changing the Client Conversation

What's on the iPod: Parted Ways by Heartless Bastards

Do not miss Jenn Mattern's podcast tomorrow featuring special guest Princess Jones. Visit the podcast page at All Indie Writers for more info.

About a year ago,I decided to throw some of my energy behind a poetry career. At the time, I was co-partner of the 5 Buck Forum as well as working on building my business and running a risk management blog. If I wanted to write poetry, something had to give.

I turned over my share of the forum to Anne Wayman and I set about writing.

Monday, I hit pay dirt. My poem 'Two Minutes at the Wall' will appear in the Winter issue of Philadelphia Stories. Validation, and sign to get more poems circulating. The goal is a book, but for now, I'm building a platform. Feel free to visit my Poet Under Construction blog.

As I was talking with a potential client a few weeks back, I realized there's been a change to these conversations I'm having. The change, I'm happy to say, is internal. Still, that internal shift has resulted in some successful conversations that have left the impression that I'm the one writer they need if they're looking for someone they can rely on. Some clients have told me they like my reliability.

Music to my ears.

It's all because my attitude shifted slightly. No longer did I care about getting the job. Instead, I started caring about what the clients needed and how I could help them.

It used to be (and I bet some of you still feel this way) that my goal was getting the gig. Even once I stopped accepting just any price and started holding firm on my price, I wasn't quite ready to stop "selling" myself.

Then one day, I had a conversation.

It was at a trade show in the exhibit hall. One of the exhibitors went into his spiel. He asked what I do. I told him briefly, adding that I work with a number of the people in that very hall. He then said, "What would you do to improve this?" and gave me his sell sheet handout.

Figuring it was just a question, I told him bluntly. "I'd freshen the wording and take the focus from your company to your customer. And I'd stick with half the words and make sure the ones I used created the most impact."

Then I exhaled. You never know which client is going to take the advice as an insult to their "fabulous" prose.

One phone call and email later, I was writing his website and his sell sheets.

The difference between that conversation and my former way of communicating with potential clients; I was one hell of a lot more relaxed and I didn't oversell myself. I just pointed out his needs.

Here are some ways to shift that conversation to a more collaborative one:

Make it about them. Tempting as it is to talk about your background, stick with talking about their company and their needs. Sure, you can say "Well, in this last client project I did, I gave them something like this, which I think may be what you're looking for." Just don't give the usual laundry list of your credentials unless they ask for them. Save a little of that for your follow-up thank-you email.

Pretend you're talking to a friend. Your best friend has just asked you how to solve this problem. You don't say "Well, I have 15 years of experience in solving friend problems." No. You say "Give me the details."

Ask about past efforts. This, to me, is a smart question because not only are you showing interest in your client's business, but you're eliminating any duplication of efforts going forward. If they sent all those lumpy mail items for years with no measurable results, why go there again? Moreover, if they've used something for years that works, why not just tweak it a little to increase interest?

Listen. You can stand out almost immediately to any client by listening and hearing what they're saying. Take notes, ask follow-up questions, tape conversations for private review later, and really hear what concerns them.

Suggest things. I have a client who needs a blog. I told them so five years ago. This year, they're going about it. While I've yet to see it come to fruition, I'm tapped to write the posts whenever they do launch. If you see something your client could be doing with some success, tell them. Throw ideas out and brainstorm with them.

Just converse. Put your need to impress them behind you. Have a conversation. Let them use you as a sounding board whenever you're able, and offer some free advice. Make that conversation a two-way one -- no way you should be monopolizing it or letting them talk "at" you. Interrupt if you must and get some questions in. It's a conversation, not a monologue.

Writers, have you changed how you interact with clients in those first (and subsequent) conversations?
When did the shift happen for you?
How else can writers create that new dynamic?

Monday, November 17, 2014

Writing Without Knowledge

What's on the iPod: Peachtree Battle by Butch Walker

It's Monday already? I'm expecting a good start to the week. I have a good bit of work already done on an article assignment, I've been ramping up marketing and it's starting to pay off. Also, I hope to see a large client project finish up this week.

Plus I've been doing my own version of NaNoWriMo -- I write a poem a day. That's going quite well.

