5 Common Traits Writers Share (and More Importantly, Will You Be Happy as a Writer?)



People often ask me how they too can become a freelance writer.

How do I answer this question?

Usually, I give would-be freelance writers a skills-based answer–somewhat like what I share in this post, Can Anyone Be a Writer? 6 Basic Skills that Writers Need.

While that post gives a good answer, it overlooks the more important question of whether you will like freelance writing.

The longer I stay in this business, the more convinced I become that freelance writing success depends (at least partly) on job satisfaction. If you don’t like writing, you won’t stick with it.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Freelance writing is not for everyone.

Although you may perfect the skills you need to become a writer, you’ll eventually move on if freelance writing makes you unhappy.

In this post I discuss five traits that most satisfied freelance writers share.

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FAQ: What Voice Should I Use?



Clients are often confused about voice. I often get the question “what voice should I use on my web pages and blog?”

Like the answer to so many questions, the answer to this question is…it depends. It depends on who your intended audience is.

It seems that there’s a lot of confusion about voice. The voice you use on your web pages and blog should be the voice that your intended audience is most comfortable reading.

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The Right Way to Use Someone Else’s Copy


Copying is NOT the highest form of flattery.

Yet copying seems to be a constant problem on the web. Sometimes it seems that no blog or website has gone untouched.

I’m frequently asked if my material can be used in its entirety elsewhere. Generally, the answer is “no.” After all, the posts on this blog are protected by copyright and writing is how I earn my living.

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8 Factors that Cause Writing Projects to Cost More


Often writing clients want to know my rate–what do I charge for a specific type of project?

My usual answer is that I don’t have a rate, but that I would be happy to provide a customized proposal. I’ve learned over the years that the amount of effort that goes into writing projects varies greatly.

Many clients don’t understand the factors that cause a writing project to cost more money, so I’ve listed eight of those factors in this post.

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FAQ: Why I Didn’t Publish or Review Your (Blank)

Adapted from ©iStock.com/Rouzes

You fill in the blank: e-book, guest post, website, app, etc.

I get a lot of requests from readers wanting me to review something of theirs. Occasionally, when something really interests me, I do publish a review or a guest post here. But, most of the time I don’t do the reviews that I’m requested to do.

Here’s why.

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Even More Helpful Tips for Writers


Are you looking for information about writing and other writing-related tips? You’ve come to the right place! I’ve packed this blog with writing information.

However, some of you may not be aware that I write on other blogs. Yet, some of those other posts also contain information that might be useful to writers. So today, I thought I’d share them with you.

Here are some links to some of my writing-related posts. Enjoy!

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FAQ: What Are Your Writing Specialties?


Even though I’ve been writing for twenty years now, there are some types of writing projects that I just don’t accept (and some topics I don’t tackle).

While I have broad knowledge of many subjects and specific knowledge in several, the research required to learn some topics makes writing about them impractical.

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FAQ: What Do You Think About Writing For Exposure?

famous-girlEvery so often I get one of these offers – just write an article (or two, or three) for us free of charge and it will help you market your freelance writing business by giving you exposure as a writer on our website. You probably know the kind of offer that I mean. If you’re a freelance writer, then you’ve probably gotten some of these offers yourself.

Now, a decade or two ago, this type of offer might have had some real merit. Back then, it was pretty difficult and possibly costly for a writer to promote their skills. Only large companies could afford to have a web presence and traditional advertising was (and is still) expensive. The offer to write for exposure would have been. . . well, somewhat tempting.

I’d say that blogging and social media have changed all that. For a few hundred dollars almost anyone (and I mean anyone) can have a web presence and promote themselves. At no additional cost, that same someone can sign up for multiple social media venues and use those venues to promote their website – the only limitation being the time that it takes to actively participate in social media.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not against doing an occasional guest post as a favor or as a possible way to expand my own audience when I have time. I’ve done it in the past and I’m sure that I’ll do it again. Nor am I against accepting a guest post here from bloggers whose work I am familiar with and admire (particularly if they are NOT trying to hard sell a product that is only marginally related to this blog’s topic). In fact, I know of several bloggers who have successfully used guest posting to build their community.

