How to Handle These Freelance Writing Client Personalities Without Breaking a Sweat

I know freelance writing is no picnic. I mean, you’re doing what you love, you get to determine your own schedule, but there’s one thing you cannot avoid if you want to make a living as a writer: clients. You need them probably more than they need you. After all, someone’s got to pay for the lifestyle to which you’d like to be accustomed.

But, you’re always going to come across a few challenging personalities. Here’s a breakdown of some of the most typical clients you will come across – whether you are sourcing work from local businesses, online bidding sites, or *gasp* content mills (please, say it isn’t so!).

  1. Curious George

We’ll call our curious client George. He’s one of the most frustrating you’ll encounter. At first, he’ll be so impressed with your samples and so excited to work with you that he’ll talk the hind legs of your proverbial donkey and appear to live on coffee by the jar-full. At first, you may be eager to share your knowledge with George and offer extra tidbits here and there, but over time George becomes a thorn in your side: he’s demanding, and he’s slowing you down with every question he asks.

Here’s the thing: George doesn’t just want progress reports, he wants to know how you do your work, where you get your information from, and he’ll want you on Skype at ungodly hours nearly every day. So, you need to be direct. Tell George you’re busy and your time is limited. Let him know time is money for freelance writing and if he wants meetings and reports, he’ll need to make an appointment and stick to the allotted time.

  1. Cheapskate Charlie

There are so many Charlies in the freelance world, aren’t there? Charlie has a budget, and he doesn’t budge. He’s happy to sacrifice time and quality so long as you’re cheap. After all, why put a price on your training, education, time and dedication? Your kids don’t need to eat, right?

If you find Charlie approaching you for freelance writing, discuss quality with him. Let him know that he is going to get what he pays for and if he wants anything else, well, Charlie will have to dig a little deeper or move on. By the way, if you’re happy to work with Charlie, don’t spend too much time on his project; he isn’t paying for time or research, he just wants the job done. And don’t forget to lock him into a contract before you start – he may have no intention of paying you otherwise.

  1. Know-It-All Nelly

Nelly is easy to spot – you’ll hate her as soon as you’ve begun working with her. She knows more about freelance writing than you do, but she hired you regardless. She will interrupt you every chance she gets and refuses to be swayed by her ideas, which are obviously the best thing since, well, ever.

Nelly is a control freak, and she demands respect. It’s actually her insecurity. Use a little basic psychology to win her over: give her respect and power. Stroke her ego now and then to win her over. But do pick your battles, you are a professional, after all. Don’t fight back on every issue, save your strength for the bigger moments. Better yet, Nelly is someone who is often easier to walk away from if she refuses to respect your work and insists on working you up more than letting you get on with business.

  1. Helpful Harry

Harry is a sweetheart, but if you don’t handle him properly from the outset, he’s going to get under your feet. Harry likes to be hands-on, he loves interacting with you and your work. As long as you can keep Harry occupied, you two can get along.

If Harry insists on helping you, give him space to. It’s the perfect opportunity to practice your delegation skills and learn how to be a team player in a freelance world. So, give Harry something to do, just identify his skillset first and then ask him to perform a task related to the project, such as research.

  1. Day Dreamer Debbie

Debbie is not of this Earth. Her head is filled with big plans and harebrained ideas. Whether it’s about function or style, Debbie wants to ensure her product is the best thing out there. For a freelancer writer, helping make Debbie’s dreams come true can be tough. Without discouraging her passion, you need to bring her back into reality.

Ask Debbie to show you examples of what she really likes and be honest with her about timeframes and prices, so she knows what she is in for. Also, ask Debbie for details; get her to fill in the blanks. While her end goal is probably incredible, by discussing the details, you can both get a grasp on the scope of the writing project.

  1. Sophia the Sprinter

Sophia is exhausting. She saps you of energy and patience, and she’s on a mission to win an Olympic gold for most deadlines met in the history of deadlines and in the quickest time possible. Sophia thinks that is you can write her eBook in two weeks; then there’s no reason not to get it done in 24 hours.

