Tag Archive | articles

I think I strained my whatchamacallit

When I bought my house, I was gifted a nifty 1970’s desk that has real potential. Yes, I like kitsch. So anyway, I set up the spare bedroom as my office, a thing I have wanted since the beginning of time. A mom cave; my own space to do my writing, surfing, kibbitzing, and daydreaming. It was awesome! I had the desk, a couple of cute chairs and an occasional table, even a smallish grandfather clock. There’s a nice size window that lets in the morning sun, limiting my need for the kinda crappy overhead light. Of course, it was still springlike outside when I did this and I was filled with joy. Until summer hit and I discovered that my central AC is central non-AC. Let’s be realistic here. I just bought a house. I don’t have a spare 5 grand laying around to replace the AC. What I have is 2 small window units and a portable AC unit that has seen better days, but only cost me $40 at the local deal-n-dash. I tried, really really tried, to tough it out in my new mom cave. That window with the morning sun made that little room hotter than the 7th circle of hell by 10 a.m. I was hot, sweaty, and stuck to everything I came in contact with. It was a miserable experience. Keeping the office intact, I took my handy dandy lablet first to the living room, and ultimately to my room. No it’s not a typo. I said lablet. It’s a Surface Pro; a little more than a tablet, but not quite a laptop. Lablet. Deal with it.


I’m not a young woman anymore. I’m not old, but it’s been a while since I’ve seen my 20’s. Sitting on my bed trying to use my lablet became an exercise in constant hip and knee joint pain, not to mention the joyful feeling it gave my lower back. And since I am now doing the writing gig full time, I spend a lot of hours in front of a keyboard. Like on the order of 8-10 hours a day, depending on what I am working on. I sat on my bed because it was what there was to sit on, and it put me in close proximity of the portable AC. My entire bedroom is currently arranged around the beast, a trade off I made to avoid heat stroke on any given deep-south summer day. Not to mention the fact that it’s a lablet. It’s got a cute little purple keyboard, and a cute little kickstand, neither of which are designed to sit on the bed for hours on end to write article after article.


At any rate, it was starting to affect my productivity. I was waiting until late at night to work, and rising before the sun to work, so that I could whine about my back, hips, and knees throughout the heat of the day. When you write for a news aggregation service, you can’t always do that. So this morning, I bit the bullet and decided to move the desk into my room. Holy God, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. I had forgotten how awkward and heavy that damn desk is. I swear I think it is actually made out of cleverly disguised cast iron. It is definitely a solid piece of office furniture, unlike my current desk chair, which is, yes, a lawn IMG_20170723_134411chair with a cushion and a throw I crocheted while darling daughter was in the hospital. Hey, don’t judge. It works. Being the perky little go-getter than I am (stop LAUGHING!) I rearranged my bedroom and pushed, pulled, shoved, and drug the damn desk in here. It’s where I now sit, writing this post. The jury is out on if it’s cooler and more comfortable, though. With all the moving, I think I pulled something. Something vital. My whatchamacallit. That thing. Plus I’m hot and sweaty from the rearranging. So, for today, I won’t judge. If I can actually move tomorrow, we’ll see how it works.


Find yourself some clients, they said…

And every single thing I have ever read on the subject makes it sound just that easy.  I’m going to be honest with you here. It’s NOT easy to find clients when you are just starting out as a freelance writer. People are not going to be lining up in droves to buy your written words. A single person isn’t going to make a line of one either. It’s a bitch to get established, okay? That is why content mills wind up flooded with writers. Don’t get me wrong. It’s fairly easy money that generally requires  minimal research. The more you write, the more you make.  The editors tend to be less exhaustive, although you will get the stray editor that thinks s/he works for the Washington Post. If you’ve ever read some of the mass content presented on sites like Facebook, you understand that a lot of these people churn out garbage on a daily basis. And by garbage, I really mean garbage. If you don’t care about building a portfolio, if you don’t need clips or a byline, and f you are fluent in at least one language, then you can make some great spare cash this way. Use a little common sense, though. If you want to write for, say a Spanish audience, you’ll do much better if you are actually fluent in Spanish. Google translate can only do so much.

So, how do you go about building your portfolio, getting your clips, and seeing your byline out there? Use the rule of K.I.S.S. Keeping it simple to start is going to be your best bet. Stick to writing what you know in the beginning. You may think your research skills are phenomenal, but there’s an editor out there just waiting to tell you otherwise. If you write about something you know, you write with confidence and that shows. You’ll be amazed at how much you do know about something once you start writing about it. the words will just flow, and that saves time over struggling with every single word you type. Make sure of your sources and definitely fact-check! In the information age, there is always some armchair expert ready to troll you mercilessly over misrepresented ideology and misstated facts. Once you’ve got a handle on the basics, it’s time to find your audience.

So, go, find yourself some clients!!

Just kidding. I wouldn’t throw you out there like that. That’s how I was tossed out there years ago, and nobody should have to learn everything the hard way.  So I’m going to give you one resource I wish I had had years ago.  It’s simply this link here. This will connect you to submission guidelines for hundreds of different news and magazine titles. Back in the day, I had to go look this up in the library, one magazine at a time, and one outdated book that listed contacts and guidelines that were no longer valid. This is my gift to you. You’re welcome.

One last thing. Don’t quibble over pay to start. As a new author, you won’t win any contests doing that. Take the scale offered, and keep the ultimate goal in mind. Soon enough, you’ll get to ask for different scales based on your work, but for now, you need the exposure more.


Go find yourself some clients!


So I Sent Out This Query Letter…

via Daily Prompt: Pursue

As I pursue my dreams of being able to support myself from freelancing, I write a lot of cold articles, rough drafts, ideas, and blog posts. Yesterday I got this idea to write a short article and submit it (or a small part of it) to Llewellyn. Query letters go along with it, it’s part of the beast. For some reason, I had the hardest time writing this query letter though.  It all started with their submission guidelines.

They publish books, online content, and annuals and calendars. As I read through the submission guidelines for the annuals, I was thrown for a loop. Their guidelines said they mostly look for 50,000 words depending on the project. For an annual publication that is full of short articles?? 50,000 is almost novel length, right? I’m pretty sure they don’t want me to submit a 50,000 word article. An article is not the same as a book. And there, right there, is where I started getting all weird about the query letter. Here, I was trying to pitch a short article and suddenly my brain vapor-locked. I decided to step away from the computer for a bit and come back to it. So…that’s what I did.

I came back, refreshed, regrouped, and ready to finish this up. Naturally, as hard as I tried to find the actual name of the submissions editor, I couldn’t find it anywhere. I couldn’t find it on their website, I couldn’t find it through Google, and I couldn’t find it through Bing. I finally did something that makes me cringe, and began the salutation with “Dear Annuals Submissions Editor”. I sent the query, closed my computer, and took myself to bed. The pursuit of literary genius would just have to wait until I recovered from the debacle of the really messed up query letter. Not that I consider a short article literary genius, mind you. But you’ve got to start somewhere!