Thursday, May 30, 2013

From Creative Non-Fiction to Freelance Writing in One Easy Step

With only two days left on my self-imposed May’s Month of Music challenge I’m finding motivation for writing over here has come to a screeching halt. Maybe I ran out of stories to go along with the music? Whatever it is I think my creative non-fiction brain is just shut down for a while.

And that’s okay. I’ve discovered something else I’m really enjoying in the writer world and reaping the benefits of it being in my life. I started Freelance Writing and just the other day I got paid for my very first article. (Okay, to be fair I once made about $2 in ad revenue when writing for a blog that is no longer operational but this is an article.)

The more I uncover about this fascinating industry the more I’m realizing that I’ve actually been Freelancing on Green Leaf Reviewer, EcoEtsy, and my Jenn Flynn-Shon Author blog for a collective of about five years. In addition to those blogs I’ve also written a bunch of articles for eZine and HubPages. So it finally hit me about three weeks ago…

I’ve been Freelancing for five years for FREE!!!

Uh, that’s not cool. And I needed to figure out what to do about it.

Last night while I was at my Scottsdale Society of Women Writers meeting one of the ladies got up and started talking about how she’s doing something similar right now after spending years on books. Because, as she said, sometimes writing isn’t only about helping other people, sometimes it’s just about making some money.

My head almost snapped right off from nodding so furiously.

I’m not planning to be one of those monkeys who write these rambling 300 word paragraphs that make no sense and are terribly written just to make a quick buck though. I plan to do the same level of quality in my writing and research as any and all of those resources above. And so what if I only make enough to buy a cup of coffee every day (right now). It’s sure more than I was making before.

The cool thing about Freelance Writing is I can be as aggressive as I want and the more I write, pitch and land the more I can get quality content out into the world and quality duckets into my PayPal account.

The song inspiring today’s post is basically about getting over yourself so you can find the “me” you were meant to be. Maybe it’s exactly the lesson I need to learn right now. In fact this line:

Looking everywhere only to find that it’s not the way I’d imagined it all in my mind.”

Is kind of exactly where I’m at with all of this writer’s life stuff.

At first it seemed hard to justify moving onto a new facet of the Writing industry after spending so many years working on fiction. But I finally had to realize that no matter how much I beat my head against the keyboard I was just spinning my wheels, digging into nothing. I have some amazing friends and family behind me and supporting my writing but I will wide-open admit that even though I love that I’m also looking for the financial validation of all my hard work.

Freelance Writing lets me explore that world. I can work as much or as little as I want to make as much or as little as I want (essentially). There are a billion assignments for Writers out there I just have to learn how to find them, pitch them and land them.

Getting over fear of making a living instead of starving to death on my complete lack of royalties might sound ridiculous to some but it was exactly where I was at in my head – a sense of obligation to keep doing what I’d always done even if it never brought the results I wanted.

Yeah, I’m over that now.

I kind of feel like Jerry Maguire telling Bob Sugar to go pound sand:

Now I want all my clients, and yours too.”

Just because I Freelance doesn’t mean I give up fiction writing completely. In fact one of the main reasons I’m doing this is so I can put some extra money in the bank in order to fund my future book projects. And like I said, I can work the hours I do or don’t want.

For now I’m still learning so much so I’m only writing part time (like VERY PT, about five to seven hours a week). But I already managed to get paid for an article. Before I even knew what I was doing. Before I even knew the best places/ways to pitch.

It was under $4 but a completely successful experiment – if I can sell something before I even know what I’m really doing imagine what I can do when I know how.

And the monetary validation for working hard on something I enjoy writing about was a nice feeling.

My article is called Natural Ways to Kill Weeds without Breaking the Bank and comes from a place I hold near and dear, my eco-conscious lifestyle.

Writing about Green stuff just comes naturally so maybe for once I have found the “Somewhere I Belong”. At least as far as my writing goes. I sure plan to keep doing it, and enjoy the benefits of selling work, for as long as I can.

May’s Month of Music
Somewhere I Belong – Linkin Park (Pandora first track)


JudisJems said...

Hooray, you've gone from being a FREE-lance writer to being a freelance writer!
I know you can do whatever you set your mind to do!
Love, Mum

Almost Precious said...

Congrats Jenn !!! :) It doesn't matter what artistic field we are in, nowhere is there a law that says we are required to be starving artist and cannot make a living doing what we are passionate about. Keep up the good work - I know one of these day I'll be telling friends; "Jenn Flynn-Shon, the famous writer? Yeah I remember her from back in her blogger days. No - really - seriously, I did."

Joan said...

I am forwarding that article on to my niece. She will love it.

Launna said...

This is really good Jenn... keep finding those freelance jobs.. to fund those stories you have in your head into books :)

Jak Cryton said...

Bookmarked the article. How exactly do you "pitch" when freelancing? Is it along the lines of a site has offers up for article writing and you literally pitch yourself to them? Or write the article and just submit it, with a cover letter or pitch with it? Sorry I don't know much about it.

I was going to write gaming articles, but was way way too chicken shit. Still am. I've even a (specific) gaming blog sitting empty, because I don't want to sound lame.

I'm glad you won't stop your fiction writing, and I agree it will help fund future projects. Nothing wrong with that at all!

Congrats on the article and making some $$$ in the process!

Jak at The Cryton Chronicles & Dreams in the Shade of Ink

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

Thanks mum love you!

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

Here, here! I don't see why with the right plan and path (and persistence) we artist's can't make money doing what we love. Sometimes it just takes longer than we'd hoped that's all.

You're too sweet :-)

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

I hope she gets some use out of the suggestions Joan, thanks so much!

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

That's so the goal! I'll never give up writing fiction but I have to be able to afford to do it right :-)

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

No worries, you actually have it right on both questions, just depends where/who you're writing for. My ultimate goal is to write conversational blogs/articles, press releases and maybe some sales letters every once in a while too. If I can't find the online sites for just landing the jobs then I'll start pitching to companies directly. I need to learn sales letter writing for that though since I'll have to write one to sell them that I can write one!

One big merry go round this writer's life lol

Oh man if you wrote gaming/tech articles you could be making six figures in a year with the right people placing them in the right places. People want to read about that stuff whereas crunchy-crunchy earth loving hippie pappy crap isn't really selling as well. But it's what I love so screw it, I'm doing it anyway :-)