Wednesday, July 31, 2013

When Life Gets in the Way of Writing

Well, yesterday was a bust in terms of writing. My friend's 23 year old son who was in the Army was killed as a result of a freak gun accident and the funeral and memorial service were yesterday. It's 45 minutes from my house to the cemetery and another 30 minutes to the church where the memorial service was held. That took up most of my day. When I returned home, I was still pretty upset for my friend and for her son whose life was cut short. I just couldn't write so got absolutely nothing done yesterday.I totaled up my earnings for the first half of My Summer of Writing ( you can see a more detailed account of this in the chart on the My Summer Of Writing hub on HubPages), but for the purposes of this blog I will just state that my goal for the summer was $1,250 which means that I should be at $625 in earnings now, and am actually at $100.63. YUCK...a big fat YUCK. But I am learning a lot about myself and my writing style and know that copy writing, while it can pay the bills, is a real struggle for me. Although I like Textbroker because I can write and see immediate gratification from my work when the money for the article gets posted to my account within three days, it's a struggle for me to write about things like how to make your pick up truck more powerful, or metal roofs. Yes, I have written about these 2 subjects in the past week! And this morning when I went to the Textbroker site, I found there are actually no articles available on my writing level, nor the one below mine. I am going to instead work on querying magazines with articles I have already written, or that are in my head, HubPages, my blogs and Webanswers. When I have a bit of spare time,I'll just check in with Textbroker to pick something up sporadically. My husband does have a work trip next week and will be gone for four days so I imagine I will be able to get some good writing time in then. I guess it's all about balance. If I lose a day from yesterday, I have to remember to make up for that day another time. Tomorrow starts a new Hub Challenge for me on HubPages so I am hoping to put in some really good work/writing during the month of August.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Happy Every Morning

Each morning I wake up now and feel so happy that I have a full day of writing in front of me. It's such a gift to be able to have the time to be creative on a daily basis. On the days I have other things to do and can't get out of, I am disappointed. I try to schedule other activities at least for the afternoon so I can at least write in the mornings. It's amazing to me to wake up happy and looking forward to a good day almost every day because my day consists of hours of writing time. And this week marks only the half way mark. I am a blessed woman!
Here's my favorite place to be this the dining room table, writing, as my husband sits across from me and does his work on his own computer!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Bad Week Finanically, But Learning New Writing Skills

I am embarrassed to admit to you that my earnings dropped substantially this week down from $36 to $18.85. The biggest reason for that is that the Textbroker articles that were available to me were almost nil at my level. So depressing as I had a goal of earning more and more money each week. But because I am in Textbroker University with one lesson left, I have high hopes for the future. Actually after I complete this lesson, I have to write 10 articles before I can even be qualified for the next level. Even if I( don't qualify though, I am excited because taking these lessons will help me be a better writer. I have learned about putting too much fluff or "fillers" in my writing and how to avoid it, proper punctuation and pronouns, and am about to learn proper comma placement which is a huge issue for me. So I guess that's how to look on the bright side, in case I don't make it to the next level. I am really impressed with the earnings from WebAnsers though. It is really boosting my Google Adsense earnings and writing thorough answers is easier than writing a full hub on HubPages. My goal is to answer 5 questions per day on WebAnswers because I think it's similar to HubPages in terms of the more active you are, the better you do score wise and that increases visibility/earnings. Speaking of writing hubs, I am off to do one now, and looking forward to a very productive week of writing!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Textbroker University and Other Thoughts

I won't be able to update my earnings this week until tomorrow when all the results are tallied by the various sites I write for. But I must say I am struggling with Textbroker because there have been very few articles available for me to write this week. In fact all day yesterday, there were only 2 articles available to me, and they were both about subjects I have no knowledge on. Since the client specifically asked for someone with knowledge only to write those articles, I was not able to accept either assignment. The good news is that Friday, I received an email from Textbroker that offered me the chance to sign up for Textbroker University. This program consists of 10 lessons and is designed for people to move up from level 3 to level 4. That has my name written all over it. I did sign up, but so far, have only had a chance to take the first lesson. I have 9 more to go, and then have to write 10 articles for them before I can advance to the next level.At that level, there are usually thousands of assignments available, so there is more money to be made, at a higher rate of earnings. I plan to take the bulk of the lessons tonight when my husband is at a meeting and it will be just me and the dog here at home! She keeps me company when I write and is a very cute writing partner who lets me know when it is time to take a break and get out and get some fresh air! (Of course that really means she just wants to take a walk for her own purposes but I prefer to think she's urging me to take a break because my mind needs it!)
In the meantime, I have realized something very important over the past week: I need to stop looking at myself as a Substitute Teacher who writes on the side, and start thinking of myself as a Writer who substitute teaches on the side!!! I think that switch in my thinking will help me a lot, and get me to the point where that's what I REALLY am! I will be updating soon on my financial progress for last week....

