The Perfect Marriage of Sacrifice and Time

When you have all the time in world, you really don’t. And when you don’t learn the meaning of sacrifice, you will take things for granted.

Following up on the topic, I wrote about the other day, what price are you willing to pay to “make it?” What is the true meaning of sacrifice to you?

Have you ever imagined your life as the writer you want to be? I’m sure you have, it’s only natural to see yourself doing well and making the dream a reality. But do you ever think of what you’re willing to give up or sacrifice to get there?

Most people don’t. And that’s because it doesn’t fit into our “plan,” of what we see for ourselves. Nobody says, “oh I dreamed about how famous I will be when I write that book I keep promising to write. And… I saw myself struggling to make ends meet while I slaved over my computer day in and day out to write it,”.

The Problem with the “Big Picture”

The problem is the “bigger” picture is the one we need to focus on if we want to move ahead. You could apply this to anything in life. Nobody gets anywhere that’s worth it for free. There is always a price to pay, whether that be time with your friends or family, or not being able to buy what you want on a strict budget.

Sacrifice is part of the package, like it or not. And most people don’t like it, not at all.

That said, however, there are some rare occasions where sometimes you’re given a free pass. And that can present its own set of problems, such as getting too much of a good thing and taking it for granted. And that happened to me. I was offered a writing gig for doing nothing more than owning a blog. Yep, it happens. It’s rare, but it happens.

Too Much of a Good Thing Can Be Disastrous

So what did I learn from that experience? Well, I learned that sometimes, you can become too big for your own boots. You can become selfish. You can become someone that thinks everything will be smooth sailing because you lucked out once.

And while I didn’t exactly squander that time away, I wasn’t looking any further ahead than the next hour in the day. And that was a mistake. I went with the flow and figured it’d last for a long time. I was wrong, and it didn’t, and I was unprepared for the fallout of my misjudgment.

It left me with no job, no prospects of getting another one, and I was down and out for a while.

And Herein Endeth the Lesson

When you think about your time, your future, your next step, it’s smart to plan for every situation, including the bad. If I had known better, I would have planned my way through that experience. I was young and naïve. I was happy until I wasn’t, and it sucked.

Try to capture the “good” of any situation for as long as you can but always be ready for the black clouds and the storm with a great umbrella.

When you have all the time in the world, you never think about it ending. And if you don’t learn the importance of sacrifice, you’ll take yourself, your situation and others for granted.

If or when you land that writing gig you’re chasing, be a smarter person than I was and you’ll (probably) do just fine.

If you have had similar experiences, let me know in the comments. I’m keen to read your stories of success and failure and everything in-between. Hit me up in the comments or drop me a line right here.

If you like my posts on writing, you can check out more of them here.

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Thanks!

 

Blogging Is Hard Work

Join me as I navigate my way through the writer’s life as a blogger

Being a blogger can be rewarding and fun, but it can also be stressful and a lot of work. If you haven’t experienced these things as a blogger, you will if you’re serious about your blogging career.

There are thousands of blogs out there telling you how to blog well. Do this, they say. No, do this instead! It’s down to you and your singular focus. And no list from someone with a million followers will change that.

If you don’t change, nothing will change.

Your focus determines your reality. This may be a fictional quote from a fictional character, but it’s true. I’ve completed a few blogging courses in my time, which I will blog about here for anyone interested. And the one message I see over and over from exceptional writers is “What is your why?”

Think about it. It might not seem like a hard question to ask. But it is. Because everyone has an original reason for blogging. Some blog for fun. Some blog for self-expression. Some blog for the sole reason of making money.

Until you know where you want to go with your blogging, you can’t move forward, especially if you want to make money as a blogger.

Why do you want to blog?

To make money from your blog and live the dream is what most bloggers want. I have dallied with the thought of monetizing everything I write. But once you begin down that road, you are in for a very bumpy journey.

What I’ve discovered is that the only factor that matters in the equation is you. If you want to be a full-time blogger, you must have 120 percent commitment, day and night to do it and do it well. You can’t just want to write a blog post here and there. Blogging is hard work.

