#WriteTalk – Make Money Writing

Simple tips to make money writing while building your platform for success

If you are looking for ways to make money with your writing – whether you are seeking traditional publishing avenues or branching out through freelancing – you are building a writing BUSINESS.

DEFINE YOUR PATH.

You have to take time to define your reasons for pursuing a writing career. There are some fundamental myths that you need to take into account.

Where you will locate writing jobs will be determined by your reson and way of writing.

I receive several emails throughout the month to help me find writing opportunities. I write a query for the job postings – and try to include a lead that will make me stand out from all the others that are trying to get the higher paying writing jobs. I usually average about one per week.

I also keep my eyes open for websites that pay guest posters, print publications that fit within my niche, and contents.

Always be on the lookout for new writing income opportunities. The weekly column that I write came about because my husband saw a new weekly paper in a convenience store. I called the number for placing and ad and asked to speak to the editor. I asked about freelance opportunities and he offered me a weekly column as well.

Seek and ask – repeat.

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SECURE THE JOBS

Practice, patience, and persistence – the key being the persistence part.

So – practice writing queries. Traditional print publications will require a query for most submissions.

Writing a powerful query:

    1. Know the magazine that you are querying. That means that you need to find some of the magazines and read the articles. You need to know the tone, the material, and even the grammar (some use contractions, some don’t). Many magazines have an online site where you can see some of their archived articles.

    2. Know the person you are querying. You will have to find out the editor of the department (don’t trust the website, the market guide listing, or the magazine). The best bet is to call. The print industry is one that is always flipping. If you send your query to the wrong person then it will most likely find its way into the garbage before it is ever opened. Also, make sure you have the right spelling and title.

    3. If you haven’t written the article (and I usually don’t) then at least have an outline to guide your query letter. I wrote the perfect query letter and a major print magazine asked to see the article. Only, I couldn’t figure out how to make the exact idea in the query into a flowing article. It was rejected, and they haven’t asked to see another of my articles since then.

    4. Read the guidelines. If you have a fiction story and the magazine doesn’t accept fiction, don’t waste the time or money to send the query no matter how good and perfect you think it might be. The guidelines are there for a reason. Follow them specifically (including number of words) or you will not make it into the respond pile.

    5. Check, recheck, and then have a friend check your grammar, titles, and names. During a day when I sent out multiple queries, the name of a rival magazine ended up on another’s query. I wasn’t shocked when I got a form rejection letter. Why should they take the time to look over and evaluate a query when I can’t even take the time to be sure I’ve got the right magazine?

SUSTAIN THE JOB.

Writing as a profession – which means for pay – means writing professionally.

    1. Hit the deadline. It is better to be a few days early than to be a few hours late. Plan your schedule so that you can meet your deadlines even when life throws you a few curve balls. I have had to dictate how to send articles from bed where I was struggling with the first months of pregnancy. There is always a way to get it there on time.

    2. Follow the work requirements. Do what the job says – nothing more and nothing less. When it comes to writing, too many words can be just as much trouble as too few. Meet the word count that the employer needs not the word count you want to meet.

    3. Check your spelling and your grammar. There is a small group of us that will share articles to review the grammar, flow and spelling. Even if you can’t get someone else to review your work you should take the time to do it yourself. Use your spell check but also take a moment to read your article out loud. Many mistakes come to light when given a voice.

SATISFY YOUR OWN WORDS.

My biggest tips for writing your own words while still writing for others:

    1. Join a challenge. Many writers I know participate in the National Novel Writing Month each November. That has always pushed me to write my own words every single day no matter how many professional deadlines I had as well. The Christian Indie Authors Network are excellent teammates for this challenge. But don’t stop after November. The 10 Minute Novelist group set up a 365K challenge – and we are pushing each other to write 1000 words each day. Challenges can be great motivators.