I'm seeing a disturbing trend these days. If I'd seen it just once I'd have overlooked it as a writer who strayed out of his/her depths. However, I've seen enough cases of it to think a really stupid business decision is becoming a trend.

I'm talking about writers who pretend they know about a specialty area when they don't. Or worse, they take on the work and don't bother to get fully engaged in it. It's the the "take it and fake it" attitude, and it's a reputation killer.

Can we just say it together -- if you don't know what you're doing, it's going to show. If a client says "Have you ever done X or Y?" be honest. Seriously. That doesn't mean you'll lose the gig. It just means you haven't lied yourself into a corner, especially if you're admitting to your lack of experience in an open Internet forum (Why do people think they're invisible?).

In my specialty writing area, I've seen freelance writers lie outright about having experience. When it's a truly technical area like mine, you're going to sink. Fast. Think ten-ton-lead-weight-around-your-neck kind of fast. Even writers who admit they don't understand it will sink if they don't invest the effort needed into doing the job right. I saw that happen when I handed off two assignments to two freelance writers who wanted to try their hand at it. Both failed. Both admitted up front they were new to it, so I was prepared for them to come up short. It happens.

But I've seen the other side, too. I worked with a writer who didn't have experience, and she excelled. Why? Because she put the work into learning what the hell she was writing about.

But those other writers -- even being upfront about their lack of expertise, many will drop the ball and end up pissing off the client. Here's the thing -- it doesn't have to be that way. If you take on a job, know what it is you're really taking on. It's not just the project, but also the research needed to get you up to speed on the field in which you'll be working.

So the lesson in all this? You can take on work you're unfamiliar with, but it's on you to A) be honest with the client about your skills, and B) do the homework necessary to at least understand the client's focus.

Here's my process for reaching into a new-to-me area:

'Fess up. No, you won't automatically lose the gig if you do it right. I've told clients things like "I've not written anything on credit union management yet, but here are some related areas in my background that could translate." If you don't have that, show the client what topics/approaches you'd use. Whatever you do, don't ever lie and say "Sure, I can do that" especially if you're not sure you can. Murphy's Law is just waiting to prove you wrong.

Learn it. If you accept a project that's outside your knowledge set, get busy. It's on you --not your client -- to get up to speed on what their industry/focus area is about. If I get hired to write about credit union management, my first order of business is to read at least two solid articles on the topic, familiarize myself with key terms and buzz words, and talk with the client, asking key questions on what they want, what they think is important for others to know, and what they want me to focus on most.

Get curious. If you don't turn on your own curiosity, you're not going to be interested for very long. You can learn anything (almost) just by looking for answers to your own questions. What do you want to know about this person's company/profession/industry/product? What stories would you want to read about it? Pretend you're the audience. In a sense, you are.

Ask questions. Lots and lots of questions. Ask basic questions and if you don't understand the answer, try repeating it back. One question I used a lot when I was learning this specialty was "I'm new to this industry -- can you educate me a little?" People, including clients, love talking about what they do. They have a willing audience and they're able to look smart. Just make your questions are smart ones (doing your research first is usually a great idea).

Get feedback. I tell every new client that my first delivery is a draft anyway, but nowhere is that more important to stress than in a new focus area. I practically beg for feedback. I communicate. I make sure the client's thoughts are on paper and on tape (sometimes it helps to hear the tone and the exact wording). I go over those recordings and make doubly sure I get it. If I don't, I ask again. And I keep getting feedback along the way to make sure I'm doing what they want.

Writers, have you ever taken on work you weren't familiar with?
Did you tell the truth or did you fake it? 
Was there ever a time you faked it and it worked?
Do you know anyone who's done this?

Friday, November 14, 2014

CRM Systems for Writers

What's on the iPod: Leading Me Now by The Tallest Man on Earth

Today is packed with random work. I have two interviews for my article assignment, and we have repair people arriving sometime this morning. I was given another assignment yesterday, and if I have time I'll start on that, too.

I talked on Wednesday about putting together your own customer relationship management system (or CRM). A CRM process just helps you keep track of all those people you know or are in contact with, which can help you stay in touch with people who have expressed interest in your writing services.

