What I Learned Today...

I am learning that with my writing I need to be more succinct and to the point. In keeping with such I am going to write a list of what I've learned today:

1. Persistence is the name of any game
2. No one likes a whiner
3. Be a sponge: soak up what others have to offer
4. Be a selective sponge: keep in mind your source
5. Twitter updates are insane
6. Be an eager learner but be just as ready to offer help to others

What have you learned today?

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24 going on 12...

Okay, well today I think I definitely took some time to nurture that little girl inside. In fact, she isn't really that far from the surface is what I am finding out, and I don't think any amount of added years are going to change that. When I was younger I always thought that 20-something and 30-something women (yes, by that point they were women in my mind) led these refined and classy lives being the professionals they were. But here I am 24 and when the bag boy called me 'madam' I almost couldn't believe it. Here I am, who when walking into Costco gets accosted by the 'bouncer lady' checking membership cards who grabs my arm and asks me, "Where is your mother?", and now I'm being called madam? I know I look like a 15 year old, 18 tops, and I actually don't mind it. I don't feel like a 24 year old and I don't think I live the kind of life I envision when I hear that age. I know I'm more of a homebody; not necessarily recluse but I don't feel the desire to go out to clubs until the wee hours and I'm more than happy to stay home with some good old Nick at Nite reruns and making stupid jokes.

I feel a bit out of place or like an 'impostor' sometimes around my peers when they regale in tales of the previous weekend and how they don't actually remember most of it. I've been a runner for what seems like forever so through school I didn't stay out late, drink, do drugs, or party really because I was in training and had to get up for a workout or race the next day. And that was fine with me; I was much happier to be able to give a semi-acceptable excuse (even if I sounded dorky) to bow out at the late hour of say 10pm. My close friends felt the same way, but as I have moved on and out of school and into 'the real world' I am sometimes left feeling like I'm a bit out of place. I watch say Sex and the City and I feel quite honestly like a 15 year old, inexperienced girl who would rather go to say Disneyland than Tao or whatever hot place to be.

Case in point; today I spent an awesome day at the arcade with my bro and we hit up the air hockey table and did our best to get enough tickets to 'score that sweet prize' at the ticket counter. And what, pray tell were these coveted items? For me it was a Tamigatchi (yes, I found out they DO still exist!) and a little plastic bracelet. While we may have spent more money to get the tickets than it may have cost to actually buy said items at Dollar Tree, I don't have any regrets. I had a blast, and I guess no matter how long I'm on this Earth I don't really know if I'll actually ever 'grow up'.

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Stepping out of my comfort zone

So I've spent the day sort of ruminating about what to do, what to do, oh what to do. I'm still rather new to this freelance writing business and so I feel like I'm learning something all the time. I've been reading some great blog postings from other writers and websites and sometime it feels like information overload! :P But I try to take it piece by piece, and what struck me is that I've become comfortable in my little 'routine' so to speak. I was going about my days working off of the same pool of assignments and clients and never really looked to branch out. In the back of my mind I knew that when I envisioned what I wanted my writing career to be I hoped to have achieved more, but I was solely focused on the here and now. I didn't want to go outside of my comfort zone and then query around to other opportunities and instead just kept doing the same old thing. I was afraid to take time out of making a profit right then and didn't want to then sacrifice that time to hopefully invest in the future.

But the truth is, if you stick to the same old routine forever in anything, how can you expect to get better or get somewhere you want. That's exactly how people can spend years and years stuck in a cubicle or behind a counter; they go in with the thoughts that it's short term and they'll work their way up but are too afraid to make the leap. Or, they don't know how. I think I'm guilty of both; I was afraid to go out on a limb because 1) I could fail and then I wouldn't have achieved anything, never gotten the job, and then would be in the same place but worse for wear in that I'd wasted time and hadn't been working and 2) I just didn't know how to do it, where to query, what the process was, etc.

