Freelance writers usually spend a lot of time negotiating with clients and subject matter experts. From contract and payment agreements to progress meetings to conference calls to final product reviews, at almost every step of the process the freelancer is called on to answer questions, address concerns, or placate anxieties.
Instead of thinking of these as interruptions, think of them as opportunities. Each interaction with a client is another chance to sell them on you, not just your work.
If you’re used to working alone and yelling at the computer about how boneheaded your client is (hypothetically, of course; none of my clients ever cause me to do that), then you will probably find this short list of handy, bacon-saving diplomacy tips helpful:
Continue reading “diplomacy 101 for freelance writers”
Successful proposals demonstrate your skills and capabilities to prospective clients. But superior proposals convey more than just facts and figures — they also demonstrate that you are listening to them.
The people reading your proposal want to know not only whether you can complete their work on time and on budget, but also whether they think you’ll work well with their team. Whether you can ask and answer questions. Whether you really understand what they want to get out of this project.
Somehow, your proposal has to convey this message along with the staffing charts and budget tables.
Sure, you could just salt the text with trite phrases such as “we listen to our customers.” But with a little bit of good writing, you can turn your entire proposal into an example of your responsiveness. Here are some proven tips for putting that into practice:
Continue reading “do your proposals listen to your clients?”
This morning I received an e-mail with the subject line “Job on Computer in July,” from an unfamiliar name. I’m used to receiving cold-call e-mails from prospective clients, so I opened it up and took a look:
We offer a part time job on your computer.
We will provide you with the texts and you will correct the texts as an english speaking person and send them back to us. Just correct grammar and spell mistakes, nothing else.
Ah, a work-at-home scam. Of course. I get plenty of those. Just out of curiosity, I kept reading to see how much they pay — assuming they do pay.
Oh, they pay, all right . . .
Continue reading “cheap as free”
I read an interesting post on Write to Done this morning offering tips on how to break through writer’s block. The first tip: remind yourself that you’re a writer.
While I generally find the advice on WTD to be both useful and on target, I have to disagree with that particular tip (the rest were pretty handy). Regular readers know that I don’t call myself a wordsmith; but it might surprise you to know that I prefer not to call myself a writer either.
No, I don’t eschew the term in favor of buzzwords like “communicator” or “content provider,” either. When people ask me what I do for a living, I don’t tell them that I’m a writer.
I tell them that I write.
A pedantic distinction? Maybe — but it’s a distinction that can clear up the crippling paralysis of writer’s block once and for all.
Continue reading “don’t be a writer”
Freelancers who manage multiple projects understand the importance — and the difficulty — of effective time management. But simply dividing your day into discrete blocks isn’t enough.
Writing, editing, and designing all require different mindsets; jumping straight from one type of project to another — say, from carefully proofreading every word in a technical report to staring at the wall for an hour while an article composes itself in your head — wastes more time than it saves, as you try to adjust your frame of reference from one to the other.
Through trial and error, I’ve developed two-step a time management technique that seems to work well. Try it and see if it works for you.
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“. . . and then we’ll give you the draft to wordsmith.”
Has a client ever said that to you? I’ve heard it quite a few times over the years. And while I would never contradict a client for using that term, I prefer not to use “wordsmithing” to descibe what I do.
Actually, it’s more than a preference. I emphatically declare (here on the blog, that is) that I don’t do wordsmithing.
Continue reading “why i don’t do wordsmithing”