What Could You Do With a Free Month in Freelance Writers Den? (Contest) - Make a Living Writing

What Could You Do With a Free Month in Freelance Writers Den? (Contest)

Carol Tice | 118 Comments

Freelance writer contestIn the spring of 2011, I was sitting in Chicago at SOBCon, listening to a lot of really inspiring online business visionaries, when I got a crazy idea: I should stop musing about whether I should launch a paid membership learning community for freelance writers, and freakin’ launch it, already.

It had become clear I couldn’t execute on my mission of helping the most freelance writers earn more the fastest by coaching writers one at a time. I needed to create trainings hundreds of writers could view at once.

It was also clear that a lot of writers are cash-strapped. If I wanted to help many, I needed to find some affordable way to give many writers access.

The answer seemed to be a membership platform.

Would this really work?

I got crazy busy. Surveys were conducted — what would you want in a writer learning community? What would you pay for that? Webmasters were hired. E-courses were created. Software was purchased…and then, more software when some of the first software wouldn’t talk to some of the other software.

Thousands of dollars were spent, on a flier that writers would find this platform useful for building their writing income. It felt risky…but it also felt like I was moving in the right direction. I felt compelled to create this, to try it out and see if it would help writers.

Just a few months later, on July 11, 2011, Freelance Writers Den opened its virtual doors. All my one-on-one mentees to that point got a free ticket in the door, which helped get things going. We ended that first month with about 100 members.

My big dream and whole business plan was that maybe, if I worked and built this platform for oh, five years or so, it might hit 500 members. Which seemed like the point at which the model would make sense.

But that’s not what happened. Instead, we hit 500 members before the first anniversary.

Today — ten multi-week bootcamps, over 100+ hours of live trainings, and 45,000 open forum comments and hundreds of private messages later — the Den has more than 1,200 members.

It’s still hard for me to believe. Still pinching myself, every day.

I am thrilled beyond words that the Den has turned out to be such a useful resource for so many writers. Seeing the many posts in our “Share Your Success” forum about writers who’re getting better clients or charging higher hourly rates is an absolute highlight of my professional career.

And we’re just getting started. The Den continues to grow and to offer new resources — at members’ request, we’ve just added a forum where members can share feedback and comment on each others’ blogs. Our job board now includes member profiles that are searchable by prospective clients. And this fall, our next bootcamp will be about self-publishing — the booming opportunity for writers to diversify their business and add more income.

That’s the story of how the Den came to be, and how it grew. What’s next? An essay contest to celebrate our third anniversary, among other goodies!

Contest details:

To celebrate the Den anniversary, I’m holding a contest right here on the blog. Contest begins today (Wednesday, July 9.)

First prize: 1 month free in the Den.

Got prizes for 6 runners-up, too: three 20-minute mini-mentoring sessions with me, and three e-book bundles of every e-book I’ve got.

To enter, post your answer below on the topic: What I Could Do With a Free Month in Freelance Writers Den.

Where’ve you been so far as a writer, and what could you do with your freelance writing career if you had access to those Den resources?

Hint: Pleas about how desperately broke you are will not get you a win. Brilliant, compelling writing and a unique story will.

I’ll come on back and update this post to announce the winners on Monday.

Eligibility: Current Den members are ineligible to win the free month, but may win any of the other prizes.

Good luck, all!

P.S. If you don’t win, take heart — a month in the Den is just $25 — and there’s no obligation, you can quit anytime.

P.P.S – OK, I’m back with the winners! Congrats to ebook winners Michelle B, Penelope, and Amber E, who won three free ebooksThe Step by Step Guide to Freelance Writing Success, How to be a Well-Paid Freelance Blogger, and 13 Ways to Get the Writing Done Faster. Also excited to announce KJ, Kim H and Amy N snagged free 20-minute, 1-on-1 mentoring sessions with me.

And our 1-month free in the Den winner is…drumroll please…Cindy Brown! Congrats to all the winners. This was a very tough contest to judge, folks! I loved so many entries — you’re all awesome.

The Freelance Writers Den: Learn More

118 comments on “What Could You Do With a Free Month in Freelance Writers Den? (Contest)

  1. Cindy Brown on

    Thank you so much, Carol. I look forward to seeing what you and Linda have to share in the Den. I regret that I will be out of town the next two days because I really wanted to dive in and absorb all I can… and fast!

    I attended one of the free webinars you put on recently and I was impressed with the quality and value of what I saw.

    I even signed up for J-school once and then became ill and never took the course. Hopefully, the Den will re-inspire me and get me out of this pit stop!

    There were so many good entries. I want to say that everyone did a great job on their entries. I can tell that everyone really wanted this win because the heart was certainly in each and every entry. 🙂

    • Carol Tice on

      If you signed up for J-School before, you can participate with the current class, Cindy — we just started a round. Just email [email protected] if you have any trouble accessing the course materials or forums. Happy to have you!

  2. Rashawnda on

    I read so many wonderful stories here about how people have found their journey to begin writing. I can only hope to learn from such a community of learners and add to their stories my own and how a month’s membership with The Den would help me realize a dream crushed so long ago: freelance writing.

    As a youth, I was constantly writing stories, poems, and songs. From my faith to my environment, everything served as an inspiration. I will never forget two instances that shaped my future path. One was as a fourth grade student. My teacher, Mrs. Watts, signed us up for a poetry writing contest where the winner would have their poem published in the local newspaper. I wrote about the night and used many metaphors in that poem because that was the time when my favorite cousin passed away. The judges thought that the poem was too complicated for a fourth grade student to write on her own, so I was disqualified and the prize was given to another student who wrote about a puppy–something more “realistic” from an eight or nine year old. My teacher came to me and said, “Don’t let that stop you from writing baby because you have a great gift and I know what you can do.” Unfortunately, that experience changed my zeal for writing, suppressing those once creative thoughts and drawing them inward. Although the next year–at a different school–my poem equating the growth of flowers and spring to our time in school was printed in the school graduation bulletin, it never took away the sting I felt from that disappointing loss.

    Throughout middle and high school, I had many conflicts with my English teachers, slowly turning me off the path of writing and onto a different career path. Oftentimes I was told that I gave too much detail or wrote too much. Sometimes, I found myself getting bored with reading stories that were so old and out of touch with my everyday reality. However, I still enjoyed reading books and writing on my own. Many times, during my bouts with depression and starving myself due to some sexual abuse suffered, writing literally saved my life and kept me from committing suicide. I didn’t mean to get too deep here, but just thinking back on how God used writing to help me and in turn help others was amazing to me.

    While in college, I completed an internship for teaching at a school where we were invited to go to a story telling assembly. This woman began telling the most amazing stories, to which I thought, “I want to do this when I grow up. I want to write and pursue telling my stories around the world.” However, the rejections and sting from those earlier experiences made me suppress those feelings. Still, I began writing and taking more English and grammar classes in school. I still struggled with accepting my work, often revising and then undoing the revisions or chucking what I now see as pretty good pieces of work in the trash after working incessantly during class time. In my last semester, my grammar teacher told me that I had a special gift for wards and that he hoped the best for me. I never forgot that as I marched across that stage and went into what seemed to be the traditional job path.

    As much as I enjoyed teaching, there was something missing with what I was doing. I loved working with the children and teaching them but I felt that it wasn’t true to my ultimate purpose in life. During a class I took in graduate school, we were asked to do an exercise where one person would look at our eyes and tell us what they saw in us. She immediately noticed how well I wrote and said that you should be writing. It confirmed already things that others said and what I was being led to do. By this time I began doing informal writing pieces, helping others win scholarships by editing their essays, writing resumes and biographies for family and friends, and composing song lyrics and poems for different occasions. It would still be a full year before I began making moves to follow this path and pursue the writing dream I had so long ago.

    I would benefit from freelance writing advice from this site because I don’t know where to start or how to begin. I’ve seen some ads on Craigslist and researched them mostly to be scams, so I know what I should not do. I think that this site will help me know what I should do so that I don’t make so many mistakes going forward. Whether I win or not, I hope to pursue this calling in my life so that by the words I write that someone may be uplifted, encouraged, and changed. Maybe some young child may decide that their dream isn’t too lofty or unrealistic to pursue.

  3. Alexandra on

    What I could do with a free month?

    I have always heard if you want to do something well, learn from someone who has been successful at it. On the Ask the Den Mothers call, a chock-full of good and helpful spontaneous information came tumbling out so fast it was hard to keep up with it all! Clearly, these women know their stuff. The Headline class I took also reflected the level of expertise in the Den. My tour of the Freelance Writer’s Den dazzled with all its freelance-specific learning opportunities and resources. It’s like a school for how to be a freelance writer! Being able to take advantage of The Freelance Writer’s Den resources could clearly be a game-changer for me.

    My freelance business and I have been through a lot together. I’ve worked with a garden variety of businesses and projects over the last 15 or so years. When I couldn’t make ends meet with the business, I would take another temporary job. Getting by with reduced energy and time, I dragged my small, but breathing, freelance business with me. Then the job would end and my attention would return to the business redefining the market, again — until the next time I had to seek employment elsewhere.

    Over the years some ideas worked, others didn’t. There have been courses in business, books, coaching and first-hand experience. I’ve written 1000s of words, including 2 novels, multiple short stories, 100s of freelance projects and am now cresting 700 blog posts. I have learned many things and honed my craft, but have not yet brought it all together: to more clearly direct my business and do the “right” things to help it grow. I feel my business has been on the runway, usually with the engine running. From time to time I’ve been able to get it taxiing, but never able to lift it off the ground.

    I would use the Den resources to learn all I can to build my freelance business. Much of the learning I’ve done has lacked the focus of Freelance Writing Business. I would start with the Freelance Writer’s Basics, do Freelance Business Boot Camp and move onto How to Get Great Clients, How to be a Well Paid Blogger and keep going from there. Tapping into the accountability group would be another way to use the resources, so I can be sure to put the methods into practice.

    My networking muscles could be worked getting involved in the Forums. I’ve been unsure about where to go to guest post and comment. The Den feels like a welcoming place to strengthen my social media sea legs and ask questions that only another freelance writer can answer. With a writing and business blog of my own, I’m sure I could add to the discussion. Overcoming the narrow vision of isolation, I would revel in the community of mutual support and seek feedback on my marketing pieces.

    I admit. I would use the resources of the Den to build a business that can pay the bills. But my wish is that, with such an education, I can do better than just surviving. I want to build a business which not only offers home-based balance, but also the opportunity to do the work I love ~ helping others say what they need to say. My plan is to go farther to use the flexible schedule and growing income of a thriving freelance business to manifest my “intellectual property” projects and to share what I have to say with others.

    The Den’s understanding support, writing-specific business teachings and added perspective on my plans and programs could be exactly the fuel I need to lift my business off the ground!

    The tea is steeping. My slippers are on call. May I please have a seat in the Freelance Writer’s Den?

    Thanks!

  4. Kimi on

    Hi Carol,

    If I won a free month in the Den, I would use it to kick start my freelance writing biz. I love to write and actually have a blog, and I’m always learning…but I seem to get stuck too often. I spend way too much time on tasks such as designing my blog (actually getting it to look the way I want it to), and getting my email opt in form in place. It would be so nice to have a supportive group to actually go to when I have a challenge, and being encouraged along the way would be a God send.

    Thanks for all you do to help writers, your help is valued more than you could ever imagine. <3

  5. Martha Maness on

    WRITING CUB SEEKS DEN MOTHER

    Greetings Carol & Linda:

    I’m hungry! If I had the opportunity to hang out on The Writer’s Den sofa for one month, I’d pull up a table, grab some legal pads and a pen, plug in my laptop, and sit and dine for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and two snacks in between.

