Decorative Flower
Her Realm, Personal website and blog of Cole
Apr 12

5 Years Self Employed!

In April 2010, my marriage was falling apart. I hadn’t worked since we’d returned stateside, and I was terrified of having to work yet another dead-end retail job. I hated them all, perhaps because I still thought I was better than the job and the people that I worked with and definitely because I am not good working under people who aren’t as smart as I am.

There were many naysayers, including my ex-husband and even good friends, who were sure I wasn’t going to make it. But I sat at my computer and I typed and typed and typed. I was making less than I am now per word and the type of work I qualified for was pretty mediocre, so I had to work harder and longer at work that I cared about far less than my current work.

But I guess it paid off. I moved up in rank. I was able to work less. This has led to my amazing schedule, which allows me to spend lots of time with friends and family. And I’m now working with a client who I really enjoy, about a topic that is right up my alley — sex — for a goodly amount of money. I am even considering buying a house.. next year. It’s exciting.

For years, I attributed this success to luck or timing. It wasn’t determination intelligence or talent on my own part. But, I think after five years, I should take some of that credit. I’m not sure this will last forever, but this little era has already been pretty awesome.

Some time this month I hope to celebrate with people.


Jan 23

What I Do

Most people don’t know what I do for a living. Many people have a hazy idea, but the idea that someone writes everything that find online is just foreign to people who don’t use the Internet, understand SEO or visit websites other than Facebook. Apparently, nearly everyone I know falls into those categories.

So, yes, I write. I write content that winds up on websites. More often than not, these are linkbait articles that exist pretty much solely for SEO purposes. If that makes no sense to you, that’s okay. I rarely get a byline and almost never know what sites my written content writes up with. I don’t follow up after I get paid.  Sometimes, I write product descriptions. The reviews that I write on Reviews by Cole are a hobby and are in no way related to my job.

I prefer to write about tech topics. SEO is okay, but it does get old quickly. I hate having to be repetitive, which is why I feel drained when I have to write 800 words or more about a specific topic. In the beginning, I wrote many articles for DMS about smartphones, tablets, iPod and website maintenance. These are probably among my favorites. When I enjoy a topic, writing comes so much more easily. However, I don’t always get the choice.

In the past week, I have written about these topics:

  • WordPress and SEO
  • Kitchen and bathroom remodeling
  • Fashion that flatters your figure
  • Roofing
  • Pedispas
  • Urgent care facilities
  • Used Dell servers
  • Online Casinos
  • Mobile slot games
  • Sciatica
  • Concussions
  • Comic inspired movies
  • Interview mistakes
  • Day trader computers
  • Lingerie
  • Sex toys
  • Dressing in business casual
  • Rebuilding a relationship/trust after an affair
  • Acid reflux disease
  •  Pulmonary arterial hypertension
  • Jennifer Lawrence’s awards show fashion
  • Live music in Torontio
  • Legionnaire’s disease
  • Maplestory hair styles

As I finish this post, I will head to work on a program review/description.

So, you know. I do what they pay for. It’s at times pretty unglamorous. The reason why I write articles (people want to manipulate search engines) is sometimes disheartening, and I often fear that this content is just created for robots and not human consumption. However, I do sometimes have fun and learn something along the way.


Jun 20

Write On

Even though I’ve been a “writer” for the past three years, I always put that word into quotations. I assume that the reason I got the job and have been able to maintain it was luck. I tell myself — and others — that it was a fluke. The fact that I’ve generally been able to increase my prices and work less while remaining afloat? I ignore. When people ask me what it is that I do for a living, I avoid the subject or downplay it as much as possible.

I think it’s time for me to stop that.

For three years, I’ve been a freelance writer. I’ve paid my bills and my taxes. I’ve had steady work. I even had some business cards printed up; although, I haven’t had much of a chance to work them. I’ve improved my writing skills, and that shows on all my blogs. I’ve become more familiar with AP styles, I’ve juggled HTML and I’ve dealt with ever-changing rules, cranky clients and incredible editors.

I guess that I’ve more or less persevered, and I should take credit for that. I got a job. I’ve kept it. I’ve gotten better at it and expanded my horizons when need be. I’m not just playing pretend. This isn’t just a hobby, and maybe I can do even more with it than I already have. I don’t know what, but for the first time I finally think that the option exists. It’s liberating, really.