For Sophia, time is of the essence, and, hey, it is for you too. After all, you want to get paid, don’t you? Sophia is a hardworking client; we can’t deny her that, so she has high expectations for those she deals with. If you’re about to take on a client like this, proceed with caution. Don’t get caught up in something that leaves you with an over-demanding assignment and a client pushing you every minute to get the job in. Let her know that every minute spent answering her queries is another minute away from the job. She’ll probably understand.

With Sophia, you need to guard your deadlines, so be realistic and flexible from the outset. Don’t budge from the deadlines when she is asking you to sprint ahead.

Have you come across a George, Nelly, Charlie, Harry, Debbie or Sophia along your freelance writing journey? Share with us how you handled them!

Terrible Writing Advice from Other Writers and Why You Shouldn’t Take It

According to some experts, there are only two kinds of talent: art and mathematics. Although, I can’t remember who said that, I believe it’s true! The written word is no comparison to other art forms like movies, music or television. Story-telling is the oldest and truest form of art and therefore, writing is a talent.

But how does one go about nurturing this gift? Who to ask for advice and who to listen to? If you’re like most writers, you use the Internet for a plethora of advice – from the most offensive to the most supportive. I normally just ignore those articles. But sometimes, I find myself curious enough to read in the hopes that, the advice is worth a pretty penny.

Too much written detail spoils the broth

This advice sometimes inhibits your masterful gift of gab! It tells you to write only when you need to say something or have something in mind. So they want you to shut up and K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid). But what if your writing acumen is so engrossing; your details are what keep your readers hooked on everything you describe. One author set the rule at ten to twelve words per sentence! That’s impossible if you’re asking your readers to picture the sprawling plantation of Tara in Gone With The Wind. Inconceivable especially if you’re describing an enchanting lady, with jet black hair and mesmerizingly blue eyes who dreadfully dies a mysteriously tragic death. Hints of Edgar Allan Poe come to mind. So you see, sometimes, less is not more.

Punctuations

Writers have the freedom to diverge from the norm. Keyword here is FREE. Which is why it is artistically accepted to disobey punctuation rules, well sometimes. This is not Composition 101 anyway. In particular, the use of semi-colons, who Kurt Vonnegut describes as “transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing.” But they do have a purpose! And it’s your writing style that we’re cultivating here. Never mind what Vonnegut says.

Forget motherhood

One forgettable advice I’ve read from writers is this: You want to be a serious writer? Don’t become a mom! For them, serious writing will be borne out of total seclusion from the world where only you and your thoughts linger. Some famous writers made masterpieces after being one with thought. Maybe isolation develops creativity. Speaking from experience, motherhood has taken me to a new level of ingenuity. I am more sensitive and reaching out. I’m an entirely different jigsaw puzzle put back together.

The final analysis

It all boils down to this: Have Confidence. Don’t believe everything you read, especially the negative ones. Not all advice is right but others should be carefully weighed. One could go crazy thinking about these sometimes quirky or contradictory advices. Remember, the foundation of your very own writing style will come out from this confidence – a confidence that’s often misunderstood and suppressed. Hey, you’ve got that talent after all! Not only is it a work of art – it’s actually a work of heart.

There’s No Such Thing as Writer’s Block: 5 True and Tried Facts About Overcoming This Issue

Writer’s block is an excuse. It’s your way of finding a reason not to write, but guess what, you’re not fooling anyone. That’s not to say you won’t ever feel a little stuck, of course, you will. You’ll find yourself feeling like you’re slamming your head into a brick wall and like there’s no way around, over or through it.

You’re not alone. Every writer who has ever worked feels stuck at some point. Feeling stuck is just another piece of the writing process puzzle. That’s why we’ve compiled five true and tried methods to help you come unstuck.

5 Ways to Overcome Writer’s Block

  1. Step Away from the Keyboard and Do Anything Creative

We know writing itself is a creative process, but your brain needs the chance to explore other outlets. Step away from whatever you are writing and make a scrapbook, paint, or even build something. Spend time on another creative project for a couple of hours and then head back to your writing. When I’m stuck, I start a mosaic project, listen to my favorite music or just sit down with a book and switch off for a little while. Jumping to other activities activates my creativity. The secret is to keep exercising the creative part of your brain and eventually you’ll find your writing ideas come flowing back.