    As far back as I can remember, I was writing poetry and doodling on every piece of scrap paper I could find. By high school, I was filling my composition books with more of my personal ‘work’ than class assignments. I typically sat in the back of the class and for the most part got away with it as the teachers, I presume, thought I was an excellent note-taker! I maintained high grades so my intensive attention to my composition books went unchecked.

    Fast forward, then came college and a two-decade career in the healthcare field. To the surprise of many, this industry would be next in line for downsizing. This marked the end of my job earlier this year. Now what? After the shock and awe, which lasted several weeks, I pulled myself up and decided it was time to embrace and feed the creativity that has been patiently waiting for its turn. To my blessing, about a year ago, I was asked by a colleague if I was interested in writing content for a physician’s website. I leaped at the opportunity and found that I quickly felt at home with writing.

    For the last many weeks, I have been seeking direction in my purpose. Darren Hardy says, “Measure yourself by your impact, not your income.” I’ve always believed that WORDS hold the power of life and death. Could I use WORDS to make a positive impact on the life of others? Of course I can! I’ve practiced speaking positivity and encouragement in the lives of others for years and have seen it manifested. Now is the time to change the source of delivery — to written WORDS.

    “Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” – Alexander Graham Bell

    If granted a month on The Writer’s Den sofa, I would embrace the multitude of resources and mentorship to move forward as a writer, build a website, and claim my piece of real estate in the digital world.

    I signed up for your free e-course in mid-April and have savored the appetizers. Now, I’m ready for more. Please feed me!

    Respectfully submitted,
    Martha M.

  6. Amy K on

    What I would do for a free month at the Writer’s Den?! Well, after my free day ( and I was at work, so it was moot, as my boss had me on deadlines and I have a high level executive job that I am grateful but no longer want to do and am still always broke, so I may as well be broke doing what I want to do? and writing is my futuristic tool- I want to write and work for self and not someone else- I see myself on my own again in the not so distant future- and again, so grateful I do have a job—kind of- I like the money and bennies), I saw with my own two eyes that I want to write for a living besides just a passion and need direction; the Den has the tools that others have used and have been so successful. I could write my war story here, and there would not be a dry eye in the house as it is truly a “Made for Television” movie, or an episode with Dr. Phil,- but I digress and get off topic, so another reason I could use a month free at the Writer’s Den ( and I did just pony up my first $25 monthly fee- despite having two kids in college and knowing that the $25 I spent could have been put in my Berkeley Boy son’s bank account, and totaled four Six-Packs of a good IPA , as I am told by my smarty-pants son that attends school there that it is a favorite studying tool), but again off -topic and digressing- the simple fact is, I am a good writer waiting to happen. I need to stop with my ADHD writing-oh, look- there is a squirrel outside-, and focus and get on paper (or to keep up with the 90’s- oops, its the next millennium), in my hard drive, my words, my story, my information filled article, my impassioned devotional to thin women waiting to happen, my sitcom of where I work with its colorful cast of characters that makes it funnier than friends, Cheers and Golden Girls,- I could use a month free at the Writers Den because I need help to make my writing become readable writing (and I could use my own $25.00 to give to someone in more need than me ( I do need it, but I know there are others that need it even more), or really a month free just because t has been decades since I have won anything (maybe it is because I quit entering things?)
    I am looking forward to my time in the Den whether I win a free month or not; but I could use that free month, and would in some other way also “Pay it Forward”.

  7. Lauren Blundin on

    I loved my free day! Thank you! I was supervising four kids and packing for a beach trip, but I still made time to check out the site, read through a lot of boot camp and e-course stuff, look at the awesome job board, check out forums, etc. I want to join asap but can’t, I need my kids to start school. I’m hoping in the fall there will still be room for me!

  8. Aisha Sulaiman on

    Hi Carol

    I am a silent fan of yours and have always admired your success. I first heard about you from Bamidele Onibalusi who is also another mentor that I admire. I am a freelance writer without a particular niche. I love writing for others with the exception of writing for myself. I can help friends and colleagues research their work and I am their go to person whenever they need editing done.
    I started thinking of how to move my writing to the next level to have a steady stream of income. The Den would only accept paypal as method of payment and paypal did not have my country on its list. I had to find someone to help me pay and I got in. I spent a month in the Den and the experience was wonderful but my joy was cut short as my subscription expired and I was unable to renew. I had no idea that I couldn’t make it back until the Den re-opens again. I was already madly in love with the loads of information in the Den and had made notes and was setting up action plan to redo my website. A month in the Den will enable me redesign my website and also give me the opportunity to learn special types of writing skills like sales page writing, technical writing, PR writing and to also meet with other Denizens as I was unable to establish any meaningful relationship that first month. I wish a month more and will be ecstatic to get it. This will mean so much to me.

  9. Vivian Muia on

    My one-month free Den membership would be the cables I’d use to jumpstart my international freelance writing career. I’ve been doing some groundwork but haven’t really got going. I remember reading about a resource in the Den about how to write for US markets while living in another country. That was the first time I felt the pain of not being a part of any membership website.

    I would use my time in the Den doing to find a support group. I’ve just read an article using my one-day pass that said lack of accountability and support are two huge obstacles to freelance writing success, and from my own experience I couldn’t agree more. I’d love to have people who will help me improve my writing and who will cheer me on and help keep me on track.

    And I would learn! What’s the least amount of time one can sleep and stay alive?

    I’ve grown so much from mostly your free stuff. I almost can’t imagine the writer I’d become after one month in the Den.

  10. Haley Colaizzi on

    I have always envied those who could write so well. I have always wanted to say the many things on my mind regarding my life, my struggles and the things I wonder on a daily basis. I sometimes have trouble trying to focus the thoughts into writing. I am in my 30’s and I wonder, “what am I doing with my life”, “do other people think the same things”, “will my true passions really be revealed and will they take me somewhere”. I feel like with writing it is all about a perspective or a topic that makes people relate. My life is all about topics that people can relate. Crazy family members, friends or what I think of as friends, the struggles of work or lack there of and life struggles with anxiety and other problems. The guidance of other writers and their abilities would greatly benefit me because it would give me the launching pad I need to succeed with a passion. I know not everyone is meant to be handed an opportunity but just trying for an opportunity can take the pressure off sometimes.

  11. Kathe on

    Writing is a gift. Throughout my life more often than not, I have been a reluctant recipient of this gift. Many is the time that I have run away, afraid to acknowledge and accept the creativity that eagerly sought to flow through me. Now, older and wiser I am ready to proceed. The creative flow no longer scares me. I am eager to reach out, learn and take advantage of all opportunities provided to me to channel this creative energy. If I was a member of this den, I would take every opportunity afforded to me to learn & launch a freelance writing career. In so doing, I would realize a dream that has been in my heart for a lifetime. Kathe 🙂

  12. Sea on

    Some of the highest praise I’ve had for my writing and editing ability has come from having a former literature professor of mine contact me to request my help in developing and editing her graduate school dissertations. I already have some clients for my work, as I’ve been working as a copywriter for nearly ten years, but I still have so much to learn. The industry keeps changing, and as my own life has changed, I can’t help but feel a little lost. Marriage, motherhood, moving … it never stops. I would love to make the most of a month in the Writers’ Den by being open to every learning opportunity presented. I want to practice, I want to get feedback, I want to collaborate. I want to do more with my book ideas than I have done so far. I want to gain the confidence to submit my work to national news outlets. I want to WRITE! Please, please consider me for this free month. It make be the very breakthrough I’ve needed.

    • Sea on

      Damn it! A child on my lap and I get too distracted to check my spelling before I sent that off. Sigh. Let me try again: “It may be the very breakthrough I’ve needed.”

      Here’s hoping I haven’t ruined my chances already!

  13. Diane on

    I could wipe out a whole month in the writer’s Den by using the membership as a month- long workshop. I could gain insight from previous questions and answers, I could follow up with my own questions, and I could take advantage of the e-courses and boot camps. A free month membership would be like delving into a basement of vital information.

    I would clear the month and use it like a month-long training conference. Coffee in hand, note pad by side, and joyous eruptions of “Oh, that’s a great idea! So is that! Oh my gosh, and that!” Then at the end of the day, I can set free all the ideas I gained onto a new Word Doc.

    Quite excited from all I’m learning in the summer J-school and from the ebooks I have received. My mind is already exploding with information, I can’t imagine what awaits behind those Den curtains.

    Thank you,
    Diane DeMasi Johnson….um, my J-school email is different: dj1971 (at) comcast (dot) net. Just in case you need that for checking status.

  14. Debbie Curtis on

    Hi Carol,

    A month in the Writer’s Den would be the perfect way to add to the knowledge I gained in the Article Writing Master Class. I am working on two articles right now because I learned more from you and Linda than I did in a ‘Write For Magazines’ class at big ol’ Cornell University. (Not that I didn’t learn tons about Animal Science, LOL).
    I want my fiction and non-fiction writing to be successful not just so I can make a living writing from home (where my dogs and horses like me to hang out…the cats occasionally deign to notice me), but I want to help pets and their owners communicate their needs and help owners understand their animals behaviors. If I can keep one dog owner from throwing their hands up in frustration and taking their dog to a shelter, then I will consider all the hours I’ve spent learning my craft very worthwhile. For instance, I helped a distant relative decide not take her cat to the shelter (we have a no-kill shelter here in Ithaca, but still….) when the cat decided not to use the litter all of a sudden. The owner had switched to a very coarse, cheaper brand, and I suggested that perhaps the kitty didn’t like the feel of it. For some reason, that had never occurred to this woman – (duh!) and she was able to keep the cat.
    I believe in doing good through my writing, and a month in the Writer’s Den would be invaluable in furthering my freelance career. I can’t wait to learn more!

    Thanks so much,

    Debbie 🙂

  15. John Samuel S on

    I first found your site while I googling for reliable writer training course. To make sure that Freelance writer den is reliable, I read couple of reviews about the site and finally figured out, it was offering what I wanted.

    A couple of years back, I signed up for an online writing course, only to discover, nothing practical was in place to support me as a budding writer. I wrote few articles for couple of websites and soon those markets were gone. Desperate to find my name in print, I started to send queries/articles for magazines. I never heard back from those publications or my piece got rejected. End of the story. I had quit my aspiration as a wannabe writer.

    When I found your site couple of months back, I was hopeful of realizing my dream as a published writer. I could not thank you enough, when I got opportunity to take a look at writers den for complete one day on the eve of its third anniversary giveaways. This is what I found useful in the site:

    Practical tips to get started from scratch
    E- Courses and boot camps (No theory notes or out dated information scrapped from elsewhere!)
    Sharing of hands on experience from real writers who made it big
    Expert guidance
    A forum to share concerns, get them addressed and move on
    A genuine job board

    The site is pretty much designed keeping in mind, the end users. All the issues a newbie writer would encounter are addressed. It looks pretty like, founder Carol Tice has put on herself a naïve writer’s place. Yet, another thing I found in this site is, treating writing as a business and marketing oneself. I learned that without these two any writer would fail to succeed. Within few hours of browsing the site, I was able to dig valuable information on finding magazine copies online, websites that pay for freelance writing, finding a writer buddy and so on. I wish I had known this site earlier. With a month’s membership at FreelanceWritersDen.com I could sell myself as a writer for sure. Thanks!

  16. Alisa on

    I am a single parent to an awesome little boy who deserves so much more of his mother than the limited time and energy I gave him as a high school English teacher. My decision to write professionally came on the heels of a decision to be a more present parent by working for myself, and a month in the Freelance Writer’s Den would absolutely give me the tools I need to get the kind of work that allows me to provide well for my son and I. I am positive that the free month would be life-changing for us!