Yet I'll never do anything, or learn how if I don't at least try. It's a lot to learn and pick up on, but I know if I want to get to where I hope to be I better get cracking. It's a tough road getting into freelance writing and a lot of it is contacts and people you know. But at the same time, if you want something bad enough, you've got to work for it. So I've been reading and taking the advice of others who have achieved things I hope to one day and soaking up all I can. And since I sometimes feel like I have a billion ideas floating around in my head and then lose focus, I've made a list of goals:

1. Get into print magazines
2. Get higher paying online jobs
3. Find a literary agent
4. Figure out what I'm doing with my art
5. Build up my blogs; this one and Fitness Stop

Like I said, today I'm on almost information overload, but little by little stuff will seep in and hopefully in time I will get closer to achieving what I hope to.

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Don't sell yourself short

I read two really great blog postings today from some freelance writers who have had plenty of experience and are in fact mentors themselves. The premise is that there are more and more opportunities for people to write articles online for say $5 or even $1 to be used basically as mass churn out for SEO related hits. It's more of a quantity than a quality thing these article mills are looking for and they are able to find plenty of eager beavers to fill their needs. The thing is though, if you are serious about being a writer spending your days writing these low paying jobs are realistically only going to net you something that could be less than if you were out there working at the local burger joint.

I am still learning the ropes of the freelance writing business myself and I found that both On Writing for Peanuts and Content Mill Writing... got the point across to a tee. There are always people willing to write for low wages but are they necessarily 'writers'? If you read some of the work it's not going to be something most publications or more noted resources would ever consider printing or putting up on their sites. But the intended purpose of those articles are to just have something SEO friendly that can be cut, pasted, and reworked multiple times to just get traffic. That's great if that's what you want out of your writing, but if you are more serious and want to pursue a freelance writing career you most likely want to be spending your time elsewhere.

I admit to having worked out for pennies in my writing but I didn't know there was something better. I was under the guise that these were going rates for anything online (okay, I admit I didn't work for $5 an article, but not much more for some of them!) and was frustrated in that I was breaking my back and not really creating anything that I was particularly 'proud' of or putting my passion and talents to good use. So it was refreshing to read that others acknowledge that there are so many low paying markets but that you can still find plenty of places that are looking for 'serious' writers. Sending out queries and pitching articles to print magazines and other sources online is far better than selling your writing abilities short and working for far below minimum wage. This freelance writer just wants to thank these fellow writers for giving the newbies hope and sound advice.

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Novel query letter round 3

Hello, hello again!

I hope you're all having a great Saturday and up to something fun. Well, I started by day off with a little run and then decided that if I'm going to keep the ball moving on my push to pursue getting some books published I should make headway on my YA novel query letter. I had posted it a while back here and also on some forums and go some good feedback. Mostly that it was too wordy and to cutout a lot of the back story and get to the point. So I started from scratch and hope that this one will meet with me some better success. I sent this one out to some agents and my goal is to keep sending those emails out until something starts to materialize! So, feel free to read my latest revision and as always any input is welcomed!

Dear Agent,

Kendra has her eyes on becoming the next prima ballerina. But, unlike what everyone else may presume she wants to do so on her own merit and not that of her already famous mother. Mother may be the wrong term to use however, as she can count the number of times she has actually seen the woman on her hand. The road she must travel is anything but easy, constantly having to ignore the icy stares of her competitors and subsequent snide remarks, but just as things begin to look promising life takes a sudden turn for the worse. Her beloved grandmother who raised her is in failing health and upon being deemed a has-been her mother bitterly returns home. Struggling to still pursue her dream, Kendra is further plagued by her own insecurities and guilt of abandoning the one person who has always been there for
her and may need her the most now as she lay dying. Given the opportunity to travel abroad and work with one of the most prominent companies world wide, Kendra is still torn between the life she envisions for herself and the one she has seemingly left behind. But she soon learns there may be other prices to pay on the path to success; entrenched in the darker, underbelly of the dance subculture she realizes that everything is not as pretty and whimsical as the lithe dances portray onstage.