  1. Eliminate Distractions

Unplug the internet and turn off your phone. Tidy up your workspace while you’re at it since a cluttered desk can confuse the mind. Next, block off time just for writing. Ask everyone to honor your space so you can write for a couple of hours uninterrupted.

  1. Write Down Ideas as They Pop Up

Not being able to come up with an idea is a horrible feeling. The best way to overcome this form of writer’s block is to have plenty of ideas ready to go. Ideas pop up when you least expect it, and you should always rush to archive them. Use your smartphone to note ideas, or carry a notebook and pen everywhere you go.

  1. Be Far Enough Ahead to Work on Whatever You Want

Many writer’s report their writer’s block being a case of feeling stuck while working on a piece of writing. If you have more than one assignment you’re working on, be far enough ahead of your schedule that you can work on the project you feel most inspired by today. If you only have one type of project, try to diversify your writing responsibilities to avoid unnecessary writer’s block and increase your productivity. If you have to, create writing exercises for yourself – be it a blog, poetry, or any other niche you like working on.

  1. Don’t Dread the Deed

Writer’s block, or rather, writer’s excuses, are too often rooted in fear. You are scared that what you write won’t be good enough. It is a debilitating dread, but you can get past it by not allowing yourself the time to feel insecure. Just sit down and start writing, even if you’re not confident in your abilities. Time spent stalling is far better spent writing, even if you throw that first draft out. You’re probably already at your keyboard, so just get started!

That’s it, no more excuses! You’re at your keyboard right now, so feel free to share your ideas for overcoming writer’s block in the comments below, we look forward to reading them.

Be a Hypnotic Writer: What Words and Techniques to Use to Seduce Your Reader

You work hard to share your best tips. You spend hours editing and polishing your posts, not to mention wracking your brain for the perfect headline.

You take the time to promote your blogs on social media, build an email list, and write guest posts. But your hard work isn’t paying off, is it? You want more comments, shares, and engagement.

However, you can’t possibly work any harder. There is a smarter way, though, to engage your existing audience and entice them to start commenting and sharing.

Here’s the secret: readers want to be seduced. That means every headline, every paragraph, and every sentence needs to be irresistible.

8 Ways to Start Seducing Your Readers Right Now

  1. Get into Your Reader’s Head

What conversations are going on in your reader’s head? One of the best ways to have a meaningful conversation is to use the phrases your reader does; those are the magic words that will make your reader feel understood. When you empathize with a reader’s feeling, you get him to feel special and like the post was written just for him.

  1. Talk to Your Reader

You know when you speak to your best friends they listen, ask questions, and you can share a laugh? You can do the same thing with your readers by starting a conversation with them. It’s easy, too, simply use the word “you” and ask your readers questions.

  1. Tell a Story

Often, it’s the small stories we share with our friends that make conversing enjoyable, the ones about the little topics. You don’t always talk about your specialty areas, and if your blog only discusses your niche expertise, you come across as one-dimensional. Share tidbits about your personal life or interests, and you will instantly be more attractive to your readers.

Analogies and metaphors spice up your writing and can be drawn from your personal experience.

  1. Comforting Words

Put your arm around your reader’s shoulders and reassure him with phrases like, “it happens to us all,” or “we’ve been there.” It makes your reader feel validated.

  1. Get Readers Fired Up

When you talk to someone in person, you use body language and tone to express yourself. You can gesture, whisper, shout, grin, wink, and more. In your blog post, you only have words, so you need to turn up the passion and use powerful words, such as:

  • Gorgeous, instead of beautiful
  • Spine-tingling scary instead of frightening
  • Over the moon instead of happy
  1. Show Vulnerability

Nobody’s perfect, are they? Of course not. When you share your fears, worries, and weaknesses, you are in a better position to connect with readers because you become human to them.

  1. Create a Happy Picture

Readers won’t make an effort to read your posts, so you need to entice them. Sketch a happy picture right from your opening. Let them know you have a trick to make their life happier and enriched.

