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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Softer Side of Sandy

What's on the iPod: Quiet Little Voices by We Were Promised Jetpacks

Save money while learning how to save even more money -- The 8 Top Tax Strategies for Freelancers webinar, being held Thursday, November 8th at 3 PM ET, is just $69.95. For that, you'll get close to $375 worth of goodies, plus a month's membership in the 5 Buck Forum! Register here.

Imagine two days with a license to do nothing, especially after a party which you'd worked three days to prepare for. Drop Internet and phone connection long enough that you're able to delve into books and magazines for the first time in ages. For that, I thank you, Sandy.

As hurricanes go, Sandy was a little bit of a no-show here. I'm assuming north and south of us got the brunt of the winds. We had wind, but nothing like what was predicted. In fact, the weather people were saying the winds were a few thousand feet above and there wasn't a way to tell if they would descend and cause chaos. They didn't. Not here, anyway.

We opened the front door Monday evening as she started to cause trouble. The noise was constant and ominous. There was some serious wind out there. However, the trees were being tussled about, but not as seriously as the sound would suggest. The winds we were hearing were not at ground level. Amen. I'd still be out of power if that were the case.

Our power went out around 10 pm and came back yesterday evening at 5:30. Not bad considering what was predicted. I'm not one to run to the store every storm and stock up because honestly? People have enough food in their homes already. They're just not cooking it. Since we have a gas stove, I knew we'd be able to eat just fine. If the gas goes out, peanut butter. Chips. Raw vegetables. Canned fruit and beans. Dry cereal. Starvation wouldn't occur. It just may not be as pleasant as your average day.

Another thing that didn't happen -- flooding. Amen. Irene had every road blocked around us. We were land locked for a day. And that's it -- just a day. Eventually, storms disappear, waters recede quickly, and life resumes per usual. Our basement was dry thanks to a sump pump in the window well that causes us trouble (the water leaks in through the point where the slider window panels meet). There wasn't much water anyway. Again, amen.

My phone goes out when the power does -- the curse of fiber optics. It has a battery backup, but that thing died years ago and we've just now found where to replace it. It's not your average battery, so Best Buy doesn't carry it, nor does Verizon who installed it. So I had six messages on my voice mail when the phones did come on.

No work possible while I was offline -- we had a full house as stepdaughter's train and her fiance's flight were canceled. They leave this morning, and they're probably glad to be heading toward a more normal routine, as we all are. Two days inside together is lovely, but we all start to seek out quiet spaces. Or at least I do.

Today, back to normal. The work was, thankfully, cleared up on Wednesday, and the projects in front of me have longer deadlines. Time to research and maybe even work on personal projects. A nice day ahead of me, I hope.

How are you? I feel like I've been gone for ages. Thanks to all who checked in and served as a contact. Were you affected by Sandy? If so, how did you fare?


Monday, October 29, 2012

Blowin' in the Wind

What's on the iPod: Where the Streets Have No Name by U2


The rain has just started more steadily, and the wind is beginning to pick up a bit of urgency. All night the stillness was deafening, and somewhere before dusk yesterday the birds seemed to have disappeared from sight and sound. Sandy is arriving.

We have both food and spare water as we just had a big party Saturday that filled the refrigerator with leftovers and extra juices. The big beverage urn the step-daughter bought for the party is now full of water. Just in case.

Their trains and flights were canceled yesterday, so we have the pleasure of their company for another day, maybe more. The electric that is spotty here on a good day is sure to fail us today or tomorrow. So cell phones are charged and the land line is plugged into the wall should the need arise.

The weekend was a flurry of activity. I started Friday evening, after we'd come home from Nazareth and Bethlehem (seriously!) where we dropped off his guitar for repair and had a lovely lunch at a favorite tea room. At home, I got to work making three of the eventual five dips for the Samhain/Halloween party. Saturday, I took the time to enjoy a cup of chai at Starbucks and a quick spin around Old Navy with my daughter before coming home to cook, plan decorate, etc. I spent three hours on my feet in the same spot in the kitchen, then I gave in to the kids and let them put together the party trays and get the food I'd just made onto surfaces throughout the house. They themselves prepared things, shopped three times for me, and supplied the party with beverages and fried chicken (of which there wasn't a crumb left).

The party was a success. We had neighbors, friends, and friends of our children there filling the house with warmth and laughter. We also had costumes -- by far my favorite was my neighbor's hippie chick outfit. But one of my step-daughter's friends showed up as a bag of weed. Okay... ;)

My own daughter hauled out her costume to peals of laughter and luckily no hurt feelings. She was a binder full of women (picture above). It was her fiance's idea. His costume was a transformer (hidden in that box just above and to the right). He's more creative than he realizes.

So now we wait and watch and listen and try to work while Sandy makes up her mind whom she will bother. I'm going to do a modicum of work (interview was canceled for other reasons) and then clean a closet, read a book, and putter. His work was canceled. Daughter's and future son-in-law's was not (odd). Considering how hard the wind is about to be blowing, I'm shocked. But perhaps they intend to let everyone go home early.

Wherever you are, I hope you have a safe, productive day. I for one take this storm as my license to be selfish in where my attentions are directed.

I'll check in when and if I can. Those who know me will have my cell number and can leave a note in the comments here should I go without power for longer than a day. Those within the 800-mile swath this windy bitch is about to descend on, stay safe. Check in when you can, and always have an exit plan.

Now tea time. Even Sandy won't interrupt my caffeine fix. :)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Away

What's on the iPod: I Feel Lucky by Mary Chapin Carpenter

Today is all about time off. I've put up the Away message, I'm signing out shortly after this post, and I'm heading out with my hubs to the Martin guitar factory, then home to prepare for two events -- the Samhain/Halloween party tomorrow and Hurricane Sandy shortly thereafter. We're in the middle of minor repairs outside, and we have exposed wood (and a few tiny leaks around vents in the roof). The goal is a water-tight existence.

In the meantime, the work will wait. Today is about decompression, reconnection to the earth, and then reconnection with the spirits tomorrow (boo!). Enjoy your weekend, and if you're having a Halloween gathering of any sort, have a great time.

I leave you with this video, which is the closest I could find to a "grave" song. Much nicer than yet another round of Monster Mash:



Thursday, October 25, 2012

Decompression Days

What I'm reading: The Wayward Bus by John Steinbeck
What's on the iPod: Unknown Caller by U2


Guess what I did yesterday? I worked, but I was in the car and somewhere else before noon. It felt heavenly to get outside, enjoy the sun, and get some errands done. It was a roof-down day, so I got a fantastic view of the blue sky and the leaves turning colors.