    2. Accountability – team up with someone that will ask you about your writing and keep you focused on your writing. When I got serious about my daily writing goals, I started telling my children what those goals were – if you want to be held accountable, tell your kids.

    3. Deadlines – although it can be easy to ignore your own deadlines, pairing those deadlines with other things (a newsletter or a press release) will make it a little more difficult to find a loophole.

Want to kick start your writing career? Sign up for “26 Days to Grow a Writer” – a daily email that will provide you with a challenge specifically designed to help you grow up your writing career.

You can sign up today to join in the challenge by visiting www.KathrynLang.com/26day

Your path to your writing success is within in your grasp right now – you just have to be determined enough and maybe a little bold enough to grab it.

Listen to #WriteTalk – Make Money Writing

WriteTalk Tips to Find the Money as a Writer

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Today on #WriteTalk – we are talking money – and how to create some pathways to money as a writer.

Tips to Find the Money

– Check out the magazine rack. Local and regional publications can be a great place to begin earning income as a freelance writer. Smaller publication may not have query guidelines, but you can send an email to the editor expressing your interest in being a part of the publication. Being a local writer might be the key to getting your foot in the door.

– Be FEARLESS when it comes to looking for opportunities. The worst that might happen is that the person you contact will tell you “no.” You will be no worse off for the response, and sometimes you will get an explanation behind the response so that you can better prepare for your next approach. Ask. You may see the door fling wide open when you do.

– Think outside the box. Knowing everything about a single subject can be important to creating a platform of expertise in that subject. Being interested enough to learn more about the subject may be the key to landing the freelance writing opportunities. Editors may call on you because of your willingness to learn. Write what you know, but be willing to learn what you do NOT know so that you can write even more.

– Invest some effort into the search. Sign up for the emails of the groups that send out listings weekly for the top freelance opportunities. Comb the websites for listings they may have missed in your niche. Set aside time each day to search for freelance writing opportunities.

– Count the costs. Know what you need to receive for an article, blog post or other product. It will help you choose the right formats for your search and also give you negotiation power with editors that you contact with cold calls.

You can build your defined success on words and with words when you take the steps that will lead you down your unique path.

Listen to the #WriteTalk broadcast by clicking the play button below

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10 Tips I Learned from WordCamp Birmingham

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Conferences, camps, and other gatherings of all things creative provide me with energy and determination to keep pursuing my dreams. WordCamp Birmingham did that, and so much more. It allowed me to connect with some amazing people, to share a little of their journeys, and to reach out to help and to be helped.

10 Things I Learned from WordCamp Birmingham 2016

    1. I learned that the key to everything- in business and in life – is to know your purpose. Unless you know why you are doing what you are doing you will struggle in the doing. Cory Miller was the keynote speaker and he kicked off the event by reminding us that the two keys to future success is having the ability to pivot and the focus of purpose.

    2. I learned that one of the biggest challenges I face is a crisis in confidence. Nathan Ingram shares ideas to help me see past what I deem my limitations (by only focusing on those ahead of me) and to see my proficiencies by looking around at those that are behind (and those that are beside me as well.

    3. I learned that the way to know what I am good at doing is to take the time to look at what I am doing. Nathan Ingram again opened my eyes to the understanding that where I stand out from the crowd is usually the place that is most natural to me so that leaves me wondering why anyone would ever pay me to do it. He suggested that if I take time to look at what I am doing and be alert and aware to what I am doing then I will be in a position to discover my greatest proficiency.

    4. I learned that time doesn’t necessary equal money – which made sense but was still a challenge to understand. Kyle Johnson shared thoughts on ways to separate the time aspect out of the income equation. He recommended focusing more on things that didn’t require additional time to help increase income potential.

    5. I learned that my brand is an experience – and if I want people to be brand ambassadors then I better make sure that the experience is a positive one. Kristi Oliver at FlySoloMedia.com shared some amazing tips on how to define brand and create that experience. She said that when people understand what you are about then they are drawn to you and they have an experience with your business that meets their expectations.