What a lot of “experts” don’t tell you is that if you want to blog for a living, first you must choose what kind of blogger you want to be. And once you’ve done that, you then need to work on a marketing strategy, learn all about SEO and the countless ways to draw in and attract traffic to your blog.

And that’s just the beginning.

Being a writer or a lover of words is nowhere near enough.

You won’t succeed if you are in love with the romantic ideal of what a writer is. Today, writing is one of the most competitive industries on the planet. And the landscape of writing is constantly changing, and you need to change with it.

Are you prepared to take the next step in your blogging career? Or are you happy with the way things are and content to blog as a hobby? Everyone is different.

I’ll be writing a series of blog posts focusing on the challenges and struggles of blogging. And I’ll be sharing whatever I have learned with anyone who wants to read it.

Have you had similar experiences? Do you have something you think is important to share with other writers? Please, let me know in the comments. I am always looking for other writers and bloggers to collaborate with.

If you like my posts on blogging and writing, you can check out more of them here

If you’d like to support this blog, you can do so by following me here and liking my content.

Thank You!

 

Diary of a Freelancer – May 2020

Just a quick post about what I’ve been doing on the writing front for this month so far.

DIARY OF A FREELANCER

Just a quick post about what I’ve been doing on the writing front. As mentioned in an earlier post, I’ve started on Cristian Mihai’s The Art of Blogging Free Course. I’ll write a more in-depth post about this later on, but so far, it’s been straightforward and easy to follow.

Second, I am conducting a small cross-site writing experiment to gage information on content-specific posts so I can get a better idea of what my audience wants to read. And I’ll blog about this process once I complete the experiment. I’ll also be running a few polls to get more information.

I’m also planning a detailed post all about freelance writing on Medium, which I’ll be looking forward to writing.

And lastly, I spent a sizeable chunk of my time today changing and rearranging things on this blog to make it easier to navigate. And I’ve made other changes, which I’ll blog about in a later post.

How are you getting on with your own writing? Anything engaging to talk about? Please leave me comments about your personal writing journey as I’ll be keen to read them!

Until the next post, stay safe and keep writing!

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The Writer’s Toolbox – ProWritingAid

I finally took the plunge and subscribed to ProWritingAid. I spent some time with the trial version which I experimented with for two days and I liked what I saw of it, but there’s a lot to learn.

PROWRITINGAID

I finally took the plunge and subscribed to ProWritingAid. I spent some time with the trial version which I experimented with for two days and I liked what I saw of it, but there’s a lot to learn.

I went with ProWritingAid because someone on Twitter asked for my opinion on it and I could not give one. So I figured, why not check it out?

The marvellous thing about ProWritingAid is that you can drill all the way down into the very nitty-gritty of your writing. That means that not only will you get a report on your grammar misuse, your readability score, and your use of cliche and common words, but ProWritingAid will give you reports on statistics for areas of the written word you may not have heard of. It really is that detailed.

I was looking for something that would combine what I was already using into one nice package, and ProWritingAid does that for me really well. When I run my work through the app, I primarily stick to the summary report, which gives you overall statistics for the areas of your work that you’re familiar with.

If you’re looking for an all-purpose writing tool that has every bell and whistle, ProWritingAid is the tool for you. It was on special when I subscribed, and I purchased a license for one year.

If you’re keen to check it out, here’s the website.

I would suggest using the trial version first if you can. Then you can write a review of the product on your blog and you’ll qualify to get a pro license for one year for free!

If you try it out, please let me know what you think in the comments as I’d be interested to know how you get on.

Til my next post, keep safe and keep writing!

Auckland Writers Winter Program Begins Tomorrow

Tomorrow is the first day of the Auckland Writers Winter program, which will be held live online and streaming via Youtube and Facebook.

Auckland Writers Winter Series

Hi everyone! I hope you are all well and keeping safe.

Tomorrow is the first day of the Auckland Writers Winter program, which will be held live online and streaming via Youtube and Facebook.

The series runs every Sunday from tomorrow for the next 13 weeks, and it will be jam-packed with everything related to the written word and includes some of literature’s biggest names, such as Neil Gaiman!