  1. Leave Them Wanting More

Most of us remember a few lines from a song, a nursery rhyme or even dialogue from our favorite movie. All of these phrases have something in common – they use poetic techniques like rhyming and repetition to make the words smoother, and more memorable.

If you want your readers to remember your words, borrow from poets. Those are the words that are going to linger and get your readers coming back for more poetic seduction.

Ready to Seduce Your Blog Audience?

Blogging is not one-way communication; you need to be able to start a conversation by luring your readers in and listening when they talk.

Take the time to get to know your readers and their frustrations. Treat them as well as you would your best friend and help them overcome their fears.

Light the candles, turn on the music, and pour the champagne. It’s time to sweep your readers off their feet.

A Writer’s Perspective: Writing Stories that Inspire and Enlighten

Our bigger sister site and blog recently published a parable on storytelling and the fate of content marketing in this fed-up-with-content internet world today. In reaction to that, we have put together a few thoughts about the art of storytelling today.

As a writer, you don’t always get to be a storyteller. Let’s face it. Most of us just write automatically things based on research they made online, to fulfill a client’s needs. To help them with their SEO results, to bring them forward in searches, to bring in more readers, more paying customers. When it comes to storytelling, though, there is need of more heart, more feeling, more thinking put in a piece. Even if it is still for a website, for a company, to help them sell.

If content isn’t really dead but revamped, then we must admit that the way online writing is done today has changed, has evolved. If you want, it has turned into something better, more constructive, more in line with what people want and need.

We are all fed up with all those articles telling us “how to” do anything. We still need those pieces, but at a deeper, more human level, we need to hear a story more. We want to be encouraged to think more, to create more, to add more meaning to our lives.

As writers, our skills should be put in service of this aim: to enlighten a world that is too busy, too stressed, too in a hurry. To take it from the darkest corners of self-sufficiency and bring it to the light of imagination and creation.

Here are a few thoughts on how to put together stories (even for brands and businesses) that can really make a difference.

story

Let us know your thoughts. How do you try to change the world with your stories?

Writer’s Tips: How to Spot a Bad Client Before It’s Too Late

I’ve been freelancing for a long time, and I’ve had my share of awful clients. While most are passionate about what they do and confident about what I can bring to their business, there are a few rotten eggs.

Most of the time it’s obvious when a bad client comes along, but freelancers who are eager to work and create a portfolio often ignore the warning signs.

To make things a little easier, here are 4 warning signs to look out for.

  1. “I Have Lots of Work, But Here’s a Little to Start With.”

If a client comes to you with the promise of lots of work only to give you 1 or 2 articles, to begin with, chances are your experience with them isn’t going to be great. If the client claims to need 40 articles in the next 2 weeks and you’ve already negotiated your rates, why do they need just 1 to start with?

  1. “I’m More Concerned About Your Rates Than Your Results.”

If you’ve been going back and forth via email and still haven’t managed to agree on a price, or if the client spends hours with you on Skype just talking money, you should see a giant red flag. Based on my experience and those of fellow freelancers, I’ve realized the best clients aren’t concerned with fees, they care about quality.

  1. “But Other Writers Charge Less.”

If a client compares your work or rates to other writers, move on. How familiar does this conversation sound:

Client: what do you charge?

Freelancer: $50 for 1,000 words,

Client: Can we get that down to $20?

Freelancer: that’s my rate for this piece considering the research and format required and I always aim to get my clients results.

Client: I know other writers who can do this for much less. I just can’t work with you for $50.

The client then spends the next hour discussing your rates with no mention about the project or your abilities.

This client has little regard for your dedication and is taking up too much of your precious time trying to negotiate your rates when you could be working for someone more appreciative.

  1. “Anyone Can Write.”

When a client tells you you’re charging too much for something anyone can do, run! As a writer, your greatest asset is your feeling – about your worth, your abilities and how much value you can offer.

How a client treats you often depends on how much value they think they can get from you. If they think anyone can do it, why isn’t the client doing it himself?

Drop Those Bad Clients Right Now!