DANCING IN THE DARK is a 57,000 word YA manuscript depicting a dancer's journey to becoming a prima ballerina. She must step out of the shadows of her mother's illustrious career and find the confidence to stand on her own. Wrought with inner turmoil, fueled by passive-aggressive competitors, and pressed with the rigors of training, Kendra could fulfill the dream she is chasing or be left just outside the spotlight.

I am currently a freelance writer and am looking for a long-term representation. I appreciate both your time and

Thank you,

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Children's book and running stuff

Well, I'm actually proud of myself...I finally put together a dummy for the children's book I had written and drawn but had be scattered about forever! It took way too long to get put up, but I made it into an online presentation and did send out a few queries to some children's book publishing agents. Well, I do hope that something may eventually work out, I think I've got a few more ideas floating around the old noggin that I'm going to try to bring into fruition. For my next one I'd like to make it a bit more humorous in the way of adults may appreciate...you're never too old for a good picture book! Here is a picture from it, and the premise is around one Miss Tooth and all the struggles that face that fairy as she flits around the world in the bicuspid biz.

Other than that, I've been focusing on my Fitness Stop blog as I'm putting up weekly running workouts for anyone who's always wanted to get started in running or get faster but didn't think they could do it. There is a fleet footed person lurking in all of us! Hehe, so if you're into that feel free to stop on by there. Well folks, I hope you are all off to enjoy a fun weekend, and if you should be coming up short a molar or two, be sure to rest gently and don't crush Miss Tooth. :P

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Finding Freelance Writing Jobs

Always being on the lookout for freelance writing jobs is the name of the game when freelance writing is your career. Even if you do have a steady stream of clients, it's always a good idea to at least keep an eye out for a potential writing gigs; you never know when you might find something that's perfect for you and right up your alley. I like to troll a few sites if I'm not working on a particular project and I've found some great jobs and clients that way. It never hurts to send out a few query emails or clips, especially if you've got some already on file and it could only take a minute or two.

There are really two main sites that I look to that have an excellent compilation of writing leads and they're the first two on the list. I don't really like to go to sites that make you bid on a particular freelance writing job only because you generally have to be a member to the site, and then you get ranked on some crazy scale that is in terms how often you participate on that site, and it seems like the whole ordeal takes so long. I usually like responding to Craigslist postings and others that are open to everyone. So here some sites I use the most as a freelance writer and the first one is actually much more than a bunch of job leads. The whole site is an excellent resource I've used from when I just got started to today. The next is good as it is updated almost to the minute; the third is a forum that posts writing opportunities as they come and I've used a few times. So good luck all you guys and happy writings! :)

1) The Freelance Writing Job Network

2) Online Writing Jobs

3) Writer's Weekly Forum

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An Early Valentine's Day Card Just For You

I hope all you freelance writers, (or anyone else for that matter too!) are doing well and had a great weekend. I was doing mostly work, but that's okay...I like making my own schedule and having the flexibility to plan my day around my runs and other chores, so that is definitely a bonus that comes with working at home! Nothing too exciting to report on my end, but of course with the big V-day (or perhaps Dooms Day to others) looming on the horizon the greeting cards are hitting us all with vengeance! I actually have created a few fun Valentine's Day cards that I've put up on PigSpigot.com and I'll probably be putting the pictures up here as well too. I've got a few more that need to be colored and so they'll probably be popping up as I get the time to do the fun art stuff.

Let's see, well other than that it looks like it's just another day in the neighborhood, but I'm a bit cranky in that my cat Baily has been waking me up licking himself absurdly loud! I love my cat, but the *shlluuurppp, shlluurpp* is utterly nauseating on my end and when it's right in your ear...it gives me the willies! Anyways, hope all is well on your end and keep on doing watcha love! :)

PS- The caption for this card reads: "I like you."

