"Master Dayton" might be humorous, (I mean if Ph.Ds are called "Doctors," shouldn't MFAs be called "Masters?") but in all seriousness I have made a living freelance writing and after several years I have tons of information I want to share to help out my fellow writers, regardless of age, experience, goals, situation, or background. This blog isn't pretty-but it will help if real freelance writing information is what you want.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

March Freelance Writing Goals: Calling It In

Calling It 2 Days Early

So this month definitely wasn't what I was hoping for - and it seemed that a ridiculous amount of things went horribly wrong as if there was some universal conspiracy to make my life and freelance writing career stressful and frustrating. But these things happen, and all we can do is keep going. The one time for me when goals can become a huge albatross instead of an enabler is when I'm closing in on the end of the goal time and know the goals are no longer achievable, but because of an OCD habit to put up a large sheet of paper with a circle representing every article in my goal I begin to get frustrated when not every one is crossed out. So I'm calling it early because I think considering the surrounding circumstances, it was a very good month and besides, I prefer doing helpful articles for my readers, like the recent Demand Studios review.

So, this month which I was hoping would be a month of quiet before the storm, turned out to have plenty of rough moments on its own. For starters, our "amazing" cable and Internet provider's Internet went down four times this month, for blocks of no less than 8 hours. This isn't including frequent 2 am to 5 am outages, which are my best work hours during the day. That didn't help, and would be a killer to my freelance writing career even in the quietest of months.

Then there were personal issues that had to be resolved, an editing job that looked easy but became a disaster, and the delay of a major contract that would have allowed me to hit the $5,000 goal I set for myself. Not all was bad, as some of the delays were due to me not working for an entire day on two separate occasions because of opportunities that came up that were both business and/or creative related and I'm a firm believer in not letting potential once in a life time opportunities slip by. Whether they work out or not, who knows? But freelance writers can't be afraid to take chances, and occasionally a Hail Mary pass wins the football game.

Anyhow, back to the writing goals. I'll talk a little bit more about this at the end, but as for 30 days in March there were multiple Internet problems, including major outages for 4 days and minor ones for another 10 (believe me, I'd switch companies if we could, but where we live we have one choice and that's it, so I'll deal with it). In addition to all that, I can say there were 7 days where I did virtually nothing. I'm not trying to use that as a justification for the mythical "what I could have done," but take it as a guide that if I can do this much in 23 days with a lot of interference and Internet problems, think what can be done with your writing goals and career when you simply focus and decide to obsess for one month to improve your lot.

So let's go over the goals and see how I did. Original goals will be in bold.

Freelance Writing Goals

Over $5,000 in freelance writing income. This does NOT include passive income or increases in passive income sources like AdSense or eHow. I fell $1,500 short of this goal, which I won't say was easily achievable if everything went right, but in a calm month I would be able to do it without any problem, something I wasn't sure of when I started this month. Add in the passive income, editing work, and what I'm likely to do in the next two days, and I got within $600.

Double my AdSense income in one month. I did not honestly expect this one to be doable, and I understand that the majority of HubPages hubs and InfoBarrel articles aren't going to start getting decent traffic and producing until later down the line as they climb the SERPs. In fact, it's safe to say that all the new articles and hubs I made will make several times what they make now in just a few months...which was part of the point of this exercise, to get the work done. Obviously since I'm calling it quit before the end of the month, I'm going to guess by making the last two days of the month equal to my worst day in March. Based on that, my AdSense did go up 37% in one month and just based on the work I've done, it wouldn't surprise me if this month's number doubled or more by the end of June. So I'm very happy with those results.

Double my eHow income in one month. Done. Even with 2 days to go I can say I already hit this one, and I'm obviously extremely happy with those results.

Get the AdSense income to over $100/month for me and my brother's business. Didn't even come close, but we did double the AdSense income, even though this part of the business pretty much fell completely by the wayside after the first week of March.

Creative Writing Goals

Finish 3 more zombie short stories. Technically I haven't finished one, but I'm ridiculously close to having all 3 finished (in fact it might be done by the end of the month). And even though I agree with Ernest Hemingway's quote: "The first draft of anything is shit." I'm really pleasantly surprised by the potential these stories are already showing.

Finish 2 more chapters of the novel "Broken" I'm helping to co-write. One chapter will be done by the end of the month. The other won't be.