Some freelancers feel that getting a client to contact you is the most difficult part of generating business and as a result, you should retain every single client. But is it really worth it?

I think getting clients to contact you is the easy part; ensuring they’re a great match is much more challenging and something that could affect you negatively if proper precautions aren’t taken.

If any of your potential clients have the above traits, drop them now.

Have you been able to spot a bad client before getting involved in a project? How did you deal with them?

Starting Out as a Writer? Avoid These Essential 3 Traps that Could Destroy Your Career Before It Starts

As a debuting writer, you have many things to learn, in order to succeed in this highly competitive online content marketing world. You probably know this already, but one of the most important assets contributing your success will be your professional reputation. This is something it takes years to build and sadly, only seconds to destroy. For this very reason, you need to learn how to steer clear of several mistakes you can make during your career building process.

Providing writing services is one of the easy ways of generating an online income. But with so many competitors out there, it may take a while to start building confidence and to earn a decent income that you can actually live on. Just as it may take very little to destroy everything you have built with a single mistake. Does it sound ominous enough for you? Well, it can be, unless you take steps in making sure you don’t fall into the traps mentioned below.

Let these wake-up tips be your guide in building a meaningful and successful writing career.

Trap no.1: Sell Yourself Too Cheap

If you are in possession of writing skills that enable you to deliver content that delivers, you can consider your writer talent is already proven. You are able to provide value to any customer out there. Don’t sell yourself too cheap to them. If you do, you may never be able to get out of this vicious circle. The internet is full of places that will try to undermine your skills, experience and professional conduct. So many so-called content mills that will make you believe you can only create work worth $3 a piece. So many so-called copywriters will create their profiles out there trying to sell their work for even less. These will never be the writers you would want to compete with. They are no more than content spinners, because no one with enough professional values to hold on to would sell their hard work for such a ridiculous amount.

You may be telling yourself you are only in the beginning and that you can sell your work for this, as long as it sells. But if you don’t stand by your true value, you don’t nurture it and you don’t show pride for who you are as a professional, you will never have the right type of success and never be able to find clients who will appreciate you for the quality you provide, not for how low you can go with your bid.

Trap no. 2: Let Yourself Down When You Receive Criticism

You are not perfect. As a writer, no one actually is. If you don’t recognize this, you don’t have many chances of succeeding in this wolf eat wolf world. We all have to learn, and keep learning in order to stay relevant and successful.

As a freelancing writer, you will encounter a lot of different clients. Some will be nice and accepting of your work. Others will be pickier, paying attention to every little detail in the work you submitted. Some of these details may appear ridiculous, when you consider all the work you put in completing a particular project. These clients will not hesitate to criticize your work and in the process, will cast doubt on your potential.

Remember one thing: criticism is essential and without it, you cannot move forward. Accepting criticism and assuming the responsibility will make you a better freelancer. Arguing about how you are always right and letting professional pride stand in the way of a good communication with an unhappy customer will not take you anywhere.

Trap no. 3: Claim to Be an Expert

Sadly, this is common practice with many online writing professionals today. Even worse, this is also something many content agencies out there will do: claim they have expertise in any possible area, when they actually don’t (I have experienced this first-hand and believe me, this never ends well with the clients).

Pretending to be an expert in a certain field in order to increase the odds of getting hired for a project is a definite misstep, one that could hurt your career pretty badly. Sure, there is always research, but if all you intend to do is research online for the most obvious Google results, you should not be selling yourself as an expert.

The moment you name yourself an expert in a certain industry, your customer will expect a certain know-how, a certain degree of knowledge that cannot be found online all the time. They are willing to pay for your specific expertise in an area, not for your hours of research on a topic, and for putting together information that actually ends up plagiarizing other people’s work.

The result, no matter how talented and experienced at putting together bits and pieces you may be, will be a fake product. This may end up losing your client’s trust. And if you don’t have trust in such a relationship, you don’t have anything.

Take a moment. Sit back and look at your work so far. Have you allowed yourself to fall into these traps? Keep in mind that these may easily turn into habits and these habits can actually hurt your productivity and sabotage your writing career.