    6. I learned that I need to keep learning. Kristi Oliver kept pushing me to be more than I am right now. She challenged me to perfect where I am but to keep investing in learning – even within the craft that I had perfected.

    7. I learned that not all learning goes on in a classroom – or session. Amazing lunch conversations with the dynamic duo from Junior Davis & Associates, Inc. provided me with some information to chew on and also some challenges for moving forward.

    8. I learned that the after party is not just about having a party. I had the chance to visit and engage in a way that doesn’t always get to happen in a rush between sessions during the meat of the conference. These engagements reminded me that when I laugh and share I connect in a way that will build foundational relationships that allow me to continue to build and grow on this journey.

    9. I learned that we are all struggling in something. A developer may not understand (or want to understand) the content side, and vice versa. And not only are we all struggling but we all have something to offer each other – so if I am willing to learn then there is always something to learn from everyone that I encounter.

    10. I learned that I am not always as funny as I think I am – at least others may not think I am as funny as I think I am – but I also recognized that it’s okay because that just makes me want to laugh more and try more because it all is better with a little laughter thrown in.

Any opportunity to connect and engage with others that are on a creative journey of one tilt or another is a great day in my book. I look forward to being a part of the WordCamps of the future and growing the connections that I made in 2016.

Consistency in Writing

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Consistency in writing creates the path for you to write 30,000 words in 30 days without hurting yourself

You can write a book in thirty days without hurting yourself. You can craft 30 posts or articles in 30 days without straining anything (in you or in your relationships). You can pour out 30,000 words in only 30 days without causing problems in other areas of your life.

It can be done.

I realized a few years back that if I determined to write every day then the words would add up. It wasn’t that I wrote thousands upon thousands of words each day (although there were some impressive numbers on more than on occasion). Instead, it was about writing every day – even just a few hundred words – and those little bits created a writing consistency that added up to 1,000,000 words in just one year.

I went back and looked at my year (because I kept a record of what I was doing and how I was doing it) and I found a few elements that pushed me along. I am sharing those now not just because I want you to know so that you can write your words but so that I can remember and be encouraged to repeat the process and even improve on it.

Five Elements for Consistency in Writing

    1. I knew each day what I was writing. I knew what projects were going to be the focus. I had headlines or keywords that were the focus of my blogs. I had scenes set up to play out on my fiction projects. I never sat down and hoped words showed up. I knew what I was writing AND why I was writing the words.

    2. I had a determined goal and I had a BIG DREAM goal that I wanted to reach. My determined goal was an “every day, no matter what comes up” goal of just 1000 words per day. My BIG DREAM goal that was a “you can do it, everything works out” kind of goal was 7000 words in a day. I knew how many words I had to write and how many words I wanted to write.

    3. I had an outline of what I was going to write – especially when it came to my articles. Those snippets of time (like waiting to pick the kids up from a class or waiting in the doctor’s office) provide the perfect amount of time to write a topic idea (or title) and five to seven points I want to tackle. I had set up a way to keep the words flowing no matter what I “felt like” when I sat down to write.

    4. I was determined and dedicated to write the words. I had determined that I would write the words and I became so dedicated that no excuse could get in the way of those words. I wrote every single day – without fail – because I was so determined and focused on writing that nothing would stop me. My words became a priority.

    5. I just said no – a lot. I said no to myself when I wanted to play first and work later. I said no to others when they offered a path to something other than my determined focus. I said no to the inner editor trying to distract me from the word flow. I said no to the voices telling me that it was the wrong topic or wrong story or wrong idea. I stopped questioning the words and I just let them go.

Looking back at these points and at the words I kicked out despite all the chaos and noise around me, I am reminded that it can be done. It will take focus. It will take persistence. It will take a will that locks on to the possibility and refuses to let go.

Are you ready to write your story?