Finish 4 chapters of the novel I'm writing for my sister. This one I wish I had found more time for and is the one I regret not getting further on the most. One chapter is done. A second will be done soon.

First 20 pages of my novella "Pawprints to Saskatoon." 5 pages are completed, and there is a much more complete outline. The last 3 pages are also written.

First 10 pages of "Men with Beards" screenplay I'm helping to write on spec. Still developing the ideas on this one, but on the actual writing this one is a goose egg.

Write, complete, revise, and send out 2 additional short stories. I am about three quarters of the way through 1 additional short story, but no hint of a 2nd.

Passive Income Writing Goals.

Write 100 InfoBarrel articles. Wrote 50. Built 50 backlinks to various published InfoBarrel articles through writing more articles.

Write 100 new HubPages. Will have 45 by the end of the month. Did some huge backlinking work on some hubs that were starting to rank really well for a couple really good money making keywords.

Write 15 new Squidoo lenses. Will have 5 finished by the end of the month, although 10 half filled outlines are waiting "in progress."

Write 30 new Xomba articles. All 30 will be written by the end of the month. If bookmarks counted I'd be about 100+ over on this one.

Other Writing Goals

Minimum 8 blog posts on this blog this month.
This blog post makes #6. I could sneak two more in, but that would just feel like cheating. Still, 6 in a month isn't bad for me, and definitely would have had 8 if the Internet was up for any amount of time.

Minimum 12 blog posts over at my "Fixing My Life" blog. Only managed 5, probably be 7 or 8 by the end of the month. But still going swimmingly despite this past month, so hey, having it happen is a whole heck of a lot more important to this freelance writer than blogging about hoping it does.

Rough scripts out for YouTube parodies (pet project). Yes and no. I have 5 scripts. Somehow they're all newer ideas that weren't at all the ones I was talking about. Well, we'll chalk that up to being a great problem to have.

100 articles for backlinks via the KWA directories. By the end of the month I'll have over 80 posted.

30 articles for UAW (which is really 90+ since you have to have 3 versions of each plus hand put in all those annoying boxes at the end). Well this one didn't go nearly as well as I hoped. I'll have 6 done by the end of the month. I'm not counting the 8 I had outsourced.

Revise my poetry portfolio. This didn't happen. I'll arbitrarily blame spring fever for this one.

10 personal hand written letters through the month of March. Five down and five being written over the next two days, so this will be a check.

And other stuff never mentioned in the goals: I've written over 100 articles this month for article marketing purposes, not to mention work gathering backlinks, some guest blog posts, setting up new niche sites, all the work I did for my brother's and I's business, and about 120 pages towards e-books I'm writing for the future. There's probably more here I'm forgetting. It's been a busy month, despite some burn out days, some days without the web, and some days where personal matters had to trump everything else.

So even though I didn't hit a lot of the goals, I feel pretty great. Based on the numbers here, I think had this month gone smoothly, I actually would have accomplished most of the goals I set out, which seems outright insanely awesome to me.

Besides, when I look at how much is done, how can I be upset? Most of this work, I'll see the full benefits in the weeks, months, and even years to follow. When summarized:
  • I've built over 500 backlinks to my sites (not even including UAW) and web properties
  • 50 new InfoBarrel articles
  • 45 new hubs
  • 5 new Squidoo lenses
  • 30 new Xomba articles (not even counting the 100+ bookmarks that tend to rank really well with Google for some reason)
  • 6 good long Master Dayton blog posts
  • eHow income doubled with AdSense up 70%
  • More creative writing in one month than I've done in nearly two years
And this was a BAD month where everything seemed to be going wrong. One of the greatest benefits of this experiment is that it's shattered a lot of glass ceilings. If this is what I can do in a bad month, then how much more could I do in a good month? For decades people believed that a 4 minute mile was impossible. Once that barrier was broken once, it opened a floodgate and that barrier has been broken hundreds, if not thousands, of times since.

I think the same thing applies to writing goals, whether creative or freelance. With a lot of my ideas of "realistic" shattered, it wouldn't surprise me to match these numbers next month and not be nearly as tired or stressed doing it. Once it's been done before, suddenly it's a lot easier to get there again.