Here are the details for tomorrow’s schedule via the Auckland Writers Festival website:

Episode One features Booker Prize joint winner Bernardine Evaristo on Girl, Woman, Other; NZ actor and writer Barbara Ewing with her about-to-be-published memoir One Minute Crying Time; and former Reserve Bank Governor Alan Bollard with Economists At War.

You can tune in via YouTube, Facebook, or via the website if you miss the live stream.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/akwrfest
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/AKwritersFESTIVAL
AWF website: http://www.writersfestival.co.nz/look-and-listen/videos/

Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 situation around the world, the Auckland Writers Festival has been canceled. For more details about how to get tickets refunded, please visit their website here.

Diary of a Freelancer – Upwork

I’ve always wanted to capture the process of freelancing as I experience it. The goal is to help others who may be having the same doubts or pitfalls that I’ve had and to hopefully, help them out of those situations.

DIARY OF A FREELANCER UPWORK

Hello everyone. I hope you are doing well and your family and everyone you know is safe.

I just wanted to catch up and update everyone with what I’ve been up to for the last couple of months by using a “series” of posts titled “Diary of a Freelancer”. I’ve always wanted to capture freelancing as I experience it. The goal is to help others who may have the same doubts or pitfalls that I’ve had and to hopefully, help them out of those situations. And to help me come to terms mentally through the tougher parts of this journey.

I have been busy behind the scenes, so-to-speak, trying out unfamiliar things which included writing for Medium and having curated success with my first post, and also using Upwork.

I wasn’t sure of anything when I started, and now that I have had time to work through those things, I can honestly say, if you’re a writer that respects what you do, please don’t use Upwork.

Via Giphy

Let me explain…

Upwork can be great for getting paid gigs as a freelancer. However, if you’re new to Upwork, you will struggle to begin with as you bid for jobs. This is because most of the employers that use Upwork are primarily looking for someone cheap to hire. Forget whatever rates you were used to charging, that won’t work on Upwork if you’re new.

You could be in this “rut” for months before you gain the exposure you need to earn well-paid gigs, and even then it’s hit and miss. This was an entirely unfamiliar process for me as a writer. Employers and businesses have hired me as a freelance contractor, consultant and editor in my career, so I haven’t had to “bid” for jobs that paid next to nothing for the work. To give you an example, it’s common to be asked to write 1000 words for less than $5.00 NZD. Those rates are terrible. And if you’re just starting out as a freelancer, you’re probably already at breaking point financially or you’re close to it.

Upwork also charge (around) $20.00USD monthly to use their services, so take that into consideration too if you sign up.

Money
Photo by Christian Dubovan on Unsplash

So while those offers weren’t acceptable to me and my current situation, there are plenty of other freelancers who will get paid next to nothing for their work. You will compete with hundreds of other freelancers like this. It’s tough, and you need to be ready for a serious commitment if you want to go the distance on Upwork.

I’d also like to say that while I frown on that process, I do not feel this way about any freelancers who use Upwork to get work. You do what you have to do to make ends meet. I think that has a lot to do with whether writers will thrive or fail on Upwork. If you’re broke already, I wouldn’t consider it. But again, each to their own. I respect and admire anyone that can get this process to work for them.

I spent around two months of my time on Upwork and while I didn’t bid every single day; I was constantly checking for gigs that suited my experience level daily and bidding on those jobs I thought were a suitable fit for me as a writer. I was a lot pickier about the gigs I bid for. Most freelancers on Upwork are not.

As I mentioned earlier, this was a novel experience, but it helped to reiterate exactly why I love writing and why freelancing is so challenging. Without this challenging aspect present daily, there’d be no reason to try your best or to push yourself to succeed. It is every bit a blessing and a curse.

Passion to write
Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

I know what I will absolutely not do for money. That is one key takeaway from this experience. However, if an opportunity presented itself that was in alignment with what I really want to do, all bets are off!

I’m chalking it up to a lesson learned and setting my sights on target for what I really want, and that is to continue being an entertainment freelance journalist.

I hope you found this post interesting. If so, please consider supporting me by liking what you read and following me which you can do right here.

If you’d like to read more content on the writing process, please click here.