DANIELLE MCGAW
~~~ WRITER | BLOGGER | SOCIAL MEDIA JUNKIE ~~~
My home on the web to rant and rave, share what I learn, and be me.
TODAY'S STATUS: I'm accepting new clients! Click on the Hire Me link at the top of the page for samples, testimonials and prices!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Re-building a Business - Can It Be Done?



At one time I had quite the reputation as a freelance writer.  I had more work than I could handle.  I was kept busy pretty much all the time without even having to look for the work.  People came to me.
That was quite some time ago.

It's been quite awhile - maybe a couple years - since I was actively writing as a freelance writer. I've mostly been doing my own thing.  I had a good corporate gig that I kept, but as my regular readers will know, they decided to take all their marketing efforts in house, and my contract came to an end.

Now, I've posted about this in the past, but I think it is really time to go back to my freelance writing lifestyle.  For real.  And I'm ok with that.

There are certain things in life that take priority. Freedom. Family. Life experiences.

With our plans to move back to Winnipeg, we need to have a more stable income.  For a while, I thought that working outside the house was a better option. Now, I've been doing that for 5 months and...well, I hate it.  It drives me crazy to have to go do a job that I know is beneath me. That I know I am waaaay over-qualified for.  And takes away from the time that I could be doing other things.  Things I actually like doing.

So, I'm not giving up on writing fiction, but I will be putting more time into building up my freelance writing/social media business again.

I started applying for jobs a couple days ago and I've had two people respond so far.  Plus, I have some fiction writing that I've been hired to do.  I'm excited at getting going again.

We move in a little over two months (if all goes as planned) and I need to build up my writing/social media business to the point that we can live off of it.  My husband is going to be building up his own writing business but with a focus on sports writing.  I'm more of a generalist and my husband might do some random stuff here and there but mostly he's going to be focusing on sports writing. Anyone that has a sports blog would be happy to have him as a writer - he knows his sports.  Especially baseball!

So, besides applying for writing jobs, what else am I going to do?

Well, today I did a little house keeping on my Hire Me page here.  I needed to get rid of some links and add some new ones.  So, I did that.  I have profiles on several writing sites (including my own) so I am going to revamp the About Me section so that people know that they can hire me.  Profiles can be a good source of exposure for freelance writers.

I'm also going to spend some time on my LinkedIn Profile.  I haven't done much with LinkedIn in the past couple years.  My profile is there but I don't update it and I haven't been using groups or the job search function.

I'm thinking that I also might contact some previous clients.  That can be a good idea when you've been out of the loop for awhile.

What else would you do if you're re-building a freelance writing business?
Continue Reading…

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Reading is Part of the Process



If you think you can be a writer without being a reader...well, you need to re-think that one.

Why should writers read? Lots of reasons.  Here are a few of them:

  1. Find out what readers want.  Download some best-selling books in the genre you want to write in and read them.  They are best sellers for a reason.  You can't find out why without reading!
  2. Discover what genre you should write in.  It's hard to write what you don't enjoy reading.  If you're not sure what to write, start here.  Read lots and find out what you enjoy.
  3. Learn how to write dialogue.  When there's lots of dialogue in a book ask yourself: is it believable? is it interesting? what do I like or not like about this dialogue?
  4. Learn to create settings.  How do authors create believable worlds (whether sci-fi or modern day or historical)?
  5. Learn new tricks.  As you read, you might come upon a section that really moves you. What does the author do to make you feel?
  6. Learn about plot.  Plotting isn't easy but a book without a plot is boring.  If you need help with plotting, grab a book that sells well, and write notes as you read.  Give a brief outline of each chapter.  Read it over afterwards and see how the plot develops.
  7. Imitation. Try writing like the books you are reading.  How does it feel? Right? Wrong? Somewhere in between? Imitation other writers' styles can help you find your own.
  8. Inspiration.  Don't steal story lines.  But do get inspired and find ideas.
Reading will make you a better writer.  

So - go read something!
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Saturday, May 2, 2015

Word (a)Count(ability) Update #1



So, in order to keep myself accountable (like my little play on words in the title?) I'm going to try to keep updating here. I bought myself a little notebook today so each time I write I'm going to track how much time I spend on writing and how many words I get written and what I'm working on.