And good thing, too, since taxes are going to eat up virtually all of my freelance income from March and early April. Ugh - well welcome to the freelance life :) Hope everyone is doing well, and pursuing their writing goals with gusto. Cheers!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Demand Studios Review

Demand Studios Review

A lot of people have asked me my opinion about Demand Studios and whether it's worth it or not. There are a lot of things to like about Demand Studios, and there are things that annoy the living piss out of me when it comes to writing for DS, but I will say this much right off the bat with my Demand Studios Review: this website is definitely worth writing for. I'll go through the rest in my normal long rambling posts trying to cover every little detail, but for right now don't let any of the details or mini-rants coming up deter you from expanding to writing for DS in at least a part time basis. But I believe in telling the good and the bad, so let's jump in.

The bad news right off the bat is that Demand Studios is yet another site that is not open to international freelance writers. They are mainly U.S. based, and although there were plans to expand to Canada, Great Britain, and Australia, I have no idea if this has actually occurred yet or is still in the drawing board.

For those of you who are looking to break into freelance writing as beginners, Demand Studios is a really good place to go, and it's a very solid place for established writers to defeat the entire idea of "feast or famine." In fact, if you wanted to make a full time living writing solely for Demand Studios, depending on where you live that goal could very well be possible.

Getting accepted into Demand Studios writing program
You will be required to apply to the program and prove your writing is up the standards desired in order to write for DS. If you're even an average writer, this shouldn't be a problem at all. Just be sure to proof and double proof your writing samples because this would be the wrong time to have a stupid typo sink your chance to write for Demand Studios. If you've already written several articles for eHow, you have an even better chance of getting accepted and should mention that in the application since Demand Studios is the parent company to eHow.

The application process can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks. In my case, I was approved in two days, but I also believe it helped that I had over 150 approved articles at eHow at the time I applied. That's about as good evidence as you can get to prove you can write up to their standards.

What it pays
Freelance writers at Demand Studios are paid on a per article basis, although writers also have the option of writing "residual income" articles that don't pay anything up front, but can be a source of passive income over time - kind of the way eHow works. Pay can range from $3 for a tip article that is only 100 words and one source (read less than 5 minutes of work), and there are other articles at $5, $7.50, $15, $20 or even more.

I find most articles are either $15 or $7.50, and even when I'm not pushing myself at all it's easy to write a $15 article in 40-45 minutes or 3 $7.50 articles in an hour. Sometimes more depending on the article style. When I'm on the ball and really trying to hammer away, it can be much higher. In fact, two days ago I wrote $210 worth of Demand Studios articles in just under 9 hours.

You won't be able to get those results until you're familiar with DS and the style guides, but it is a place you can eventually reach. So if anyone asks if Demand Studios is a scam, it most definitely is not because you can get paid very well, especially once you break it down on a per hour basis. Most people I know would be very happy with a $15+ an hour job, especially if they got to choose their own hours or work extra whenever they felt like it.

Most articles will be either $7.50 or $15, although occasionally you might see a surge of $20 articles - I made a lot of money through Golflink requests at the end of 2009 when that happened. How much you can make an hour will depend on:
  • How fast you can research
  • How quickly you can type
  • How well you can write to template
  • How quickly you can proof read
That's it. Different styles of articles on Demand Studios have different time requirements, so I'll only briefly cover that, seeing as how each writer is different and figuring out what you excel at or what you prefer to write about can make a huge difference.

Article Styles
There are many different types of article styles, and individual freelance writers are going to excel at different styles. That's one of the most important pieces of writing advice I can give to in this Demand Studios review. Look around, try out different styles, and figure out what works best.

You can read about the different style types and requirements for each one on the Demand Studios articles on the sites, but many of my favorite styles are: fact sheets, decision, list, & about articles.

The fact sheets and decision articles will normally be $7.50 each, while the list and about articles will be $15 a piece, with an occasional $20. My personal favorites at this point are the decision articles, because I can pop those out in around 15 minutes, and the about articles, which take 35-40 depending on how much research I need to do. I made a lot of money off the list articles and they're a simple template, but finding and recording all the address information meant that those articles took 45-50 minutes, so I'm moving away from them to more "about" articles.

However many people might be good at the "how to" articles and can knock them out with little effort. I am not organized enough to be good at these, but there are always thousands available for writers who are really good at that format.

