5 Really Bad Writing Gigs that Keep Perfectly Good Writers from Making Ends Meet

Bad-gigsDo “prospects” ask you to write for free or way below market rate?

If you’re a freelance writer, chances are good that you’ve been approached by a so-called “prospect” with an offer you must refuse.

You must refuse the offer if you want to stay in business, that is. After all, you can’t spend all your time working for nothing, or next-to-nothing, if you want to earn a living as a writer.

It always amazes how much effort some folks will go to in order to take advantage of writers through lousy freelance offers. Don’t just take my word for it. Check out the experiences of other freelance writers.

Lori Widmer does a good job of documenting some of these bad offers in her series on her Words on the Page blog, Writers Worth: This Job, Not That Job. Deb Ng lists some more bad writing opportunities on kommein blog in the post, Here’s What’s Wrong With Freelancing Today.

The worst thing about these opportunities is that some writers will fall for them.

In this post, I list five of the most common types of bad gigs freelancers face and examine what’s wrong with each of them. So, the next time you’re tempted to accept a bad offer, check here first. Then say “no.

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Professional Proposal Creation Tool Saves Time, Quote Roller Review

Contract page with pen and stack of dollars on tableOne of the most important things that a freelancer can do is get their client agreements in writing. I’ve said this over and over again, yet many freelance writers still fail to get a written agreement before starting a project.

I get it. I do. Writing a client proposal is hard.

What do you do when you receive an inquiry from a prospective freelance writing client? If you’re like me, you ask them questions or meet with them (or both). Next, you open your word processor and write a proposal or cost estimate for their project. Does that sound right?

The entire process of creating a writing project proposal can take hours. And you’ll probably forget to include something important. No wonder so many freelance writers skip this important step.

Fortunately, there’s a solution. Enter Quote Roller(Affiliate Link)

I love tools that save me time AND make me appear more professional at the same time. For the past two years, QuoteRoller has done both.

That’s why I’ve come to rely on Quote Roller to create proposals for my freelance writing business. It’s also why I’ve decided to review the tool here on WritingThoughts.

(Note: I am an affiliate for Quote Roller. This post contains some affiliate referral links.)

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Does It Really Pay to Do Content Creation Piecemeal?

piecemeal content creationRecently, I’ve noticed a new trend in content creation. With an increasing frequency, clients are asking me to do just a single task in the content creation process.

For example, a client will ask me if I can come up with headlines for a topic.

Or, they’ll ask if I can just do the research for a piece of content. And the list of individual content creation task requests goes on.

I know I’m not the only one getting these requests, because I’ve talked to other writers. Does this approach to content creation make sense? Should you divide the various content creation tasks between freelancers?

In this post, I’ll take a look at the most common reason why businesses try to piecemeal content creation. I’ll also look at the various tasks businesses often try to separate out. Of course, you’re invited to share your thoughts and experiences.

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How to Help Other Writers and Earn Money Too

writers-help-othersFreelance writing is a tough field. Getting started takes a huge leap of faith.

Plus, most new freelance writers struggle at first.

New writers struggle because they’re faced with situations that they didn’t expect. They don’t know what to do. Many quit. Others wind up working for far less than they’re worth.

If you’ve been a freelance writer for a while, you know exactly what I mean. You remember how tough it was for you when you started.

As an experienced freelance writer, you can help a less experienced writer and earn money at the same time. They don’t have to make the same mistakes you did.

Sharing your experiences is a way to give back and it’s also a good business sense. You never know when you will need a freelancing ally.

In this post, I list four ways that experienced writers can help other writers and earn money at the same time.

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Are You Ignoring Half Your Prospective Audience? (Timing Social Shares)

Portrait of the sleeping woman against the star sky, horizontallyEvery night while you sleep thousands of prospective clients and readers for your blog get up and start to work.

Your company or services are perfect for them.

Yet they have no idea you exist. Why?

They have no idea that you exist because you only share content and social posts during your own working hours. You’re essentially ignoring a good part of your prospective audience.

In today’s global economy, it’s important to remember that your clients are not necessarily those who live closest to you.

I have a confession to make.

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Does Size Matter? A Look at Longer Blog Posts

longer-postsHow long should a blog post be?

In the past year, content specialists have cited the benefits of longer blog posts. By longer, they typically mean more than 2,000 words in length.

According to experts, longer posts solve a lot of problems that web owners and small businesses face. Apparently, longer posts can improve your site’s search engine rankings, engage more readers, and generally drive more traffic to your site.

It sounds like the solution to all your problems, right?

Many website owners have jumped on the long blog post bandwagon, some without thinking about it. Are they right in doing so?

In this post, I’ll take a closer look at longer blog posts and their effectiveness. My goal is to provide the information you need to make and informed decision. At the end, I invite you to share your own experiences.

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How Often Should You Post to Your Blog?


One of the questions clients often ask me is how often they should post to their blogs.

In the past, I’ve tried to answer this question according to the client’s goals. That’s the right way to answer the question, but unfortunately clients don’t hear my whole answer. All they hear is a number.

So I’m changing my answer. The new answer is…as often as possible. (But make sure that everything you post is of high quality.) At least, that’s the short answer.

Let me explain.

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Are Blog Comments Necessary?

blog-comment2Like many bloggers, I was surprised and concerned this week to read Copyblogger‘s notice that they were turning blog comments off. (See Sonia Simone, Why We’re Removing Comments on Copyblogger.)

The post sparked many echo posts discussing the decision. Some bloggers praised the decision while others questioned it.

If you’re not in the writing or blogging field, you may not realize that Copyblogger is one of the largest and most prominent blogs on the topics of web content, blogging, and writing. Hundreds of writers and would-be writers turn to Copyblogger every day for advice.

So, not only are we losing comments on Copyblogger, there’s the potential that other bloggers will follow their example. Which led me to ask whether blog comments are necessary.

Personally, I can see both sides of this issue. My opinion is that the pros of having comments on your blog outweigh the cons. I won’t remove them from WritingThoughts, at least not for now.

In this post, I address the pros and cons of blog comments. I also invite you to share your own opinion about blog comments. (Yes, share your thoughts in the comments here).

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Tighten Your Web Writing in 6 Easy Steps

Tighten-writingWhen it comes to writing for the web, you have to grab your reader’s attention quickly.

In many cases, you have just seconds before they click away.

That’s why shorter is better. Shorter paragraphs. Shorter sentences. Shorter words.

A newbie mistake when it comes to online content is to write like you’re trying to impress your eighth grade English teacher. If you’re writing for your eighth grade English teacher, you’re doing it wrong.

Your eighth grade teacher may have liked big words and complex sentences, but your readers won’t.

In this post, I share six easy steps to help you tighten your online content. If you liked this post, you may also like Five Proofreading Tips That You Can Use Right Now By Yourself.

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Why Writing Content Is Harder Than You Think (and What to Do to Make It Easier)

writing-misperceptionsFor as long as I’ve been writing, the people around me have mistakenly thought that writing was easy–an afterthought.

Non-writing colleagues always seem to believe that good writing is something that can be slapped together at the last minute.

When I was a technical writer, software development teams often left manual writing or online help writing tasks until last. Likewise, as a marketing writer I was expected to pull together complicated pieces in very little time. And of course, there’s blogging–often with daily deadlines.

Yet written materials are an important part of any business–a part worth spending time on. And that’s never been truer than now, in our content-hungry Internet environment. Writing definitely shouldn’t be left until the last minute.

For more examples of misperceptions about writing, read 5 Wrong Ideas About Freelance Writers.

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