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Textbroker Pros and Cons

This is the beginning of my fourth week of writing full time. I have learned a lot along the way, discovered some new websites that I can potentially earn from, and am loving getting up every morning to write my heart out. The one website that consistently brings me the most money though is Textbroker. I have a love/hate relationship with Textbroker at this point. Textbroker is a website where people can apply, send in a article for review (on a Topic that TextBroker chooses) and then the writer must wait until Textbroker approves the article and assigns the writer a level. One can be at a level of 2,3,4, or 5 and one gets paid at the approved rate for that level. The higher level one makes it to, the more money one can earn. I believe that level 2 is .007 cents per word, and level 3 is 1 cent per word and I know level 4 is 1.7 per word. I believe only true professional writers make it to level 5 and I have no idea what they make. I was accepted 1 year ago as a level 3 writer, and have stayed there ever since. That means I make 1 cent per word for my articles. After every 5 accepted articles, the Textbroker editors review the writer's work, and then sends the writer emails with a score and corrections for each article. You can rise to a new level, or drop to a lower level, depending on the score of your articles. If I were to write 5 articles and they all scored a 4, then I would rise up to level 4. That hasn't happened. Every article I write stays at a level 3. So, while that's not the lowest level, it is a frustrating level. There are not as many articles available for level 3 writers as there are for level 4 writers. And that means I have fewer topics to choose from. Here are some examples of the types of articles I have written this past year: Write 30 creative titles for individual blog posts, Write an article about eco-friendly toys, write an article about this particular restaurant in San Franciso California (I live in Connecticut), write an article about this particular neighborhood of Washington state, write an article about the treatments of prostate cancer, write an article about photography on safari, write an article about Pit Bull dogs, write an article about hot water heaters, and more that are similar. For most of these articles you must include key words a certain number of times so that can be a bit frustrating. The person requesting the article can actually reject it, but I have written 79 articles so far in the past year, and fortunately have never had an article rejected. It's frustrating in that I can spend 1 hour researching something, then another hour writing the article, and I will get paid a whole $3.50 for it! Whoo hoo! Not a very good investment of my time, but so far this summer, Textbroker is where I am earning the most money. The biggest negatives about the site for me are not being able to make that much money for my time, and also not being able to pick topics that I enjoy writing about...... But the thing I like most about Textbroker is that I can write articles and actually get paid for what I write, not from views or ad clicks. This means people like my writing enough that they are willing to pay for it. And that feels good. It usually takes up to 3 days for an article to be accepted on Textbroker. Sometimes if something is written and sent in earlier than the time period allowed, articles get accepted right away, which is nice because it makes me feel good that the person paying me saw it and approved it right away. I have to force myself to go to this site daily because I want to earn money writing, but I very rarely am able to write about topics I am interested in. I love to check my account payoff amount because it does add up and each week I have been able to see money being deposited into my account. When I request a payout, the money gets transferred to my Paypal account. All one needs is to have $10 in their Textbroker account to receive a payout which means a writer can get paid more quickly from Textbroker than from most writing sites. I am hoping that I can rise up to level four before the end of the summer because that will increase my earnings. So, I am plugging along and always trying to stay optimistic that I will learn how to write more quickly, and that I will also move up to the next level with Textbroker. I do know one person that was a level 4 and was making $2,000 - $3,000 per month on Textbroker. She writes fast and was a higher level so I guess those are the goals I need to aspire to. If you have had experience with Textbroker, please leave a comment below!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Fly Baby, Fly...

