"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
As featured on: Pro Blogger, Men With Pens, Write to Done, Tiny Buddha, LifeHack, Technorati, Date My Pet, South 85 Literary Journal and other award-winning sites.

Monday, March 20, 2017

The 3 R's Series Brings More Writers' Resources





RECOMMENDED READS AROUND THE WEB

 

STATS ON PRODUCTIVITY AND THE WAY WE WORK

https://michaelhyatt.com/work-infographic.html

HOW TO CREATE BRAND LOYALTY FOR YOUR BLOG
http://howtoblogabook.com/how-create-brand-loyalty-blogs-books/

7 REASONS NOT TO COMPETE ON PRICE
http://b2blauncher.com/do-not-compete-on-price/

BECOME YOUR EDITOR’S FAVORITE FREELANCER
 https://thewritelife.com/become-your-editors-favorite-freelance-writer/

FOREVER BROKE? HOW TO REPAIR IT AND BECOME A MILLIONAIRE

http://www.inc.com/john-rampton/forever-broke-15-things-holding-you-back-from-becoming-a-multi-millionaire.html

FIVE WAYS TO GET MORE WRITING JOBS

http://www.freelancewritinggigs.com/2017/02/5-ways-get-writing-jobs-make-money/

HOW TO GET PUBLISHED ON MAJOR SITES

http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2016/12/16/how-to-get-published-on-big-sites/





RESOURCES:

 





BOOK MARKETING TOOL


 
JOB BOARDS FOR FREELANCERS

 


ONLINE, AFFORDABLE WRITING CLASSES
 


 
 
 

REVIEW


“PRODUCTIVITY GURUS TELL ALL”--BY MICHAEL HYATT

Finally, a book on productivity that’s useful, smart, easy to follow and does not regurgitate the same information we’ve heard ad nauseum.
This eBook is a quick read with lasting impact. It provides 12 strategies to help readers to get more from their day by being strategic and focused.

Here are a few sections you’ll find particularly interesting:
 
  • The importance of quality sleep
  • How to limit communcations and why you should
  • The benefit of boredom
  • How focus cab help you achieve more
It also has a Productivity Assessment to determine your current status.
 
Note: There must have been a tech glitch as I was not able to fully complete the assessment, however.
It’s a must-read for those who want to take their productivity to new levels in 2017. I give it 4 stars.
 
Learn more at Michael Hyatt.com
 
 
 

 Image credit: https://pixabay.com


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Phenomenal Female Blogger Feature for March!



 
Welcome Readers,

Please join me in welcoming our first featured female for the Women's History Month Contest as she shares some "food for thought" I'm sure you'll find interesting and empowering.

 WHY MEN WITH DOUBLE STANDARDS ARE NOT ON MY MENU
BY: STEPHANIE GATES

I was standing in the kitchen at the stove slowly stirring a pot of oatmeal. I had put the raisins in the water to soften them. I added milk, butter and sugar to the oatmeal just as I had watched my mother do when I was a child. Outside of McDonald’s oatmeal, I don’t eat oatmeal or grits without milk (cheese grits being the exception). I can skip the butter, but the milk adds a nice richness to the taste of the oatmeal.

I had boiled two eggs, sliced and seasoned them with pepper and a smidgen of Kosher salt just to give the eggs some flavor. My mother has hypertension, so I have to monitor her salt intake. I take my time and make her breakfast the way she likes it. I cook for my mother out of love just as she did for me.

My mother was an excellent cook, and she made most things from scratch. She catered to the wants and desires of her children and grandchildren until she wasn’t able to anymore. My middle sister and I did not like lemon flavoring so, my mother made two pound cakes: one with lemon flavoring and one with vanilla. She cooked sausage and bacon for breakfast. Whatever we wanted, she prepared just the way we liked it.

I am the youngest of seven: four girls and three boys. Two of my sisters share my mother’s love for cooking. I love good food especially if someone else is doing the cooking. The best thing about living near family is that the cooks in the family will always save me a plate. Since I moved back home to help care for my elderly mother, it’s been a blessing to have family close by because I eat well!

 
Cooking has been a "hot" issue in my dating life. It’s not that I can’t cook, it’s that I don’t. At least that’s what I tell the men that I meet. I’m single, so until recently, I never really got into the habit of cooking for myself. In the past, I cooked for some men I dated because I thought that’s what women did. My mother did it. My sisters did it. My nieces do it.