How much can I write?
One of the biggest benefits of writing for Demand Studios isn't the pay levels themselves, but it's the time and work ability. You can only check out 10 titles at a time to work on, but once they are under copy editor review that space can open up and you can pick up another title. This means you can write far more than 10 articles a day. The most I've written in one day was 22. A lot of those were the $7.50 articles, but that still resulted in a $265 day, which is an entire week's take home pay if you're living where I am (where minimum wage jobs are about all you can find right now, if you're lucky).

So you can write, and write some more, and write some more. You can do a few a day as a side income to save up for retirement, vacation, or an emergency fund, or you can make this a pretty full time gig. It's a great supplement even for professional freelance writers because if you're in a 3-6 week "drought" as far as writing assignments go, there's nothing like being able to jump online and knock out $15-30 an hour whenever there's nothing lined up. It definitely makes it easier to budget and make it through a year.

How Demand Studios pays
Demand Studios pays its freelance writers through PayPal twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays. It's a pretty convenient system for budgeting. Articles finished by Sunday night are paid on Tuesday, then articles finished by Wednesday night are paid on Friday. Any articles that aren't paid on one day get rolled over to the next, so as long as you write consistently you'll get paid twice a week.

Is Demand Studios a Scam?
Demand Studios is not a scam, contrary to what many self-righteous freelance writing blogs out there say. I personally don't believe that Demand Studios is a rip-off, either. How many millions of people work for less than $15 an hour? That's $32,000 equivalent in salary, but even many of my college grad friends who make $30-40k a year, they DON'T work 40 hours. They work 60. Or 70, or more. And if you're a dedicated writer, you can easily make $22-$30 an hour on DS and choose to work more than 40 hours a week.

If you consider anything less than 6 figures a rip-off, then fine. But plenty of part time workers, unemployed workers, college students, and struggling people right now will be more than happy to hammer away for $15 an hour and a lot of us didn't start with any back up plan. Why don't I spend more time "improving my value" as one fairly arrogant writer put it? Because I made the mistake of going to college and grad school. If don't start off at zero, I start off with a ridiculous amount of bills each month and if I don't pay them, I go homeless. Again. For the 3rd time.

So $15 an article is fine with me because it's a lot better than what I started with working my way back, and that much money can be a major blessing for a lot of people.

I also don't fully buy the most common counter arguments of "professional writers" because:
  • Printed mediums are dying. There are less and less markets for more and more competition.
  • Already established writers will get the majority of work.
  • There is very limited work that pays really well, and
  • There is limited high end talent.
Some people just aren't going to be good enough to "work their way up," and others have to work 40-60 hours a week to break even for past mistakes (hell0), and keep the rent paid and food coming in while I work on building passive income and working on the business I'm starting with my brother. I don't have 40 hours a month to keep sending out query letters or samples that get nice hand written or typed comments about having writing talent, but not being right at this time. And I don't have the built in connections to force my way in.

The big advantage of Demand Studios is when I want to make $20+ an hour, I can jump online and do it for as long as I want. I love making $72.50-$100 an hour working on the weekly Forex reports I prepare for a couple of clients, but that was, is, and always will be only 1.5-2 hours of work a week. Something has to fill the spare.

Demand Studios Complaints
Now that I've talked them up, let's get toe the common Demand Studios complaints, and some reasons why even previous writers left some very negative Demand Studios reviews. There are some things that be incredibly annoying if not outright aggravating about writing for DS. So lets start with the copy editors.

Straight out, a lot of them either don't know what they're doing, act like they're editing for the New York Times, or you'll receive contradictory information from two different editors. In fairness, I shouldn't have said "a lot," I'm sure it's a minority of editors there, BUT it seems like a lot when a lot of articles get sent back for revision. This isn't always a bad thing - many of the revisions are stupid little things that take all of 2-3 minutes to fix. Spending another 2 minutes on something for $15 shouldn't piss off anyone.

That said, those other reasons can be a hassle. If the comments for revision are paragraphs long and involve a condescending lecturing tone, I simply walk away and let the assignment expire. At that point it's not worth my time. Editors not knowing what they're doing can be really annoying, especially when they ask for revisions that make the articles just sound terrible. But it happens and you have to decide how to deal with that on a case by case basis. For the contradictory info, just make the editor who is going to pay you for that article happy, and try not to let the annoying things bother you.

