Pop a couple of No-Doze or take a shot of wheat grass…this one is a long one. As mentioned in my last post, I’ll attempt to summarize my 4 years of online writing in one post per year. Here’s the post covering the first year.
Online Writing: Year One
One thing I noticed about my first year of online writing (as I reviewed my journal) was that I knew it was going to be a difficult journey so I sought out mentors. No, I didn’t seek mentors that I could talk to, feel and touch (I didn’t know any), so I had to resort to mentors who have accomplished great things and whose footsteps I would like to follow. As a result, I started to read a lot of motivational books.
One book that I make a habit of reading is the Bible. I’m not here to preach, just sharing what I read. A few of the other books that I read in my first year as a freelance writer were:
- Joel Olsteen: Your Best Life Now
- Larry DiAngi: The Magic is in the Extra Mile
- Jack Canfield: The Success Principles
- Brian Tracy: Eat That Frog and Who Moved My Cheese
- Tommy Newberry: The 4:8 Principle
- Napoleon Hill: Think and Grow Rich
- Alan Cohen: Relax Into Wealth
Most of the links above are Amazon affiliate links, but you should really check your library first. Why pay when you can read them for free?
These are just a few that I mentioned/remembered from my journal. I know there were many others. I tend to read two books at a time. One I listen to as an audio book while I’m driving, doing the dishes or performing other mindless tasks and the second book I read is an old fashioned printed on paper book that I read when I have quiet alone time. I always keep a book in my bag. Part of being a mom to kids on sports teams is waiting for them to come out of the locker room or off of the field (or court). That’s prime reading time.
I spent a lot of time filling my head with positive motivational thoughts in an attempt to get rid of my negative self talk. We get so much negative stuff by just turning on the TV, radio or walking down the street. Too many sources (including your boss) tell you that it just can’t be done. I realized that if I were to become a full-time freelance writer with the goal to eventually earn 100% of my income through my residual earnings, I had to stop listening to those folks and influences that were telling me that it couldn’t be done.
Finding Writing Assignments
This is old hat to anyone who has followed my ramblings for any length of time. I first started combing the web and sending out query letters (I first had to learn what a query letter was and how to write one), in an attempt to find writing gigs to replace my income.
I found a high-paying gig, but they weren’t forthright with their payment. So, instead of wasting my time searching for the bird in the bush, I decided to hold onto the ones at hand (online writing).
In the meanwhile, while I was searching for online gigs, I was still adding more content to my own website. I was so green when I first started, I was paying $25 a month for web hosting (boy was I green). After searching around and going through several different web hosting companies, I found HostGator and have remained there ever since. I learned a lot not only about online writing, but simultaneously learned a bit about the back end by hosting my own website (BTW, I also learned HTML to the point where I hand coded my first couple of websites).
Even More Learning
In addition to changing my way of thinking through positive motivation books, learning the internet via my own website, I also learned that online writing required a different style of writing. You can’t write the same way online as you do off line. I had to learn about search engine optimization (SEO).
I also learned that Google was a major player on the internet and learned first hand what to do to piss them off (as I’ve successfully pissed them off).
Private Clients, Up Front Pay and Residuals
During my first year I sought private clients (through old business contact referrals), up front pay (through online job boards) and residual earnings (through my own sites and sites like Suite 101). I worked hard on all three fronts and quickly discovered that I didn’t like the up-front or client route. I knew deep down inside that residuals were the way to go.
By the end of 2007, I earned $4,623.97. Of that, $3, 128.14 was from up front/private clients and $1,495.83 was from residuals. The sad part about those earnings was that it didn’t quite replace my paltry earnings from my part-time job, but I was getting close. I knew that if I kept at it, I would surpass my part-time job earnings.
I’ve got to say that my husband was and is very supportive in his own way. He wants me to be happy and he knows writing makes me happy. He doesn’t necessarily read what I write, but he’s supportive in that he has always encouraged me to follow my dream.
If I were a sports writer, I know my hubby would read every word I wrote (he did read my piece on Tiger Woods), but writing about insurance (he’s also an insurance professional) and things such as freelance writing…he’d rather put a load of clothes in the washing machine so I wont have to disrupt my writing.
I learned within my first year of writing that friends and family don’t always want to read my writing and that’s just fine. After all, would you want to hear the intimate details of your friends’ and family’s job?
That pretty much sums up what I learned in my first year of online writing. Congrats if you’re still awake by the end of this post. I’m interested to hear from folks who have been at this for longer than a year. What was your first year like? Are there any tips you care to share with me and other folks new to online writing?