“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Brian Morris

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I’m continuing the F.I.T.S. (Freelancer In The Spotlight) Series on Wording Well, and the “Freelancer In The Spotlight” today is Brian Morris, who is also an author!

Did you pick up your free gift yet? Get it when you subscribe to my author newsletter.

Now please welcome Brian Morris to center stage. 😉

Take it away, Brian!

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Focus On the Noose

“Depend upon it, sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight,” Samuel Johnson once said, “it concentrates his mind wonderfully.”

But frequently, we don’t get that much warning.

A couple of years ago, I worked for a local utility company.  One day, I was called into a meeting with the regional head of HR who told me what a terrific employee I was, what great knowledge I brought to the job and hoped that I could find another job where I could use 11 years worth of crazy mad office skills.

With the gallows looming (loss of income, loss of house, loss of a reason to put on my trousers every weekday), I knew it was time to go from part-time writing dilettante to full-time freelancing.

I liked the idea of a direct link between my efforts and my rewards and of being my own boss.  The idea of not having to put on trousers or shave ever day was appealing too, but that’s another issue.  Also, if I wrote some books, the books would sell online while I slept.  The idea of a passive income stream was VERY appealing.

A couple of years later, I’ve now got a couple of books out, writing two more, waiting on one to be formatted and published, and working towards publishing another written by a friend.  I also have a Facebook page where I encourage my friends to take up writing seriously and share information.  Of course I do this with my copious amounts of spare time because at the time I’m writing this, I’m also moving into another time zone and trying to rectify everything I’ve neglected to take care of in the old home.

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“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Crystal Nay

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Today we are continuing with the F.I.T.S. (Freelancer In The Spotlight) Series on Wording Well, and the “Freelancer In The Spotlight” today is Crystal Nay.

NOTE: Due to my recent announcement, I’m going to be blogging my True Tales Tuesdays posts on Lorraine Reguly: Laying It Out There, so if you’re a reader who loves those type of posts, then please subscribe to my author newsletter. You’ll get a free gift when you do! 😉

Now please welcome Crystal Nay to center stage.

Take it away, Crystal!

Crystal Nay


Writing Perks?

There’s a perk to introducing yourself as a writer: people automatically think you’re smart. They also think you’re whimsical, an idealist, and uncommitted. But, then they think you’re an alcoholic, a pessimist, a paper-hoarder who unleashes nonsensical thoughts on Twitter because, well, no one can stop you from speaking your piece.

Well, joke’s on them. We’re not all alcoholics.

Hell, I’m not even on Twitter… yet.

If you haven’t figured it out already, the life of a freelance writer is an interesting one. But, it’s not necessarily because it is so, but because we make it so. Writers have a keen eye and a tuned ear that not only notices things others might not, but can also take seemingly mundane things and turn them into things worth noting.

Such is the power of words. Or a constant and desperate need to be entertained. Your choice.

And, let’s be real: sometimes we sound super awesome. We can’t even believe we wrote such amazing copy or prose. Sometimes we sound super idiotic. It’s all par for the writing course.

(Sometimes we even use lame clichés that, for some reason, we don’t bother removing even though we know we should.)

I don’t remember the first time I heard the word “freelancer.” I can’t recall when I first decided to pursue freelance writing as my work, let alone actually do it or introduce myself as such.

To be honest, I can’t recall exactly when I first began writing. I don’t want to be that person—the one who starts off with saying she’s been writing since she could first scribble sentences. But, guess what? I am that person.

I wrote a poem during class in the third grade. My teacher loved it; my mother loved it. Somehow, it ended up typed up and on the walls of all my teachers’ classrooms. (Thanks, Mom.) Without my pencil and a sheet of paper, I felt like I wasn’t me.

I was that kid who carried a backpack that was much too heavy because it was filled with binders of my latest masterpieces, each page handwritten on lined paper and inserted into a separate plastic sleeve. “Crystal, how many pages so far?” 42. “How about now?” 96. “How many now?” 217. My friends begged to be added as characters. They didn’t care if the story was about a princess who was now an orphan and running the streets. They didn’t mind that another was about a girl who gets lost in the woods while camping with her family and must learn to survive on her own.

They certainly didn’t notice I apparently had a thing for girls being badass and being able to fend for themselves.

Turns out, I would be able to relate to that more as an adult than I ever thought I would have to. But one thing remained my constant, and that was writing.

In keeping this—my love, my craft, the thing that occasionally causes me to forget to feed my sassy and independent young daughter—my constant, there were a few lessons I learned and feel would be handy pearls of wisdom for other writers.

4 Valuable Freelancing Lessons Learned

1: Be a Writer. No, seriously. BE a Writer.

If you’re going to walk around touting that you are a writer, you had better be a writer. Some fancy spoken words, and cute/handsome purple plaid scarf paired with and adorable/handsome gray pea coat and smart-looking glasses does not a writer make. Neither does someone who walks around whining all the time about how they just want to be a writer, but aren’t doing it. If you’re going to be a writer, BE a writer.