So, here's what I did today:

Blogging:
This blog post - likely a couple hundred words
Previous blog post - 483 words

Fiction:
Story 1 (longer fiction)
58 minutes
1875 words

Story 2 (short story for new pen name)
55 minutes
2074 words

Total blogging: estimated 650 words
Total fiction: 3949 words
Total words: 4599

Not too damn bad.

I'll likely finish off Story 2 tomorrow and start on a Story 3
Continue Reading…

Fiction Writers Round-up: Great Blog Posts You Shouldn't Skip!



As a blogger, I'm also a blog reader.  I don't always get around to reading my favorite blogs as much as I'd like to but I've decided that I need some inspiration today.  I thought I'd share some of the goodies I find with you, so you can get inspired, too.

So, sit down and find some gems to read!

Persistence Prevails When All Else Fails - Be an Outlaster: 
This is encouraging to me.  Kristen Lamb wrote a great post about the benefits of just continuing to plug along.  I guess that's what I've been doing. I'm certainly not getting rich at the moment from fiction writing but it gives me comfort to know that there are others out there that just keep at it, even if things are not going to great.  And that some of them eventually do succeed.  So, I guess I'll keep at it!

Too Little Backstory Can Be a Fatal Flaw:
Backstory can be a big challenge for some writers.  Especially short fiction writers.  Backstory is those little tidbits that lets the reader know WHY characters make the choices they do. They fill in details and make the characters more interesting and help the reader feel for them.  There's a right way to do it and a wrong way to do it.

A Smattering of Stupid Writer Tricks:
Chuck Wendig is simply awesome.  If you're not reading his blog - well, you're missing out.  I particularly loved this post about stupid writer tricks. We all have them. They help us focus. They help us create. They help us build world and create characters that readers fall in love with. And they help us step away from the story when we need to.  Wendig shares some of his stupid writer tricks.  They might work for you, too!

Character Cue: Whose Line Is It Anyway? An Easy Exercise to Strengthen Voice:
Do you ever feel like your characters are just lacking something? Maybe it's voice.  If your characters don't have their own voice you need to use "Stacy said" and "Billy asked" all the time.  But you shouldn't need to do that.  Your readers should be able to tell who is talking most of the time by the tone of their voice.  Katrina Kittle has some excellent tips on how to do that.

Learning to Write When You've Lost Your Mojo: 5 Tips:
Oh, I needed this one this week.  I talked about seeking motivation the other day and I wish I'd seen this post then, but I have now.   These 5 tips could be just what you need to get back on track.  #3 and #5 work best for me.

Have you read any great posts on writing lately?  If you have, feel free to share them in the comments.  I don't mind links - as long as they are relative. Even if they are your own. :)

Continue Reading…

Friday, May 1, 2015

Fresh Attitude, Fresh Blog Theme



I was at work tonight, watching the clock to see how much time was left before my shift was over (about 10 minutes since the last time I looked but it felt like an hour!) when I had a bit of an epiphany...

At work, I have no control. I have no control over how much money I make during that time. I have no control over what hours I work.  I have no control over who I work with. I have no control over how much I do/don't do or whether I get to try new things or not.  I have not control.

So, why on earth would I want a "real job"?

As a writer, I get to control all of those things.  I can be a freelance writer or a fiction writer but when I write, I get control.  I work when I want to.  I start projects with people I want to start projects with.  I can work on easy stuff or I can challenge myself.  And although I don't directly have control over how much money I make, I can influence my income by writing more or by learning about my craft and implement what I learn, and by surrounding myself with people that are knowledgeable.

So, as of tonight, I have a new attitude.

I focus on writing.  I'll experiment with different genres until I find one that works for me. I'll learn how to create better covers, find better keywords, write better blurbs.  I'll learn from people in my Kindling group and I'll work on a project that I've started with three other women that are like minded and dedicated.

I am not powerless.

Tomorrow is a new day and I have a fresh attitude.

And a fresh looking blog theme to go with it.  Do you like it?
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