  17. Amandeep on

    Let’s cut through the fluff and come directly to the answer of the question to save your precious time.

    With one month of free membership,I will try to polish my writing skills as a teacher is like a lamp on the road of success, a teacher can help to move in a right direction and guidance from the very best guides of Writer’s Den will be a perfect start.

    Thank you.

  18. April on

    Words were always my building blocks and my friends, part of the way I defined myself. I spent my childhood reading to discover other worlds, and writing to explore new ones and to understand the world around me. Now that I’m a mother I craft stories and narratives to help my daughter to understand her own world, to feed her imagination, her creativity and her love of learning.

    When I trained as a librarian I discovered the joy of using information as well as fiction to help people to explain and build their own realities. As a freelance writer I love creating writing that fulfills a need, explores a concept, explains how a business can enhance clients’ lives and opens eyes (or discussions) about issues.

    Like many writers the writing part is an essential part of me. It’s both natural and incredibly hard, satisfying work (often at the same time). The marketing part does not. Self promotion, seeking clients and knowing how and when to explore niches are difficult, and my confidence has been dented somewhat by my time writing (with no feedback and little to no recognition) for content mills.

    If I were to win a month in the writer’s den I would use that time to explore the resources thoroughly, particularly advice on self marketing and seeking new, well paid clients. I’d love to see the advice on sales pages (to see how mine measures up), and to get advice on effective social media use.

    I’d like to see if working with other people who are as passionate as I am about words will build my confidence back up. Perhaps just as importantly though I’d like to use that time to meet other writers and support them as well as asking for advice. I’d love to learn from others, but also crucially to use that time to begin to become part of the community of writers online.

  19. Randy A Brown on

    I’m in the middle of starting my full-time writing business. I’ve got my site started, but I haven’t done any writing for clients yet. I plan to quit my corporate job to give me the time to work on it. I have some money saved that I can live on while I get my business started. I’m the bread-winner, so I will have to make it profitable fast or I’ll end up finding another job and lose my savings. The material here will be very beneficial for giving my business the boost it will need for success.

  20. Tisha on

    What could I do for a month free in the Den? Since I am pursuing a master’s degree in English Education (after earning an undergrad in professional writing), I would use the Den to gather a plethora of information that would help gear me for writing all of those papers, and help me continue my trek as a freelance writer. I’ve already started, but the Den would greatly enhance the skills needed for a fantastic wride! Already, the Den has been such a blessing!

  21. Bobbie on

    My goals for a month in the Den are more specific than most. I am trying to break into magazine writing, but I need some advice. Despite my best efforts, my query letters never seem to come out just right… and that’s when I even get that far. I get a few ideas for articles at a time, but in my research stage, I accumulate a lot of information. I never know what to use and what to leave. It takes me a long time to figure out an angle to take, then I am constantly changing it and never finish. I could really use some advice on freelance writing in general and writing for magazines specifically. I would spend my month in the Den learning to write better and find paying markets for my work.

    • Lauren on

      I have the same issues. I’d love to talk with some of the Den members who are in J-School at the moment and pick their brains about what they’ve learned. If it comes around again, I think I’ll have to enroll because (from what I can work out) these are the exact kind of skills they are teaching the J-School students.

  22. Christina on

    There’s a young woman in a flowing orange sari standing by a half-opened classroom door; she speaks only a few words of English before all the doors swing open and scores of American teens pass her unseeing… memoir, short stories

    Applying subtle differences in pressure, stretching to reach pliant chords…piano players are not really so dissimilar from massage therapists. When searching for a new job or career, one ought to considering the overlap of skills…. op-ed

    While the media focuses on unprecedented numbers of unaccompanied minors at the US-Mexican border, an untold story is the vast increase in recent years in West African and Central African underaged youths that are appearing without family at high schools across America… articles

    I would love a month in the Writers Den to work on developing my writing skills and getting my work out there. In particular, I would learn how to submit my writing to more places where they get published. I’ve had some luck in the past with articles and short stories, but I would learn how to get past my delaying tactics and fear of imperfect writing.
    This single day really showed how many resources are available thru the Freelance Writers Den; the chance to try it for a month would carry me way beyond. Thanks for the chance!

  23. Danyelle on

    Interestingly enough, writing has always come as easily to me as reading. I read everything, as a child: product labels, medical journals, the killer bee tracking maps, everything! When I wasn’t dancing in circles until I was silly, I was writing songs about ‘pirate’s gold’ and ‘dinosaur bones in the soup’. It seems so natural to have a thought and let it take shape until I giggle at my own concepts, made multidimensional by the printing of it.
    I’ve made audiences laugh and teachers cry with my writing. But what I haven’t been able to do is present it professionally. I simply don’t know how! For the longest time I thought it was something wrong with ME; do I have destructive counter-intentions, am I self-sabotaging over the fear-of-success, over the fear-of-failure, do I have some past-life self-condemnation issues for burning bibles in Gutenberg? All of this inner, self-critical swimming that my internal anthropologist was trying to soothe with ‘no, this is just a learning curve issue. You can write a circles around boxes in your sleep. You HAVE written things that need to be published. You are just swimming in the wrong pool. If you want to swim, don’t go to the desert.’ I need the RIGHT, positive reference group. I need to be with people who are there, in the arena with the right tools and moves for my writing to evolve and do what writing is supposed to do: be read, then be spread.

  24. Georgia Piazza on

    I want to be your success story, I want you to teach me in a profound way so all I do is brag about your tremendous teaching program. I want to shout out for you about how you skyrocketed my writing career and never looked back . I want to make you more famous than you are now by working hard at learning all that the Writers Den has. I believe in your program and I am willing to commit to it and milk it for one month.

    Thank you for your time, sending you roses and hibiscus,

    Georgia Piazza
    purelysimplewords.com

  25. Crissie on

    I got hooked on “success by the numbers” two decades ago during a motivational speech delivered by a sales guru. He said success never manifests without persistent efforts to play your greatest numbers game on a consistent basis.

    As twin essentials to win big are highest reward and lowest risk, I would not decline a proposition like free time in the Freelance Writer’s Den under any terms or conditions. The figures below provide quite convincing proof that leaves no doubt whatsoever about whether writers wanting to stop starving and barely surviving can begin prospering and thriving by keeping company with Carol Tice & company.

    Lindsay Woolman booked $9,000 in extra income for the next year of paying $300 in Den fees

    – 3,000% RETURN

    Den Cub-Joe Can Write quadrupled his former hourly rate that now equates to a $98,000 return on every $300 annual investment in membership dues

    – 32,666% PAYBACK

    Bree Brouwer’s pay increase of $145 per blog piece could keep her in the Den for 6 months!

    During nearly 4 years of constant toil to greatly enrich ungrateful greedy content mills, I gained knowledge of two concepts called “marketing” and “leverage.” When combined, those terms convey the current craze of Web-based fortune as getting the first word out the fastest and farthest gets the fastest last word for buyers.

    The key to success is devising the best formula for working smarter – not harder. An ideal medium to magnify efforts is a free ride to explore a wealth of resources compiled by a three-time Best Blogs for Writers Winner.

    Why knows? One good lead from a seasoned colleague could land a great gig that lasts for years. Likewise, free access to vast knowledge bases to learn basic SEO and IT skills could make my website visible at just the right nanosecond that captures the most lucrative op of my entire lifetime.

    Thus, my highest and best use for a risk-free ride inside the Den is launching a mega marketing campaign with massive seeding in most fertile areas that reaps bountiful harvests of many happy returns!

  26. Kathy Holmes on

    Just say the word “freelance” and my heart is all a flutter – lol! I started out in the publishing/printing world in San Francisco as a freelance typesetter, editor, and page desisgner. I worked for small businesses – some full-time, some part-time. It totally suited my soul.

    And then Silicon Valley began to take off and corporations took our business. But that was okay because corporations back then in Silicon Valley were young and fun and casual. That also suited me. Then Silicon Valley began to grow up and become stuffy just like the old corporate days. I traded my staff position for contractor projects but even they began to become rigid and stuffy.

    I’m getting older, the world is getting younger and I don’t fit in this corporate world, I long to get back into freelancing but what should I focus on? Since my tech writing days, I’ve written and published 5 novels, 4 short stories, and a nonfiction book. Yet, I long to diversify – I need to diversify. I’ve tried the content mills but discovered the hard way that they’re not the answer.

    My heart wants to continue working as a freelance writer, yet, I haven’t pushed myself to take the leap. Okay, so I tried a couple of magazines, got a couple of bites but they didn’t work out. I keep leaning on the tech writing contracting world but it just doesn’t suit me.

    So I’m peeking into the Writer’s Den, hoping to feel a spark of something to push me over the edge and into the freelance writing world. I love the idea, but I need to put the idea to work.

  27. Sandi Busch on

    Hi Carol,

    If you check-out my alleged website at the url I just entered, you will find it’s currently “parked for free,” so one of the big benefits I would gain from a free month at the den is your bootcamp for creating a web site! Boy-oh-boy do I need the help.

    In the bigger picture though, I need the Den to help me focus and put together a game plan. I feel lost in a fog of confusion, trying to decide which niche to pursue and the best way to go after it. I keep looking backwards to where I’ve had some success with writing, yet when I try to build on that and move forward, I don’t seem to get anywhere. I know that there are key elements I’m missing and that I can learn them here at the Den. You have quite a few e-courses that hit at the heart of what I need to learn to help me define the steps, take them, and create the writing career I know I can have, i.e. a profitable one!

    Of course, encouragement and belonging to a community of like-minded group of people is also priceless and something that I desperately need as I’m quite limited in my freedom to socialize in the real world. (Insert long story involving a single mom here.)

    Thanks for all your work!
    Sandi

  28. Kat Turk on

    DESIRING RENEWED ENERGY FROM THE VIBES IN THE DEN

    I’m tired.

    Not only feeling worn down, I’m sick and tired of my own excuses for poor creative output.

    You’d think someone who was given the employee pink slip four years ago would have found a new job by now.

    You may wonder why an able-bodied person could be paralyzed with inactivity when the kids are in school all day. (Seriously, who gets this luxury?)

    Right after my severance pay ended in 2010 my mother-in-law Gigi was diagnosed with brain cancer and moved in with my family. Though still melancholy over my mom’s passing, I became Gigi’s primary caregiver. With her approval, I started a caringbridge website and injected humor into the blog (at least at first) and took the writing seriously. The daily entries were both informative and well-crafted.

    My mother-in-law gave it her all but unfortunately the disease took her away from us. Six weeks later my Dad had moved into her old room, and we began his cancer treatments.

    I did not expect to be reverberating with exhaustion for over a year afterward. I enrolled in a lifelong learning school, taking writing and art classes. Yet my creativity ebbed and flowed along with my energy level.

    We also have an adopted son who has major behavioral challenges. I’m getting older; he’s getting stronger. Though I’ve made a decision to be at home for him as much as possible, our savings (and my sanity) have dwindled to the point where…well, IT’S TIME. Time to break through the excuses.

    Carol, it’s time!

    • Lauren on

      Wow! You’re like a superhero! I’m not surprised you’re tired but having faced all of those challenges, I’m positive you can succeed in this challenge you’ve now set for yourself. I understand how pinched finances can be a big motivator but please take care of yourself and don’t push yourself too hard towards burn out.

  29. Anju on

    What I Could Do With a Free Month in Freelance Writers Den.

