Freelance Writing; It’s Not As Simple As You’d Think

At the end of 2018, I found myself in a job that was hell on Earth. I won’t say anything other than that as it simply wasn’t the job for me. But it did leave me in a precarious situation; what do I do now?

I have always wanted a job in the library; that has never changed. But finding one is a lot tougher than you’d think with the amount of experience I have. It’s just not enough. So then I got to thinking about what I’d want to do. I know I wouldn’t be happy in retail, and it’s high time I look forward to getting up and doing work.

So I decided to try freelance writing.

At first, it was simple. My boyfriend’s cousin’s wife ran a blog for a company about books so I made contact. Then I subscribed to a website called Writers Work. They compile all kinds of writing jobs in one place and they have a forum for you to write in that acts somewhat like Grammarly – where they will analyze your writing and correct mistakes and suggest improvements. Through them, I found thousands of jobs, yet only a small handful seemed to interest me.

My time was running out. Bills need to be paid, food needs to be bought, and I was burning through my savings. I’m still not exactly in the best of situations, but I have picked up some tips and tricks for those who want to get into the freelance position.

  1. Have a back-up – If you think you can just quit your 9-5 and jump into freelancing full time, you are in for a rude awakening. Even keeping a part-time job while you do your writing will at least secure some kind of stable income. Writing jobs, especially freelance, can fall through at any moment. There are always more writers out there.
  2. Be confident – Have faith in your writing skills. No one else on this planet can write the same articles, novels, or papers you do. Make sure you value your work.
  3. Deal with rejection – For as many jobs as you pick up, you’re bound to be rejected five times more. But don’t give up! You will find your niche, your home, your kinds of people. Just be ready to deal with the rejection that’s bound to come.
  4. Manage your time – Working from home sounds like a dream come true to many people. But what they don’t realize is how much pressure it can put on you. Sure, you can sleep until 2pm and work all night, but I’d recommend still trying to maintain that 9-5. Trust me, your sleep schedule will thank you.
  5. Have fun – The whole point for me going freelance was to find work that I really enjoyed. I want to prove that I can make money, have fun, and sleep in all at the same time! Kidding, but it’s an added benefit. If you’re breaking that 9-5 mold, make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons; whether it be to spend more time with your kids, to write that novel you’ve been dreaming about (*raises hand*), just make sure you’re having fun and making it worth it.

If you’re looking for sites to find decent freelance work on here are a few to get you started: Upwork, Freelance Writing Jobs, and Writers Work (however Writers Work you need to pay to use it. If you’re serious about freelance, I would recommend it.)

Good luck and stay creative, my friends.



What to do when the words stop

I usually start my workday with my usual work tabs and one writing tab open. I use Google Docs so I can easily access my most recent draft at any given time. Whether or not I make any progress really depends on the day.

Take today. Saturday. I work 9am to 5pm and today has been uncharacteristically quiet for a weekend in June. I had a tab open and I had fully intended to write; I’m currently working on a fanfiction and it’s starting to reach the climax so it wasn’t that I was out of ideas. I just couldn’t write. I told myself I had more important things to do.

Which is naturally a lie.

So what do you do in those situations where you fully intend to write but simply can’t? You just don’t.

I know it sounds crazy. Normally people would say you have to force yourself to write. But every time I do that, I end up writing crap and somehow I always forget to delete it and it’ll get published (in the case of fanfictions, at least) or it’ll stay in and I’ll lose all interest in continuing.

Trust me; don’t force yourself to write what you aren’t 100% passionate about.

Instead, put that project aside and focus on a different one. Or a new one. Do something else; organize your Goodreads lists, read something, take a walk and play some Pokemon Go. Just don’t force yourself to write something you don’t love.

Whether you heed my advice or not, just remember to edit your works before posting or publishing. It takes maybe 20 minutes (depending on length or complexity) and can really help you in the end.

As always, stay creative my friends,


So I’ve Got My Idea… Now What?

Finally I have selected my topic, now it’s time to start planning out my characters, setting, and plot. Even though I like to be a semi-pantser and have freedom when I begin writing, I don’t like to fly in blind. I always try to plan out my characters at the very least. When I know my characters, the rest seems to fall into place.

My biggest challenge is creating a character that is flawed. You can’t have your character be perfect all the time or there’d be no conflict. They’d be able to breeze through anything that came up against them. The heart of a story seems to be in a character’s way of solving problems. It’s the one thing a story would be dead without.