The former 9-to-5er in me was having a tough time letting go, but I had my cell phone and could check emails regularly. No one needed anything pressing, and I was able to kick back a bit. I shopped for our party, then treated myself to a lunch at Zoup!, a nice soup-and-sandwich joint. It doesn't kill the diet to eat there, amen.

That my decompression day came mid-week was novel for me. Usually I try to tuck away a Friday or slip in late on a Monday. But I needed yesterday. Really. Needed. It. I relished mulling over cheese selections for the party, picking up more pumpkins (I have a TON, as you can see from the photo), and soaking in the sun on one of what may be the last really nice days left this year. I'm taking tomorrow off entirely -- we're heading to the Martin guitar factory to get his guitar fixed, and for a tour. I'd love to know how to play, but I'm more of a woodwind kind of girl. The fingers know how to operate one direction.

I'll have no trouble relaxing tomorrow. The Away message is going up today. Anything pressing is going to have to wait. I've been working full stop since before September. It's time I take care of me.

Today's workload is small, so I'll have time to attend my online courses and maybe even read a book again. It's a mini-decompression amid the work day.

So how do you decompress? Do you? I know a few of you who work right through weekends without days off, and some who make their days off mid-week.

Here are some suggestions:

Knock off a few hours before your self-imposed quitting time. Highly organized (anal) people like me need to remember that 5 o'clock projects don't have to be noticed until the next day. If I leave this desk at 3 pm, the world will not end if I don't answer that email the same day.

Sneak away with a smart phone or tablet. It's why coffee shops became so popular. You can relax with a cup of swill while keeping one hand ready for emergencies. Check email every hour or so. No need to be leashed to your technology.

Announce the day off. Like I'm doing with my Away message, it's okay to say "I'll be out of the office" and just let go entirely.

Show up late. I like this one because very few people will think anything is odd about that note not being answered before 11 am. I usually assume the recipient is wading through a ton of emails or in some meeting somewhere. If you spend the morning watching bad tv, reading a book, or taking a long, leisurely walk, who's to say those aren't your morning meetings?

Stop being tied to the work. In all this fretting about getting away is the clear message -- I've become tethered to my workload. True, I've had a lot of quick deadlines and multiple projects, but that shouldn't form any new, unhealthy work habits. The same goes for you. It's work. In the end, very little of it is so deadline-sensitive that you can't have a life first, work second.

How do you decompress or plan to decompress? Is it a process or do you just disappear?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Success and Your Path To It

What's on the iPod: Into the Dark Unknown by Holcombe Waller

There's still time to register! The 8 Top Tax Strategies for Freelancers webinar, being held Thursday, November 8th at 3 PM ET, is just $69.95. For that, you'll get close to $375 worth of goodies, plus a month's membership in the 5 Buck Forum! Register here.


(That's me over there on the right -- a photo caught in Ireland.)

I know I'm going to regret saying this, but I've caught up with most of my work. One small project to finish this morning, then I'm spending the day taking care of this neglected house. We have a Samhain party this weekend, and it's been two months or better since I've had time to do anything but collapse on the sofa at the end of a day.

I loved our discussion yesterday about the misinformation that's passed among writers in our tight little community. Dava Stewart said it best: "There are many paths to success...." She said more, but that little gem was enough. It's a brilliant truth. 

In fact, as I thought on it - a lot - I realized that every one of us reading and convening here has a different path. I would venture to say we're all successful in our own ways, and that there are two factors at work that make that true for each of us.

Your path works because you've made it.

Isn't that great? You're working and earning and interacting with clients because you've made your own goals, you've chosen your own methods, and you've reached out in your own way. Any of us could post an entire business plan here, but it wouldn't help you as much as doing it yourself would. You may have similar elements (like marketing every day, which I think is the only essential we should all have), but it's not going to look the same as mine or Devon's or Paula's or Dava's, etc.

Another factor:

Success is up for personal interpretation.

She may need close to six figures a year to be successful due to say her geographic location, family needs, economic demands, etc. He may need closer to say $40,000 because his area is cheaper to live in, he doesn't have children at home, or the mortgage is paid and there are fewer financial needs.

Success doesn't come pre-determined.

So anyone who tries feeding you the line "If you want to make BIG money, you HAVE to follow my way" may mean well, but they don't know what will work for you. That knowledge comes by trying out different methods and finding the one that fits you best.

How does your path differ from some of the advice you've seen?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Writerly Misinformation

What's on the iPod: Unbelievable by Diamond Rio

Rough day yesterday. It wasn't that the work was difficult. It was that everything transpired to get in the way.

Simple Math:
Two client phone calls withing one and a half hours = nothing getting done until noon.

Impromptu call from a client = another 30 minutes unable to touch must-do projects.

I managed a radio script in the morning before the phone started ringing, but I was working past 5 again in an attempt to get ahead of the workload. The phone rang again -- another client, another project, another interview. These smaller projects became harder and harder to do as the phone -- and the other projects-- started to encroach.

I was reading something on a forum about rates. The writer was asking how to handle it when your client lowers your rate. Those who know me already know my answer:

Your clients should not be setting your rates. You should.

The writer is newer to the freelance world, so I can fully understand the oversight. However, those who answered her were not, and in only a few cases did anyone point out that she shouldn't be accepting lower rates.

So what's wrong with this picture?

Writers are passing on misinformation.

One writer said magazine work was dead.

Another said that clients dropping rates was just a sad fact of the business.

Still another thought it was a sign of the times and the writer should just roll with it.

One writer actually said it was time for her to raise her rates. Amen to that writer.

Then there were writers who thought any work during a recession was a gift.

Please, take back your "gift."

So let's try clearing up a few misconceptions:

Certain areas of writing are not "dead." I wanted to tell them just how much they're wrong (by way of my own example), but I don't like telling people how much because it always comes across as pomposity. But if an area seems dead to you, either you're not doing it correctly or your rates or ideas don't coincide with that particular area of focus.

Lower rates are not a fact, sad or otherwise. I've raised mine this year, as have many of you. I'm working more than I can handle, and I know a few of you are, as well. A client who lowers your rates is not a client worth keeping.