    Well I have been following Carol’s blog for some time now. I really liked her thoughts and inspiring stories. I am in freelance writing for almost 5 years but I guess I need tut so learn a lot and everytime I read Carol’s blog, I feel I am discovering something new. If one den mother is so powerful in her thoughts and can motivate me to be a better writer, I want to check out the other den mother and their synergistic result which is Freelance Writers Den.

    Long story cut short, a free month in Den will DEN (Develop, Evaluate and Nurture my writing) more.

  30. Carol J. Alexander on

    I have been freelancing for about seven years and am published in national and regional magazines, blogs, newsletters, and my local paper. This year I published my first e-book. But that doesn’t mean I’ve reached the level of success I am shooting for.

    I have folks in my life that say, “Great job.” My husband is known for going into a book store, grabbing a magazine off the rack, and walking around pointing out my article saying, “That’s my wife. She’s a famous writer.” Sweet, but not what I need to grow my business.

    With Den membership, I am looking for those *in the field* that can tell me when I do something stupid, which direction to turn at a particular junction, how to juggle the magazine assignments with the blog posts, or answer questions about slow-paying publications.

    I would also scour the no fluff job board to find potential clients for future work. I have doubled last year’s income in six months so far this year. But I’m still only one-fourth of the way to my income goal for 2014. I’m not afraid of work, just need more credible places to look for it.

  31. Bernadette Suski-Harding on

    I love to write. Have for as long as I can remember. I love to meet new people, interview them, and then let things simmer a bit in the back of my mind so that when I sit down to write, I can create a profile that captures someone’s personality, mission, essence or whatever it is that I’m hoping to convey.

    I can write the heck out of a profile, or a feature story (sometimes with a bit of a first-person perspective woven in), but – and this is the big but – I absolutely FREEZE when it comes to seeking larger markets for my work. (Right now I’m writing for wonderful local and regional publications, but I really need to reach out of my comfort zone.) I would also love to create a blog, but feel overwhelmed when it comes to defining what my blog would be about.

    I am a writer. It’s the only thing I know how to do. What I don’t know how to do is really make a great living doing it. Help!

  32. Amy on

    I wish the Den had been around in 2002 when I discovered I wanted to write for a living my final semester at Penn State (with an advertising degree). It’s been a winding road career wise since then. I am so glad I found The Den now! My oldest is starting PreK in the fall and I’m ready to hustle and get serious about writing as a business. The Write for Magazines course from Linda and the 4 -week JSchool, plus the calls I’ve listened to have been so encouraging and I can’t wait to put what I’m learning into action and sell some stories! I free month in the Den would just be icing on the cake.

  33. Meredith Curtin on

    I have been writing for at least 40 years.

    I started out with personal journaling and after way too many years I finally got pretty good at writing down and unwinding my inner thoughts and emotions. It’s a useful tool for introspection, but a lonely writing life (I couldn’t ever let anyone see it!) and very unsellable.

    For at least 12 years I wrote professionally albeit anonymously. I was a technical writer embedded in a software development group definitions, descriptions, and instructions of other people’s creative work. Good money, but no artistry required. And bad for my ego – I mistakenly thought that my clarity and organizational skills gave me the right to declare myself a good writer.

    All those years, in secret, I harbored a dream of really writing – of having my books displayed in a bookstore. But year after year, I would start on something. And Stop. Hate what I wrote. Think “Failure. Failure. Bad Writer. Can’t. Just Can’t.”

    I have a new vision these days – a transformed vision – and I am pursuing it with tenacity and persistence and compassion (and a lot of help). I allow myself to think that an idea need some work or my skills need a lot of practice – but I don’t get to quit or whine or avoid for more than a half a day. The general rule is that something that moves the writing forward needs to happen every day – research, study, outline, mindmap, draft, edit, polish, whatever. This seems to be internalized now because any day that I don’t do something related to the writing is a day that I am visited by a big black doggy mood that comes and sits on my face and whines.

    And then, here you come, asking what I would do with a free month of the Freelance Writer’s Den. OMG – what would I do with a community of writers? A community of like-minded beings working in my own chosen field, struggling with problems similar to my own, and finding multiple creative solutions to some of them.

    What would I do???

    I would show up.

    I would give thanks that I was in a group of other writers – many of whom knew a whole bunch more than me about the process of freelance writing.

    I would ask a lot of (probably stupid) questions. (Sorry in advance, everyone.) In the past, I was afraid of asking stupid questions – of looking stupid. But right now I have a whole lot to learn and studying, asking questions and paying attention are the only shortcuts I know.

    I would write. I would write out ideas for stories and then polish the ideas. I would do the research for and then write (draft/edit/proof and send) a query letter or query/intro letter. I would not quit just because umpteen editors don’t like my ideas. I would go out and find the umpteenth-plus-one, the one that does like my idea.

    I would ask people to give me feedback on things that I write. I had (ok, have) a bad habit of polishing until I hate a piece and then never finishing – but that is a habit from shadow-writer-me, the me who struggled to not finish anything.
    I would spend time helping whomever I could help in the community. Whatever I do know I would share with my fellow writers. It isn’t just “what goes around comes around”; I have found out that I like the way I feel inside when I give somebody a helping hand.

    I would find some writers who want to form a small support group – a place to give one another support and a place for accountability. And I would show up for me and for them.

    I would get better at my craft.

    And I would become a freelance writer who does good work and gets paid enough money.

    Wait a second. Darn it – I don’t care at all if I win this contest. Win or lose, I want in.

    I’m joining the Den as soon as Carol opens the doors. I can’t afford not to. There is no time to waste.

    • Carol Tice on

      Meredith, you’ve pointed up an important problem. Apparently I haven’t been clear: The Den is open *right now.* Check out the home page: http://freelancewritersden.com.

      We’re open for the next few days! I’m going to send out an email just in case I spent too much time talking about this contest and not enough spelling out that this is our summer Den opening time, right now. Only one there’ll be this summer.

  34. Penelope on

    A free month in The Den will help smother the voices of 9 to 5ers who tell me writing for a living is a pipe dream and nothing is as secure as a 9 to 5 job with benefits. A free month in The Den will silence my own self-doubt and provide me with what I believe is at the core of The Den’s philosophy:

    D: Determination to Succeed
    E: Excellence in Writing and Entrepreneurship Abilities
    N: Necessary Training, Tools and Knowledge

  35. christine on

    Whatever I Could Do With a Free Month in Freelance Writers Den

    Icicles hung as decorations on my car as I drove to work. Even though the parking lot was empty, I quickly advanced into the first stall, closest to the building. I was grateful, it was a bone shivering 9 degrees and I wanted to avoid the Siberia like air as much as possible. Before getting out of my car I gathered by things, pocketbook, check, lunch bag, check, books to be returned to the library, glasses, check and check. So out I ventured into the algid. I happened to look down at what seemed to be a puddle of water, suddenly it seemed as if a strong gust of wind made me airborne and horizontal to the ground. Then down I went, head first then on my back with loud, thump! I don’t know how long it took for my eyes to open, but when I did I remember saying – Damm! My freaking head hurts.

    All of my past experiences has lead me to the Den. An opportunity for me to hone my writing skills and not waste it on complaining about slips and falls. We all slip and fall throughout life, but it’s what you do when you get back up that counts. What I could do with a free month in freelance writers den? I would appreciate every opportunity to study, write, and learn from the best in the industry. That one month would bring me that much closer to having my writing goals come to fruition. By the way, my headaches from the fall have subsided.

  36. Andy on

    You know what? I’m getting all I needed just by replying to you here, overriding the ‘what’s the point?’ attitude that stops me so often.

    I can’t say what I’d do with that free month or any of the runner-up prizes you’re offering. I’ll be happy if you choose this reply, though. I’d see it as a thumbs-up in this forward step to pursuing a dream and a passion, an area of my life that is definitely a lack.

    I’ve earned thousands of dollars writing for other people. It’s been great learning. Now I’d like to see how this can shift into something more rewarding that ticks more of the un-ticked boxes in my life. I’m involved in a Canadian charity that deserves to do much better, so better writing skills could directly affect that goal as well as light a fire in me that hasn’t burned for a while.

    Either way, here’s to forward movement, new skills and chasing dreams.

  37. Stacie on

    I was in the sixth grade when I started to write short stories. It was at that point I dreamed of becoming a writer. All through high school I was writing short stories. One of my classmates used to read them in English class when we were done with our work and told to sit quietly. He was the least likely person I would have thought would enjoy my writing. I started a Literary Magazine my Senior year in high school. For some reason, I stopped writing in College, but I never lost my passion for it. I started it back up again after I was married. I had a friend in the Air Force that used to pass around my short stories to guys he worked with on the base. I don’t know why I gave up the dream and stopped writing. But recently I have started again. I got involved in November of 2012 with NANOWRIMO. I’ve yet to meet the 50,000 word goal but I keep on trying. Last month I started investigating Freelance Writing. I have since started a blog and gotten some work through Textbroker.com. However, I want to do more. I want to become a published author.

    What would I do if I had a whole month for free in the Den? I would learn as much I could possibly learn to improve my writing and make my dream come true. I want this so badly and will do what I have to in order to make it happen.

  38. Daryl on

    Awesome contest Carol! Since I’m already a member I can’t enter, but good luck to all those who are! And even if you don’t win the free prize, I can definitely give my own personal stamp of approval of the Den and how useful it can be to new and even experienced writers.

  39. Williesha on

    I can’t wait to read all of these comments! I’m going to have to go back and resubscribe to your list like I did with Linda. I am starting to forget to check! (Things have gotten a little crazy.)

    Since I’ve already been a part of the Den, I don’t want to enter. So many people here who have yet to experience the awesomeness. I’ll throw in a testimonial though. I loved the Junk Free Job Board. That’s how I got my gig with IndieReader. Doesn’t pay a whole lot, but I’m enjoying it immensely. The camaraderie is the best part of the Den!

  40. Amy on

    I’ve dabbled in freelance writing on and off the past 10 years, doing it as a way to earn extra income (airplane tickets out of Alaska are expensive!), but pursuing alternate full-time work. My girls will be starting kindergarten in the fall, and my four-year sabbatical from the working world will be coming to an end. My husband has said if I can earn $1,000 a month, I do not need to find a job outside the home.

    Not only would this be awesome (I suck at office small-talk), but it would make life easier; one of my daughters has multiple therapy appointments per week, so I don’t think, “Hi, I’m applying for the full-time job you had advertised and oh, by the way, I’m going to have to leave early every day to pick my kids up from school and take them to therapy” makes the right first impression at an interview.

    For the past year I’ve been writing steadily for local magazines and special newspaper advertising inserts, have been providing ghostwritten content to several legal blogs (I’m licensed to practice in two states), and even hooked up with a small legal publisher launching a series of ebooks and wrote one titled, Planning for the Special Needs Child. So far, I’ve earned about 40% of the annual goal my husband and I set for myself – and technically, my year doesn’t start until my daughters start school in August!

    A month in the Writer’s Den would (hopefully!) give me the motivation and resources I need to ramp up my freelance business, so I can start seeking bigger and better paying markets and still have the flexibility to be with my girls when they need me.

  41. Lauren on

    I’ve been subscribed to this blog (and on the Den waiting list) for about a year now and have been waiting ever-so-impatiently for its doors to open again. During that time, I’ve slowly been gathering better clips and recently launched my website. Earlier this year, I was bitterly disappointed to discover that I missed out on an opportunity to get into the Den while I was having some email problem for a few days. The bootcamps and workshops have always sounded tantalizing to me but I haven’t been able to afford them, so I’ve waited for a day like this one when the doors might be flung open.