Writers are neurotic. They are crazy people who have strange observations and even more entertaining opinions. (Don’t deny it!) We scribble ideas on envelopes and napkins, on parking tickets and on our children’s foreheads.

For the longest time, I knew in my gut that I was a writer, but I always pushed it off. I always tried to ignore it, but it was the one thing that NEVER went away. I could never stop writing, could never stop thinking about writing. Even still, I sometimes try to push it away. It doesn’t go away.

Why? Because I’m a writer.

Just own it already!    

2: Tell People You’re a Writer, and then Explain What That Means

Yes, it seems rather self-explanatory. If you’re a dog groomer, you must groom dogs. If you’re an office assistant, you must assist in the office. If you’re an IRS agent, you must… Anyway, if you’re a writer, you’d think people would put it together that you must write. Truth is, they often don’t. When you throw in a fancy word like “freelance” people get a little confused. So, without sounding condescending, explain it.

There’s good reason for this. I’ve had many referrals come from people who didn’t know what I—a freelance writer—did. But, once I explained it to them, these people would pass on my name and business card to their contacts on my behalf.

If you’re working another job, tell people you write. If you’re at a mixer, tell people you write. If you’re stuck house-sitting your best friend’s four dogs, tell the dogs you’re not a dog-sitter, you’re a writer. (That last example is purely cathartic.)

3: Your Least Favorite Clips Just Might Be Your Best-Showing Pieces

One of the first travel pieces I wrote was for the local newspaper of a small, coastal town in Oregon. I was introduced to the owner of the local—and only—used bookstore. It was a great spot with a lot of local, Oregon hippy history, and the shop owner also happened to be the guy who ran the paper. There was a whole lot of “localness” happening. I knew I wanted to write something for him, and I knew what I wanted it to be.

Before I mentioned anything to him, he said to me, “You know, I’d love to have you write something for the paper. I think it would be neat if you wrote something that juxtaposed our coast with your coast.”

I instantly liked this man; he had read my mind exactly. And, he used the word “juxtaposed” in casual conversation, which can make any word enthusiast swoon.

The bookseller featured my piece for quite some time. It garnered favorable reviews, but also criticism simply because it was written by a Californian. But, I always use it as a clip. It’s different from the clips I usually include, and while I always think editors won’t much care for it, they often come back to me saying that was the piece they most enjoyed.

4: Carve Your Own Path, for You

This, I think, has been one of the hardest things I’ve learned—and probably you, too—simply because there is only one way to learn it: the hard way. Two writers might end up at the same magazine or newspaper or TV show, but no two writers arrived there the same way. There is SO much information out there for writers, from how to get started to how to get clients to how to retire off writing the best skywriting copy.  Well, maybe not that last one, but I think I may be onto something…

My point is, there is a lot to filter through, and you’ll quickly realize that a lot of it is contradictory. Write what you know; don’t write what you know. Tech is the place to be; healthcare is the place to be. White papers are awesome; white papers suck.

No one else is living your life, and no one else is navigating your career. Both belong to you. So you scramble for a bit trying to figure out where your niche is. So what? So you can’t pay all your bills on time right now. Neither can most people, and A LOT of successful writers went through the very same thing. Your path won’t look like mine, nor mine like yours. Or any other writer’s for that matter. And, honestly, we’re all probably better for it.

So, tell people you’re a writer and let them think you’re smart. Be whimsical and idealistic and uncommitted. Be a pessimist, a paper hoarder, and drink responsibly. Unleash your nonsensical thoughts on Twitter. Come read mine. We can share our writer neuroses.

Hmm… guess I should join Twitter…


Do you think you have to follow someone else’s writing path to obtain one of your own?

What does your writing journey look like?

Do you have clips you hate – but others simply love?

Share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences in the comment section!

Check out the other freelancers in this series:

Some Life Updates and Info about Freelancing from #freelancewriter Lorraine Reguly

An Interview With “F.I.T.S.” Series #freelancewriter Elna Cain

“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Candace Simonson

“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter DD, an Addicted-to-Heroin #Freelancer

“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Alicia Rades

“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Corinne Kerston

F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Ali Luke

“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Joe Warnimont

“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Brian Morris

F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Janine Ripper

“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Harleena Singh

“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Christy Birmingham

“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Tom Bentley

“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter William Ballard

“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Deevra Norling

Freelancing Tips From Kirsty Stuart #freelancingtips for #freelancers

7 Reasons for the FITS Series on Wording Well (with results!)

If you want to raise your freelancing rates, read How to Ask for a Raise (and Get One!) from your #Freelancing Client.

If you want to know why you should be gathering testimonials you can use on your website, read about The Power of Client Testimonials.