Whether you need a formal solution (or whether you need a freebie or one you pay for) depends on how well you're tracking your current client contacts.

I realized I had a problem when my spreadsheets of client contacts began outgrowing my ability to keep up with them. So I did a little research and tried out a few freebies. I'll list some potential freebies for you a little later. What you really need to know is how these things can help you.

Even if you use your own system, there are a few things you should consider when putting a client marketing/sales process into place. Your system should:

Allow you to list contact details. Every system has to show you who/where, but you're going to want to make notes. Any good system, self-generated or otherwise, needs a space where you can attach emails (or allow for reference to particular emails), make notes, and track conversations.

Schedule follow-ups. In the few commercial products I've tested, they have included calendars and I've attempted to schedule "events" or "tasks" (depending on the product). None have worked. The whole reason I wanted a CRM was so that little function would be a one-click job. Instead, I found myself bouncing between my Outlook calendar and the online CRM. That's where things became too cumbersome for me to continue with the CRM. However, there are products out there that integrate well with Outlook. If you come across one that's free, let me know.

Explain itself simply. How it operates is crucial to which one you're going to want to use. I had one CRM program that explained what a lead was, what a contact was, and not what would happen once I turned a contact into a lead. Creating a lead (someone who was interested) made it impossible to get back into the file to make changes. Seems this CRM was made just for lead generation, not for any ongoing customer relationship management (which is stupid since it was billed as a CRM).

Help you maintain regular contact. Some CRM solutions allow you to send emails right from their program. Some let you create and send newsletters, too. Anything that allows you to move all your marketing into one easy-to-use area is a bonus.

Make your job easier. This is where I dumped a few potential products. If I'm adding extra steps to my marketing process, it's no longer worth it. One CRM promised integration with Outlook. I was so excited until I realized it didn't work. At all. It added a row of menu options to Outlook, but they remained dead links, so I uninstalled.

Do you need formal software to track your contacts? Only if you've found yourself forgetting to follow up, finding emails a year later that you never went back to check on, or unable to make marketing a more active part of your job (software can help if it reminds you or if you find a way to integrate it with things you already use).

Some freebies you can try right now:

Insightly. For writers who have under 2,500 contacts, this is a neat little program. Web-based, Insightly has a nice support system, helpful email suggestions, and a friendly interface. It integrates with email, Dropbox, Evernote, MailChimp and more.

CRM Free. Not one I've tried, but an option if your contact list is under 1,000. Fairly basic program, not a lot of bells and whistles.

Zoho. It's a free trial (which they don't necessarily mention when you sign up for their "free" solution). It's okay, but it doesn't allow me to schedule easily. You can integrate with all sorts of applications with the paid version.

eWay for Outlook. I wanted desperately to love this. However, I couldn't get it to work with Outlook 2013. I'll admit I didn't go out of my way to learn it, either. For me, it has to be intuitive or it's already a waste of time. This is free for one user.

SalesWah Lite. I'm testing this one now. It does integrate with Outlook. It took me less than ten minutes to read their instructions (which aren't easy to locate on their site -- I searched via Bing and found what I needed instantly). You can import your contacts from Google, Excel, and other places. Then you categorize them (easy if you use the "People" tab at the bottom of Outlook) and then you can assign tasks and create "deals" (which I guess you can make whatever you like). Note: If you're using Excel, make sure to get addresses, emails and phone numbers -- you can't create a "deal" without these fields. So far, easy and just what I was hoping for. And free.

Outlook Calendar. As I mentioned in Wednesday's post, you can create your own management system without any additional tools needed. Like Saleswah, you can import contacts and work right from whatever contact folder you create, keeping notes and setting up calendar "appointments" for followup.

Writers, how do you track your customer contact? 
Have you lost out on opportunities because you forgot to follow up or didn't get back in touch?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Customer Relationship Management for Writers

What's on the iPod: Take Care of You by The Clarks

It's Wednesday and I'm still waiting for one project to finalize and for interview subjects for another project to finalize. Once more, I'm in a holding pattern when I have the most free time and ability to get stuff done. For those of us writers who like ticking things off the list (and who may be just a little hyperactive), it's frustrating to have to wait. Not to the point where I'm going to obsess or lose sleep, but it's a shame to waste free time like this.

