Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I'm a slacker, I admit it

It has been days since I posted on here and tomorrow is the 1st, which means that it is time to get started on my April goal. As of tomorrow morning, I will be working to hit a goal of making $2000 in the month of April only writing for Demand Studios.

My sometimes lovable husband was kind enough to spend the last two days rearranging our bedroom to make more room for a tiny little desk and a chair, so that I can work in peace. This will make it a lot easier on me! Now if I can just convince the kids and fur babies that it is off limits to them.

I wanted a way to track the progress on my goal on here regularly so that it was easy to see and easy for me to update. I went to ticker factory and got one of their cute little tickers. This is it:

I will update it daily...or at least every other day, slacker that I am :)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Passive Income

There are many writing sites out there that pay you per page view. You write the articles and maybe promote them a bit and every month you get a nice little deposit for the views. Sounds simple, doesn't it? It's not.

The pay for page views is pitiful. And if you do not actively promote your articles, chances are your page views will be few and far between. I have been experimenting with various companies and so far I have made about $5....time to go shopping! ;)

Associated content was the first of these companies that I tried. I actually got an upfront fee for one article, and the other 3 are page views only. I have not promoted them at all, other than sending a few friends to read a particular piece. One of my articles is a fiction short story and one was written in memory of my amazing father in law after he passed away. On these 4 articles I have made...are you ready for this....a whopping $1.68. Two of these articles have been up forever. A few more months and I will be able to buy a new car! ;)

Helium is next in line. I joined in October 2009 but it was a month or two before I posted my first article. I now have 5 articles on the site, each under a different category. The articles have been up for a much shorter time than the ones at Associated Content. Grand total so far....$7.01 but that includes a $5 first article bonus. Still way ahead of AC.

Now for Ehow. I posted my first article on 02/02/2010 and so far have 4 articles up. Two of them were just published in the last two days, so they really haven't done anything yet. So far I have earned $1.21 on Ehow.

Ok, so my initial estimate of $5 total is a little low. I have actually netted a grand total of $9.90. Of course I have yet to hit payout on any of the sites, so none of the money has actually reached my hands.

I applied to this morning and got an acceptance email a few hours later. I will be writing about American Staffordshires...more commonly known as Pit Bulls. I have heard both good and bad about Examiner, but of course I haven't had time to form my own opinion yet. I figure I get to write about one of my favorite subjects, and they don't seem to be overly strict, so it might just be fun.

I really want to get a good stream of passive income coming in. I know I won't get rich doing it, but it's always nice to check your paypal account and see a little extra in there. So I will keep on trying with these sites, except for Associated Content, and see where it leads.

I am getting really excited about my April goal. A friend who is an extremely talented writer herself is joining me in going for the $2000. The extra motivation of having her to hold me accountable and cheer me on while I do the same for her will be a tremendous help. I am hunting for a tracker that will show my progress on the goal, I will have one before the first!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My April Goal

I mentioned in a previous post about setting a goal to make a certain amount of money in the month of April. I have been giving serious thought to what that goal should be. I want it to be something that I can accomplish without killing myself, but I also don't want it to be an easy goal. If I can do it without trying hard, its not really a challenge.

And I had to consider the fact that I will not have a lot of help around, and will have a 3 year old at home. Hubby has been really busy with his fire department lately, and may be going back to work soon. If he does, he will be working 12 hour days, so no help from that direction.

I have decided to set a goal to earn $2000 in the month of April, with just one company. That company is Demand Studios, and I have made that amount in one month with them before. But only a few times, and only when hubby was home and doing pretty much all the kid stuff and cooking. To do it next month, with everything else that is going on, will be difficult. But hopefully not impossible. And if I get to stressed out about it, I can always go walk in our woods....

I love our woods, just me and my faithful canine sidekick in blissful silence, surrounded by trees. It is heaven on earth. Sometimes I walk, and sometimes I just find a comfortable log and sit....pondering life, love or nothing at all. I want a little shack back there, with nothing but a comfy chair and a notebook. The things I could write in a little hideaway like that! Until I got my first visit from a snake, then I wouldn't like my hideout anymore. Country life does have its downfalls.

And, I would miss out on this....

My littlest munchkin is snoozing on my lap as I type this. Moments like this make motherhood worth every minute.

Break Studios

Break Studios is fairly new to the writing scene, but they seem to know what they are far. When I first heard about them, I decided to give them a try. You can never have to many places to write for, in my opinion. That way, when one is slow or just plain getting on your nerves, you have something to fall back on.