Sign up today for a #FREE30-minute Break the Block session

Save your spot by clicking HERE

Begin to create the plan that will work for you and walk away with actionable tips to start your journey.

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Book Writing Tips

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A book lies in the heart of every person out there. The difference between the books that get written and those that remain in the heart is simple – to get the book out you have to write.

I was sharing this idea recently with a group of business women. We were talking about the challenges that hinder the challenge to get the words written. In other words, we were all sharing the excuses that we allow to stand in our way of getting it done.

I wrote a million words last year, and yet I still find myself caught up in excuses instead of getting the words down. If I want to write, then I have to write. It really is that simple.

5 Simple Book Writing Tips

1. Make a plan – know the reason behind the word release. Think of the writing plan as something similar (and yet quite the same) as a business plan. It should include a vision (for where you want to do), a mission (for why you want to do it), and a budget (not just of your finances but of your time as well). Having a definitive reason for the words will help produce a focus for your word creation.

2. Make a space – a clean and clear place where the words can roam free. Words need space to flow. A clean space and a clean schedule frees the mind and that act of freeing makes a way for the words. I have a designated office space that I regularly organized and clear. I also have a “go office” that allows me to easily pack up and go when it’s called for – and as a home school mom it is often called for. I also have a designated schedule – with writing time blocked out in the mornings and in the evenings (and rewrite/edit time squeezed in throughout the day). I have the space – literally and mentally – that provides me with the freedom to write.

3. Set priorities – make writing important if you want writing to be important. I have a friend, Katherine Grubb, who wanted to write her novel. She had five children and she was home schooling and she could have said “when I have time then I will write.” But she knew that she would not likely have that real time until after she had graduated her kids – which was a long way away. So she made writing a priority, for just 10 minutes every day, and with those few minutes of prioritized focus she got her novel written.

I have to make writing a priority if it is ever going to get done. In my life, mornings work best. There was a time when “nap time” was the best time to write (but it seems these days that more and more “nap time” is more for me than for the kids). You have to find the right time to schedule your writing time and then you have to make it work.

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Combine activities – like doing the laundry and writing (in the laundry room where you can’t hear anyone over the washer and dryer).

Segment activities – clean a little, then write a little, then clean a little, then write a little. Digital timers work GREAT for segmenting time.

Double down on the activities – when you make breakfast, go ahead and prep lunch and dinner at the same time (and put them in a crockpot or in the preset oven if possible). You will only have one clean up AND you will have the normal prep time to do some writing.

There are ways to make writing a priority and to find the time to make it a priority – sometimes you just have to get a little creative.

4. Utilize the little times – little bits added together can make a big difference. The first time that I did National Novel Writing Month (which happens every November) I discovered that if I wrote for just a few minutes every night (challenged by my online friends doing word sprints and word wars) then by the end of the day I would have more than my necessary word count.

Just like Katherine was able to write her novel in 10 minutes, I was able to get my words done in 15, 20, and 30 minute bouts of time. I find bits of time waiting to pick up the kids after an activity, waiting between classes at church, and sometimes waiting in the car while someone runs in for an errand. I have started relishing these moments of wait because I have turned them into nuggets of writing gold.

5. Keep going. The only way to write your book is to write your book. Write words until you have all the words out on paper. Write words until you have told your story. Write words until you have no more words to write. Don’t worry about perfecting the craft of the words – writing is the art of painting the story with words. The crafting comes after the art if complete. Finish the story so that it will be done, but more importantly finish the story because it deserves to be told.

Writing a book requires writing. It is that simple and that challenging at the same time. Taking advantage of parts of these tips or putting to practice all of these simple ideas will help you to get your book completed.

Do you know someone that has been talking about writing a book or struggling to get through with the writing? May YOU are that someone. Get your #free “Break the Block” session today.