These things can really throw off your day, but part of being a freelance writer is learning how to develop a really thick skin. You can't survive without it. Also: don't worry about the graphs that tell you what % of articles were accepted, accepted with rewrites, rejected, etc. Most of the writers I've talked to who use DS full time have about 30% of their articles that have to be revised. I usually have 20-25%, and 3-4% where the requests are unreasonable and I simply walk away from them.

As long as the majority of your articles are accepted, you're fine. Any articles I "walk away from" or in the rare 1% times it's rejected, I copy the text and sell it elsewhere. You're not supposed to take the title, but if they don't pay me for the writing I sell it online to someone who will. That's making the best out of an unfortunate situation.

The main Demand Studios complaints are almost certainly going to revolve around the editors. While there is some legitimacy to these complaints, you can either move on and make some money, or don't. I do my best to not let it bother me, and keep hammering away to pay off the bills.

And that's pretty much it, folks. That's my review of Demand Studios. Especially for beginning part time freelance writers, college students looking to save up for spring break, or for the unemployed who need some income, any income, DS is a very good option - especially if you're trying to build up passive income but you need more money now. The editors can be a pain in the butt, but buy a punching bag and put it in your office every time one gets to you and the problem is solved.

I hope that helps. If you have any more questions about writing for Demand Studios or why I'm a firm believer that DS is NOT a scam, and while it's not the end all, be all, to freelance writing it beats the hell out of being homeless, working for minimum wage, or adjuncting as academic slave labor (sorry guys). It's a great stepping stone, and if you're from a background where a long life of poverty is reality, it's one heck of a step towards getting to the right place, please feel free to leave me any questions in the comment section and I'll do my best to respond.

Demand Studios & eHow Update: Okay all, there has been a huge change at eHow and this change is going to drastically effect the parent company, Demand Studios, as well, IMO. As of April 5th, 2010, eHow has shut its doors to its writers and will only accept articles from parent company Demand Studios. Not only do I strongly disagree with and dislike this move, but I think it's going to eventually make writing on DS much more difficult, as well. I'm going to take a little bit of time to find out what I can before coming back and talking more about what I think this all means for freelance writers.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

March Writing Goals Update #2

Freelance Writing Goals #2

This is the second update on the blog since I displayed my ambitious writing goals at the very beginning of March. I was going to write one around the 15th, but that was my brother's birthday, some jobs came up I couldn't ignore, and it was my 50th blog post on this blog, so it seemed like a good time to throw in a "clip show" of a blog post looking back over where this freelance writing blog started and where it's going. But now the month is almost 2/3 of the way through, and I thought I'd add another brief update on my writing goals. By the way, if you're new here, feel free to look through older posts for freelance writing website reviews, tips for beginners, or any of the other information that this blog provides for people interested in advice for freelance writing for beginners.

So I'm not going to go point by point this time, but as the days are going by, I'm definitely beginning to feel the squeeze. My chances of finishing all the goals? Pretty much none, but I think that's what we all assumed at the beginning of the month when I made them. Still, overall I am encouraged by the amount of work I've done and the progress I'm already seeing. This month I fell just short of having my first $20 AdSense day, which was really cool since my previous best was $14 that happened one day in early November of 2009. Overall, traffic to my AdSense sites are up 28% and within the next 3 days I'll surpass my previously best month. Will I hit the 100% in one month goal? I'm guessing not because traditionally AdSense tails off quite a bit at the end of the month - but it's going to be a close one, and the fact that's even true is encouraging - not to mention that passive income is only going to grow as the new articles and pages get stronger, meaning the end of the month payments are going to continue to get bigger and bigger. With passive income, that is always a plus.

The $5,000 in one month freelance writing goal discounting all passive income, editing, and consulting work actually appears to still be in play. If I had to wager a guess, I'd say I'll end up a few hundred short (especially since the Internet around here has been going out for hours at a time) but it's a number I could very easily hit if I added the consulting fees, passive income, and payments for editing work in.

The doubling my eHow income is actually on track to hit. I don't even want to go into how many articles I had to churn out to make that happen. With even just a little SEO work those could end up paying off big time in a couple of months.

