Blog Archives

Writing Skills: Steal My Efficiency Hacks to Hit Your Target Word Count

Steal These Writing Skills to Hit Your Word Count. Makealivingwriting.com

Are you tired of trying to draft a 1,000-word article, only to find your first draft clocks in at 3,000 words? Then it’s time to gain some new writing skills and learn how to write to length.

A reader recently asked me if I had a resource on how to hit your word count, and I realized I didn’t.

Which is silly, because I had to write to assigned length on 3-4 print stories a week for 12 years, as a staff writer. Not to mention the hundreds of short blog posts I’ve written for clients since I got back into freelancing in 2005.

And then there was that one hard-ass editor at Entrepreneur who would refuse to read my draft if it was more than 10% over assigned length. Period. THAT schooled me, for sure!

Got some writing tips to share with you on how to avoid time-wasting and overwriting in your writing process.

Ready for a simple system to avoid overwriting? Let’s go! Here are 10 key steps to cut the blather and make sure your first draft is close to target length.

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How to Be a Freelance Writer: The Mindset Manifesto

Mindset Manifesto: How to Be a Freelance Writer. Makealivingwriting.com

Many would-be freelance writers ask me what the first step should be in their journey. Many struggling mid-career writers also wonder what they may be doing wrong. If you’ve wondered how to be a freelance writer who earns well at it, my answer is: It all begins with what’s between your ears.

The mindset of an independent, self-employed, home-based business owner — yes, that’s what you are! — is worlds apart from the mentality you need to survive a corporate job.

Freelance writing is a head game, no doubt. If you can’t psych yourself up to market your services, or if one rejection crushes you, you’re unlikely to have enough good-paying clients to sustain a nice freelance lifestyle.

What are the important attitudes to adopt, as a freelance writer? Here’s my 10-point mindset manifesto (check out the infographic version at the end of the post that you can download and save):

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Had Enough? What to Say in Your Farewell Email to Clients

What to Say in Your Farewell Email to Clients. Makealivingwriting.com

It happens to nearly every freelance writer at some point. You need to drop a client. But how do you break the news? What do you say in your farewell email to clients?

There’s usually at least one main reason you’ve got a bad taste in your mouth for a client.

They don’t pay enough. Their people aren’t appreciative. Their deadlines are too crazy. Or maybe all three. Sound familiar?

Maybe things started out great, but now the situation has changed. There’s a new editor or marketing director. You find yourself putting off their work. And you may not be doing the best work you possibly could on their account.

You know the client has got to go. But what do you say in that farewell email to clients?

“Sayonara, sucker,” “See you in hell,” “It’s been great working with you,” or something else?

I spent a lot of time thinking about this before I dropped two steady clients. Ready make it happen? Here’s what to say in your farewell email to clients.

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Celebrity Interview Secrets: 7 Strategies for Writers to Score a Meeting

How to Score a Celebrity Interview. Makealivingwriting.com

It can be one of the most enjoyable assignments in journalism…the celebrity interview.

You interview movie stars, music artists, or politicians. Or maybe your jams is magicians, authors, dancers, or mega-church pastors.

Pick your favorite flavor, and book a celebrity interview.

Sounds pretty cool, right?

You meet up with the rich and famous. Ask loads of curious questions. Write a pitch or story. And editors and fans are foaming at the mouth over your inside scoop.

If only it were that easy. Ever wonder how to score a celebrity interview?

It’s often difficult to get famous people to grant you an interview. I spent 12 years pursuing CEOs of major corporations for interviews as a staff reporter. And I was a movie-industry secretary for several years. So I speak from experience on both sides of the fence here.

Here’s what I learned: To get household names to slot you an interview time, you have to be wily, creative, and unstoppable.

Ready? Use these 7 strategies to score a celebrity interview.

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Upwork Jobs: Insiders Reveal How to Win Despite Platform Changes

Upwork Jobs: Insiders Reveal How to Win. Makealivingwriting.com

Are you interested in landing Upwork jobs? If you applied recently but were rejected…you’re not alone.

If you’ve already got an Upwork profile, perhaps you’re cheesed off about the fact that starting in July 2019, you have to pay to bid on jobs on the most popular platform for freelancers. (You’re not the only one — you can see 133 pages of reactions from Upwork users here.)

Or perhaps you weren’t active on the platform for a month — and discovered Upwork had hidden your profile from clients’ view. To make it stay public even if you’re inactive, they’d like you to pay $14.99 a month for their Freelancer Plus level (recently raised from $10/mo.)

Yes, you’re not crazy. Changes are afoot at Upwork — and freelance writers have mixed feelings about whether they’re good or bad for pro writers. If I don’t miss my guess, more changes will be coming down the pike, too. (Upwork didn’t respond to multiple interview requests.)

To find out what it all means for freelance writers, I spoke with many who use Upwork — or who’ve tried to sign up recently.

Yes, you may know that I firmly believe writers should find your own clients, rather than trusting their career to the whims of online intermediary platforms…but I know many writers find them useful.

So I’ve got a report for you on what the new changes mean, and many tips on how to succeed in finding jobs on Upwork today.

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How to Write an Article That Pays: The Freelancer’s Ultimate Guide

How to Write an Article That Pays. Makealivingwriting.com

Tired of article writing jobs that pay a big $50? There’s a ton of ‘online content’ work out there that doesn’t pay much. Maybe it’s time to move up and learn how to write an article.

And when I say that, I don’t mean a $75 article — I mean the type of article that pays real money. $1-a-word and up land.

If that interests you, you’re in the right place.

After offering article-writing tips for over a decade, I decided it would be useful to organize all the information into one, big ultimate guide.

Many freelance writers do article-prep steps out of order or skip some steps entirely, with poor results. Following this step-by-step guide will make it easier for you to move up, write in-depth, reported articles faster, and sell to better-paying article markets.

Ready to learn how to write an article that pays? Then let’s go!

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