    If I had a free month in the Den, I’m quite sure that it would be extended far beyond that month (if it’s as good as I’ve read). BUT for that first free month, I would gain:

    – Sleepless nights because I would be so busy absorbing all of the priceless information, asking questions and reading success stories.
    – A nagging partner because she would be begging me to put my laptop away and go to sleep.
    – R.S.I. from madly typing questions and comments.
    – Valuable connections with other writers as we learned and grew together in this field.

    After the initial month, I anticipate that my obsession with reading and listening to EVERYTHING in the Den RIGHT NOW would wane a little and then I would get to work on applying what I’d learned, whilst still absorbing the resources at a healthier pace. I would then know how to write amazingly jaw-dropping queries and L.O.I.s; put fantastic features together more efficiently and effectively; be a pertinent part of my clients’ revenue raising (thanks to my killer copy writing skills that I learned in the Den); and I would increase my income so that I could enroll my kid in a good school, provide a comfortable life for my family, do some more voluntary work in the third world and go back home to visit my folks who I haven’t seen in almost three years.

  42. Nabil Ansari on

    Summer of 2009 was the year when I started researching about this internet marketing, and freelance writing thing. At that time I was in 9th grade. While desperately needing some money to purchase a PC for myself, I stumbled upon an article which explained me how I can earn fast money by selling products on eBay. And I was quite successful with that, when finally I stopped receiving order (I don’t know why).

    I continued my research about internet marketing and freelance writing. Every other website told me to create a blog, and keep writing awesome posts on it to show my level of expertise in this field. But I knew that there was something that these people were not telling me. How could someone without any website, and any contacts, become so famous in the freelance writing world? I had this thought because I saw many people rise during this time.

    Fast forward to now, I’m writing on Hubpages to help me with my bills (to be honest, it doesn’t help me with the bills). I sell on Fiverr, and freelance on Elance. That might sound a really good thing, but I don’t have any clue about how to improve my writing and increase my orders.

    One thing that I’ve noticed throughout these years, is that writing is something that gives you peace of mind. It is because most of time you write your thoughts.

    Here’s what I’ll do with my free month in Writer’s Den –
    1. Take my writing to the next level, and provide better services to the clients on Fiverr and Elance.
    2. Start my own website, and try to get in touch with some of the best freelance writers online.
    3. Get in touch with Carol and start working with her, because she is the best writer & person in the world.
    4. Once I achieve some financial stability, I will write a book in which I write this whole story.

  43. Kim Hamlin from Lexington on

    I saw a writer with a thesaurus in her hand
    Walkin’ through the streets of Seattle in the rain
    She was lookin’ for another word for Den
    Gonna find away to make Carol let her in!

    Aaahoo! Werewolf of Lexington
    Aaahoo!
    Aaahoo! Werewolf of Lexington
    Aaahoo!

    Ya hear her howlin’ around your free webinars
    Ya better let her in
    Adverbs and prepositions got mutilated late last night
    Werewolf of Lexington again

    Aaahoo! Werewolf of Lexington
    Aaahoo!
    Aaahoo! Werewolf of Lexington
    Aaahoo!

    She’s got a run on sentence, it ran amok in Kent
    Lately she’s been overheard on the Renegade
    You better let her in
    God knows she needs the Den
    Huh, I’d like to meet you when I win

    Aaahoo! Werewolf of Lexington
    Aaahoo!
    Aaahoo! Werewolf of Lexington
    Aaahoo!

    Well, I saw Linda and Carol walkin’ with the queen
    They all wanna meet the Werewolf of Lexington
    I saw all the writers in the Den welcoming me
    They so happy for the Werewolf of Lexington
    They know I’m drinkin’ pinacoladas and pitchin’ trade magazines
    And my queries are a mess!

    Aaahoo! Werewolf of Lexington
    Thank you, I need the Writer’s Den
    Aaahoo! Werewolf of Lexington

    • Cindy Brown on

      Good one, Hamlin! Very creative! I have done song parody lyrics before also. Once, when I had the flu, I came up with “Forget Flu” (CeeLo Green) for a blog post. I always dreamed of doing songs with Weird Al. I’ve connected with you on Twitter 🙂

  44. Cindy Brown on

    Decisions, decisions, decisions… hmmmm. I’m going to be extremely concise here, which is distinctly uncharacteristic.

    What I Could Do With a Free Month in Freelance Writers Den
    ————————————————————————————–
    Some people wing it when they get a new car. Not me! I read the manual cover to cover to discover each and every gem contained therein and soak up each and every nugget of knowledge regarding my new ride. Then, and only then, I grasp the steering wheel with both hands and press the accelerator for my white-knuckle ride.

    A free month in the Freelance Writers Den would be my new race car. I would immerse myself in the “manual”, learning everything I could about the accessories, how it runs, and how best to handle the curves in the road ahead. I’d study how to gain that critical edge on my opponents. Then, and only then, I would take it out for a spin and give it all I’ve got.

    Sure, I’ve placed in a few races (writing contests) and I’ve run the Indy 500 (my blog) for over two years and not blown my motor. I’ve even won some prize money (been paid to write and guest post) and gotten some sweet endorsements (brand ambassador, big-name friends). Sigh… but I’ve been stuck in a pit stop lately and I need help getting back on the track.

    The Freelance Writers Den would be my new pit crew. It would check under the hood, fill all the fluids, slap on some fresh new tires, and send me speeding toward the finish line like a bat out of hell.

    Smell that rubber burning, baby? That’s me, winning the race. And guess what else? Celebrity race fan Carol Tice is at the finish line with a huge smile on her face, waving the checkered flag.

    • Lauren on

      Very creative. I love the metaphor. I’m a meticulous manual reader too. I sure hope you get out of the pit stop soon, no matter who your pit crew ends up being.

  45. Clara Ruiz on

    What I Could Do With a Free Month in Freelance Writers Den.
    Oh boy, this would be a great opportunity. I always knew that I want it to write, be a writer. I will have the opportunity to see if I really have what it takes to be a writer or to see if I’m any good at it.
    With my writing career so far I been just preparing myself, with the tips I receive from Den, taking classes, reading and just preparing for what is to come, if I get to have access to those Den resources I’ll be a sponge that takes all the information necessary to kick off a writing career.
    Thank you so much for the opportunity.

  46. KJ on

    Hi Carol!

    Writing is all I’ve ever wanted to do. Since third grade, I’ve written everything from poems to short stories– I even tried getting a short story published in high school. In between searching for gigs, I’m working on a novel and write on my blog (thesoulstorm.wordpress.com).

    Right out of college, I became a TV News Producer. I loved the job itself it, but other factors started taking a toll: working on holidays, ever-changing shifts, etc.
    The final blow came last summer. I was working the overnight shift when a very close relative passed away. Due to my schedule, I had no idea until the next day.

    I knew that I didn’t want to stop writing, but I was tired of my life being rearranged so much by work. So I threw caution to the wind in pursuit of a bit more freedom, and started freelance writing.

    It took six months before gigs start coming in. I’m not where I want to be yet, but I’m SO much happier than where I was! The free month at the Writer’s Den would help me get closer to my goal of making steady full-time income as a freelance writer.

    Thanks for the opportunity!

    Best Regards,

    KJ

  47. Shaina Tromp on

    I’ve always loved reading and writing so when I was looking at areas of study for college I chose journalism because I knew I’d get to do a lot of both with a journalism career. I’m currently heading into my senior year at the University of Iowa and unfortunately don’t have many writing clips to show for it. I’ve tried various areas of writing from feature stories on people from my hometown to press releases for my current internship, but haven’t worked in one area long enough to become an expert. I haven’t been able to find my niche yet, or a way to engage with a broader range of writing topics either. This is because I haven’t really known where to start. One night, after several hours spent Googling freelance writing opportunities and unsure which were legitimate and which weren’t, I stumbled upon the Freelance Writers Den. After time spent perusing the website and reading reviews, I knew the Den was what I’d been looking for to help me break into the freelance writing field and kick my writing into gear.

    With my free month in the Freelance Writers Den I would take advantage of as many resources the den has to offer, from its bootcamps, like “Step by Step Guide to Freelance Writing Success” (since it’s suggested for newbies), and e-courses, like “Your Writer Website and Blog” (because I’m currently trying to finish putting my writing website together and could use some tips), to the job postings list (hopefully I’ll find areas of writing I really enjoy). I hope that by using all the Den has to offer I will be able to grow my writing abilities and land an awesome job out of college. Or, better yet, actually be able to freelance as my full time career. Either way, whether I am chosen for the free month or not, I’m excited to dig into what the Den has to offer and aspire to become one of the writers with a success story to share!

  48. Contessa on

    I’m laying in bed, writing a story about heartbreak.

    A story about a woman who was so stupid in love with a man that continuously hurt her and her journey through choosing faith over fear after having to question everything she ever learned about love.

    A story about me.

    “…I’m standing outside the door. Staring at the scar on my chest that our last incident left, I hear him turn off the water. I actually believed that he was taking a shower and didn’t hear the door. Then, in the midst of deafening silence, I hear police radios approaching…I remember thinking as I walked away, “that nigga really took a shower for this bitch. I can’t remember the last time he hopped in the shower for me…”

    Inhaling…Exhaling.. It gets me thinking yet relaxes my thoughts. I start to doze off. I start thinking about marketing. Then I start thinking about my family and our future and about how I know I didn’t get the job that I interviewed for a few days ago (I just know it and I know I shouldn’t speak it into existence) but, how truth is- I don’t want to work for anyone anyhow and fuck that job and their over-privileged, haughty, rude, unapologetic, under cover racist, unhappy, insecure, dry humored, over-compensated ass people. I am thinking about how I would love to see how this plays out, but not at my children’s expense. About how I know I am meant for more than this; far more than this. More than what I have to show right now. More than what they gave me credit for. More than what my OCD stricken boss nit-picked about yet forgot herself for 8 long years.

    More than they imagined I or my children would ever be. More than what they tried to keep from me. Thinking about how I’m 31 and I have nothing to my name and how I can change that.

    Then, I started to doze off and an idea came to me and I began to think of the possibilities and “what if I actually acted on one of these thoughts the way I envision them”? If my spirit works the way I believe it does, I want the world to see what could happen if you believe in yourself when no one else does. What will happen when you trust your spirit.

    So here we are.
    I quit my full-time job as a Legal Assistant. No job in hand, but an eager spirit dwelling all through my body. In fact, I have nothing, really, except a savings and a dream and I need all the help I can get.

  49. Jill Couch on

    I have a gift. A gift to offer those needing encouragement, hope. Now, some folks would scoff at my definition of “gift”. For this gift has been hard earned; through much pain, and a great deal of work.

    I want to share how it is possible to suffer trauma as a kid, then step into a troubled marriage, and still emerge from that storm; emerge whole, healed, happy, with hope for a future.

    All while remaining in that troubled marriage, because that is the best decision for now; better for me, better for the 4 young ones who are watching all of this. Better than the alternative.

    I am an Occupational Therapist by training, a homemaker by choice. I am a daughter, sister, wife, Mom, friend. And I am a writer by dream.

    I stay very busy as a Mom, and with my part-time work with senior citizens, I have yet to formalize my writing career.

    But I have a story. A story that has the promise of giving hope, encouragement to those struggling as I have. Those who long to breathe deeply, and live, as I do now.

    With a month of access to the Writer’s Den, I would open the door, finally, to sharing my story. And follow my dream…

    Thank you.

  50. Lauren Blundin on

    Hi Carol!