Contrary to popular belief, not all women cook. And yet whenever I meet a new guy, cooking always finds its way into the conversation.
One time in particular, I was talking to this guy on the phone on my way to work one morning.
I stopped at McDonald’s to get oatmeal. Sounding irritated, he asked, “Do you cook?”

“No.”

“Don’t you get tired of eating out of a bag?”

“Sometimes. And when I do, I bring the food home and put it in my dishes.”

“Don’t you get tired of eating restaurant food?”

“I don’t always eat restaurant food. My sister and my niece cook.”

“What if they’re not around?”

“But they are.”

“But what if they’re not?”

“But they are.”

Then he went on a tirade about career women who don’t know how to take care of their men. This was the same man, mind you, who complained that I didn’t offer to pay half of the Buffalo Wild Wings bill. We had a six piece wing, onion rings, and a beer for him and ice tea for me and he was mad because he paid that whole big ole bill by himself.

DOUBLE STANDARDS STILL PREVAIL...

What’s surprising is that many men are traditional in one sense, but so modern in the next. These men want Betty Damn Crocker, and yet can’t even hit a nail with a hammer. Calling Triple A or googling a repairman is the extent of their skill set.

Newsflash: We can’t Netflix at your place and chill and you get a fully prepared home cooked meal. Hello? I meet men who show up to the table empty handed, but still want to sit down and partake. They believe the hype that there’s a shortage of good men, so I should gratefully do whatever it takes to get their attention.

I understand that we all have our preferences, and if a man prefers a woman who cooks, that’s fine with me. I’m not the woman for him. I’m not in competition with other women for a man. I’m not going to cook for him to give me an advantage. I’ll cook for a man who proves worthy of the time and effort that it takes to prepare a meal. Let them chew on that.

 

BIO:
Stephanie Gates is an educator by day and writer by night. In her free time she enjoys Kizomba and belly dancing. She is a frequent contributor to anthologies. To read more of her work, please visit her blog at www.stephaniesepiphanies.blogspot.com.


Thoughts? Agree or disagree?  How does food factor into your relationships?

Image credit: https://Pixabay.com/


 


Saturday, March 11, 2017

Rejection Reflections...Silence is the Worst






Rejection is part of being a writer. Most of us have been taught this, and the rest find out soon enough. If you can’t handle rejection, you’ve chosen the wrong profession. Even writers like Stephen King and J.K. Rowling, who could probably get a grocery list published, have faced plenty of rejection in the past.

BUILDING A RESISTANCE TO REJECTION...
It’s difficult at first. You put a fragile part of yourself into something, edit and then edit some more until it’s the best you can possibly do. You take a deep breath and submit, only to receive a form letter a few weeks later saying thank you, but no thanks.
The first few rejections hurt, no doubt about it. But much as people who work with tools develop protective calluses on their hands, those of us who toil with the pen develop something similar, commonly referred to as a thick skin. Over time, rejection no longer frightens or hurts us. In fact, many writers use rejection as a challenge to produce even better work.
 
SILENCE IS THE WORST REJECTION...
Unfortunately, with the worldwide domination of the internet has come something even more discouraging than rejection – the no-reply. Many publications no longer reply to a submission unless they’ve decided to publish it. Some will give a timetable – if you don’t hear from us within eight weeks, assume that we have decided not to publish your work. Others do not, leaving you wondering weeks later if they are still looking at your submission, if they lost it, forgot about it, or any other misfortune that the creative mind of a writer can imagine.
 
CONVENIENCE REPLACES COMPASSION...
The no-reply seems very disrespectful, with a touch of arrogance. It reminds me of sitting at home, waiting for a first date to arrive. You put time and effort into making yourself look the best you possibly can, full of excitement about the possibilities. Then you sit and wait. As time passes you find yourself looking at the clock, but that excited, optimistic feeling remains. Then, slowly, doubt creeps in, until eventually you admit that she’s probably not coming. And then you wonder, why didn’t she just call? With all the effort put into it, the very least you deserve is a phone call or a text.