Recession be damned. This is my best year ever. Don't use the excuse (or any other) for justifying your lack of work. Something is amiss. Either you're not marketing enough or you're targeting the wrong level of clientele. Aim higher.

It is indeed time to raise your rates. If you work with people who are counting every penny, you will always be struggling with them over price. Instead, raise your rates in order to eliminate them from the competition for your time. Focus on attracting clients who value your services.

Any work does not constitute a career. Survival mode is not any way to run a business. Accepting "the way things are" is foolish at best. Expect more and settle for no less than what you deserve.

What misconceptions are you hearing parroted around?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Recovery from Weekends

What's on the iPod: Demons by Imagine Dragons


Did you ever have a weekend where you were exhausted and happy to sit back down at the computer on Monday? It was a great weekend --I ran a ton of errands on Saturday, cleaned, decorated, weeded the front path and garden, and wore myself out physically. It felt good. I've been stuck at this desk in one spot for nearly two months. Physical activity not only accomplishes something, but it feels great after all that stagnation.

Sunday I went to church, came home, cleaned a little more, then started cooking. I had to take some shoes back to DSW. The size I wear was more like a half-size up, so I dashed to the mall for that, but right back. Our meditation group met here yesterday, so I had to get the food going. In the process, I found a great recipe for sweet corn chowder that was simple to make, had something like five ingredients, and tasted amazing. That's no surprise. It came from the cookbook we bought at the best vegan restaurant I've ever had the pleasure of experiencing -- Candle 79 in Manhattan. We make excuses to go to New York just to eat there.

My daughter is going through the process of finding a location for her wedding. They know they want it outdoors. They also know they don't want to spend more than $10K for the wedding. Good luck in Philadelphia. That has them looking outside the area, and they've found two very strong possibilities. One is a lovely 1700s farm museum in Lancaster. The other is a venue where a friend of theirs was married (and they loved). Very inexpensive and nice. It's near her fiance's hometown, which is a small, half-Amish community.

I'm leaving them to it. I'll add my opinion only when asked for. I've seen from friends and from my own experience how the best intentions can be interpreted by an already stressed couple. So far, my daughter has been amazingly unaffected by all the planning. So far. She's said that she doesn't care where they're married as long as he's happy and he's the groom. I love that. She's giving him things to decide, getting him involved, making it their wedding, not her wedding.

The leaves here are stunning right now, and while I was flying around this weekend, I made sure to notice the scenery. I had the top down on Saturday to make it easier to load stuff in the back seat (trunk is ridiculously small). There's something about looking up into the trees as you're driving through Valley Forge that puts you right.

And now that I'm "right" in the psyche, I have to get working. I have two projects that have short deadlines -- one is on fire as we speak. Then another project came in Thursday afternoon that has to be started and maybe finished today. Busy Monday.

How was your weekend? How gorgeous is it where you live right now?


Friday, October 19, 2012

Serenity Now!

What's on the iPod: I Met Him on a Sunday by Labelle and Laura Nyro


There's still time to register! The 8 Top Tax Strategies for Freelancers webinar, being held Thursday, November 8th at 3 PM ET, is just $69.95. For that, you'll get close to $375 worth of goodies, plus a month's membership in the 5 Buck Forum! Register here.

Thanks to Jenn Mattern for the shout-out for the 5 Buck Forum over on All Freelance Writing. We love having you there, Jenn. You and everyone who participates makes it a lively, supportive place.

Dare I even think I'm catching up with over a month's worth of work? I'd be giddy at the notion if it weren't for my recent history of seeing a planned day off turn into a 10-hour marathon. Yesterday was fruitful, albeit full of little interruptions. I had phone calls to make that had nothing to do with work, and that chewed up a bit of time. Then the writers group was coming here, so I had to break down and clean something. I made some dips and ran to the store for chips and veggies, too. Then back to this chair to make some headway on a project.

I had a chance to visit Urban Muse blog and All Freelance Writing. There's a common theme, one I was just thinking of posting about (I still will, but in fairness to Susan and Jenn, I'll let you know I'd read their posts, too). It's where you work with or without an emergency.

Yesterday, my Internet went down for a few hours right about the time I was expecting a rush job from a client. Even the cell phone wasn't picking anything up. It wasn't my router -- it was Verizon. My daughter's company was without Internet for that same length of time, and she works about eight miles from here.

So I had a choice -- rush out to a coffee shop, library or other WiFi-enabled place, or find something else to do while it was down. I opted to stay home. I had projects that I could finally get a leg up on thanks to no electronic distractions, so I plugged away at them. Then I took a break and made a Thai dipping sauce for the writers group meeting. And took a phone call. And made a few phone calls.

In essence, I avoided free WiFi intentionally. The reasons, which will echo what you'll see on Susan's and Jenn's blogs, are these:

Adapting to the laptop. I love a full-sized keyboard on a keyboard tray with plenty of room to spread out. And I'm used to my keyboard, so any time I have to start using the laptop, it's like trying to re-learn algebra or speak Italian. I can't with any ease or grace.

The noise is just too much. When my husband worked from home one day, he kept saying "What was that?" to noises I'm completely oblivious to. That's me when I'm sucking up the free WiFi at Burger King - they have that television going and I just can't stop watching even if CNN repeats endlessly the same damn thing. The worst noise ever? The library. I've heard quieter train wrecks.

The lack of thought. Panera, can I just tell you that two electric outlets for 15 people trying to use their laptops is not adequate? Maybe you're trying to tell us to go home, but how about just not offering the free WiFi? It's like offering a sale on shoes and having only one pair in stock. The same goes for every place that doesn't consider the needs of the electronic crowd. Oh, and local coffee shop? I love you, but I hate that you have a firewall (or a guy with a firewall on his computer) that knocks me off the Internet every five minutes.

The sore neck/arm/wrist. It's just not that comfortable sitting in a big, cushy chair or on a well-worn sofa. At first it feels great, but then your leg starts to get numb or your foot falls asleep or you have to shift six times because your neck is straining or your arm is getting sore and your wrist is starting to ache....

The files are at home. I have yet to transition all my files over to my LAN, SkyDrive or Google Drive, so what I need to work on is here. I'm okay with loading it on to a zip drive, but it's just one minor hassle that has me thinking home is where I should be.