    I’m a stay-at-home mom of two who has been freelancing steadily part-time for about eight years. (Before that I worked in the community outreach office of the Maryland State Department of Education.) Mostly I’ve been working for education-related organizations (former colleagues). Lately however, those calls are fewer and far between. My contacts are retiring! Also, federal budget cuts have trickled down to state level agencies, meaning there is almost $0 available for freelance projects. I’m trying not to be scared by this, though, because I truly believe it is an opportunity for me to break into new industries.

    The exciting part of my story–for me anyway!– is that my youngest child is starting school this September, so I’m poised to make a big marketing push. Finally, I can go for it full time!! To prepare, I’m going crazy reading all the freebies on the writing sites that I can get. (You and Linda have the best stuff, and I’m not just being a suck-up for the contest, I swear!) Plus, I’m re-reading The Renegade Writer and the Well-Fed Writer. I’m filling out an application to be a state-certified small business/minority business owner, which should give me some advantages as a subcontractor to state-level contractors. There is a running list on my desk of all the local businesses and publications that I want to sent Letters of Introduction to. Then of course, I need to get my information/marketing kit ready should someone request it. Also, a website is in the works. I’m excited by the possibilities and planning that I have been doing this summer. Come fall, I should (fingers crossed) hit the ground running.

    But…there ARE a number of areas where I could really use some help. For instance, I would really like to explore the courses and information available in the Den to help me be prepared and feel more confident offering my services to businesses that are not in my comfort zone of public education. To make a real living as a freelancer, I know that I need to branch out into business writing. And honestly, this is where I need the most support. A free month in the Den would give me time to take as many courses as possible, giving me more know-how and, as a result, more self-confidence to break into these new industries. If I can make a few bucks fairly quickly, I’ll be able to buy myself another few months in the Den.

    Thanks for the contest opportunity!

  51. Cindy Webb on

    Four months ago I quit my long time job as assistant editor of a successful local parenting magazine. Three months ago I moved into a home that had a “mother-in-law” plan. Two months ago my 83-year-old father joined my husband and I in our new home. Today I am working to start my own freelance writing business so I can earn enough money to continue my professional career and take care of my Dad.
    Despite consistently winning awards for my writing from Parenting Media Publications, I find I don’t really know how to take my writing into the freelance world. It’s been a many years since I wrote a query letter, and creating my own website? Uhmm. I’m lost.
    I need technical support to realize my twin goals of earning a decent living and being a caregiver. I also need emotional support to move beyond my anxiety that, despite my years in publishing and my proven abilities as a writer, I won’t look like a rube when I send that first query to a glossy.
    I hope that five days from now I will be announced as the winner of the contest so that three months from now I will be getting a letter of acceptance from a national magazine and eight months from now getting a contract on the book I’m writing.

  52. Jason on

    I would take a free month of the writer’s den as a challenge. Like many people, I’ve had a love of writing for most of my life. I’ve toyed with the idea of being a freelance writer for years without taking the final, terrifying step. I’ve hesitated to turn my passion into a job. Afraid that I’m not good enough or that my passion for writing would sour when money gets involved. Maybe getting older mellows those concerns or maybe they just aren’t as scary as they used to be. The voices urging me on are getting louder than the ones giving me excuses. The free month would just give me one more reason to listen to the former and ignore the latter.

  53. Kate on

    With the sweet gift of a month free in the Den, I believe I could finally step over the threshold of fear and hesitation and become a professional writer. You would think I had already done that, as I worked for eight years online, combining Virtual Assistant duties with learning how to write for clients and then adding that service for them. The recession, however, blew away all but my two smallest clients in one month and I finally said “Uncle!”

    Going back to Corporate America was an act of panic and one of the worst mistakes I’ve ever made (except maybe one of those failed marriages…). Dreadful experience, two and a half years in Hell, you get the picture. Lost that job in May and guess what? I’m back out there writing, but this time with no clients of my own, just the wretched content mills to pay the bills (barely) until I figure out how to do this right once and for all.

    So that’s me, an unrepentant, determined to do this or die Writer. Now, how to learn to embrace that for all it’s worth? That’s what I’m ready for and I believe the Den was brought into my line of vision at exactly this time, for that purpose. Can’t wait!

  54. Liesha on

    What I Could Do With a Free Month in Freelance Writers Den

    My confession is I’m not a natural or extremely talented writer. I’m okay. I never aspired to become a famous writer, and I’m still hesitant to say that’s what I do.

    But I’m in the process of getting my doctorate in entrepreneurship, where I research micro business issues. It’s my passion (although my mother thinks it’s completely boring). My goal is to share what I’ve learned with other micro business owners, and I know I need to become a better writer to do that.

    Fortunately, I’ve been making a small living off writing. I can’t sling words around like most, but I’ve got an open mind and I’m ready to learn.

  55. Tracie on

    What I Could Do With a Free Month in Freelance Writers Den

    I have loved the beauty of the written word for most of my life, yet there remains but a whisper of those words from the past. As a child, I wrote about horses. A few years ago, I found one of my stories on an old, faded piece of paper with the uncertain pencil strokes of a young girl. But the story had heart. As a teen, I was more of a songwriter, even winning third place in a national song writing contest. From there, I stumbled onto a small, hometown paper who hired me to write Facebook-like news for their local residents. Like walking the dimension of another time, the news I reported came mostly from elderly neighbors sharing who came for dinner, who had out of town guests, and the relation they were to them. Oh, the stories I got to hear!

    I remember one about a woman, then in her eighties, who recounted to me– in perfect detail– the day a tornado picked up their family’s roof and set it back on in the opposite direction! Yet a flat of strawberries remained on the fence where her father had left them just minutes before. She had been but a little girl, not more than three or four years old, but she still remembered her father’s wounded arms as he had struggled to hold the door closed.

    Most recently, I became a published author with my first book “I Saw That.” I have had lovely and encouraging reviews, which helps to fuel the fire of my passion for writing. If I were chosen to receive a free month in the Writers Den, I would use my time to learn as much as I could in order to learn new things, sharpen my strengths, and surround myself with the encouragement needed to jump into this great unknown. I am certain that your resources are a valuable storehouse of knowledge, a treasure awaiting the adventurer, and I hope to be able to find my place here.

  56. Anna on

    First of all, thank you for offering this awesome opportunity of a contest, I have been keenly following all of your emails and webinars recently, and would just love a free month at the writers den!

    I have been passionate about writing for as long as I can remember – my mother taught me to write and I was writing stories before I even began school. Words truly are my love, my expression and what I’ve recently decided will become my career.

    I have just thrown myself into the deep end, and resigned from my job as an air hostess – it was a hard decision to make as so many people around me considered it ‘glamorous’ and ‘amazing’ .. and yes, in my part of the world it is really well paid too.

    I have now taken the plunge and am putting myself out there – learning the ropes, writing blogs, learning to freelance online, approaching local small businesses, putting ad’s in the paper and finally drafting some query letters to magazines. I have a long road ahead of me, and so much to learn – and that is where the writers den is going to come in, so far all the information I have been able to get my hands on has been invaluable, and I have alternated between devouring and savoring the information.. wanting to take in as much as I can, and then at the same time never wanting it to end.

    A month with the writers den would really help to boost my new career, It would teach me skills that would last a life time, and catapult me into a full time job of doing what I love.

  57. Emily N. on

    Hi Carol,

    First off, thank you very much for offering this contest! I’m excited to be a participant in it. Also, it says Wednesday, July 10 instead of July 9 under “Contest Details.” Just thought I’d let you know. 🙂

    So, what would I do if I had a free month at the Den? As a freelance writer who has been working for clients through freelancing sites and content mills for a few years, I’m ready to go to the next level of my career and grow my business. What I’ve been doing to prepare for the “level up,” so to speak, is improving my writing. I’m learning more about tightening up my writing, broadening my vocabulary, and going from writing 500-word articles to writing 100-page e-books. Being able to get free access to the Den for a month would help me greatly with my goals; I’d be able to learn how to make wiser decisions in the freelance writing business and equip myself with the right knowledge to grow my career. I’ll also be able to talk with like-minded individuals who also have similar goals as I do, so it’d be a great way to get support from others.

    Thanks again, Carol!

    Sincerely,

    – Emily

  58. Sharon Enck on

    From the first time I saw my name as a byline in the 5th grade newspaper, I was hooked. As a yearbook staffer to critical editor of my friends’ papers to advertising executive, writing was never far from my reach.

    So, why did it take till my 40’s to realize I should be freelance writing as a career? Goals and desire sometimes just take time to develop. Now that they have and my vision is a little clearer, it’s all about the journey.

    The journey includes learning as much as I can, finding mentors and being brave enough to say “I AM good enough”. The Writer’s Den could be a significant part of that journey and as I like to say, it’s a great day for travelling.

  59. Jessica Evarts on

    Hi Carol,
    After careful consideration I came to the conclusion that I am finally committed to writing for a living. Up until about a month ago I mindlessly surfed the net for that silver bullet how-to guide that would make me a successful freelance writer. I read blog after blog after blog. I wrote horrible articles for content mills that paid me in peanuts. I fantasized about the lifestyle that I wanted to live, but I continued to wake up every day and drive to my horrible office job where I was miserable. I have been meandering on the sidelines for too long, and now I am ready for action. I have been a subscriber to both you and Linda’s blogs for quite some time. I had hoped that one day I would read something that would motivate me to finally do something. It never happened. Neither of you ever wrote a magical sentence that made everything fall together perfectly, but you did finally drive home the idea that if I wanted it I had to get it myself. A few weeks ago I contacted Linda about mentoring. I was willing and ready to shell out the cash because I finally had enough confidence in myself to invest in myself (thanks to both of your blogs). She suggested your Freelance Writer’s Den instead. I got on the waiting list and then immediately signed up for J school. So far I am enjoying J school and the support system you and Linda have established. Now that I am committed to my goals and dreams I want to maximize the use of any and all the resources I have available to me. Free month or no free month, I will be signing up. Thanks for getting off your butt and realizing you could manifest your dreams.

  60. bina joseph on

    Hi Carol,

    I have been an avid follower of your blog and training events, (and Linda’s too) for a long time now. I find the easy style, empathetic tone and sound advice invaluable.

    I have been trying to get my writing career to where I want it for some years now.

    I think it is a case of “analysis paralysis”, something that is discussed so often in your blog, tele-seminars and other forums.

    For me a month’s immersion in the Den will release me from this paralysis and get me moving ahead with the roadmap and milestones I so obviously need.

    So I hope I can be the lucky winner. I will be ever-grateful and will owe you not just one, but a whole lot.

    Cheers and thank you

  61. Silvio on

    Dear Carol,
    As a writer and reader of speculative fiction, I have come to revere the written word and it’s ability to stir emotions and forge personal investments between the reader and the subject matter. As writers, it is important for us to hone and refine this skill in order to convey the subject at hand as fluently as possible, so that readers can not only learn of the information and perspectives presented, but also to find comfort in trusting the writer and/or reporter of the story. One does not want to simply relay research, but to show a depth of knowledge and passion for a given subject that is to be sensed by the reader.

    I am a rookie when it comes to freelance writing and would like to acquire the skills necessary to not only approach newspapers, magazines, and trade publications effectively, but also to utilize the skills and talent that I already have for writing speculative fiction; an asset, I feel, to my ability to share my passion for various subjects with readers all over the world.

    Thank you very much for the opportunity.

  62. Jackie Procter on

    Post Natal Depression really sucks. Yet without having suffered through PND I would not have discovered my love of writing.

    I’m Jackie Procter, a stay at home Mum of two little boys from New Zealand. I’m an experienced Primary School Teacher who specialised in helping children with learning difficulties. My husband and I planned that I would stay at home with our children until they reached school age, upon which I would return to working full time again. Neither of us were expecting PND to hit so hard, nor were we expecting that being a Mum would be so challenging either.