CONTRIBUTING FACTORS...
Most publications today accept only online submissions. It’s a fine idea – paperless for the environment and all that – but it makes submitting very, very easy. Submitting a hard copy of an article or short story may cost almost a dollar to submit, when considering the price of ink, paper, envelope and a stamp. That’s for just one submission. Not to mention the time it takes to put this all together.
With online submissions, you can write one story and submit it to dozens of publications within minutes, absolutely free. And that’s exactly what many writers do – click, submit; click, submit. Doesn’t matter if the story or article is even remotely close to what the writing guidelines ask for, because many writers no longer bother reading them.
 
SO MANY SUBMISSIONS, SO LITTLE TIME...
The problem with online submissions is that editors are swamped with so many submissions that they no longer have time to send a reply. This is what they tell us, anyway. Personally, it doesn’t seem that it would take that much effort to at least email a form rejection. Nobody’s favorite, but at least it gives some closure.
And so we continue to write, celebrating when we get an acceptance letter and continuing to grind away with every rejection.
 
SAYING "YES" TO RESILIENCE...
As for the publications that don’t reply at all, I say treat them like that no-show date and move on.
Break free from the "Heartbreak Hotel." 
There are others out there who will like what we do, if we just keep looking.
 
BIO:
Gary Sprague's fiction and non-fiction have appeared in several publications, including the Raleigh Review, Writers Weekly, Grown and Flown, and Mamalode.


Thoughts? Agree or disagree? How do you handle rejection?

Image credit: https://Pixabay.com/

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

How I Turned Guest Posting Into Freelancing Gold!




How many times have you been told that you should never write for free? That doing so diminishes our collective worth and cheapens you.
Not true. Not always.
This one-size-fits-all approach can not only stunt your creative growth, but also compromise your future earnings. Be forewarned.

As with many things in life, it’s not just what you do, but how you do it that counts.
Strategy matters.
Here’s how, over the years, I’ve leveraged free work to work my plan and get paid!
And you can too.

LET’S REWIND HERE FOR GREATER CLARITY…
About a month ago, I accessed my early-morning email to prioritize my day.
I found one message in particular that caught my barely-opened eyes.

The subject line read: “Interested in hiring you for writing services.”
At first I thought it was a scam: like the frequent ones I get about winning the Nigerian Lottery. Upon further scrutiny, I discovered that a guest post I actually wrote and published about six years ago (at Pro Blogger), impressed a business executive so much, he sought me out.

From six years ago, I remind you. That’s the power of effective guest posting. It’s the gift that keeps on giving! To make a long story short here, over the course of just a few days, and a couple of instructional emails, I landed a 50.00 an hour monthly gig. This without any pitching, pleading or social media madness.

This recent example is just one of several that I’ve used to help clients “FIND ME” and make more money with less stress and less marketing.

HERE’S WHAT I’VE LEARNED FROM DOZENS OF GUEST POSTS AT
TOP- TIER SITES, THAT CAN SHORTEN YOUR LEARNING CURVE:

1. IT STARTS WITH A PLAN

Back in 2011, I made it my personal goal to change my guest blogging system. Instead of just randomly posting at any site with a shingle that read: “Write for us,” I became more selective. I targeted top-dog blogs like Pro Blogger, Men With Pens, Daily Blog Tips and Tiny Buddha. And all my pieces were successfully published. It made a huge difference in my career. For example, the post that was accepted at Pro Blogger garnered hundreds of Tweets, a boat load of comments, and several serious requests for my writing services. (Manifesting within just 72 hours of posting). That post at Pro Blogger alone has paid off more than all the posts I had made years before it. The moral of the story here? Don’t just blog. Blog with specific, deliberate, realistic goals. Would you like to “win friends and influence people?” Sell stuff? Connect with potential clients? Increase awareness of an important social cause? The clearer you are here, the more likely you will discover the path to success with fewer detours.

2. ALL GUEST POSTS ARE NOT CREATED EQUALLY
Through trial and error I discovered that all experiences in the blogging community are not created equally. Some blogs have a high level of interaction and comments from readers. Some are great places to sell products. While others can increase your traffic levels, help build an impressive portfolio and your self-esteem.

Think of it this way. Remember college? Though all classes typically carried some value, those that met more frequently, or for longer periods of time, or that carried a “lab” component, helped you accumulate more credits and meet graduation requirements faster.
Aim high. You’ll advance quicker. Ideally a blog with a Google Page Rank of 3 or above should be your target for optimal results.

You can check a blog’s GPR here:
https://www.prchecker.info/check_page_rank.php
It should also be noted that some blogs are starting to pay monetarily now.