Finding worksheets, such as the one below, is a great way to build a character and have fun doing it. There are a million versions of the same sort of sheet, so find one that works for you and make copies so you can use it as many times as you need.

character building worksheet.jpg

Besides characters, there’s plot. Duh. But coming up with a plot isn’t as easy as that. A good plot has a major conflict but a great plot has multiple conflicts within the course of the rising action. You know, rising action? Falling action?

dramatic structure

This may seem cliche, but every story follows this basic outline. Sure, the rising action and falling action may not be equal, but you need every piece to this puzzle in order to write a complete story. Resolution to your story is just as important as the background which is just as important as the climax, so be sure to take your time on each aspect.

Lastly, the setting. A teacher in college had us do a great exercise where we literally drew our setting on a blank sheet of paper. It really helps you figure out the spacing between things either in a forest (like mine was) or a building. How many floors? How many rooms? What’s the general layout to the rooms? It’s easy to envision it in your head and hard to draw out, but it will help you think of spacial details that you haven’t thought of before.

Regardless of if you draw out your setting or not, make sure to give enough details to paint the picture in your reader’s head. I can be fully absorbed in a story but if you mention halfway through about the airlocks leaking, indicating that it takes place in space, it could drastically change the images I had been thinking of before. You need to set your stage before the actors come out to perform.

I don’t have a fun setting image so I’ll leave you with this; your story is meant to be written only by you. No one else on this planet can write your story for you.

Stay creative my friends,



How To Write When Uninspired

Sometimes there’s nothing coming to mind when you sit at your computer. You’ve psyched yourself up to write, but when push comes to shove, your mind is completely blank.

‘How can my mind be blank if I’m thinking about it being blank?’ you may ask yourself. Well my friend, it’s easy to find yourself in a rut especially when you’re on a deadline (looking at you NaNoWriMo).

One of the easiest methods to get out of a writing rut is to do exactly that, write. Yes, it’s that easy. Yes, it’s also that hard. Forcing yourself to write can be as difficult as forcing yourself to walk on two broken ankles. It’s painful, uncomfortable, but in the end it will help you begin to dig yourself out of your writing-less hole. The best part to this tactic is that you don’t even have to force yourself to work on your novel. Write anything, from a children’s story about the pencil on your desk, to a reflective essay on how hurt you were when someone stole the last piece of pizza.

Another tactic is to change your routine. If you always write at 2pm on Thursdays in your living room, try writing at sunset in a local park on a Monday. It might get your creative juices flowing just by being in a new, inspiring environment. Even if you switch up one variable (like writing in your living room at 2pm on a Tuesday instead), it can produce results more than just staring at the screen.

One more tactic that may not even sound like a real tactic is to write when you’re inspired. You’re in the shower and you think of the best opening to your novel, hop out and ask Siri to text it to yourself. You’re making a sandwich and you come up with a great descriptive of a feast, jot it down on a napkin. I will always either have a notebook or my phone on me at any given time, and since I use Google Docs for my writing, I always have some way of writing if I get inspired. If you wake up in the middle of the night at your dream was a brilliant beginning or end to a novel, you write that idea down immediately instead of hoping you remember in the morning.

Basically, if you’re stuck, just write yourself out of the rut. It honestly works; I sat at this blank blog post for hours before coming up with this idea, and then sat another hour thinking of what to say. I said screw it and began and here I am, ending the post.

In the words of the great Shia LaBeouf, JUST DO IT.

Stay creative my friends,



Prepare for the Worst, Expect the Worst

If you’re anything like me, you put off beginning your novel. I pretend to plan; create lists and lists of characters, map out a setting you may or may not even use, plan your plot but not too much, and basically do everything I don’t need to before I begin. But for me, beginning isn’t even the hardest part. I’ve only ever finished two novels; one for a class and the fist novel I ever attempted.

With National Novel Writing Month (NaNo) very quickly approaching, and I still haven’t chosen an idea, I find myself planning the use of my time. Instead of choosing an idea, I’m planning my time on choosing my idea; a special kind of meta-procrastination. So when I prepare, I prepare for the worst. The worst meaning rambling plots, clunky characters, jumps in time and space, and all the things you’d think would be ironed out after the amount of planning I do.

I also expect the worst. Just because I do all this planning and preparing, no matter if I’ve been working on an idea for years (and this is a true example), when it comes to writing a first draft, I expect it to turn out like crap. My true example happened recently; I’ve had an idea churning and planned partly out and decided to go for it in my last workshopping class before graduation. I wrote a first chapter or so and turned it in and it got torn apart. Plot holes, character flaws, everything that could go wrong, did. But I didn’t leave class a distraught mess (mentally, perhaps) but more inspired to do better the second time around.

My long winded point is, when it comes to NaNo don’t expect the rushed first draft to be incredible. Sure, getting that word count out there is a wondrous feat, but don’t expect the word vomit to be of quality good enough to be shipped to a published on December 1st.