    The truth was I was bored. I was socially isolated because being so depressed I did not want to talk with anyone and my brain was not being stimulated. It is something I imagine many mothers identify with – gong from living in an adults world with real conversation and paid work (with breaks), to being on call 24/7 and having to deal with stressful but not academically challenging events.

    So I hopped onto the internet and found oDesk. Wow. A website that pays you to work from home, something I could do while being a SAHM! I began writing for $5 for 500 words. I established some regular clients who were obviously thrilled to have a half decent writer so cheaply at their service. I began to love writing so much that I looked around for other opportunities to write. I purchased Baby Life Magazine from another freelancer who was branching off into another area and started publishing for myself.

    I has totally enjoyed being the editor of my own magazine! But while I’m small small (small) fry to the big magazines, I still feel there is more to this and oDesk. That’s why I’ve taken the plunge and purchased my name as a domain. I’m going to start as a professional freelancer who is paid an appropriate rate for an awesome piece of writing.

    But I’ve hit a snag. What do I do now? Searching Google has gotten me here to the Freelancers Writing Den and it’s here I hope to find the answer to my question. I’m ready to find that answer and I hope the door to the Den is ready to open for me!

  63. Joan on

    The first thing I could do and would do with a free month in the Freelance Writers Den is pinch myself. Having confirmed I was not dreaming, I would get to work. I would read, I would listen, I would take to heart what I was learning. Then I would put into practice as much as I was able to absorb. When the month was over, I would pinch myself for having been lucky to win a free month and I would sign up for more.

  64. Delphine du Toit on

    A free month of Den membership will finally create the right frame for me to step through into the writer career I’ve dreamt of since I was about 15. I do other things for a living: I am a culture change consultant, leadership trainer, coach and mediator, and all these roles are fulfilling. However, the best part I like of all of them is that all require writing in some form or another; they’re also a wonderful source of ideas for things to write about.

    With the crash of 2008 I also crashed. Wonderfully lucrative contracts with fascinating people were cancelled and I had to overcome panic and fear in rebuilding my life.

    I sold a short story once, to a magazine, in about 1978. The next time I received payment for writing (not as an element of other work I do, but purely as a writer), was 3 years ago. $3 for 500 words. I was thrilled to bits that someone would pay me. I had resorted to trying my hand at copywriting as part of rebuilding that crashed life. My thoughts were more in the line of ‘if I’m going to go down I may as well risk it all and try writing for a living.’

    Not only did it give me a boost in confidence and great satisfaction to transfer bits and pieces of my earnings from Paypal to my bank account, it put a bounce in my step, a lilt in my voice, and suddenly all sorts of non-writing work started coming my way too. I’ve made significant progress and certainly have upped my fees to a respectable level, but the greatest part of the change was that I finally allowed myself to move into my dream of becoming a serious writer.

    I have learnt a lot about writing in the past three years, particularly the value of writing in other people’s voices as a ghostwriter. However, I am very aware of the need to learn a great deal more – about the art and craft of writing itself as well as about making a living at it. I’ve deferred taking up offers of Den membership repeatedly, in favour of doing projects in my ‘regular’ field, because it is my comfort zone and the money’s welcome. However, I’m not getting any younger and it is time that I step into that writer frame. A month’s membership in the Den will cause me to shift other commitments to allow my full attention on all that’s on offer.

  65. Laura Nistor on

    I never wanted to be a writer. I never considered myself a writer. Still, after I finished college with some free time in my hands and a lot of interest to learn I started writing as a hobby. I tried taking my writing career to the next level, but there was always something stopping me.

    If I have one month free in the Den I will spend it to explore all the goodies you’re offering.

    I will ask any questions I could think of.

    I would connect with other freelance writers.

    I would take this time and think if this is really something that I enjoy doing.

    So your free month for me would be like an eyes-opening moment.

  66. Rachel on

    A free month in the den might get me over the paralyzing fear of moving forward with my writing. It seems as though I have been going through this forever; it is time, I know it, I just can’t seem to do it. I dabble, then I step back, then I stay there…ugh.

    • Laura Nistor on

      Hey Rachel, I know exactly how you’re feeling.

      Over the last 2 years I took up writing, left writing, took up writing …and this has been a continuous roller coaster for me.

      You really need to put your foot down and start taking this seriously. As I have to do it too!

  67. Hilda on

    Hi Carol,

    I’ve been in a bit of a ditch for the last few years. In 2008 I started blogging and I was doing so prolifically, so much so that I started to think about becoming a freelance writer. But I couldn’t quite figure out how to transition from fantasy to reality. And then somewhere along the line the writing started to dry up.

    I keep meaning to get back into it, and in recent weeks started a new blog, and as soon as I did the old dream re-emerged. But I’m facing resistance, probably doubt and a bit of overwhelm and now the writing is falling away again. Which is such a shame as when I’m in the flow I totally love it! I don’t know, to be very honest with you, if a month in the Den would give me what I need to get my groove back. If it could though, that would be so great!

    Good luck to all!

    Hilda

  68. Michelle Baynes Owens, M.Div. on

    With a free month in the Freelance Writers Den, I could feed my linear thinking. I could find the answers to my most pressing questions in one place, systematically. Then, I could finally get a handle on which clients to pursue and how to increase my income as a freelance writer.

    So far, I’ve written an e-book, received payment for a blog post on leadership and wrote for about four months for a small training company. I also manage my own blog and write for a couple non-profits in my town. Then, I met the content mills and left soon thereafter. Not for me.

    If I had access to those Den resources, I could ultimately afford to be a Den member on a monthly basis, actually pursue and achieve my goal as a magazine writer (Instead of just dream about it), and, more importantly, tap into a network of people just like me who are following their call to “Just Write!”

  69. Alina on

    Last year I was in a car accident and suffered a concussion. My brain felt like it was in a cloud, making running my freelancing business more than difficult.
    It was agony.
    I have rallied this year and I have almost doubled the amount I made last year and it’s only July! Though this is great, I would like to push myself to the next level. I don’t just want to beat last year, I want to crush it. I think joining the Writers Den can make that happen.

  70. Carrie Wible on

    I was a teacher, then had to leave my career due to a scary twin pregnancy. I’m now a stay at home mom turned freelance writer. For not knowing what I was doing, I have made a few dollars here and there and have built up a portfolio, but it’s hardly enough to buy groceries a month sometimes. With a free month of the Den (which at the moment I cannot afford without it being free) I would utilize the advice and information to make myself a better writer and businesswoman.

  71. Diana Stemkowski on

    I first realized I wanted to write when I finally sat down and typed out the details of a project I’ve wanted to tackle for years. I had been journaling for a long time and used writing as a way to evolve personally. Actually writing a publishable anything seemed overwhelming.

    The writing project I really wanted to attempt? To teach every day people how to do a good basic massage in their home using props found in most homes. I’ve been a massage therapist for over 10 years and have fielded questions repeatedly about this very idea. With the right information just about everyone has the capability of doing a massage that benefits the recipient. But did I have the guts to really do this? I had the know-how but did I have the follow-through? Did I believe in this project and myself enough to complete a book?

    I agonized and plotted with many notes what I wanted this book to look like. Wracked with anxiety and terror, I started writing. It was both pleasurable and painful. I was assaulted with the usual negative thoughts but plodded on. From somewhere deep inside was a great and urgent need to keep writing and to keep rising above my fears and doubts. I was going to write despite myself. I had something to say, dammit, and it was coming out, discomfort and all.

    I finished the writing and editing of the book within a couple of weeks. I am mostly satisfied with it. I can honestly say I’m proud of it, and myself. Finishing this project brought me a strange relief- this must be what a hard-fought victory feels like! I had beaten back the worst my inner critics had dished out. I wrote a book! Writing it was huge. Publishing it will be another set of challenges.

    The idea (or dream?) to write for a living brought me to makealivingwriting.com. How terrifying this journey was, with all its potential! The ideas and information made me realize that writing for a living, and writing well, was a possibility. Something in me clicked- let’s do this! I will do this, do it right, and it will change my life.

    The main thing that a month’s free access to the Freelance Writer’s Den would provide me with would be guidance and direction. Add to that a hefty dose of pragmatism, support, accountability and much needed basic information. I have owned my own business for several years now and I recognize how important successful marketing is for longevity. Am I very good at it? Oh my, no. The citizens of the Den intimidate me because they are seemingly at ease with the ways of achieving their goals and they are where I want to be. My plan would be using that sense of intimidation as fuel to get where I want to go instead of being the reason I stopped fighting for the goal. Plus the bar is set high in the Den. I would be challenged by the ideas I would be exposed to. I may even overcome my innate distrust of LinkedIn and Twitter and become social media savvy!

    In order to be successful at anything you have to surround yourself with people who inspire, inform and enlighten you on your journey. It’s tough being a student when you’re learning something new, but when you have access to resources that, when absorbed and processed, will increase your chances of success in your desired field? There really is no excuse for not jumping in with both feet, with 100% effort, to start a new, prosperous chapter in both your personal and professional lives. That’s what the challenge and promise of access to the Freelance Writer’s Den means to me.

    Thank you,

    Diana Stemkowski

  72. Jessica on

    I’m currently looking at a way to increase my chance of making income by writing, either as a part-time income or for my only income. I’d love the opportunity to continue learning, as I’ve really enjoyed the emails I receive, but I feel I need a bit more help to get off the ground. As someone who can write on a variety of topics, but haven’t figured out how to hone in to one or two topics, I feel I have much more to learn!

  73. Miriam Hendeles on

    Hi Carol –
    Writing is a lot like walking. It’s about focusing on a goal, taking careful steps, one stride at a time. And that’s my objective for the den: To focus on my goals and achieve them – one sentence at a time. One day at a time. One article or essay at a time.

    Focus.

    Actually, the easy answer to “What I would do with a free month in the Den” would be: I would write, socialize, share, blog, learn, trade information, watch webinars, conduct interviews, research, and be the writer that I want to be.

    Whoa…wait. That’s way too much. Right? As writers we know that it’s about doing things in small pieces. Taking on too much at one time never works. I should know.

    You see, when I originally signed on to your den back in March 2013, I gained a lot. I learned about writing queries, letters of introductions, writing headlines, getting good clients, and publicizing my recently published book.

    But there was one serious problem. I was all over the place. I ended up quitting the Den.

    You wrote about this problem in your daily blogs, but I didn’t listen. You alluded to it on your webinars. Maybe I didn’t get it. You even mentioned it (oh so tactfully) in some of the responses you wrote on the forum to me.

    Maybe I just had to learn from my own mistakes. Maybe I wasn’t ready to hear her yet.

    Maybe I needed to break my leg first.

    What? Yes, you read right. For the past five months, I have been unable to work at my regular job as a music therapist, due to my disability. I’ve been laid up with a broken ankle, my leg elevated, and getting around minimally with a scooter. I have had two surgeries, several complications, an infection, and one upcoming surgery in – I think (the doctors don’t know for sure) in about a month.

    When I broke my leg, I got to write. I got a chance to read. To think. To explore. To find me, who I was and who I am. And I got to do it one day at a time.

    I wrote about my foot. I wrote about my grandchildren. I wrote about my story, feelings, my pain, my challenges. And I wrote about my growth.

    I did that one minute, hour, day at a time. I lived in the moment, between pain killers, doctors’ appointments, and friends’ visits.

    Some of the stuff I blogged or wrote was junk. Other material was good. I pitched a few ideas to magazines and newspapers, and some were rejected. A few were accepted.