Book Review – Platform Book by Stephanie Chandler

Review: The Author’s Guide to Building an Online Platform

“Leveraging the Internet to Sell More Books”

I attended a conference in 2015 where John Michael Morgan challenged me to read a fiction book and a non-fiction book every week – or at least that is the challenge I took away from the discussion.

I have always been an avid reader, but I allowed life to create barriers to block my reading needs. In other words, I kept making up excuses to keep me from reading.

John’s challenge forced me to look at the excuses as what they really were and it helped me find a way to get back on the bandwagon of reading.

My latest non-fiction book comes from Stephanie Chandler, “The Author’s Guide to Building an Online Platform.”

The book was first released in 2008, and that is the copy I had on my shelf, so I suspected that much of what she was going to offer would be out of date – the internet just changes that fast.

I was pleasantly surprised. I marked several pages for deeper review, stopped in the middle of reading to take notes and write out quote, and found some great ideas for expanding my own platform.

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One of my favorite parts of the entire book was the interviews with other authors. Not only did I get some insight into their unique journey that I could put to work in my own journey, but I saw that there are so many paths to success that it is crazy for me to try and follow that “one way” that many experts say they have.

It was an easy read – which worked out perfect for my new “10 minutes a day” reading plan for my non-fiction. Yes, some of the information was outdated (like having to wait and see if Kindle will take off – that made me laugh out loud) but the information about investing in my words and my path will remain timeless.

Visited Stephanie’s website to learn more about this book or the many other books that she offers to help you find your niche and build your online success.

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WriteTalk Podcast – Define Success

#WriteTalk shares tips from writers with writers for writers – no matter where you are in the journey with words, we are stronger when we go together..

Define Success

Define why you write so that you will have a focus to keep writing.

Keep distractions at bay by having a specific plan for your journey.

Determine where you are going so that nothing will stop you from going.

Make a plan – a detailed business plan for the writing because if you want writing to be your professional then you have to come at it professionally.

Write! The number one thing that you can do to build your writing success is to invest in putting words down.

Define success for your journey and then you will be in a position to pursue that success with your words.

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Listen now to the #WriteTalk Podcast with Katherine Grubb of the 10 Minute Novelists and Kathryn Lang of #GrowingHOPE.

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Guest Blogging is Dead – Long Live Guest Blogging

Matt Cutts declared guest blogging dead . . . and for all the right reasons. He states that if you are using guest blogging to gain links then you should probably stop because it turns into something more like spam than actual relationship building.

He states,

stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done; it’s just gotten too spammy. In general I wouldn’t recommend accepting a guest blog post unless you are willing to vouch for someone personally or know them well. Likewise, I wouldn’t recommend relying on guest posting, guest blogging sites, or guest blogging SEO as a linkbuilding strategy.”

Cutts goes on to explain that there are still plenty of good reasons to guest blog, and they are the reasons that you should have used to justify writing for another site or letting others post on your site. It has to be about more than numbers.

Top Ways to Make Guest Blogging Work

    1. Offer the readers an insight, viewpoint or voice that will help, encourage or expand the current information provided on the site. In other words, the post will provide the readers and visitors with a benefit. That has to be the first and most vital part of the content offered on a website if you want the visitors and readers to have faith in the words you create.

    2. Support the mission of the website. Come into the guest blogging opportunity grow up the mission of the site – which means you will first have to take time to know the site and the creator or organization that hosts the site.

    3. Skip the sales pitch and focus on giving. Guest blogging (when it is a success) is about others instead of self. Include a link in the bio (if allowed by the host) but keep the audience focused on the site where you are guesting.

Write words that matter. Seek connections that can be grown into relationships that can foster mutual opportunities and growth. More than anything make a point to be focused on being relentlessly helpful every chance you get.

Growing up a fan base, a following, or recognition as the go to expert in your niche begins with these steps. If you are relying on guest posts to make it happen then you will find that guest blogging really is dead.

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Pretend to be a Writer

I pretend to be a writer so I can begin to form the habits, the abilities, and the focus that will lead me into being a writer.