How often do you work away from home?
How do you overcome the free WiFi glitches and roadblocks? 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

How Poetry Makes Us Better Business Writers

What's on the iPod: Lonely Boy by The Black Keys



Is it even possible that I'm digging out from under this pile of work? Really? I'm afraid to say anything for fear one more thing comes in that threatens to stretch today into another 10-hour day. For now, I'm not exhaling - optimism is for suckers.

I'm in the middle of a modern/contemporary poetry course, and we've been studying imagist poems. An example is William Carlos Williams's two versions of the same poem -- the second being the imagist version.



Young Woman At a Window
Version 1:

While she sits
there
with tears on
her cheek

her cheek on
her hand

this little child
who robs her

knows nothing of
his theft

but rubs his
nose

Version 2:

She sits with
tears on
her cheek
her cheek on
her hand
the child
in her lap
his nose
pressed
to the glass

So obviously the meaning and the cadence changes with the second version. What also changes is the clarity - the second is more obscure in meaning, isn't it? The first tells a very definite story, leaves a few things up for question, and leads the reader to a certain conclusion.

Ah, but version two is a poem stripped of extraneous words, and intentionally so. Williams is exact in his approach -- you can sense that he's set out to make this deliberately unclear, up for interpretation and discussion.

So which one is stronger? Depends a little on what you like, but version two packs a pretty big wallop for so small a poem.

How does this relate to business writing? We can look at poetry - and even more specifically the differences between these two versions, and see how the methods in each change the message.

Brevity. Cutting out extraneous wording from our prose -- yes, even business prose -- can take the focus from a micro level to a macro level. You see more. Maybe not clearly, but what you see in the shorter poem is a tighter message, one that evokes a response in you. You're now intrigued. You're also adding your own filters and translating it to fit you. That means you're spending a little more time contemplating it. And if this were a business ad or sales piece you wrote for a client, you would have made your client very, very happy.

Clarity. But there's a lesson in the first version too, isn't there? Not every client wants a riddle wrapped in an enigma as their lead-in to clients. While imagist style can teach us to trim our words to the absolute minimum necessary to evoke the feeling or send the message, sometimes we have to give more information. The first poem does that, and spells out clearly what that message is. It may not stick with you as long (or maybe it does), but the intended message has been received.

Also, both versions use plenty of breaks and pauses in writing to emphasize certain words. If you're writing  website content, you have less than two seconds to capture a reader's attention. Why not make it two impactful seconds? But will this work when you're writing a white paper for that same client -- 10 pages explaining a researched study outcome or a trend that brings up specific issues? Not likely.

Right word, right time. What both poems have is an attention to using the exact right word in the exact right place. The same goes for business writing. It's okay to say "Joglegs inspire athletes to jump higher, run farther, thanks to our full line of footwear." But why not choose your words more carefully? "Jump higher. Run farther. Your shoes, your life. Joglegs."

How has poetry or fiction helped you in your business writing?
What one lesson is toughest for you to incorporate into your client writing?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Business Planning

What's on the iPod: Steady, As She Goes by The Raconteurs

Done. One project down, two to go. The big one is finished, the next smaller big one (how's that for adjective overload?) is this morning's job, and the two smaller ones will come this afternoon. I doubt I'll finish the bigger of the projects, but I'll start it. That's the goal.

Kimberly Ben over at Avid Writer has a great post up reminding us it's time to revisit that business plan for 2013. I like that Kim has a plan that she revises often. She's already ten steps ahead of many of us in that regard.

Hers is a relatively simple one. I like that. The more complicated the plan, the less likely we are to actually use it (let alone look at it). Kim touches on a few of the things in her plan, like goals and tracking her progress against those goals. I like her approach -- it works for me, too.

What goes into a usable business plan? Here's what I include in mine:

Goals. Kim said it and I agree -- business goals are definitely part of the plan. It's where I start. How much do you want to make annually? With whom do you want to work? How do you want your business to grow?

Targets. Once I figure my annual goal, I make a monthly earnings target. You can do it any way you like -- weekly, daily, hourly, whatever. For me, it's just easier to see it monthly (and not forget to look at it). Now I know how much I need to make each month to reach the larger goal.

Clients. This one is more loosely planned for me. I have current clients with whom I will always work. Still, it's usually a good idea to build into your plan a mixture of clients you'd like to target. Magazines, corporates, authors, etc. It's up to you. I suggest you plan for at least three steady clients so that if one drops out of your orbit, you're not scrambling to make up a large chunk of your income (and they do drop out -- often without warning).

Expansion plans. I've been mulling over a potential direction for my business. That needs a little more planning only because I'm a stickler for deadlines and content quality, so I'd have to be content that my expanded business can handle the work at the same level of quality the clients require. The business plan is a great place to try the idea on. It forces you to think on it from all angles.

New markets. This could go under the clients category, but it really does deserve more than just a passing glance. Are you working in health care, for example, and think you'd like to transition some of that experience over into nursing/medical/pharmaceutical fields? Or are you writing for style publications and see the wide-open possibilities in the retail association field? Doodle it out on paper. How do you plan to get there?

Marketing. You knew this was coming, right? Business plans go nowhere without marketing. Who, how often, how you'll track it, what methods you'll use to get in touch - put it all on paper or formalize it by creating your own tracking spreadsheet. Then build marketing into your day. Fifteen minutes a day is a good start, for it gets you in the habit. If you've been doing this a while, fifteen minutes is all you need to get a solid query out to an editor.

What goes in your business plan?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Redistribution & Your Client: What Would You Do?

What's on the iPod: All at Once by The Airborne Toxic Event

What a busy day! I worked on one project --one that isn't quite finished -- and I have two waiting in the wings. How bad was it? I was sitting here at 8 pm taking my online courses. Today will be full-on work. I intend to take my hour for lunch, but I'm hoping to plow through one project and get the other started before then.

Had a note last week from a writer who has an interesting dilemma. She's been working with a client for a number of months doing blogging. Now the client has presented her with another job -- a certain number of articles per week. Those articles are ones the client intends to use on an article "exposure" site.

Her question: What to do about it?

The details: The site in question does not pay (though the client does pay her for the articles), and they're free to redistribute any articles at their own discretion without payment. That means if another site wants to use it without paying, that's fine. Also, they don't pay writers at all.

Her dilemma was not wanting any site to use her words without payment. So what's the solution?

I gave her two:

  1. Tell your client how that would affect their content and their control over it.
  2. Refuse the work.
Since it seemed to me that the client's intent was to distribute widely, I told her I'd fully inform them of what's happening with the copy, control, and nonpayment, then let them decide. And I'd insist my name be taken off the content. While "exposure" for a company in that way may work, it might be the death knell for a serious professional who wants quality clips. I'm not sure where this particular website distributes, so I'd opt for a ghostwriting role.