I am feeling rather down today because I missed church due to a writing deadline. I had signed up to write an article at Textbroker and it was due today by 10:39 a.m. I finished it at 10:34 a.m., but that didn't leave me time to get ready for church and make it there for 11:00 a.m. I am disappointed that I didn't plan my time well enough to get it finished in time. Yet I was very motivated to complete this article because today is the last day I can earn any money to add to my weekly total earnings which I am going to publish. I must say that keeping this blog as well as updating my article on HubPages about My Summer of Writing is really helping me stay motivated to earn. I really don't want to be embarrassed about not being able to earn money at the writing career I am aspiring to. Of course I am nowhere near my goal of $125 per week yet, but I can see improvement and that also helps keep me motivated. I will really need to keep working on scheduling my time better so I can have a life as well as write. The funny thing is, I really just want to write. Since I started this writing experiment 3 weeks ago, I have found that all I want to do is write. If I could spend all my time writing, eating and sleeping when necessary, that would be fine with me. (Oops, sorry Honey if you are reading this!) I feel like a bird who has longed to fly and been kept in a cage all her life. Then someone opened the door to her cage and set her free and all she wants to do is fly. Fly Baby, fly!!! That's me...only for me, it's writing. I have been set free, and I am so happy to be writing!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

My Writing Week in Review

Well, this won't be the blog entry where I tell you what I earned this week because technically my week won't end till Sunday and I want as much earning time as possible before I give my report. But in looking back at the week I have noticed a few things. The first is that now writing down my goals each day totally keeps me on track in terms of what I want to accomplish that day. Without it, I am floundering all over the place, jumping from one writing website to the next only settling down when the mood strikes. Imagine a butterfly flitting around from flower to flower, trying to decide which one has the best nectar and stopping at one only when it decides that. That would be me without a list of thanks very much to Bill Holland for sharing the suggestion of writing out a list of daily goals. Next, I have 2 ideas I think will really be worth following up on. One was a suggestion by my girlfriend who has commented on my writing and things I should write for agencies because my background is in social work, but I have a heart for those with disabilities. I once read an article where a new writer had business cards made up and sent them out with a letter on letterhead to over 200 networking connections he had made over the years. He ended up getting writing jobs from 4 of them just from that first letter, and five years later he still gets ongoing jobs from them. That sounds good to me because I do have a lot of connections from my previous jobs. So, Vistaprint, here I come...for 250 free business cards. If you don't know what I am talking about, will give you 250 free business cards if you just pay shipping and handling. It's a great deal. Then I also had an idea for an ongoing series o0f articles on HubPages that I think will really be catchy, and from that, I may have enough material to publish a book. And I have also figured out how to buckle down and earn a bit more money on Textbroker, which will bring in the money on a regular basis as long as I keep writing there. It's not a lot of money, but it's still money I can earn each week, and it's grooming me to write copy for future sites and possibly agencies so I am grateful to have been able to start there for now. More on Textbroker later in the week, but now I need to go take my dog for a walk to get out of the house, and get motivated to come back and take a shower and do something besides write today. It's 2:55 p.m. and I am still in my P.J.s. which is making me feel quite lazy and disgusting just at the moment. There are pros and cons to be able to write from home! Here's a picture of my sweet dog and writing companion, who just happens to have her very favorite toy in her mouth... Reeses:

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Shoot For The Moon!

It occurred to me today that in order to reach my goal that I have set for myself for the year in terms of writing hubs for HubPages, I need to have 52 hubs written during my Summer of Writing. This works out to a little more than 5 per week. So far, I am on week 3 and have written 17 hubs which I am happy with. Unfortunately I am behind for the year. I wrote 150 hubs during my first year on HubPages, which started in January, 2012. My goal for my second year was to publish 200 hubs, while continuing to work, so unfortunately I can't write full time. Except for these 10 weeks of Summer that is. So I have been wondering how I will feel if I don't reach my 350 goal by January of 2014. I am beginning to feel that maybe I am biting off more than I can chew with all these goals I have set for myself. I am thoroughly enjoying writing every day. In fact, the more I write, the more I want to write. My husband commented that when I am writing, I concentrate solely on that and am not aware of what is going on around me. I liked the sound of that. I have always heard that if you find a career that you totally love and it doesn't feel like work to you, then it's a career worth keeping. So, I have found it, but unfortunately, so far it doesn't look like I will be able to quit my day job! Not yet anyway. So, I will keep plodding along as best I can. I will continue my 10 week summer of writing full time. I will continue to keep working toward my goal of earning $125 per week at it. I will continue toward the goal of writing 200 hubs this year. And if I don't reach all of those goals? Hey, I am shooting for the moon so at least I should land among the stars instead of not trying and at all and slouching around on the earth whining about my life. I do set a lot of goals for myself but it's the only way I can move forward. And if I don't reach all my goals this year, at least I will be farther along than if I hadn't set any at all. And there's always next year! Okay, I am off now to work on my newest hub. I am including a picture I took on a trip to Bora Bora in the French Polynesian Islands, to remind me to shoot for the moon!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