I have long dreamed of being a writer and in the last ten years I have taken steps to lead me decidedly closer to the place where I can stand proud and declare I am a writer and that I write for a living, for the love of words, and because I have stories to share (so that the voices and my head have a place to go). I got there in part because I made the choice to “fake it until you make it.”

I act like a writer – even on days when I struggle to find my voice and especially on those days when the world seems determined to discourage the journey. I need to get in the habit of pretending to be a writer so that I can make room for the words to flow for real.

Top Tips for Pretending to be a Writer

    1. Write an authoritative answer to something you know nothing about. I discovered this challenge on a satirical website in the form of a competition. “Write an ad for an outrageous miracle diet.” I wrote a piece about the cardboard diet – where you can eat all you want and the weight will still burn away. It was fun. It was ridiculous. And because it was fun and ridiculous, my imagination was set free to roam where it wanted.

One of the most important aspects to being a successful writer is to have a freely roaming imagination.

    2. Make up 10 titles of books you would never want to read. You never have to share the so be as silly or out of the ordinary as you want. The point of this exercise is to search the edges of your imagination because when we search the edges we expand the view.

A growing and expanding imagination is vital to a healthy writing journey.

    3. Rewrite a story that you have read recently. It could be a news story. It could be a fairy tale. It could be a book. Change the viewpoint of the story, or change the characters completely. Allow your imagination to see beyond the limits of the existing world and your imagination will begin to craft a world of its own.

A strong writer feeds and fosters a world creating imagination.

    4. Write as though every word you produce will be eagerly devoured by your fan base. I suspect that Tom Clancy, James Patterson, and other writing greats rarely sat around worrying who would read their books – at least in my mind they didn’t after their books became best sellers. See your words through that same place of success. Allow your imagination to drive the “when I am famous” slant of focus and you will soon discover that you write like you expect to be read.

Every word you create will have a reader that needs to read it.

Don’t just think about being a writer – ACT LIKE IT! Pretending to be a writer is about setting the imagination free and then following the imagination to the flow of words it will produce.

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Career Basics for Writers – Create a Plan

A writing career needs some basic business foundations to create a path for success.

Creating a business plan should be the first step anyone takes when stepping into a new business venture. People who are launching a new business need to know the where, the why, and most definitely the how of the journey.

If you are pursuing an income through your writing then you have to treat your writing like a business – because professional writing IS A BUSINESS!

A Writing Plan can be as complex as the 20 page packet companies use to approach lenders and investors – complete with graphics, statistics, and market analysis. It could be that a writing plan with such details could set the foundation for future book proposals.

A Writing Plan can be as simple as a few notes jotted down in a notebook (dated for future reference, of course). These notes provide the guidance for taking steps and making the better choices amidst the opportunities that arise.

Not matter how details or how simple the plan, there needs to be a plan.

Basic Bones of a Writing Plan

    MISSION STATEMENT

    This statement encompasses the “why” of it all. What do you want to do with the words that you are creating?

A summary of the aims and values; the bumper explanation of purpose that guides the direction of action

    VISION STATEMENT

    This statement points the cart in a particular direction. It is the “where” of the journey. Where do you want to do with the words you are sharing?


The roadmap that provides the desired success destination

    BUDGET

    Create a breakdown of what it will cost to pursue the words, what the words need to produce to create a livable income for the professional pursuit, and also specific points for how the income will be attained.

Estimate the income and expenditures so that you can be financially prepared for the journey

    MARKETING

    Marketing is about two things – creating lasting connections with people and being relentlessly helpful in those connections. You need a plan about who you are attempting to help and how you will reach them.

Marketing is defined as promoting and selling, but in reality it is all about relationships

Before taking another step in pursuit of freelance writing or any avenue of a writing career, make a plan. Including these four elements will help you to establish a solid foundation for building up a profession with words.