What would you tell her? How would you deal with this situation if presented to you?

Monday, October 15, 2012

Tears, Smiles, and Money

What's on the iPod: Ten Thousand Words by The Avett Brothers

Sometimes the busy weekends can be busy in good ways. After a slightly rocky beginning, my weekend ended on a high note. Friday night I barely remember. I stepped away from this computer exhausted, having had a week that started before 9 am and stretched well beyond dinner hours with very short breaks in between. I do remember collapsing on the sofa as my stepson was packing his things all around us. He moved his things to West Virginia for a job he starts tomorrow.

We had dinner with him and his girlfriend late Friday. None of us were quite awake enough for a good conversation, but it was nice spending time with them. She's in residency at a local hospital, so she may have been the only one of us used to long hours.

Saturday he moved everything out. I went for coffee for the troops, then right after he left, my dear friend from high school arrived. I've known her since first grade, and we discovered a few years back that she was an hour away in New Jersey. We spent much of the afternoon together, and vowed to make it more than once a year.

That evening, my husband came down with something -- I suspect kidney stone -- that had him screaming in pain. It was somewhere around midnight I'd asked him if the hospital was a good idea, but he had turned onto his other side and just collapsed in exhaustion. Since then I've been plying him with homemade lemonade. If it's a stone, the citric acid will break it up before Phase Two. We don't want Phase Two. Either way, he's seeing a doctor.

Sunday I was up early and off to church. It's funny that I'm in church again. I had left just around the time I'd divorced, not really sure what fit me anymore. I couldn't reconcile myself to a process that included paying for an annulment before you can be accepted fully again. But it was a combination of things that took me back -- I'd been doing a good deal of genealogy research, and I realized just how much my Irish ancestors had gone through just to be Catholic, how many times they'd been ostracized or tossed out of their own country, not accepted in this one, etc. Seemed rash of me to just turn my back on it so quickly.

Also, my niece is about to be confirmed and she asked me to be her sponsor. That was the push I needed. I'd been wanting to reconcile myself one way or the other, so now is the time. And I'm fortunate to have walked into the local church and found a warm, open group of people, priest included. I'm here for now. We'll see what transpires.

Since I was out of church by 8:30 yesterday morning, I had plenty of time to come home, make some breakfast, and then drive off to meet my daughter and her future mom-in-law at a wedding boutique close to where she's thinking of having her wedding. (She was at her future in-laws' house that weekend, so they rode together to meet me.) The goal was to get ideas and have a girly day together. The result: THE dress. She put it on and the look on her face was enough. We soaked through a few tissues -- all three of us -- then I whipped out the debit card. It was surprisingly inexpensive considering how stunning she looked and how many accessories we bought for the big day. Then again, the boutique is in Lancaster, PA, and things are just  more affordable there than in Philly.

So husband is feeling a bit better, daughter is glowing like crazy, and stepson starts a new chapter. And I just got a huge check via FedEx this morning that makes me feel temporarily rich. It's been a good weekend. :-)

Today, work. I have a radio script and web copy to get out, plus I'm expecting at least one more phone call on another client's magazine work. Plus there's another article assignment -- not due until December 21st -- that I'd like to start on slowly.

How was your weekend? What's on your agenda this week?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Friday Randomness

What's on the iPod: Hypocritical Kiss by Jack White


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A wildly busy day again yesterday. I pushed through a mountain of projects, and put the final touches on what turned out to be an article I'm really pleased with. I hope the editor likes it. I had fun with it.

Today I have two must-do projects, then I might actually kick back and do, oh I don't know, nothing? Somehow I can't see myself doing that, but lately doing nothing is becoming a bit of a pipe dream. I do know that working full tilt well beyond 5 pm is taking its toll. I feel dazed by 5 pm and incoherent shortly thereafter. It has to ease up. It just has to.

Cool news from Jenn Mattern -- she mentioned back in August her plan retire her Web Writer's Guide ebook. Look for her exciting announcement today on All Freelance Writing to see how soon it's retiring and how you can score a special "last chance" deal."

Nano --We're less than two weeks away from the start of another NanoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I'm not partaking this year, but it's a great motivation to get words on paper without over-analyzing yourself. 

Learn to argue -- Who says arguing isn't a science? I noticed this course on Coursera (free, of course!). Might be good if you're trying to find ways to secure payment, negotiate rates, etc.

Death Sparkles. Really, it does. -- The Death Sparkles Anthology, featuring good chum Devon Ellington's work, launches today! Visit Ink in My Coffee for purchasing info.

I'm outta here. Really. I'm tired. The minute this job is completed, I'm done for the day. Time for a little R&R. It's been hard-earned. My dear high school chum is showing up tomorrow and I'm preparing for some honest-to-gawd fun with one of my best friends. 

What randomness do you have to share?


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Entrecard, Exitcard

What's on the iPod: Hardliners by Holcombe Waller

Ready for tax season? It's not too early to learn how to save big on your taxes with some smart deductions and simple record-keeping. Join guest presenter Julian Block for a special webinar -

8 Top Tax-Saving Strategies for Freelancers

sponsored by Anne Wayman and me. Julian's the guy to learn from - he's a recognized tax expert who's published in The New York Times and Wall Street Journal. He's also appeared on the Today Show and Wall Street Journal Reports. For more info, freebies, and even more savings, sign up now: 
--

Did I make the mistake of saying I wasn't too busy? My days are getting longer - stretching well beyond 5 pm with phone calls - but until this client project wraps up, there's no way to avoid it. Plus I'm starting on another sizable client project. I haven't even asked the deadline. I really don't want to know. Just  keep swimming...

I got a note from my chum Kirk Petersen (the nicest Republican you'll ever want to know), who owns that terrific blog All That Is Necessary, where he kibbutzes rather intelligently about all things political. While he and I don't share the same political views, I appreciate his sensible dissemination of political topics. He makes me actually enjoy politics, which I don't normally.

Anyway, Kirk sent me a message about my Entrecard. I've used Entrecard for a long time, and it's been a useful tool in bringing new readers to this blog, as well as helping me find kindred spirits around the blogosphere. But he was telling me to take down my link. Why?

Because it's gone.