The application process was fairly simple. They want a resume and two writing samples. I applied on a Sunday evening and got an approval email the next day. The main site that writers for Break Studios supply content for is Made Man which is basically an online mans magazine that covers everything from cooking to cars to sex. Of course, sex. What else are men interested in, after all? :)

The guidelines are pretty easy to grasp, and the editors that I have encountered so far have been wonderful. And the best part...there is room for creativity. You can inject a little humor here and there, and let your "voice" shine through. That is pretty unique when it comes to writing website content, for the most part.

So, if you are a new writer looking to get started, or an established writer looking to spread your wings a little, give Break Studios a try.

Believe it or not, that is all I have to say today! My pillow is calling me, loudly. :)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Time drainers

You only get so many hours in a day to accomplish what you need to. A lot of these hours are spent earning money, whether you are a freelancer or work outside the home as an employee. When I worked outside the home, it was easier to focus on work because my home life stayed at home. Now, my home and my work lives are intertwined and it's often hard to separate the two. There are several things competing for my attention at any given moment and that makes it easy to find myself at the end of the day having worked for 8 hours to accomplish the work I could easily do in 3 if I had an office.

I know my fellow freelancers know exactly what I am talking about. If you don't, this example should explain it all! :) I woke up this morning at 3 am because our foster puppies were making a racket that you would never expect from such small creatures. When they want food, they mean now! So I drug myself from my nice comfy bed and made bottles, fed the little monsters and changed their bedding. I then made a pot of coffee and played on facebook until I was awake enough to focus. I wrote one article and then it was time to get kids up. Now the kids morning routine is my hubbys job, since I normally write late at night. But since I was already up, I let him sleep in. We live in the middle of 5 acres, and our driveway is looonnnggg :) Normally I would have enjoyed the stroll to the road with my 5 year old chattering away next to me. But at 6:30 am it is dark in the middle of the woods...and I do mean dark! I don't like dark, or rather I don't like what could be in the dark. That was the first time in years that I have wished we lived in town!

Once I get back to the house my little guy was awake, so I made him breakfast and got some kisses. He still has those fat little baby cheeks at 3 years old, so his kisses are extra sweet! Sat down to write another article, but the pups decided they didn't get enough to eat the last time. Back to making bottles and feeding squirmy little furballs. Once I got that done, my hubby made his appearance, so I was ready to get to work....

Yeah, right. Little man has a lot to say this morning, and he only wants to say it to mommy. Try writing a factual, well researched article while pondering the questions that a 3 year old can come up with. I dare you. My second article sits there with only the first few words written.

By the time I remember that I promised to fix my friends computer and bake a cake for my 5 year old and actually accomplish both, it is 3 pm. I have been up for 12 hours and have only finished two articles. I am actually amazed that I got that much done! Now I have an hour before the school bus stops at the end of the driveway and the noise level around here hits headache inducing levels.

This is why it is 1 am, I have been up for forever and I just finally finished all my work 30 minutes ago. I am capable of writing at lightening speeds when I find quiet with no distractions. The problem is, I only find that about once a year. And I am tired. Days like today make me want to go get a job somewhere that isn't here. Or at the very least to rent an office somewhere to do my writing in. What a nice dream that is. I think I will go find my pillow and dream about that....right after I feed the puppies.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Todays Ramblings

I feel like I ramble a lot on this blog, just typing in whatever thoughts may be floating around in my head at any given moment. That may not make for the best blog, but I find it amazingly therapeutic. This is the one place where I can just let loose and say what I want to say without fear of editors and guidelines.

Our puppies are 2 weeks old today, and doing really well. They are growing fast and finally have all their eyes open. They are also more active, which means more lost sleep for me! But they are so adorable that I am incapable of holding it against them.

I have read several forum posts and blogs in various places that are based on personal challenges and it has caused me to think about doing one of my own. As a freelancer, the amount of money that I bring in each month varies widely. Some months I end up with an impressive amount, while others seem like I hardly worked at all. This month is halfway over, and will be one of the bad ones. So, I was thinking about setting a personal challenge to earn a certain amount of money in the month of April and sharing my journey on this blog. Not only will it be inspirational for me, but it may also inspire someone else. I am just not sure what amount of money I want to go for. If I choose an amount that is to low then it will not be much of a challenge. On the other hand, if I set my goal to high then I will be faced with public failure. I figure I have a week or so to decide, since I won't be starting until the 1rst.

I have written mainly cooking articles today, and now I am starving, so I will end this now and go raid the kitchen. :)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Motivation...or lack of it

Every freelancer knows about motivation. It keeps you pushing forward to meet that deadline or complete that assignment so that you can keep the dollars rolling in. It's something we have to have.