So I don't.

I use the time to go back over my contact lists, reconnect with client prospects (clients who haven't bought yet), and see what projects I can do in the meantime.

Since I've written articles on technology and even sales, I had been kicking around the idea of trying a CRM. What's that? It's a "customer relationship management" system -- software usually, often times web-based, always with a learning curve, and nearly always helpful in keeping on top of client contact.

Nearly all CRM solutions are built for the salesperson. Why that's okay for freelance writers running a business: we're nothing if not salespeople.

I'm going to start with how to build your own CRM solution without software. However, if you're looking for something more automated, Friday's post will go over these in a little more detail.

Having tried a few CRM methods (and having struggled with my own spreadsheet mayhem), I've devised a quick-and-dirty process that allows me to keep in touch with clients and contacts.

Track it. I use Excel to make sure I have contact info in one place. I include simple columns -- contact name, company, two blank columns (for whatever I need), then email contact and four columns titled Date. Each time I contact a client prospect, I add the date to the first empty Date column.

Note it. If I get a note back, I'll write the contents of the note (or the gist of it) in one of those blank spaces before the email. I make sure to note the tone if I'm paraphrasing, and what action I want to take.

Schedule it. Now I open Outlook Calendar and go out two months. If the client hasn't responded or has with a "not right now" or "check back later" comment, I schedule it as I'm thinking about it. It's so much easier than going back over the spreadsheet every week to see who needs a follow-up note.

Log it. Since I tell you guys every month how I do with my marketing, I open up a virtual sticky note on my desktop and jot down a quick note on the contact I've just made. That helps me quickly locate my numbers for the monthly assessment.

Group schedule. This is something I've just started doing since I'm working from two different spreadsheets. Once I log it on the sticky note, I'll label that week's contacts with a number -- maybe Group A or Week 3 November. Then I open the calendar and schedule those follow ups for one day (shouldn't take 15 minutes to forward the original note and add something like "Per my note below, would you have five minutes to chat about how my skills might be of benefit to you?"

It's simple and while it requires a little back-and-forth between programs, it works for me. However, there are CRM programs that integrate. I'll be looking at the freebies on Friday and giving you a basic must-have list for these solutions.

Writers, how do you currently track your client interactions?
How can you add to the process I've listed here?

Monday, November 10, 2014

Top Tips Writers Series #6: Emily Fowler

What I'm reading: To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
What's on the iPod: Photograph by Ed Sheeran

I love that we all have something to learn. Every one of us, no matter where we are in our writing career, can learn new things. And sometimes the ones teaching us are writers who are just getting their freelance feet wet.

Emily Fowler is one such freelance writer. I met Emily at Jenn Mattern's All Indie Writers forum. A freelancer who's made the transition from 9-to-5 to freelance writing, Emily has some great advice on how to make that transition easier. The wise freelancer will listen -- hers is the voice of experience.

When Emily proposed her idea, I jumped on it. Having interacted with her on Jenn's forum, I saw someone who asked smart questions. Someone like that is going to give great advice of her own someday. Emily, today is that day. Thank you.

10 Tips for Building Your Freelance Writing Business ‘On the Side’
by Emily Fowler

When I hit my mid-thirties I realized that if I ever wanted to pursue my dream of writing for a living, I’d better start soon.

The problem was, I was already in a demanding full-time job and I couldn’t afford to just quit and start writing. Instead of bemoaning the fact that I’d left it too late, I rolled up my sleeves, read a lot of books and blogs about freelance writing and spent 12 months building up my freelance writing business while working at my day job.

It was a tough 12 months - some things I did right, but some things I’d definitely change if I had to go back and do it all again.

With that in mind, here are my 10 top tips for building a freelance writing business ‘on the side’.

1. Be realistic about your timescales.
It’s not going to be an instant process, no matter how confident you are in your abilities. However much I wanted to throw my calculator up in the air (I worked in finance) and shout “I’m a WRITER now!”, I knew I’d have to work hard at building my business first.

2. Have a financial safety net . . . but a flexible one.
When those pay checks stop coming, you’ll need to be confident that you can still pay the bills. If you already have a chunk of savings, that’s great. If not, better start now!