Actually, I should have seen it coming. I'd noticed a rapid decline in the number of people using it - and in the quality of those who still remained. It was becoming a vehicle for get-rich-quick "bloggers" to drive traffic. I'd all but stopped using because I didn't know quite where to spend my Entrecard credits.

It was good while it lasted.

I've met some wonderful people via Entrecard. I'm sad to see it go. But perhaps it was a tool that the new owners didn't find value in, for rumor has it they simply put no effort into keeping it going.

So now what? Pinterest? Not likely.

I have a Pinterest account, but I've not yet seen anyone flocking there to find business contacts. And given the setup, and the terms of service, I'm thinking it won't be a strong marketing tool. Besides, Pinterest does little to drive traffic to your blog or website. It's more static in nature, though you can bring those things to Pinterest by "pinning" them to a board.

So how do you drive traffic to your blog? Here are some of my strategies:

Tweet about it. There is probably more traffic coming here via tweeted links than Entrecard could have ever sent this way. Twitter is a more immediate way to get word out.

Link on it. I love that LinkedIn lets me update AND tweet at the same time. One place, double-duty traffic building. What's not to love?

Give it a +1. Google+ is good at getting the word out quickly, too. I don't use it as much as I probably should, but that's because the interface and the "noise" of it, though perhaps better than Twitter, isn't easy to sort through (Twitter is, somehow). But I've begun putting a little more effort behind my connections on Google+. We'll see.

Comment elsewhere. Look, it's not cool to comment on someone else's blog with the specific intent of leaving a link behind. But by being a good community member, by engaging in conversation, you can bring a few folks your way to see what else you have to say.

How do you drive traffic? Or if you don't have a blog, how do you build a network?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Marketing Strategy: Reliability

What's on the iPod: Runaways by The Killers

Ready for tax season?
 It's not too early to learn how to save big on your taxes with some smart deductions and simple record-keeping. Join guest presenter Julian Block for a special webinar -
8 Top Tax-Saving Strategies for Freelancers
sponsored by Anne Wayman and me. Julian's the guy to learn from - he's a recognized tax expert who's published in The New York Times and Wall Street Journal. He's also appeared on the Today Show and Wall Street Journal Reports. For more info, freebies, and even more savings, sign up now: 
--

Despite a few stops and starts yesterday and one minor interruption, I was able to unravel the Eurozone crisis and put on paper enough words to get the job done. I'll go over the article today and hand it in. This one was so intriguing. I love these financial topics. I don't understand why -- I can't handle math or finance personally. Maybe it's being able to understand it at all that appeals.

I was talking with a writer friend the other day about something an editor had said to me way back at the beginning of my career. It was my first writing job - a stringer for a local newspaper - and of the 22 people they had hired, I was one of three who'd stuck it out and did the job. One day, an editor for the Sunday insert magazine called. She wanted someone to write business profiles. "I thought of you because you're reliable."

At the time, I was a little disheartened. Where was the "Your writing is so fantastic" praise I was hungry for? Then I realized she didn't need to say it. She assumed my skill was there or I wouldn't be writing for them at all. Instead, she'd complimented me in a much nicer way. She'd called me reliable.

In my book Marketing 365, I wanted to include this as a strategy because it's a strong attribute. Clients look for someone with talent, sure, but they can't do a thing with talent that doesn't show up when expected.

So straight from my book to you:


Strategy #223. Be reliable.
Ask anyone who has had to wait on a contractor to show up when promised and you’ll get the same answer – reliability is a critical element to business success.  People love doing business with people who don’t make them wait with or without explanation.

---

But what does being reliable mean? That depends on whom it is you're talking to. Here are ways to be reliable:

Meet the deadlines. It's odd to consider that someone wouldn't meet a deadline,but in my days as an editor, I had more than my share of issues with absentee writers. If they want it by next Friday, make sure it's there by Friday, if not sooner.

Deliver what they were hoping for. And more. It's often enough to simply follow the directions of the project and deliver what you'd agreed to. But sometimes you may want to kick it up a notch and give them additional stuff -- a sidebar or chart for that article, or a complementary postcard mailer alongside the brochure.

Invest yourself in the project. You're about to take on a website project, but you know they've missed a few critical steps to make that website shine. Suggest improvements when and where you can. Help them look good. They'll remember and appreciate it, and they'll come to rely on you for more than just writing -- you've just become a trusted source.

How are you being reliable?

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Rabbit Recovery

What's on the iPod: Jezebelle by Blaudzun


SAVE BIG ON TAX WEBINAR: If you don't know your Schedule C from a hole in the ground or if you have questions about deductions, losses, extensions, or self-employment taxes, join Anne Wayman and me and our special guest presenter, Julian Block for this special webinar - 8 Top Tax-saving Strategies for Freelancers. Julian is a renowned tax expert lauded by The New York Times and Wall Street Journal, and who's given tax advice to viewers of the Today Show and Wall Street Journal Reports.

Sign up now and save! Plus get freebies galore: Register here.
---

Oh, what a weekend.

You could probably tell it was a good one --I didn't have energy to post yesterday. Fact is, yesterday was a complete wash, and with good reason. But let's not get ahead of ourselves.

Friday I get a text message from my daughter's boyfriend. He said he needed to talk to me, but that she hustled him out the door too early, and they were driving to Pittsburgh for the Steelers/Eagles football game (his birthday gift to her). So he had to text instead.

The reason: he wanted to propose to her. Long story short:

She said yes.

I'm thrilled. He's a great kid and they complement each other so well. His family? The best people. I'm almost more thrilled that I get to be related to them than about any wedding.

Daughter will now be sporting my grandmother's engagement ring (per daughter's request), which is beautiful enough (with six diamonds, no less) to be used without any need for a new setting. A little tweaking of the sizing, but otherwise she's in love with it.

Once her excitement settled down, we had a little of our own. Sunday we went to see Frightened Rabbit. Drove to DC (three hours each way) for the show, which ended at midnight. I dragged myself into bed somewhere past 3:30 yesterday morning, donning a sleeping mask. I'm a light sleeper, so any light whatsoever would have awakened me. I slept just until 10 am, and spent the rest of the day trying to 1) get awake (caffeine), and then 2) stay awake until bedtime. But oh, what a show...