3. SOMETIMES EXPOSURE CAN BE JUST AS REWARDING AS PAY
Compensation may not always be immediate, or with money, but posts landed at uber-popular sites, (Pro Blogger, Tiny Buddha, Men With Pens, Write to Done) will definitely enhance your career and your earnings over the long run. Think futuristically.

4. LIMITING YOUR GUEST POSTS TO BLOGS IN YOUR
NICHE AREA CAN BE LIMITING
Widen your net. Diversify. Just notice how singers that have “cross-over appeal” tend to have a larger fan base, greater longevity and bigger sales. Though my main blog is on writing and marketing, I have also published periodic guest posts on education, relationships, shopping, and career blogs. You never know where your next client or customer will be. Doing so can also expand your network of online friends and supporters. And you can never have too many, darling.

5. HAVE A SYSTEM AND WORK IT
You’ll be a lot more successful and effective in your guest posting efforts, (and less frustrated) if you have some sort of system. It can be as simple as a spreadsheet that you create on your computer with the name of a targeted guest post site, a tentative post title, a date for submission, and status. Where do you begin? Start with your favorites-- the sites that you read frequently and admire. Or choose from the popular “Top 100” listing recently released from The Write Life:

https://thewritelife.com/100-best-websites-for-writers-2017/

TO SUM THINGS UP HERE…
Follow these five principles and practices to take the “guess work” out of guest posting, and to leverage free work to build a more profitable career.

Image credit: https://Pixabay.com/


Sunday, March 5, 2017

4 Strategies to Make Tax Time Less "Taxing"




Jumping into the freelance writing world can be scary for a number of reasons, but taxes shouldn’t be one of them. As long as you keep clear records of all of your spending and income, you will have very little issues when the 1099s start flowing in.
 
Stay Organized
From your very first guest post that brings in a check, track it for your records. Different contractors have different preferred methods for tracking their income. Some use a simple spreadsheet, but when you are pumping out 3-5 articles a day for numerous different clients, things can get a bit messy.

Try one of the new apps on the market that have been designed to make your life easier when tracking funds coming in and going out, like
Quickbooks Self Employed app or something similar. These management tools enable you to link the app to your various bank accounts and credit cards that you use for your business and categorize them as they happen.

Resources: https://quickbooks.intuit.com/

Deductions, Deductions, Deductions!
As a freelancer, you have the ability to “write off” many of the costs and expenses that you take on while running your business. By writing these expenses off, it reduces the amount that you owe when taxes are due by claiming them as operating costs.

These deductions run far and wide from meals and coffee with clients to gas mileage. If you find yourself driving to meet clients to discuss projects, you will want to track your mileage and claim that as one of your major deductions. Don’t be afraid to be the one to pick up the tab at the coffee shop meeting either. Keep your receipts or track them on your app to add it to your deductions.

If you use an accountant, bring every single receipt that you think can be connected with your business. If you decide to use a DIY tax service such as
Turbotax, the software will walk you through all of the potential deductions that you may make. Some of these miscellaneous costs include phone bills, advertising costs, health care premiums, website domain fees and more.

Resources: https://turbotax.intuit.com/personal-taxes/self-employment-taxes/

Home Office
One of the joys of working as a freelance writer is getting to work from home. If you do the majority of your work from a room in your house that you use solely for writing, you have the ability to write off the mortgage or rental costs of that space.
You can also write off the home or rental insurance, utilities and wifi.


Paying Quarterly Taxes 
This can bring you some relief instead of facing potentially owing a large lump sum right after the holidays. You can utilize one of the many apps or your accountant to pay quarterly taxes based on estimates of your income over the course of the year. Self employment tax is 15.3% of your income that goes towards paying Medicare and Social Security taxes.

Resources: https://www.mileiq.com/blog/self-employment-tax-basics/

Leave it to the Pros

If anything makes you nervous about doing your taxes, just leave it up to those that do it best. Save all your receipts and collect all 1099s to simply hand them over to a tax expert to help you out. They may be costly but it may end up saving you more money down the line by avoiding a tax audit.


BIO:
W.M. Chandler is a Colorado native and works best with her head in the clouds. She is an avid researcher and enjoys writing about unfamiliar subjects. She writes passionately about nature and the outdoors, human connections and relationships, nutrition and politics.

