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The Pen Thinker

Everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. ~Sylvia Plath

29 Freelance Writing Challenges For The Next 12 Months

Posted in Freelanc-ink, Time Management

Updated: March 2017 (and I’m approaching 32!)

29 Years - 20 Freelance Writing Challenges

The number is 29 because I turned 29 on June 17 (2014).

Yup! I have only one year left in my twenties and, as a writer, I want to get the most out of it. πŸ˜‰

Are you up to the challenge, too?

Because you see, these challenges are not here just for myself as a reminder, but to inspire you to take action and work toward your goals with a bit of healthy spirit of adventure.

29’s the number, folks!

Here are the freelance writing challenges I took up to enter my thirties with a bit of glory and more writing opportunities under my belt. (More clients, too?)

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5 Freelance Writing Pearls From “Kung Fu Panda”

Posted in Freelanc-ink, Time Management

Panda! :)A few weeks ago I watched Kung Fu Panda on DVD with my sister. It’s animation, good to kill the boredom and apathy sick days bring along.

What I didn’t expect – even after watching it at least a dozen times – was the amount of precious advice it carried and how wonderfully it could be applied to freelance writing.

Master Shifu’s 5 Lessons

At a certain point in the movie, Master Shifu, the martial arts trainer, observes his mentees’ performance and tells them what skills they need to hone to master their Kung Fu: five skills that freelance writers need to sharpen, too.

Ferocity. Be a little aggressive when you pitch. No, I don’t mean you have to be arrogant, insistent or bossy with your clients, but you need to be clear and to the point about yourself and your value: don’t be submissive if your client insists that you work at a lower rate or asks for too many extra edits or wants more material to be covered. Fight for yourself.

Speed. The faster you type, the more work you can chime in. It’s important to develop a decent typing speed, but there are other speeds we can improve too: research time, interview time (when possible), planning time, focus time. The more efficient you get, the more money you earn, the faster you’ll scale up your earnings.

Height. Do you need to increase your rates? Perhaps you do. You can always earn more, and the best way to do this is to keep up to date with new markets (Google Alerts, Writers Markets, etc.) and to compile a list of top paying clients to pitch.

Subtlety. Be subtle. Not in the malicious sense (that’s no way professional!) or physically (that’s your personal choice), rather mentally: clean your mind from all the clutter and you’ll see your work taking on a different, brighter life. When I free my mind from thoughts and anxiety (i.e. that “I have more articles to write later. Aargh!”), each piece automatically ups in quality and time optimization.

Humility. Master Shifu tells his Panda mentee that “the mark of a true hero is humility”. Be proactive in your business, but know when to stop and listen, too. Read other writers’ work, attend webinars and conferences, engage in writers’ forums and learn something new. Also, be supportive of readers’ feedback and writers’ advice. Being humble doesn’t mean subjugating yourself to others’ will, but to take all the possible good from the feedback you receive. It will help you grow as a professional — and as a person, too.

Image by Adrien Sifre (Creative Commons)

What writing lessons did you recently learn from animation films and movies?

Share your pearls. πŸ™‚

5 Stress-Free Ways To Continue Writing Even When You’re Sick

Posted in Freelanc-ink, Time Management

Woman sneezing influenzaTo get sick on deadline days is a nightmare for every freelance writer. It mines your ability to finish an assignment, or to work on the next one in line.

Yes, you’re sick and weak and your mind won’t focus enough to let you write a word after another.

Do you have to stop everything and just rest until you’re fully recovered?

Well— no. You need to rest and sleep and relax while you’re sick, but there are simple ways to continue writing that won’t drain that little energy from your body.

1. Take care of yourself. Sleep, rest, take medicines, breath some fresh air every morning in your sick days. Relax above all. Then, when you feel you need to do something to ease the boredom— write. Get in touch with your editor and ask for a deadline extension, write down a few ideas for your assignment as they come to your mind, type slowly or —if staring at the screen gives you nauseas and headaches— write on paper. Keep a notepad and a pen on your bedside table for when you feel the urge to scribble down ideas.

2. Write after a good nap. Your body works hard to fix things while you sleep and usually, when you wake up, you’ll feel a lot better. Get a good drink (water or tea) and write a little, until your body commands you lay down again. Write as much as your mind and body allow you to, but don’t overdo it.

3. Update your blog. Here, I’m updating this blog staying curled up in bed with influenza hitting my poor brain and tummy. I have no urgent assignments but a guest post and a sponsored review, so I can warm up and liberate my writing spirits with a new blog post that I know will help other writers in my same conditions. It makes me feel so much better!

4. Setup a recovery plan. Of course you can’t write full speed when you’re sick, but what you can do is setup a recovery plan for when sick days are over: which assignments need more research? Which need to be made top priority? Is there anything you can postpone?

5. Plan day by day. You don’t know when you’ll feel better or be fully recovered, so my advice here is to plan your writing schedule day by day: setup a number of mini-tasks according to the energies you have on a certain day, then add more as you feel better. Just don’t fill your plate while you’re sick: your top priority is healing!

How do you handle freelance writing when your sick?Β  Share your experiences! πŸ™‚

Image: David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net