I'd rank that show right up there under U2 in terms of energy, talent and absolute fun. U2 is my favorite. These guys are second, and they put on one hell of a show. They even edged out Santana (whose show was a sublime, surreal experience) for that second spot. Two hours of fantastic music and a close-up encounter (we were mere feet from the stage, which was damn close to the ground) with some of the most energetic, irreverent, and original music I've witnessed in ages. Worth the mere $20 per to get in - those Glaswegians give one hell of a show.

Today, I'm hoping to be recovered. I have a client call this morning, then an article to finish. Also, another client project is coming in either today or tomorrow. A busy week, but hopefully not a crazy one.

Here's a snippet of the concert -- one of my favorite songs, Backwards Walk:


Friday, October 05, 2012

Weekends and Freedom

What's on the iPod: State Hospital by Frightened Rabbit

News for all you tax-averse freelancers:
 If you don't know your Schedule C from a hole in the ground or if you have questions about deductions, losses, extensions, or self-employment taxes, join Anne Wayman and me and our special guest presenter, Julian Block for this special webinar - 8 Top Tax-saving Strategies for Freelancers. Julian is a renowned tax expert lauded by The New York Times and Wall Street Journal, and who's given tax advice to viewers of the Today Show and Wall Street Journal Reports.

Sign up now and save! Plus get freebies galore: Register here.


Good day yesterday, though it did feel like wheel-spinning a few times. Had to do a favor for my daughter, which meant taking her car for new tires so she can drive to Pittsburgh this afternoon. Her boyfriend scored tickets to the Steelers-Eagles football game for her birthday. She's a Steelers fan, he's an Eagles fan. Someone is coming home happy.

That meant I had an hour to myself. I spent it going to class. I checked in via smartphone to my risk management course (Coursera, people, I'm telling you). Even took a quiz online while I waited. Good use of my time, amen.

This weekend is already planned out. Tomorrow is one of those blessed, unplanned days with hours of spare time that we all wish for. I intend to read, shop, get tea, and enjoy the peace. Then Sunday we travel to DC for a concert - I finally managed to get Frightened Rabbit tickets. They sell out so quickly that tomorrow's Philly show was sold out in 30 seconds. These guys need to play bigger venues; their fan base is swelling.

I have a few things on the agenda this morning, but by 2 I'll be free. Normally I hope for (and loosely plan for) time off on Fridays, but quick deadlines makes that impossible today. Nevertheless, I do intend to head out this afternoon. I've been working hard; time to treat myself to a few hours of relaxation.

What's your weekend looking like? Here's the latest from Frightened Rabbit. Please feel free to post links to your favorites - I'm always on the lookout for new favorites.




Have a great weekend, everyone.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Know Your Goods

What's on the iPod: Untitled (Love Song) by Counting Crows

Had a bit of a fractured day yesterday. Had a small string of revisions on the large client project, and that consumed a good bit of the day. Also, it was my daughter's birthday, so I had to dash out and finish final preparations midday. I cut out early - 4 pm - to wrap gifts and decompress. But then I found myself back at the computer for another hour playing with genealogy.

Over the weekend, I had time to read a few pages of Andrew Carnegie's book, Business. In it, he tells the story of two friends both hired by the same department store. One friend wasn't too keen on going out of his way to please customers, and he was always intent on getting ahead at the job and getting a raise. He did so by doing exactly what was expected. Imagine his surprise when the boss gave him a raise, but gave his friend a raise three times higher.

The reason: the other guy did more than what was expected. He focused completely on making the customer happy. And in one case, he demonstrated that to his friend. A customer had come in asking for a particular handkerchief. The friend said they didn't have it. The other guy nudged his friend and muttered "Third shelf down."

The manager oversaw it and said "Why don't you know your goods?" To which the friend said he couldn't possibly know everything they sold. The manager pointed to the other guy and said, "He does."

--

The story is paraphrased, of course, but the point is this: If you know your goods, you're already halfway to pleasing your customers.

Think this doesn't apply to us? You bet it does. Here are ways in which writers can "know their goods":

Think beyond your skills. I can write and edit. I cannot publish or promote. Still, that doesn't stop me from having a list of publishers and publicists handy for book manuscript clients. The same goes for writing anything of length for a client. Always recommend another editor go over it for accuracy (we can't always catch our own mistakes), and have some names handy. Likewise with web designers, graphic artists, etc.

Understand your craft. Fully. This one is an evolving, ongoing process, especially when you're talking about grammar, citations, or any nuances in the language that change with the times. Know what is colloquial and what isn't. For example, if you say "My socks need changed" I can pretty much narrow down where you live, and I can tell you you haven't understood the right verb tense yet. I know. I lived there once and made the same mistakes.

Know the software thoroughly. It took one formatting project for me to get a real education in how much I can do with Word. I still know about 50 percent of its entire functionality, but I keep watching tutorials and picking up tips whenever I can. You can dazzle your clients by knowing some of the simplest commands.

Know how to complete the project you've just been given. You don't have to have done it before, but if you take on say a brochure project, know what goes into making a successful brochure and sales pitch. If you've scored a press release gig, know how to create a compelling one that gets all the facts in there. For instance, have you ever used a negative in a release or brochure? Words like "not" or "don't" are negatives. Anything you're tempted to say that includes a negative should be re-spun into positive terms.

Learn every day. If you've always wanted to be a MS Publisher genius, start. If you want to put some meat into your marketing, read something that helps you improve. If your grammar isn't up to snuff, study a writing guide book. Don't think that the skills you have now will be all you'll ever need. The more you know, the more you can accomplish, and the more your clients will trust you. That in turn will result in more gigs and higher paying work.

How do you know your goods? What can you add to the list?

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Getting the Financial Ducks in a Row


What's on the iPod: Unfaithful by Rihanna

Wow. I'd forgotten what it was like to have a little free time. Yesterday I revised one document, edited another, and then had time to do whatever I wanted. I looked for more work (glutton for punishment), attended my online course (if you've not checked out the free courses at Coursera, you're missing out), and edited a newsletter article. The afternoon? That was mine. I cut out early and enjoyed a book as the rain came down outside.

I received a sizable payment the other day, so I was dividing it among the various places it must go. I have a system that's simple and works pretty well for me in the year I've been using it. There are just certain things we have to account for as freelancers that regular employees don't. They include:

Taxes. Oh, those nasty taxes! It's up to us to pay the piper ourselves since our checks come without any deductions. However, my problem has always been the timing - the bill is never due when there's money in my account. So now that I pay electronically, I take 15 percent off the top of each check that comes in. I pay as I go. So far, the IRS hasn't fussed (as long as they're getting their money, right?). I'd check with them before adopting my method (why should we all be in trouble?), but I've not paid late fees nor penalties by paying  this way. Honestly, I don't think they care as long as you're paying on time or early.