Don’t let me scare you into not planning though! Plan your heart out if that’s how you write, but just don’t expect that planning will make the first draft better.

Stay creative my friends,


It’s Okay to be Picky

Especially when trying to decide what to do for your next novel.

I have hundreds of ideas, but that doesn’t mean I’m turning each of them into novels. Sure, a story about a female pirate and a male mermaid is a neat idea, but will it sell? What’s the plot behind it? Is it more than a role reversal Little Mermaid? It’s not something I’m behind 1000% so it’s not the idea I’m going to choose for National Novel Writing Month (NaNo).

In my years as a writer, I’ve found that the more passionate you are about an idea, the easier the writing will be. Even if you have to Google and fact check everything, if it’s what you’re passionate about, it will come easily. The hardest writing, I find, is when you’re half-assing an idea. If you don’t care strongly about an idea, then it’s hard to get inspired by it.

I have maybe four ideas that I’m passionate about to make it to full novel, but I can only write about one. So I’m having to rank my ideas based on a small list.

  1. How much writing have I already done for the idea?

If I’ve done a lot of writing for this idea already, I feel dishonest making that my NaNo idea. So if it doesn’t rank as well in other areas, I’d rather go with an idea I haven’t started yet.

2. How much have I thought about this idea since thinking it up?

I usually know what projects I’m passionate about based on how much I think about them. If it pops into my head while driving, sleeping, showering, or even writing other things, then I know I can work with that idea until it’s done.

3. Is the idea sellable?

A smart writer knows the market and writes novels that will sell, regardless of if they’re even interested in the idea. For example, zombies are MAJORLY popular at the moment and don’t seem to be fizzling out too soon. I know I just said don’t write ideas you’re not passionate about, but if the idea is obscure and won’t make as much money on the market, why spend all this time writing it? It sounds cruel, trust me I know, but it’s the honest truth.

With those simple criteria, I’m gong to be selecting my idea sometime this week. From there I’ll begin to tackle my plot and characters to get a vague idea of who and what is happening in the novel. And then from there…. well, you’ll see.

Stay creative my friends,


Google Docs: Is it right for you?

I have around four years experience with Google Docs and for the past two or so years, it’s been my main word processor. For me, around the time I started getting into it, I was traveling an hour to school and working part time which left me little time to do homework. Instead of having to transfer files continuously to and from a flash drive, I used Google Docs to make the editing process easy.

For those perhaps unfamiliar, Google Docs is essentially just like Microsoft Word except it saves your file online and you can access it from any device (provided you log in with your Google account) and edit it essentially from anywhere. I can be on a home desktop, my laptop, a school computer, a tablet, my phone, and pretty much anywhere you have internet access, you have access to your documents.

I finally came to the realization that this would be an amazing writing resource when I had to take that class for which I had to write a novel for National Novel Writing Month (NaNo). I had time between classes I used to write as well as at home and I began that month with my document in Word. Very quickly I decided it was inconvenient to have to save my work a million times on one specific flash drive which I would constantly forget to take with me. I posted the novel’s workings in the Drive and was easily able to work the rest of the month without fear of losing anything.

Since Google Drive saves the document as you write it, you never have to remember to save it before you exit the program (or close one of a million tabs like me). That alone has saved my ass a million times, let alone all the other perks. It essentially has the same features and functions as Microsoft Word, so if you are very familiar with that program, you will not have to learn a whole new program.

Another major perk to Google Drive is actually what it was intended for. You can share and invite others to view your work and they can make notes, edit the document, and give feedback within the program also in real time. I edit for a good friend of mine, and we’d both be in her document, hundreds of miles apart, and she’d write and I’d edit together. If I had questions, I could use the chat feature to interrupt her without having her to change windows. Personally, I love this if you have a group of writers you want to share your work with without having to print a million copies. Anyone with a Google account can access the work, provided you give them access.

Overall, I much prefer Google Drive. The autosave feature seriously has saved my life.

Stay creative my friends,


Are You a Planner or a Pantser?

Ahh the age old question posed to writers by writers. Are you a planner or pantser? This refers to how a writer writes their stories or novels. Do they plan every step, make a complicated outline, list their characters with their flaws and triumphs, and have the plot ironed out? Or do they have a vague idea with vague characters that they develop and iron out as they write?

Most writers classify themselves as one or the other. For some, it’s very obvious. You either plan or you don’t. But I’m a plantser. I both outline and still fly by the seat of my pants (where the term pantser originated) and I think there’s merits to both methods.

Here’s some pros and cons of being a PLANNER.