My plan was to save the equivalent of 12 months’ worth of my day job salary before I made the leap, and saving every penny of the money I was making from writing helped. As it happened, I didn’t hit my target before leaving my day job, but I was at a point where I’d built up enough of a client base that I knew I’d be OK without it.
Set yourself a realistic goal, (the exact figure will be different for everyone), but don’t see it as set in stone. If you reach a point when you know that you’re ready, don’t put it off only because you haven’t hit that magic number.

3. Don’t put in less than 100% at your day job.
Trust me, I know how difficult it can be to stay motivated when your dream career is beckoning and winking at you from the side-lines. What kept me giving 100% at my day job was the fact that while I was in the office I was being paid to work, not to daydream about my ideal project or answer client emails.

OK, maybe a five-minute daydream now and then!

4. Don’t burn your bridges at your day job.
Just because you never know what’s around the corner.

I’m 99.9999999999% sure that my freelance writing business is going to continue to be successful, but if I did have to supplement my income with a day job, I’m pretty sure I could go back to my old company in some role or another.

Why? Because I worked my butt off right until the day I left and I left on good terms with everyone.

Here’s a true story:

When I was in my early twenties I witnessed a colleague quitting. It involved him throwing a £5 note on the boss’s desk and telling him to go and buy himself a life.

His new job ended up falling through, and he came back, cap in hand, asking for his old job back.

You can guess what the answer was, right?

5. Don’t tell your clients that you have a day job unless you have to.
It might not be a problem to them – but what if it is? I’m not advocating outright lying, and if one of my clients had asked the question, I would have told them the truth . . . but none of them asked!

You can avoid the question even coming up by following my next tip . . .

6. Plan client calls and meetings with military precision.
If you tell your clients you can only speak to them before 8.30 in the morning and after 5.30 at night, they might wonder why. Make full use of your lunch break if you need to talk with clients, and if your day job hours are fairly flexible it’s even better.

My boss at the time was very understanding, and I often worked extra hours, so I could occasionally slip out early when I needed to meet a deadline or speak with a client.

A bonus of being able to work over the internet means that some of your clients might be in different time zones, so mornings and evenings your time could even be their preferred time to communicate.

The fact that I have a number of clients in Australia (I’m in the UK) did mean a few 4am Skype calls before a full day at the office, but I coped.

7. Leverage your connections.
Think about what your current place of work needs in terms of writing services, then become buddies with the marketing manager and talk to the relevant departments about producing content for them. While you’re still being paid by the company you can do this for free, and it’s a great way to start building up your portfolio.

This is something I didn’t think about until after I’d handed my notice in, and I think I could have made much more of my connections while I was still there.

8. Start marketing.
That means getting everything set up, like your website, before you actually leave. I didn’t market myself particularly aggressively while I was still at my day job, but on the other hand I didn’t want to have to spend the first couple of months of my self-employment chasing down work.

9. Make sure you factor in ‘you time’.
This was my biggest fail, by a long shot.

Even if it means you have to put D-day off by a few months, don’t take on so much work that you literally have no time for yourself. It’s not fun for you or your loved ones.

The last six months that I was working full-time I had so much writing work on my plate that I had no time for myself, a social life or my relationship. I got up early in the morning to write, went to work all day and then wrote late into every evening.

Weekends were great for me, a whole 48 hours to write, but not so great for my boyfriend. Despite the occasional complaint that we never went out or spent quality time together anymore he was amazing – he knew there was an end-game in sight, so he supported me as much as possible.

Which leads me on to . . .

10. . . . . appreciate the support you get.
I was so lucky to have the support of my boyfriend, friends, family and even my boss at the time (I think the fact that I gave four times as much notice as I needed to helped). It made it that much easier for me to make the transition to full-time freelance writer, and I really appreciate it.

Reading this very blog, and Jenn’s support over at the All Indie Writers forum have also been invaluable to me – so thanks ladies, I appreciate it!

Emily Fowler is a crazy cat lady who quit her day job earlier this year to become a full-time freelance writer. She admits that she doesn't post on her own blog often enough, but you can find her mixture of business tips and random thoughts at

Writers, how did you make the switch?
What was the toughest part?
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