Retirement. We'll never get the matching funds our 9-to-5 counterparts do, but we can still sock away money on our own. Here I take another percentage of each check and deposit directly into my IRA fund.

Savings. Thanks to my system, I finally have a savings again. The same amount I put into my IRA also goes into my savings. That helps with things like late-paying clients, car repairs, vacations, you name it. If it's going off the top of each check, I never miss it. I bet you won't, either.

I've also decided to allot about $25 a month to a separate fund for software or equipment upgrades, continuing education, or any conferences that can help further my business goals. It's only $300, but it's a start in the right direction, for it gets me thinking of improvements to the equipment and my own skills.

How do you divvy up the funds? What's your method and how has it worked for you? Do you pay your taxes quarterly or as the checks arrive?

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Open Thread: What are Your Requirements?

What's on the iPod: Yes I'm Cold by Chris Bathgate

Interesting day yesterday. I spent much of it unraveling notes and charts from a client conference call. I was able to put together a rough draft so that the client has something to work with. I'm certain this one will come back a few times. I wasn't clear on how to interpret some of the data.

Got a few checks in, too. So today I'm off to the bank to deposit, then home get the taxes paid. I pay as the checks come in so that I'm not facing a large bill each quarter (or on 4/15).

A while back I received a request to do a job that, on the surface, seemed like a neat project. However, the communications quickly unraveled when the client called. The red flags were flying for many, many reasons, the primary one being that she was scattered in what she was telling me and I couldn't get a clear enough picture of what she was hiring me for. In the end, I figured it out, but too late. Communication is a must-have element in my client dealings. If we can't understand each other at the outset, it's just not going to work.

So what are the requirements you need in place in order to agree to work with someone? For me I need:

Clear, reciprocal communication. Note the "reciprocal" part. I have to be able to reach them as much as they need to reach me. And we have to be copacetic.

A defined project.  Those few times a client has said one thing and meant another are, thankfully, rare, but I remember one case in particular where what they told me is what I did. And they hated it. Even the rewrite, which I followed to the letter (I'd taped the conversation, so I knew exactly what they'd asked for), they hated. And worse, they said I wasn't getting it. They're right -- because I'm not a mind reader, I wasn't. That I was the third writer they'd burned through indicated where the actual problem was.

Reasonable time or length requirements. Part of the problem with the more recent client was the time frame; she needed everything edited and formatted in seven days. Worse, the page count, which was pretty high to start, kept climbing as she kept talking. I have to have enough time to do the job correctly, and there should be a limit to just how much is expected in that time. I remember one instance where I was expected to write an entire insurance course in three months. Eight months later, it was completed. The client's expectations were too high, and luckily he realized it once I showed him how long it was taking to research everything.

A modicum of decorum. That's not to say I won't take on projects that are, well, odd in some way. I draw the line at things that will embarrass others, embarrass me enough to want my name off it, or so convoluted that I can't get to the truth without a lie detector and Inspector Poirot. Also, I won't help you cheat on your homework. No college papers written here other than my own!

What boundaries are a must for you?


Monday, October 01, 2012

Monthly Assessment: September 2012

What's on the iPod: Almost Famous by Eminem

How was the weekend? Ours was an emotional roller coaster of sorts. We went from a funeral to a Celtic festival on the same day. His coworker, a lovely, 31-year-old woman, succumbed to sarcoma. It was a lump that appeared two weeks after the birth of her second child, which she thought was pregnancy-related. Unfortunately, it spread rapidly. It was a heartwarming service at her church, but there wasn't a dry eye, including mine. I knew her only in passing, but the thought of her two boys unaware of what they were there for just knocked the wind out of me.

We were thankful for the long ride to Bethlehem, PA for the Celtic festival. Amazing lineup of musicians, and crowded. I think the funeral was still fresh in our minds -- we weren't really feeling it. We did see a musician we've come to really enjoy -- a local guy -- who was playing at a cafe nearby. If we hadn't bumped into him, we'd never have known. That was the highlight of the entire day. Maybe it was the familiar face mixed with his amazing vocals, but we were feeling right as rain after listening to him.

So on to the business of looking backward a bit. I have to tally it all now because it's been too busy to look up to this point. Thankfully today is slower; just one project to complete and setting up interviews for a quick article due in two weeks.

Here's what happened this month on this side of the monitor:

Queries:
I sent one. Friday. That resulted in two assignments, one of which is due in late December and will be paid for in January. Always great to start the year with a known cash flow.

LOIs:
I sent none because I was so busy with no end in sight (and that's still true). Instead, I followed up on many that I'd sent. That resulted in a few upcoming conversations.

Existing clients:
Whoa, did this lot keep me busy! I've now signed on for a monthly retainer with one client, where the bulk of my work this month has come from. Also, I handled newsletter content for another clients, and an article for a favorite magazine.

New clients:
Though one client is new, it's someone I signed on with a month or so ago. I delivered website content, which they're reviewing this week. Also, I started working with a really nice client I met at the trade show. I'm providing blog posts, which are always fun.

Referrals:
I don't think there were any, though there may have been one I've forgotten. Either way, no new business this way. Instead, I farmed out a job to a writer friend because my dance card was filled to overflowing. Happy to share the workload and earnings.

Earnings:
I like this earnings pace. This month, I was once again over my targeted income goal, this time by $1,600. Call me a nervous person, but I love stocking the revenue larder as December comes closer. I don't mind sitting idle during the holidays if in fact I have the cash stored up to do so. Though, I suspect this December I won't be idle at all. Projects are already lined up.

Bottom line:
Still reaping the benefits of that one conference, and happy to have made some strong connections with the editors and clients I'm working with. While at the moment I'm looking at one unpaid invoice in which the client has gone completely mute (and that late fee will go out today), I'm also seeing a lot of invoiced fees coming shortly, with a bit more on the way. Thanks to the retainer and that one query, my October target is met. Nice way to start the month!

Time also to start marketing for November and January (and beyond). Even though there's a retainer in the works, I will not assume it's a done deal, for that's financial suicide. As much as things are going well today, you never know what changes come tomorrow that could mean you're no longer needed. So we keep marketing.

How was your September?
Words on the Page