I'd Rather be Writing!

I'm sure you have seen those bumper stickers that start with, "I'd Rather Be..." and the things people would rather be doing run the gamut from anything to dancing to fishing. Well, I would like to get one that says I would rather be writing!!! The other day I was coming out of the grocery store, and remembering how much I used to love shopping and saving money with coupons. And then the phrase "I'd rather be writing" popped into my head! I do still enjoy grocery shopping and saving money with coupons, BUT I actually would rather be writing! I decided to start writing after 41 years of wanting to do it. And now it seems that I just can't stop the flow. And I don't want to.
I've overcome the embarrassment of the small amount of money I made last week. I have updated my article on HubPages with more exact details, but only made $9.31 last week. That's about 1/2 the $20.06 I made the week before, but I also went away for a few days to the Berkshires so as my daughter said to me, 'It's better than nothing." I guess it's true what they say about out of the minds of babes. She is 18 and I'm sure she would get a kick out of me calling her a babe because a "babe" at 18 is much different than the age that saying is referring to! But as she is my daughter, she'll always be my little girl.( Here we are last year!)
After reading another hub by Bill Holland ( Billybuc to those of you on HubPages) about finding the time to write, I am getting much more organized about my writing. Each day I am now making a list about what I want to accomplish. Unfortunately, I must be a slow writer because I only am writing about half of what's on my list. Or maybe I just have high expectations for myself? I want to write 4 Textbroker articles, 1 hub, answer 3 questions on WebAnswers, and also write at least one blog entry a day. That doesn't seem like a lot but the HubPages and Textbroker articles need research and that's what takes a long time. I need to figure out how to write more quickly once I get the research done. I also want to add one more writing platform, but I haven't figured out when I can find time to explore which one would be best for me. I am looking into Constant Content but I'm not sure I like the idea of writing 500 - 600 word articles that may just sit in my catalog and never get bought. Does it make more sense to just publish my articles on HubPages and at least I stand a chance to make money from views and ad clicks? I am also looking into Writer's Access but the application process seems overwhelming to me. If anyone reading this blog has any comments on either one of those sites, please feel free to leave them below.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Vacation is Over and It's Time to Reorganize my Writing

Well, my short vacation is over. I have gotten past feeling guilty about taking time off, and allowed myself to enjoy the time away. It was a good time to reconnect with my husband, and to listen to some beautiful classical music at Tanglewood. And picnics are always romantic so that was fun. Here's a picture of our table set up for a picnic at Tanglewood:
Now it's back to work tomorrow. I am refreshed and ready. Partially because I read a hub on HubPages written by someone else who is writing full time. I am inspired by his goals because he actually writes for 45 hours a week, 5 days at 9 hours per day, and doesn't let anyone interfere with his writing time. He also has a schedule that he prints out each day so he knows what he needs to accomplish. What a great idea. I do believe that's what I need to do as well. So, tomorrow is a new day and I will start my week fresh, and ready to commit to my full time writing with a new vigor.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Freelance Writing or Enjoy Some Vacation Time...That is The Question