Crystal Nay is a freelance writer, tree-cloning enthusiast, and mother to a hilarious and sassy miniature version of herself. She loves to learn about people by asking them things she probably shouldn’t. She has never dyed her hair. Ever. You can visit her website at http://www.crystalnay.com/ and check to see if she’s finally joined Twitter. 😉

“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Christy Birmingham

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This week we are continuing with the F.I.T.S. (Freelancer In The Spotlight) Series on Wording Well, and the “Freelancer In The Spotlight” today is Christy Birmingham.

Did you pick up your free gift yet? Get it when you subscribe to my author newsletter.

Now please welcome Christy Birmingham to center stage. 😉

Take it away, Christy! 🙂

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The Ups and Downs of the Freelance Writing Field

After working in a range of jobs from a chocolate factory line worker to manning the front desk of a bustling office, I decided to take the plunge into a freelance writing career. That was two-and-a-half years ago, and the journey has been one full of ups and downs.

I like to focus on the ‘ups’ but, of course, there have been a mix of good and bad experiences during the last few years. I hear ‘that is normal’ from other writers, although many people I know pursue their writing dreams outside of their day job or have a partner who contributes to the home income. As for me, it is ME alone who pays my bills, and I do so from writing online.

How and Why I Became a Freelance Writer

I took the path of freelance writing as my career because, after emerging from a long bout of depression and anxiety, I wanted to pursue my dream of being a writer. I had thought about it before but never taken the risk – and  do not get me wrong, it IS risky! I decided that if I didn’t try it, I would have regrets, and I had seen my share of those already in my life. So, even if I tried and didn’t succeed, well, at least I had made the effort. That said, I went for it, with hands to keyboard!

The start was tough, let me tell you. I had no clue what current writing rates were and often short-changed myself, accepting rates lower than Canada’s minimum wage just to be able to get work from clients. I worked every single day and often very long hours. I continued that way for about a year and tried to figure out what to specialize in for writing tasks and topics. I changed from focusing on social media tips to health tips to … well, now I do a lot of writing for a range of business websites, producing content for their websites and blogs. I also take days off now and then to recharge my batteries and keep writer burnout far away.

The Changes I Made After the First Year: Tips To Raising Rates

After a tough first year in the freelance writing industry, I took a step back and thought about why I was not able to get ahead financially or get more balance in my working hours. When I took that step back, I saw that I was getting excellent feedback on my writing projects from clients most of the time and was even starting to get referrals to new clients. With that in mind, I realized it would be wise to raise my rates, as my work quality spoke for itself. Read More

“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter William Ballard

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Today’s post marks the beginning of the F.I.T.S. (Freelancer In The Spotlight) Series on Wording Well, and the “Freelancer In The Spotlight” today is William Ballard.

Did you pick up your free gift yet? Get it when you subscribe to my author newsletter.

Now please welcome William to center stage. 😉

Take it away, William!

photo of William Ballard

My Story – The Birth of My Freelance Writing and Author Life 

My name is William Ballard, some of you may have heard of me, but many of you, I’m sure, have not. And rightfully so, because I have just recently began to have a breakthrough in this industry.

I am a freelance writer, copywriter, blogger, and author currently based out of Ontario Canada (originally from Dallas Texas). As long as I can remember, I have dreamed of being a self-employed writer and living the writer’s life, but just as for any dream or goal, knowing where to begin is one of the most difficult areas to deal with.

From as far back as I can remember I wanted to be a writer, however, what kind of writer was still left up in the air. I considered becoming a poet, and from time to time still write poetry. Then I considered being a fiction author and began going to work on my first fiction novel, but then another problem arose. I had no idea how to even develop a novel or fiction book. So, then I began searching for writers and authors that would mentor me. That was when I came across K.M. Weiland, who is the founder of Helping Writers Become Authors.

I joined her mailing list and begin absorbing as much information about crafting a novel from her as I could, and I am still learning from her to this day.

Moreover, it was during this season of learning, training, and being mentored that I came across the term freelance writer. So, I began doing research as to,  what a freelance writer was. In other words, what stuff does a freelance writer write? Well…needless to say, that was when I came across Carol Tice and the Freelance Writer’s Den, which I am sure many of you are familiar with.

I spent three valuable months as a member of the Den and absorbed extreme amounts of wisdom and insight from Carol. I remain a faithful subscriber to Carol’s newsletter and I am still absorbing invaluable wisdom from her.

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The “One Lovely Blog” Award (AKA One Smokin’ Hot Blog Award) Gets This Lovely Blogger To Identify Her Rapist: Lorne Chabot


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Identifying my rapist is probably the most unconventional way of accepting an award, but somehow it makes sense for me, since part of the acceptance is to reveal seven things about myself.  Because I cannot simply just say, “I was raped,” and then tell you six more things about me, I decided to shift the focus and combine my acceptance of this award with telling you some things, intimate things, about my past. This is a True Tales Tuesdays post after all! Read More