  • You know what you’re doing, making cranking out the word count easier
  • You know your characters inside and out, so you won’t have them do things out of character unless it’s part of the plot
  • Outlining counts towards NaNo’s word count
  • Knowing what happens in the plot and mapping the settings helps make it less confusing


  • You can feel restricted in your creativity since you have everything planned
  • Since everything is mapped out, it can be hard to get the inspiration to start flowing

Here’s some pros and cons of being a PANTSER.

  • Random bouts of inspiration can take the story in new ways you might have never planned
  • Makes it easier to get back into the story when returning to writing after breaks
  • Can really make you think about what sort of choices a character would make in the moment
  • Sometimes small ideas can become larger than life


  • Sometimes it can be difficult to decide what happens next
  • When inspiration doesn’t hit, you have no plans to fall back on

Honestly, I see the benefits in both. What makes me a “plantser”is that I make a very vague outline. These characters go here and do this, they encounter a conflict and then go here. I do tend to build my characters heavily, so I know who they are and what they’d do in certain situations, but I don’t have those situations lined out exactly.

Which ever type of writer you are, don’t feel you have to change to fit a certain stereotype. I tried just planning and I got bored with the story since I already knew exactly what was happening and going to happen. I tried just flying by the seat of my pants and ended up stuck because I was uninspired and had no idea what to do next. Just find what works for you, and run with it.

As always, stay creative my friends,


Brief Prep for NaNoWriMo

Every year I attempt to do National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for short, and NaNo for shorter). And every year, besides last year and I’ll get to that soon, I’ve failed almost immediately. I set up my novel, plan my every move, and somehow the words never make it to the page (or word document, but you know what I mean). Sure, I’ll give it my all for the first week, reaching and occasionally surpassing the suggested word count, but it never lasts beyond two weeks.

Last year I was forced to do a mini NaNo for a class. We had to write 15,000 words in a month and I attempted to begin and end my novel in that time. I succeeded and the sense of accomplishment when I was done and turned it in was so overwhelmingly wonderful, I’m going to try again. And this time succeed at doing the full novel. That’s right, 50,000 words in a month complete with exposition, climax, resolution, plot, setting, and even characters… you’d be surprised at how absolutely necessary each of those are, and yet some in my class would neglect them.

I have a list of ideas that I add and subtract from in a variety of places. I keep a little notebook on my at all times to jot in but I also have a master list of ideas on my Google Drive (I will make another post sometime about the benefits of using Google Drive if you’d like. Long story short, it’s helped me A LOT). I suggest this method to those who are very forgetful (like me), and are prone to losing their idea notebooks (also like me). As it’s a good idea to keep a backup of your novel, keep a backup of your ideas.

I always find in the month of September that the hardest part of prep work is settling on an idea. I, and I’m not kidding, have a document of bullet pointed ideas that’s around five pages long. That’s a lot of ideas. I do have ones I feel more passionately about in bold, but still narrowing those ideas is so hard. I have quite a few outlines for ideas and sometimes that helps me decide, but mostly hinders the process.

This year, I am going to be attempting to write the full novel and journal my progress in an attempt to force myself to finish. Look forward to my future posts in which I will undoubtedly be struggling with writing.

Stay creative my friends,


How I Knew I Wanted to be an Author

High school was not a horrible experience for me. Coming from a private Catholic grade/middle school, I was thrilled to be in a place where no one knew my name. I made friends fairly quickly and found myself included in a group of girls I met in my German class. (I promise I’ll get to writing soon)

They all passed around notebooks at the start of class and would read and jot notes in them during class. After being inducted into their friendship, I learned they were stories. In a fashion similar to, they would write a chapter or so, pass the notebooks and get feedback. I wanted in.

Right at that time, Twilight was getting buzz about the movie adaption. So I devoured the book and used the plot as basic inspiration. It’s the first “novel” I ever finished (and up until very recently, the only novel I ever finished). My friends showered me with praises I am certainly not worthy of, and it was thanks to them that I haven’t stopped reading and writing since then.

I started looking at colleges with journalism degrees. All I wanted to do with my time was write. As I delved into the field, I ended up hating it. Journalism is no longer based around facts, and I simply wasn’t interested in what I needed to do in order to get that degree. Eventually, I discovered the Creative Writing degree and fell in love. I threw all caution to the wind and earned that degree taking two years of straight English classes. I loved every second of it.

Now, after earning my degree and finding myself needing a job, I turned back to libraries. My first job was at a library, and I loved it. I applied a million places, all while ignoring my writing because I told myself I needed a ‘big girl job’. But there’s no reason that writing can’t be a big girl job. The most important trait needed to be an author is perseverance.

So I will persist. I will go the distance. And I want this to be my diary of success.

Stay creative my friends, and remain inspired forever,