Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Stimulate Your Muse and Stay Focused by Pamela S. Thibodeaux © 2006

Okay, so you’ve jumped off the deep end and quit your job to stay home and write. You researched all the possibilities, you know that it sometimes takes up to two years for freelance writers to make a significant amount of income, and you’re prepared. Your office is set up; you have an ergonomic keyboard and comfortable chair, plenty of office supplies and an empty filing cabinet. What now? Where do you start? How do you find enough writing projects to begin earning that income? Better yet, how do you know what to write and where to submit?

Here are a few tips and ideas:

• Read. This should go without saying, but if you’re interested in writing for publications like the ‘True’ magazines, Guideposts and Angels on Earth or even Chicken Soup, then read those publications.

• Research. Another given when it comes to freelance writing. Visit different writing sites and newsletters and check out their “current needs” section, you can often get your articles/essays accepted easily because what you’re writing is exactly what they are looking for. Checking out the current needs of a publication will stimulate your muse should you be in a slump.

• Blogging has become not only a fun thing to do, but informative and for some, lucrative. Sites like Blogitive and PayPerPost are just a few places, but a web search on “get paid to blog” revealed over 39,000,000 links. The freedom you have in blogging is another way to get your creative juices flowing.

• **TIP** Once you sign up at one or more blog sites, check out their “high dollar words” and use these words to create your niche and build your readership.

• Freelance Sites offer numerous opportunities to write. Some like Freelance Writing.Com, Freelance Work Exchange, Guru.com, and Elance have programs where you can bid on jobs, but there are hundreds maybe thousands of other sites out there. Most of these sites offer a free newsletter that keeps you informed of the latest jobs available.

• Newsletters like Writers Gazette, Funds for Writers, Scribe & Quill and others are FREE and always include writing opportunities.

• There are millions of writers’ ezines, websites, and writer groups’ newsletters who are always looking for content. Writer Success, Writer2Writer, Byline, and Novel Writer Magazine come to mind.

• Become an Instructor: Places like Inspired Author, Universeclass.com and Onlinecourse.com need instructors to teach writing courses.

• Become a Topic Editor. Inspired Author is a site that offers professional help on various writing topics. A TE for IA will receive tons of promotion plus opportunities to write and earn money.

• Become an Expert! Sits like Lifetips.com, Helium Knowledge and Associated Content pay for expert advice or ‘tips’ as well as offer writing opportunities.

• Write Ebooks: Writing and self-publishing ebooks through places like Lulu.com is quickly becoming a way for freelance writers to make money. People buy “How To” ebooks that are short, concise and informative.

• Check out Writing Schools like Longridge Writers Group who often pay for interviews and chats as well as purchase articles for their website and newsletter content.

• Rewrite/revise/resubmit. Once your article or essay is accepted for a publication, make a list of other places where you can submit it as a reprint or revise/rewrite and submit to an alternative market.

So now that you know what to do, what do you do with all of those leads, links, and guidelines?

There are several ways to keep track of the information you receive but I have found that if you save it in a file on your computer or bookmark the different sites, you’re going to spend as much (if not more) time reading than writing. One thing that helps is to print the guidelines for different sites you’d like to write for and file them alphabetically in an expandable file folder. If you receive writing opportunities via newsletter or ezine, print and file them according to deadline dates.

These are just a few ideas on stimulating your muse and staying focused. Remember, Freelance writing is a business and should be treated as such. Schedule regular work hours, take routine breaks and keep accurate records for tax purposes.

Award winning author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux is the Co-founder and lifetime member of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Multi-published in romantic fiction and creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!” and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.” Website address: http://www.pamelathibodeaux.com Blog: http://pamswildroseblog.blogspot.com

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