Twitter: @wmchandler1212

Thoughts? Comments?

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Contest...Calling all Fabulous, Female Bloggers!



It's time to show your shine!
As many of you are aware, March is Women's National History Month.
A time to recognize, celebrate, and embrace our collective contributions, strength and wisdom.
Its origins date back to 1981. See more details here about Women's History Month:
http://www.nwhp.org/
As a way of highlighting and high-five-ing women of achievement, Pen & Prosper has produced an annual series called
"PHENOMENAL FEMALE BLOGGERS" also known as "THE ROAR SERIES."
Each year, women submit personal essays, success stories, or sisterly advice, in exchange for being profiled. 

Here's a link to a former post:
http://penandprosper.blogspot.com/2011/03/pen-and-prosper-celebrates-womens.html

This time I've decided to sponsor a contest, to reflect the best of the best. And to have a little fun here.
Interested? Here's the skinny from Jenny!

 
IN ADDITION TO BEING PUBLISHED AND PROMOTED ON PEN & PROSPER'S POPULAR, AWARD-WINNING SITE AND EARNING THE RECOGNITION THEY DESERVE AND DESIRE

 WINNERS SELECTED MAY CHOOSE FROM THE FOLLOWING:

** A FREE PROFESSIONAL BLOG AUDIT VALUED @ $50.00 (Detailed, personalized report on how to improve your site and your status)

** A BEAUTIFUL BADGE TO DISPLAY ON YOUR SITE

** MY 3-BOOK BUSINESS SERIES OF E-BOOKS FOR BLOGGERS AND 10 BUCKS BY PAYPAL

And a few surprises...
Good luck! I look forward to reading your entries. And I value your readership.

Happy Women's History Month!

In solidarity,

Jen

P.S. Guys, I will have something for you later. Stay tuned.

Image Credits: http://Pixabay.com



Sunday, February 26, 2017

How to Match Your Learning Style With the Right Writer's Training...


Most savvy writers realize that to put food on the table, they need to continually feed their minds.
In this Internet age, educational and developmental resources are abundant.
Books, blogs, podcasts, E-courses and webinars can help to increase today's writer's knowledge base and bottom line like never before.

For optimal results, however, it's important to understand your learning style and how to align the right products and formats to meet your individual needs and specific goals.
We each differ.

For example, I am a Visual Learner. It is estimated that 60% of students are visual learners.

For your edification, here are the four basic groups of learning styles and related traits. 

  • VISUAL LEARNERS
  • AUDITORY LEARNERS
  • TACTILE LEARNERS
  • KINESTHETIC LEARNERS

 

THE STYLE: VISUAL (SIGHT)
THE TRAITS: Learns best through demonstrations; often uses lists to maintain and organize thoughts; remembers faces but often forgets names; tends to be unaware of noise
BEST LEARNING FORMATS OR RESOURCES: Infographics, You-Tube videos, How-to books, Webinars, Vlogs

THE STYLE: AUDITORY (HEARING)
THE TRAITS: Learns best by listening; enjoys verbal instructions; inclined to remember names but forgets faces; easily distracted by noise
BEST LEARNING FORMATS OR RESOURCES: Audio books,  Podcasts


 
THE STYLE: TACTILE (HANDS ON)
THE TRAITS: Likes to draw or doodle to remember things; does well with hands on activities like labs
BEST LEARNING FORMATS OR RESOURCES: Tech gadgets, games, interactive activities and demonstrations 

THE STYLE: KINESTHETIC (MOVEMENT)
THE TRAITS: High energy levels; prefers to do rather than watch or listen; learns best while moving
BEST LEARNING FORMATS OR RESOURCES: Interactive workshops at libraries and arts centers, in store book signings with authors' Q& A forums

If you're uncertain as to what your learning style is, here's an online testing site that helps you to identify your style and category:

http://www.whatismylearningstyle.com/learning-style-test-1.html

The more you know, the more you grow.
The best writers are life-long learners!


ADDITIONAL RESOURCES AND RECOMMENDED READING:

http://www.ion.uillinois.edu/resources/tutorials/id/learningstyles.asp

https://web.wlu.ca/learning_resources/pdfs/Learning_Styles.pdf


Thoughts?
What's your learning style?
Did you "learn" anything interesting or beneficial here?

Thanks for reading.


Image credit: https://Pixabay.com