Current IT field related information

17 Oct 10 Freelance Writing – How to Meet Tight Deadlines

I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.

                                                                 — The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, Douglas Adams

Like the celebrated science fiction writer Douglas Adams I too love the whooshing sound made by a deadline when it passes by. But my clients do not share this view, and I am sure, neither does yours. And thus we are forced to work around time. But despite all our good intentions, we fail to meet deadlines, at time.

This particular problem chases many freelance writers, and quite many of them fail to out-speed it, which leaves them panting and gasping for more air. And at this point they wonder — is it possible humanly possible to meet the deadline?

Because of dejection, they get no as an answer despite the fact that deep in their hearts they know it is possible. This article is for those people. It will help them manage their deadlines, and if you are one of them then for sure, you will stop fearing deadlines after reading this.

Do not chew more than you can swallow

I know this is oft quoted maxim, but still it is not oft used. People, more often than we think is possible, end up taking more than mouthful. And this cannot be truer for anyone than for a freelance writer. Partly because of greed, and partly due to morbid fear of losing a client, a freelance writer ends up taking more projects than he can finish in a day.

Allocate adequate time

This is another problem. In a rush to convince oneself of having free time available for one more client, a freelance writer often end up allocating adequate time to a project, in the planning phase, which come to haunt him when he starts working on it.

Cannot say no

This is another reason behind a freelance writer’s failure to meet the deadline. It is the fear of losing a client, a freelance writer end up accepting unrealistic deadline, which they can never meet.

These are the three main reasons why you are constantly behind your deadlines. Remove them from your daily routine, and you will always be on time.

Tags: Adequate Time, Chases, Dejection, Douglas Adams, , , , , Good Intentions, , , , Hitch Hiker, Maxim, , , Planning Phase, , Science Fiction Writer,

16 Sep 10 Freelance Writing – Confused about samples?

The worst part of a freelance writing career is uncertainty. A freelance writer, unlike a staff writer, has to search for gigs every now and then, and each time he needs to show some samples in order to get the work. And this is where problem starts, and contrary to common perception, the more experienced you are, the more jitter the idea of showing samples give.

What samples to show and what not to show, and how many to show? These questions often haunt a freelance writer, more so because there is no one right answer to this. Every client is different so is there demand, and so is the solution to that.

The question is then how to decide what to show and what not to show? As said, there is not any definite answer to this question, but I can tell you about what I do when it comes to hunting writing gigs. That will help you devise your plan of action.

How to decide which sample to show

What clients want?

The first step in the process is to see what client is asking for, as sending relevant samples is what you should do. Sending a sample of how-to article to a client who wants a sales page will do no good. Similarly sending a sample of an article to one who is asking for a press release will also not get you the job.

Have you written on the topic?

If you have written on the topic related to project advertise then send that sample, but while doing so do keep the following tip in mind.

When did you write that one?

This is very important. We all grow one article at a time, so sending a sample that you wrote 2 or 3 years back will do more harm than good, as it will not demonstrate you current style. Do not mistake in thinking that writing style is static; rather nothing is more organic than writing style. The more you write the better you become. You should, therefore, send the samples that you wrote in last month, or last to last month. Do not send any sample that you wrote more than 6 months back.

How many

As many as required to get the work. This is a judgment call you have to take. If the work advertised is going to last long than I provide more samples and if it is a small project then I do not send too many samples, or too many types of samples. It also depends on what a client is asking for.

This is how I decide on what samples to send and how many to send. I hope this will help you decide as well.

Tags: 3 Years, , , , , , , , , , Relevant Samples, Staff Writer, Uncertainty, Writing Samples,

08 Sep 10 Should You Write Free Sample Articles for a Client?

Quite often in the beginning of your writing career you will encounter a client who will ask you to write a sample for him for free on his chosen topic before he could make his mind about your suitability to his work. Such requests put a beginner freelance writer in a fix.

The freelance writer gets confused whether he should write a free sample or not. He knows that refusing to write a free sample will mean losing the client, and writing a free sample may result in client’s disappearance, which is not unheard of in the business. Many clients, under the disguise of asking for free samples to evaluate the candidacy for a fictional big project, just take samples from various freelance writers and disappear.

The question is what should a freelance writer do, in situation like that?

There is not one single answer to this. You may or may not write a free sample. It all depends on you and kind of sample being asked to write. I cannot tell you that you should write or not, but I can tell you about the process I go through when deciding on whether to comply with the wish of getting a free sample or not.

Client authenticity checklist

Indeed, you need check the person’s authenticity before saying yes or no to his wish to have a free sample, and you can do this by doing the following things, at least I do these things:

  1. Run a Google search with the client’s name, nickname along with the words like scam, cheat, fraud, scammer, etc., one at a time. This is done to find whether there is any reported fraudulent activity related to him. If he has done anything mischievous to people or service providers, you may find something. Well, this does not happen always, but most of the time, you will get what you are looking for.
  2. I check the reviews and rating of a client, if I have been approached by him through a freelance exchange websites or forums. If there is enough positive reviews about a client then I think favorably of his request
  3. Is the client giving me too rosy a picture to be true? A cheater will often show you a grand, often unrealistic, view of the future, in case you get the work, for which you will have to submit a free sample custom written on topic given by him. I stay away from such bait.
  4. I never write a sample, if a client asks for a sample of 500+ words. From my experience I can say that such demands often come from clients with dubious intentions. I often offer to write a sample of not more than 250 words, and occasionally 300 words.

These are steps I run a client through before accepting or rejecting his offer. I think this will work for you. At least you should try this strategy, if you do not have any. Something is always better than having an absolute zilch.

Tags: , Candidacy, Disappearance, , , , , , , Free Samples, , , , , Nickname, , , Service Providers,