Brief moment to refill the tanks

Today I picked up three assignments another writer had abandoned. 2000 words apiece on Florida injury laws. All three are due tomorrow at 10am. I have been spending the afternoon writing. Each one takes an hour and a half to two hours to write, but in between, there is a moment I need to recharge, either in mind or with some glucose, or both. This last post is like pulling teeth to write, mostly because I’m feeling a little bit fried. You would be surprised how much brain power you use up with this stuff.

I have the third assignment outlined, but I have to continue to read some really dry statutes on workers compensation laws. As much as I would love to just spend the rest of the evening slacking, I need to get these done. The money doesn’t always flow immediately, and I have a lot of unreviewed assignments that haven’t sold yet. They might not. They could trickle in over the next several weeks. There are no guarantees. It’s like playing bagpipes. You put effort in and it slowly plays out. When work comes in, you pick it up, because sometimes there could be several days when there is nothing.

It might seem a little counterintuitive that I am taking a break from writing by writing this, but I needed to fill my tanks writing my thoughts, rather than writing copy. There’s a big difference. Unless you do this kind of thing, it’s probably impossible to explain. I needed to fill up on some happy before making the final push.

At this moment, I am drawing a blank for the assignment, and I need something to invigorate my brain. Freshly tuna-fish sammiched, Carmello-ed, and watching some YouTube, I feel the brain power meter going back up. Maybe not to full, but at least no longer at empty.

I need to do some reading tonight as well. It has been too long since I have read for pleasure. Lately I’ve been working on photography, reading up on travel writing, and even some new scenes for the next book. I’ve put edits on hold for a bit. The edit brain is different than the writing brain, though you often find yourself rewriting. It is more critical. Right vs. left brain if such a thing actually exists.

The rest of the day has been somewhat productive in other ways. I hung my laundry out to dry. I took Penny to the park and played ball for a bit. Several cups of coffee have been drunk. I also took a vitamin, so now my pee gets to be flourescent yellow for a while. Yesterday I made gumbo from scratch and I have plenty of leftovers. Tomorrow I might make a Marry Me Chicken. I have website stuff to work on then too.

I had better go. I’ve started yawning and that’s not a good sign.

Update: I finished the third assignment, but I’m doubtful as to whether it will sell. They didn’t have any guidelines attached to it and I did the best I could without plagiarism and staying within my word limits. So, three for three today. I hope they sell!

It was a full day, with about 8 hours (counting breaks and food and such) for three assignments.

*Sorry for any typos. I was running on empty.

Drawbacks of Ghostwriting

Recently, I’ve had some good luck in writing content for a few companies online. They really seem to like my vibe and what I have to say, so I’ve been making consistent sales. Which is a good thing. But one of the big problems with writing content like this is they are paying you for your words (which as a writer is great news!). But you don’t get a byline.

And that sucks.

I saw some content of mine that I wrote the other day, and yes, I know the money I get to put in the bank is why I wrote it, but to see somebody else’s name on it…just gives you a sick feeling.

The bummer is that the agency that I write for prohibits writers from making direct contact with the clients, so it’s not even as if any of these clients could contact me and say, “Hey, do you want to be on our staff and collect a regular check?”

I have written articles for Canadian tourism websites, Oregon tourism, Wyoming, Colorado, etc. and I can’t even give clips or links to the stuff I have had published because it was ghostwritten. By me.

But the number of hits and clicks I get on my two websites is negligible. Even though my content, on a different platform, earns enough for someone else to pay me decently. I like to work, and I like to get paid, but there is something about a writer’s ego to be said about taking credit for it too. And there is the element of also being able to claim writing/publishing credits too when it pertains to possibly getting more work. Selling your work tends to have a snowball effect. The more you sell/publish, the easier it is to sell/publish more.

There’s no money in this site. I just keep my thoughts here because I think creatives should work harder to lift each other up. I also like to ruminate publicly it would seem. Like a wayward goat. Affiliate links through Amazon are also a joke. They used to pay people decently, but I guess Bezos the Clown needed that extra 30% to gold plate his platinum toilet or something. The coding doesn’t work with WordPress anyway, unless you bump yourself up to Business or Premium. Which I might have done if it had the potential to pay for itself.

Right now, this site is a labor of love. I hope the dozen or so regulars who come here (and twice as many bots) appreciate the content. It’s hard out there for a pimp. Not gonna lie.

But a day of doing this beats the hell out of working in Higher Ed.

Headway

Tonight I’m making some headway finally.

I’ve been reading a few books on travel writing and how to build a plan. I feel like I have the talent and the experience in writing to make it work, but unfortunately I lack some of the tools of how to facilitate any of that sometimes. This is why we research, train, network, and learn how to ask the right questions. This is also where you get to realize that you’ve been doing some things wrong and need to scrap them and start all over again.

Those moments are probably the most frustrating.

For the last several years, I have been writing for an agency that assigns writers such as myself clients and assignments for a fixed rate per wordcount. The base rate is $11.50 for 300 words. Depending on your level, the rates go up from there, which can pay around $120 for 2000 words. In doing some research on what the actual going rate is for copywriting, blogs, whitepaper, product descriptions, and landing pages for websites…I can say that other than not having to cold-call clients, I am getting screwed.

The work used to be a lot more consistent too. Some weeks I would have upwards of 20 posts per week and at around $20 per, that was about $400 extra in my pocket–base! Some weeks were better than others. But management keeps shifting and sometimes they are good at farming out the assignments and sometimes they aren’t. What I’ve learned about actual scale pay rates is I am short-sheeting myself with these rates. By quite a lot.

I am also learning that the content that I put on my blogs—as fun as it is to write sometimes–is not doing the work for me that I need either. WordPress.com doesn’t pay me anything for the content that I post. The ads that orbit my blogs are not filling up my accounts, and as nice as it is to vent or post about life lessons, I’m going to starve to death if I keep heading in that direction.

My travel blog should be a marketing tool to bring me work from paying clients. It’s a good way to show some of my chops when it comes to writing, as well as explaining more about what I do and how I operate. So that needs to be fixed. It should also allow me to post affiliate links so I can jabber about products that I use and readers can click on links and I might get a few bucks out of the deal if they buy it.

Researching what I need to do is allowing me to fine-tune my process and feel a lot less like a complete impostor.

My website needs some work, such as hosting, emails with my own domain on them, and better clips. So, I’ll post links to that as I get it up and running. This site will probably be more editorial, personal stuff, and a journal on what I think, what I need to do, etc.

It feels good to have a plan and a track on where I need to go and what I want out of this experience. I feel a lot less like I am faltering and getting in my own way again. I’m also sending pitches out and that feels good too!

Thanks for reading and there should be plenty of changes in the upcoming weeks!