Today my husband and I are in the Berkshires in Massachusetts. We got here to a great condo and are looking forward to 3 classical music concerts over the next 3 days at Tanglewood. I still am not sure what to do about my hours this week. I spent the day with him traveling up here ( it’s a 2.5 hour drive) and stayed away from my computer till about 9 p.m. I mentioned I had an article on Textbroker I needed to finish, and 2.5 hours later, I completed it, after checking in with Webanswers and HubPages, as well as my email account which is connected to HubPages. I could tell he was a bit frustrated with all my attention to the computer tonight because we are supposed to be on vacation I guess. So much so, that I am not going to write anymore articles with deadlines this week. I will probably do some blog entries ( uh, right, that’s what I am doing right now) and I would like to finish at least one hub of the 8 I have started. Then I think the rest of it will just have to fall by the wayside for the long weekend. I will have to consider this a vacation weekend and do that much better on my hours next week. One thing I am very happy about though is that I sent my Textbroker article in at 11:29 p.m. and I got up at 12:25 a.m. because I couldn’t sleep, and it had already been accepted. Wow, I have never had a Textbroker article been accepted that quickly. I guess they liked what they read about Rolex watches?! Until I wrote this article, I didn’t know much about them, and now I think having one would be kinda cool! It’s 1:10 a.m. and now that I was able tow rite this, I think I will try one more blog entry for my other blog, and then call it a night. Goodnight all!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Struggling With Finding the Time to Write

This week is going to be a real challenge for me in terms of accomplishing my goals of writing for 38 hours. Monday was a washout due to not sleeping hardly at all the night before, and the wake. Then yesterday I was only able to work for 3.5 hours due to a car appointment and doctor's appointment plus I had spent some time with my daughter. I was pretty shocked and dismayed when I actually totaled up the hours I had spent writing and it only came to 1/2 the seven hours I had originally planned for the day. The good news is that after 8 days on WebAnswers, I finally hit my 50 questions needed to monetize on that site just this morning. I should now be earning from there, and I was able to monetize here too this morning as well. Today is a banner day for getting things moving. Good thing too because tomorrow, my husband and I are leaving for a short 4 day vacation in the Berkshires of Massachusetts. We are going to 3 concerts at Tanglewood. We try to go every year to listen to classical music and have a picnic. We were not able to go at all last summer, and my husband loves this event so this year we were determined to make it. Here's a view from the grounds of Tanglewood in the Massachusetts Berkshire Mountains...
This is good for the 2 of us in terms of spending quality time together, but bad for my writing schedule. I will be able to use the experience for more inspiration for writing more articles on HubPages, and for writing in my blog about second marriage romance. But I don't think I will be able to write for 7 hours per day while we are away. Does that mean I will be missing 28 hours this week? Well, not exactly. I will bring my computer and probably write a bit at night before bed. But it does not bode well for a productive week since I am off to a slow start. How do people who work from home manage to keep up with their schedule when life intervenes? It's not like a regular job where you can take a paid vacation and not worry about putting in your 35 - 40 hours. When you work for yourself, if you don't work, you don't get paid. Yikes, this is definitely scary, but I am hoping that within a few more weeks I will be able to figure it all out and keep a regular schedule. If not, I won't be seeing any money from my summer of writing, and that will be heartbreaking for me. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Yesterday Was a Washout

Tuesday, July 2nd Yesterday was a total washout. I had trouble sleeping Sunday night. In fact I would say that I only slightly dozed for 1 whole hour and that was between 6:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. For health reasons that I don't think you really want to know the details of, I had a very uncomfortable and painful night Sunday night. I have never, ever been up all night like that and at first I thought that maybe I could just stay up and write, but I was in too much discomfort to concentrate.I had to take my daughter to the train station and hour away in the morning so I knew I wouldn't be able tow rite then. Once home, I showered and got ready for our afternoon/evening schedule. We had to go to a wake for a friend of ours at 5:00 p.m. and it was over an hour away. I had decided to bring my computer and do some writing on a Word document in the car. But because I was feeling better, I ended up sleeping all the way in the car. Oh well, good for my creative juices to get some rest I guess. Then we met a business associate of my husband's at a Dunkin Donuts for an hour and I got about 45 minutes of writing done there. And that was it for the whole day! By the time we were done at the wake, and went to dinner with some out of town friends that had also gone, and drove home ( I slept again because it was dark) I was so tired still that we got home by 11:00 p.m. and I was in bed by 11:15. The good news is I slept great last night and am ready to tackle as much writing as I can get in today. I will not lament the fact that I am already six and a quarter hours behind in my schedule for the week. But I am hopeful that I can add extra hours in here and there over the course of the week, and get the full 38 in. I am waiting for some results on statistics of my earning from Ebay before I post the results here. I hope the rest of my week is productive!