    Now I’m ready for more. I’m ready to write and publish my e-book. I’m not sure if it will be on my topic of my blog, or on the topic of my foot story. I have written lots of material, but I need to decide where to focus my energy for the e-book.

    I’m ready to find appropriate clients and submit queries, pitches and articles to better paying clients. I want to do all the things one does in the den, but with a focus in mind.

    Before I broke my leg, I was afraid of falling. Now I’m not. I know that if I fall, I get back up, dust myself off, (have a few surgeries, see a few doctors, put ice…) and learn from my mistakes.

    I have read too many of Carol’s blog posts to know that the worst that can happen is it doesn’t work out. Then I try again.

    As long as I have a focus in my mind, whether it is my e-book, more articles, or a more effective website, mistakes are just the stepping stones to success. I know I can benefit from the Den. A free month would be a great start.

    Thank you, Miriam Hendeles

    • Laura Nistor on

      Hello Miriam, clarity is indeed a hard thing in a writer’s life.

      I think most of us struggle to find a clear view on what they want to focus on, the niche, their style, and many more.

      I wish you good luck with your writing and you’re awesome for not letting a broken leg come between you and your passions!

      All the best,
      Laura

  74. Kim C. Williams on

    On April 9, 2014, I knew my tipping point had come. After ten years as an engineer and four years in purchasing, I came to loathe my daily routine and regretted entering corporate America. I felt and looked frazzled and unhealthy. The 2.5 hours spent with my 4 year old daughter every evening consisted of slaving over a stove, feeling exasperated and rushed. Due to stress, a heart monitor had recently become an accessory to count the number of times my heart skipped a beat and two miscarriages in the last year had nearly bought me to my knees as a failure. Then a miraculous thing happened…. I got laid off! My deliverance had come!!!! Though painful and humiliating, it was deliverance none-the- less and I knew I would have a wonderful story to tell on the other side of it. Here was my opportunity to focus on what I was born to do – WRITE!

    I’ve spent the entire summer developing my gifts and devouring any information I could get from experts. My wonderful sister employed me with her marketing firm as web content and copy writer the SAME DAY I was let go. Who would have known my pain-in-the-butt baby sister would become my greatest mentor and advocate? I am now fully engaged in my writing services startup. To-date, I’ve had a dozen writing gigs and seeking to gain more exposure and ultimately more income. I’ve been published in an engineering industry magazine and served as an editor for my church’s monthly newsletter. I volunteered as a resume writer for a local homeless shelter for two-years and I am the go-to person for proofreading, editing and resume writing among my friends and family. My time has come to go full throttle and claim my destiny. This is the first time I had true peace about a professional decision. My husband is surprisingly supportive, I’m confident my future is secure and those two things alone bring me much joy and freedom. Accelerating my education by any means necessary is paramount to my success and this is why I took a chance (for once) and entered this contest!

  75. Sherel Purcell on

    As a travel writer, I sometimes write for large websites (at close to content mill rates or only slightly better) who prey on those of us with a weakness for travel perks.

    I realize the only way to break out of this scenario is to pitch better playing publications more often and develop other niche areas. Just recently, I learned that as a den member, I could have these queries critiqued – a very valuable service indeed!

  76. Miriam Hendeles on

    Hi Carol – Such a great idea. Congrats on reaching the 3rd anniversary of the Den. Is there a word limit for this essay? Just wondering…. any specific contest rules to read up on…thanks!! Miriam

  77. Rabbine on

    Hi, Carol.

    If I had the opportunity for a free month in the den, I’d learn all I can during that time, taking notes and creating a action plan of what I am able to do. A month is a nice time for me since classes are starting next month and I want to take advantage of all I can before then. My goal is to learn all I can so I can continue working on my writing career, gain a couple clients, and hopefully have some come to me. So by the end of the semester, I can immediately become full-time. I’d like to get things started, so I won’t end up in a job I dislike like many other new graduates.

  78. Joanne Ritter on

    A firm believer in interdependence, I have long been intrigued by the creative problem-solving abilities of people with disabilities. Someone who can’t see or walk has to find another way to get by in the land of the sighted and mobile. Each person has a unique worldview. Some have been born with their disability, but others have had to overcome a major challenge and adjust.

    Those who have adjusted well have something to teach the “more fortunate” who do not have disabilities. Those who have not yet adjusted well benefit from others who have gone before them. By learning specific tools and techniques, they can find inclusion, community, success, hope, and motivation.

    I want to hone my ability to inspire those “fortunate” among us to tap into their generous natures. By sharing the stories of individuals who have successfully adjusted to their disabilities with the help of nonprofits, I can raise awareness, support, and opportunity. In turn, the “fortunate” givers will receive the gift of adding more meaning to their lives.

    As a devotee of life-long learning, I feel I can put the tools you offer to good use and cause a ripple that will touch many lives. Thank you for giving me the opportunity.

  79. Emelia on

    Hi Carol,

    I’m so glad you are reopening the Den tomorrow. I’ve been waiting for this time.

    I’ve been freelancing via content mills since February 2013. But I often find myself wondering if it wouldn’t be better to find a job. But deep within me I know that I don’t want to work for someone for the rest of my life. In fact, if I was making a living wage through freelancing I wouldn’t bother to look for a job.

    I have a blog but have been stack for a very long time. I have blog post ideas. I think about my blog day and night. I think about how much it can benefit me, not just monetarily but also in developing and growing my writing and creative capacity. I want to write for the rest of my life. I want this blog to be a place where ESL freelancers run to for inspiration and advice. But I feel like I don’t know what I am doing. I don’t know what’s stopping me from doing what I know for sure that I love and I really want to do.

    This is What I plan to Do With a Free Month in Freelance Writers Den:
    1) Leave everything I know behind and start from zero. I plan to revamp my blog and start posting again.
    2) My first day in the Den would be about reading the success Den stories you hinted above.
    3) I will recreate my sales page using your sales page tutorials.
    4) I will also watch and apply your tutorials on building a writer’s website.

    I plan to achieve the following in the first month:
    1) Have a clean professional website.
    2) Blog Consistently.
    3) Use your marketing advice and work hard to make atleast $1000 in that month.

    Thanks, I look forward to the Den.

    • Lauren on

      I’m interested in getting my hands on that sales page advice too.

      I’m also a freelance ESL teacher, so would love to see what you come up with. You never know, I might be the first one running to your site for inspiration!

  80. Andrew on

    During my Junior year of college I became editor-in-chief of the school’s newspaper. I had been with the paper for two years and finally achieved my goal.

    I quit after a few months because I could not deal with my fears of success and failure.

    In 2003 I began writing articles for Law Enforcement Technology. I even landed a cover story for one of their issues. After three or four articles, fear drove me back into my Hobbit hole.

    Last November a MRI discovered a large brain tumor that required emergency surgery. After the tumor and subsequent cancer diagnosis, my fear began to fade. I began writing a blog and allowing vulnerability. I realized that I wanted to live my dreams. I did not want my epitaph to read “he hid in a Hobbit hole.”

    I think a month in the “den” can be helpful for me. Hopefully, I can be helpful to it as well.

  81. Chelsea on

    Hi Carol,

    If I won a free month in the Den, (or a 20-minute call, or your ebooks) I’d soak up all the advice you’ve got about business writing and start implementing it.

    I was a Den member in late 2011 / early 2012, and my time there taught me the most important aspect of freelance writing I’ve learned: market, market, and market yourself some more. (And also, not settling for less than your worth.)

    Since then, I’ve taken my freelance dream far and now I’m traveling the world with it.

    Anyway, in April I started marketing towards startups and small businesses, and I can’t believe how much work is available and how much people actually value my expertise. (Or how much I can charge for it!)

    I know you’ve published some useful posts about business writing, so I’m sure there’s got to be some value in your prizes for new business writers.

    So, in one month, I’ll listen to webinars with business writing veterans, read any and all tutorials I can find, and exchange advice with other business writers… all to expand and keep my writing going because I’m on cloud nine right now and do not want to come down. 🙂

  82. Shingirai on

    I have been on the freelance warpath for six months, and one thing that I am yet to score big on is the cycle of lows and highs in terms of work. I am hoping Den membership will teach and show me correct ways of pitching for work. It will be a dream to have a smooth flow of work and/or having clients pay me a retainer. I am also anxious to check out the junk free job board and hopefully get a long term relationship going with a client or two.

    Of course the most important benefit is hanging out with successful writers, This alone would give me confidence in whatever I set out to do. It’s akin to having the masters esp Carol and Linda (and other writers)on call to answer and provide insight at every stage of the writers journey.

    Thanks a lot

  83. Rose on

    I’ve always wanted to be a writer. When I was 12 my best friend and I published our handwritten magazine called “Out of this World” and sold copies for 5 cents each.

    Two years ago I started my own ghostwriting business and I’ve had some success. My goal for this year is to start publishing my own work.

    A month in the Writer’s Den could help me achieve that goal at a much faster pace than being “The Lone Writer”. I would love to enjoy and learn from this community.

    • Laura Nistor on

      Hey Rose,

      “Out of This World”- wow, a great name for a 12 years old!

      All the best,
      Laura

  84. Amber Eldridge on

    I grew up with a passion for the written word. At the age of six, I was the child walking down the school hall with my nose in a book. At fourteen, my freshman English teacher recognized I had a talent for writing when I started class two weeks late, had one night to read the text the others had been working on for a week and craft an essay. I got the highest grade in the class. At sixteen, my creative writing teacher falsely accused me of plagiarizing, stating that “The sentence structure was far too advanced for our grade level, so it was a clear example of plagiarism.” She apologized to me later upon realizing it was my own original work. At nineteen, I entered college intent on becoming a freelance journalist. At twenty, I foolishly gave up on that dream and instead chose supposed job security over what looked at the time like a floundering industry. Print media was (allegedly) dying and I was letting my dream die with it.
    Ten years later, now thirty, I realize the great mistake I made in not following my dream. I have a “secure” office job, but I want something more. I want to reach people through my words. I want to wake up in the morning and craft something I am truly proud of. Had I not given up years ago, I would likely have a rather impressive portfolio by now, instead I am trying to learn the ropes of the freelance writing industry and I could rally use the direction of those more experienced than myself. So, what could I do with a month in the Freelance Writers Den? I could make up for lost time, start building my portfolio, learn from the experiences of others, and truly pursue my dream of being a writer!

  85. Rohi Shetty on

    Hi Carol,

    Congratulations on the spectacular success of the Den.

    I was a Den member for three months in 2013, so I can confirm the incredible value of being a Den member. What helped me most were the bootcamps and the forums. (I quit because I bagged a full-time but temporary job in a research institute, which ended a couple of months ago.)

    Currently, I’m developing my writer website and also publishing children’s e-books on KDP. My plan is to develop my website and publish ten e-books on KDP and Smashwords by the end of September.

    If I’m lucky enough to win a month’s complimentary Den membership, I plan to revisit the two bootcamps on development of my writer website and also check out the resources on how to promote my e-books.

    All the best again to Linda and you – both of you absolutely rock!

  86. Elke Feuer on

    I’m currently researching how to monetize my blog and other ways I can generate money by writing. My goal is to replace my current salary with writing income in years so I can write full-time. I would use a free month in the den to:

    1. Ask the hard questions about getting started and how to avoid pitfalls.
    2. How to best can use the skills I have, improve the ones I don’t.
    3. How to implement what I learn into practical steps to move forward with my writing career.

  87. Terri on

    I have been downsized from my nursing position at age 59 and am currently focusing on my writing. A free month at the Den might be the frosting in the cake as I try to rejuvenate my writing passions into a lucrative freelance career before its too late in my life.

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