I lost mine at some point today. One of the companies I write for has had technical issues for the past week or so, and I have watched my bank account suffer because of it. But I persevered and they eventually got it all fixed. Now that I don't have to battle to submit every article, I seem to have lost my drive. I just do not want to write. I need to write, the people who send me those lovely bills each month are not going to be happy if I try to tell them they will have to wait because I am just not feeling it this week. Logically, I know I need to write, write and write some more. Yet I sit here and stare at the screen.

I have written today, I wrote a few things that were due today and tomorrow, and I worked on a short story I have been playing around with. And of course, I am writing this blog. But I really need to write several more articles before I call it a day. I just can't seem to get the words from my brain to the keyboard. There is a short somewhere.

I know other freelancers know what I mean, and I would love to hear how you conquer a lack of motivation. That is if anyone is actually reading this thing! Hello...anyone out there? :)

Monday, March 15, 2010

What is freelancing?

The dictionary defines a freelancer as a person who works as a writer, designer, performer, or the like, selling work or services by the hour, day, job, etc., rather than working on a regular salary basis for one employer.

Any freelancer will tell you that it is so much more than that. A successful freelancer must be very disciplined with time because it is extremely easy to get sidetracked when you do not have a boss watching out to make sure you are doing your job. And if you are a parent as well as a freelancer, that becomes twice as hard. Kids don't understand deadlines! I once attempted to explain to my three year old that we could not go outside to play because I had to meet a deadline. That went over really ended with my sweet baby having a complete melt down and me feeling like the worst mom in the world. The poor little guy was bored, he is here alone with no other kids all day. Mom looks like a perfect substitute, but mom won't leave the computer and go push him on the swing. A deadline means nothing in the face of boredom.

Organization is another key. If you have multiple clients, you have to keep very close track of what you are doing for each one, as well as when it needs to be done. As a writer, I have let a client slip my mind, only to find that five articles are due....tonight. It's not a nice feeling to know that I will be burning the midnight oil once again.

I cannot tell you how many people have come to me and said, : I want to work at home too, hook me up!" Yeah, right.....a few weeks later I hear about how you can't make money working at home, it's all a scam. I do not help anyone get started freelancing any longer. This so called "scam" work pays my bills quite well. It has even kept us living the way we are used to when my husband has been out of work for over 6 months. But I work hard for the money I make. I not only put in a lot of hours producing quality work to ensure that my clients will continue to want my services, I also balance this around my home and my family. It would be so much easier to go to a quiet office each day, work my 8 hours and go home at the end of the day. Freelancing is not easy, not even close. But last week when the school called because one of my children was running a high fever, I didn't have to clear it with a boss, or worry about missed hours on my paycheck. I just simply saved what I was working on and headed out the door. For me, that makes it all worth it.

This is not how it was supposed to start!

I created this blog several weeks ago, with the intention of posting brilliant thoughts and information about the two things I know best, parenting and freelancing.

Somehow making that first post eluded me. I started it, but got sidetracked and finally deleted it to post this. What ever point I was trying to make in my original first post has long been lost.

So, I will start with a rather unconventional first post which will have little to do with freelancing or parenting, unless you consider hand raising a litter of puppies to be parenting. I spend a lot of my free time...all two minutes a week....on rescuing animals. Mainly dogs, and my husband is a huge help in this endeavor, although to say he is enthusiastic would be pure fiction. This is what has kept me from blogging, sleeping and sometimes eating for the past 10 days. This sweet, lovable mama dog was way to old to be having babies and she died when the pups were just a few days old. The actual diagnosis was milk fever, which can quickly kill a young, healthy dog. She never stood a chance.

Now I am a foster mom to four little ink black balls of fluff. Long after my days of midnight feedings are over, I find myself once again waking up several times a night to make bottles and feed hungry little mouths. At the moment, it is a little after 4 am, the kids have to be up in a little more than an hour and I am sitting here waiting for a plastic tote full of squirmy, whiny critters to drift back off to sleep so that I can do the same. Their tummies have been filled, their bedding changed and now it will take at least 30 minutes for them to arrange themselves in a perfect pile and wander off to puppy dreamland.

Tomorrow is a new day, and I will be back to post all those brilliant thoughts about freelancing. Right after I get all the kids off to school, get the little one settled down so I can work, and hit a few deadlines that are staring me in the face. And of course, feed the piglets....I mean the puppies :)

About Me

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I am a freelance writer who specializes in website content as well as print media. I offer fast, professional service and competitive rates.