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Quick update since my birthday beat down

Well, I'm officially one year older as of January 8th but am I any wiser? While that may be up for argument by some, I do think I've learned a touch compared to my last birthday...hehe. Well, I did take a much deserve break from my various freelance writing jobs and went out to celebrate with my brother. It may sound like I actually regressed in my number of years however, in that we hit up those bowling lanes and partook in some rigorous air hokey games! I do love bowling and making a fool of myself, and this year I did all of that is fine fashion...I bowled a personal worst score (too low to even admit to on here) and was in fact schooled despite plenty of my trash talking to the opposite. So, I thought that maybe I could change my luck on the air hockey table, and after starting off quite well I again fell victim to my brother's game.

That's okay as the night was a success; people watching is perhaps one of my favorite sports and might I say they did not disappoint in the least! So after netting another year I got right back to working on my writing jobs and projects. But that's okay as I do like what I do! :) Well, sorry to make this short folks, but I've got some other stuff to get working on however I wanted to jump on here for at least a quick update!

As a side note, I did not in fact have this particular cake for my birthday but I wanted to post a birthday card I designed! The inside reads: "Turns out $20 doesn't go as far as it used to. Happy Birthday."

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Back into the swing of things

Sorry to be a bit of a blogger slacker this week! I've been busily working through some freelance writing jobs that finally started to roll back in after the holiday break! It's like they say, when it rains it pours, right? If I was getting antsy not having enough work to keep me busy before, I've got that problem solved..hehe. It's good in that I was feeling guilty as to not making much money the past few days so getting back into the groove is good, if not a bit tough at first.

While I've been productive in terms of writing jobs for other clients I have been still doing a lot of thinking in what I ultimately want for myself. In the down time I was able to do a lot more art and it really made me happy and I think I would like to incorporate that more into my job and daily going-ons. I have some children's books that I've written and one with all the illustrations done, and other ideas that I'd really like to pursue. I put it on the shelf a while back when I was getting more freelance writing jobs and needed to pursue things that would give me a profit right away instead of having to wait months and months to hear back from agents or publishers. That's where I get stuck; I need to continue to send out queries for my writing projects and to do that I've got to take time out between writing jobs. It seems there just aren't enough hours in the day!

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Slacking today but thinking about running :)

Ahh, well I do feel like a bit of a slacker so far for 2010! :P I've gotten caught up on all of my projects and am left twiddling my thumbs in front of the keyboard and trolling online. It's amazing how much time can seem to fly by when you're doing...well, nothing...haha. But I at least did do some research reading so perhaps all is not wasted. I'm going to do some work on a few sketches and have been brainstorming about some topics for my Fitness Stop blog. I'm kind of excited in that I'm going to start a weekly training plan for anyone who wants to start running can follow. I figure I've dedicated enough hours of my life to it that I've got plenty of experience to pull from.

I used to want to be a running coach, as I think it would be lots of fun, so this can be my virtual way of doing that. If any of you fellow freelancers out there are also running freaks feel free to stop by and partake and even add your two cents! Well, that's all for now folks but I hope you like the cartoon I did too...hehe.

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Happy New Year and looking forward

Well Happy New Year everyone! Hehe...out with the old and in with the new! I'm happy to enter into not only a new year but a new decade as well and when I think back over the previous ten years I can't believe how fast the time seemed to fly by. I'm in a totally different place than I was in 2000 and I got a laugh over thinking about all of the hype over the whole Y2K drama of 2000 with people thinking we were on the verge of the Apocalypse! I remember people frantically stocking up on canned food, supplies, and toilet paper and then some fanatics hunkering down in bomb shelters...hehe. But flash forward to today and there have been tons of new revelations, events, and of course dramas.

The last ten years, and this past year alone, has had ups and downs but I think I'm in a better place today than I was a year ago. I love being a freelance writer and continuing to do my art. I've got some goals set up for this New Year that include: expanding my client base, working on getting my book published, increasing my blog traffic, and working on improving my art skills. I don't necessarily think I can achieve all of them to the level I want to in just this one upcoming year but to at least make headway and continue on from there.

Anyways, I've spent the last few days of the holiday season doing what freelance writing work there was, (not as much as normal being that so many are out of the office and partying away!) getting caught up on little tasks I'd been putting off, and am now ready to get back to work! I hope you all had a great last year and are going to make this next one even better.

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