However, when it comes to writing with only exposure for compensation, I am generally against it. For one thing, it takes valuable time away from working on paying gigs. Plus, in my experience, such offers rarely live up to the promises made. Most of those who make the offers are talking in terms of potential exposure (if they really did have a successful venue they would be able to compensate the writer for their work).

At any rate – this is my experience with write for exposure gigs. What’s yours?

Image Source: www.stockxpert.com

FAQ: Do You Accept Rush Jobs?

rush-jobI am often asked whether I accept rush writing jobs.

My answer to that question is: Yes!! Sometimes. . .

I will take on rush work when I can complete it without affecting other project deadlines.

You see, as a professional, I know that your deadlines are important. When I agree to take on your project you can rest assured that I will do everything in my power to meet your deadline.

That means that I will not put your project aside for last minute work even if that work pays more. I will fit a rush job into my schedule only if it will not negatively impact projects that I have already committed to.

However, if I can safely fit your rush job into my schedule, I will.

What is a Rush Job?

That is an excellent question and I’m glad that you asked.

Like most writers, I plan my schedule at least a week in advance. The earlier that you give me notice of your project; the better I will be able to fit it into my schedule.

People tend to think that a rush job is always work that is due the next day. That is not necessarily the case. What is considered a rush job varies depending on the scope of work and amount of effort required as well as the project due date.

On the one hand, if you contact me today about a project that requires forty hours of effort and is due in five business days I would consider that a rush job even though it is not due for a week because it is a large effort.

On the other hand, if you contact me today about a project that requires five hours of effort and it is due in five business days I would not consider that a rush job.

A handy rule thumb: it is easier for me to fit smaller jobs into my schedule than larger jobs.

Do You Charge Extra For Rush Job?

In general, I charge extra for rush jobs. However, a few people think that by paying extra money they can get me to push other client’s deadlines back. I assure you that will not happen.

If I can’t fit a rush job in to my schedule and still honor my commitment to other clients, I won’t accept it and no amount of money will change that. Period.

I Have a Rush Job Right Now, What Should I Do?

(Edited to incorporate changes on 9/19/09.) You can contact me with your rush project information. I’ll review your information within eight twenty-four business hours (often sooner) and let you know if I can fit your project into my schedule.

If I can get your work done according to your time frame, you will be provided with a free custom project cost estimate. If I cannot complete your work within your specified time frame, I may suggest writing colleagues for you to contact. (Added 9/19/09) For a reasonable fee, I may also offer to select and supervise qualified writers for your project.

Contents (c) Copyright 2008, Laura Spencer. All rights reserved

Image Source: www.stockxpert.com

FAQ: Can I Use Your Content?

Note: If you are reading this post on any blog other than WritingThoughts, it has been plagiarized.

Question: I really liked your post, can I cut and paste it into my blog?

Answer: No, unless otherwise noted the contents of this blog are the intellectual property of the blog’s owner, Laura Spencer. As such, they remain under her copyright and may not be reproduced in their entirety without express permission from the author.

Question: Is there any way that I can use the posts on this blog?

Answer: You may quote a small portion (no more than several sentences) of a post if you attribute the quote to Laura Spencer and/or to WritingThoughts AND include a link back to this blog.

Alternatively, if you like the writing on this blog you can hire Laura Spencer to write a unique post for your blog. Refer to this page for details.

Question: Can I cut and paste a photograph or graphic from this blog onto my blog.

Answer: In many cases the photographs and graphics that appear here are also copyrighted. If you need photographs or images it is best to go to a stock image site such as iStockPhoto or stock.xchng.

Contents (c) Copyright 2007, Laura Spencer. All rights reserved