 


Dec 03

What Clients Need to Know About Freelance Writers

On the heels of the post where I show off my brand-new business cards that advertise that, yes, I am a writer and blogger, and it is real enough to print on paper, I have a post detailing the things I’ve learned that clients need to learn when working with freelance writers.

Yep, this is about right.

Yep, this is about right.

Have realistic expectations
Fortunately, many clients realize that the piddly price they’re paying for word isn’t enough for us to research a project, add HTML to their specifications, add images and promote the content. Do as much for the writer as possible to get a faster return rate and higher-quality writing.
We do what you tell us to
So tell us exactly what you want — the first time! Don’t send something back because we didn’t meet expectations that you didn’t tell us existed. It’s no fair, and it wastes both of our time. Don’t write the entire article, unless you’re looking for a rewrite, but give us enough information to produce what you want. Assume that writers know nothing about the topic at hand.
Differentiate between suggestions and guidelines
If you want us to write like Wired.com, tell us. If you want us to use the exact same points in what is, essentially, a rewrite of an article from Wired.com, tell us! Lots of clients provide suggestions and examples, and some people want something a little closer to the source. We can do either, but we need to know what you want, first. Similarly, don’t tell us to cover specific points if you actually want those to be the headings.
Your article might be one in a stack twenty high
You get just as much priority as the next. You might even be going through dozens or hundreds of articles submitted from writers yourself, so you can probably understand.
Web content/copywriting isn’t like writing a book
Blog posts are casual. They use slang. If you ask for a blog post but reject articles because they’re too casual, then you aren’t asking for the right thing. If you’re outsourcing chapters for your written book, then using writing broker sites doesn’t make sense. It will be a poor fit.
Writers don’t always see the same thing you do
I see this all the time on certain broker websites. I send HTML, it breaks. You send a link, it gets cut off. You add a note, but I can’t see it. I might not be able to see your name, client number or even the article I just submitted. When in doubt, send a message.
Don’t be afraid of being communicative
At best, we’ll ignore you or opt out of your messages, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Enough with the damned keywords already
We’re sick of adding 16 instances of the same keyword in 200 words. It’s not readable, and some of your phrases are impossible to work into an article grammatically. Let writers use connecting words or, even better, focus on quality instead of search engine optimization.
Not everyone knows HTML
Yes, you’re using this content on your website. No, your writer isn’t responsible for adding all the tags. Many writers aren’t also bloggers. Markup is your responsibility, and just because I happen to be a writer who knows HTML doesn’t mean that I will do your job.

So, writers, what do you have to add to this list?


Oct 09

Help me choose a business card

I’ve been sincerely entertaining the idea of business cards for some time. They’re especially useful if I go to any blogger conventions in the future, which I’d like to do. An upcoming blogging up will provide me with the funds to purchase some business cards, but I’m not sure about design. I know that I don’t want anything black on white, so all my choices are pretty colorful. I’ve been eyeing up a lot of designs that are sleek and modern, and I wouldn’t want mine to be forgettable.

The information that I’d ideally want to include is as follows:

  • Cole
  • 111.123.4567
  • cole@email.com
  • Personal Blog: 7and1.net
  • twitter: anaesthetic
  • Review blog: reviewsbycole.com
  • Twitter: reviewsbycole
  • Facebook: reviewsbycole

So, I’ve more or less settled on four options from TinyPrints, and I’d like your opinions please!

Modern Interior

Modern Interior

 

Modern Interior is unique because it’s square. It’s also available on purple, but I think I’d go with black. The back is blank.

Stylish Loop

Stylish Loop

This one’s a standard rectangle. It’s minimal, feminine and colorful. The back features inverted colors with additional information.

Stylish Sign

Stylish Sign

I think that vertical business cards are pretty awesome; although Stylish Sign is the least colorful of the bunch. I think the design makes up for it.

 

Fun Flourish

Fun Flourish

The last option of the bunch comes in both teal and purple, which I like. The back is solid colored with additional information, and it’s a standard rectangle.

So which business card design do you like best for me?


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