I've done daily creative writing. I'll have at least a couple of zombie short stories finished, and many pages of fiction spread out through the other projects. Getting back to writing creatively daily has been nice, and I've done a lot of revision work on my novel, preparing it for another round of send offs. Easily I've done more creative writing and revising of my creative work this month than January and February combined.

With the creating passive income properties, the numbers are mixed. If you go by a what I have to average per day, I'm behind on both InfoBarrel and HubPages, but I've written more of both this month than the first two months combined, and the 100 each goal are both within striking distance, so we'll see how those finish up.

I'm ahead of pace for the Squidoo lenses, and very excited about them once again for two reasons. One is that because of the "info links" that are added, my lenses are about 70%+ more profitable than they were before. The second reason is that based on how some of my lenses are performing way beyond expectation, I may have found an untapped niche that could end up making a HUGE difference in my monthly and yearly passive income numbers.

I've already done something in the range of 60+ Xomba bookmarks, and am within striking distance of hitting my goal of 30 for the month.

I'm a little behind on the blog posts, UAW articles, and script writing, but really making progress on everything else.

At this point in the month, I can say those 2 days where the Internet when down for 10+ hours killed me. It wasn't just the lost hours, but those were days I was really fired up and just ready to absolutely kill it. The emotional impact of being hyped up and focused, and then having the legs cut out from under me, that just really crushed my work ethic for about a 5 day span, and in all honesty, there wasn't a lot of work done (comparatively) in that time period. In fact, I was really sluffing. Which really opens up the possibilities of what a single person can do when they can stay focused and on task the whole time...and have a reliable service provider.

So this last stretch of 11 days will definitely be really interesting. I'm focusing better for the home stretch and am prepared to really hammer everything out during this time to see what happens. The one other thing that is probably worth mentioning for the goals: I do article marketing for backlinks, and those articles were not included in my monthly goals - even though I've written over 120 of them so far this month.

So yeah, I'm feeling pretty darn good about where things are going. Even if you're not the insane goals type, if you're looking to get into freelance writing (or even if you're established), figure out one or two concrete goals for next month that can help you take a really definitive step towards your overall freelance writing career goals. It's absolutely stunning what can be done when you focus in specifically on a couple of solid concrete targets.

So that's it for now. I'm going to try and finish my Demand Studios review by Monday, and an updated Associated Content review by Wednesday. Beyond that, we'll just see how things roll. Thanks for reading, and feel free to leave a comment!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Master Dayton Freelance Writing Blog: 50th Post

Celebrating the 50th Freelance Writing Blog Post

For some blogs, maybe the 50th post isn't a big deal, and doesn't seem like much at all. But when I started this writing blog, it was a side project, something I enjoyed, and had nothing to do with me personally making any income or building my online businesses, so this was never meant to be a post daily or weekly blog, and 50 posts is pretty good for me. I tried to think of something special to do, but being in the midst of a crazy month shooting for crazy writing goals, my brain isn't firing on all cylinders when it comes to putting together a blow your socks off post. So instead of something new and absolutely brilliant, I'm putting together a clips show.

I've actually been amazed at how many interesting and really cool things have happened in my life due to this blog, and also to writing online in general. I've met some really cool people, learned a ton about making money online, passive income, and how the possibilities of what you can do online can change your life. Jobs that resulted from my online writing have seen me move across continent from Alaska to Texas and back to Iowa right in between, and I've managed some pretty good stories and across the world invites whenever I finally get that darned passport.

So some of this freelance writing blog post will be rambling, some will be freelance writing advice, and a lot of it will be looking back at links, posts, people, or events that have made a particular impact on me over these past 5 years of writing online, and the past 2 years with this blog. So kick back and smile if you enjoy rambles, because none of this post is thought out ahead of time and it's going to be a happy scatter shot from here on out :)

So before I go into making lists, there's one blog post I did that stands above and beyond all of them. At the time it was one of my longest blog posts, and it is my personal favorite, in addition to being the "favorite" of my readers based on comments. Even despite the hugely increased following I received after that post, it remains the single most read and commented on post I've ever done on this blog, and it doubled the number of followers I have (that show on the feed or contact me by e-mail), received a lot of link love, and I noticed a huge jump in traffic that has stayed ever since. "Master Dayton" is also now searched for on Google monthly in the double digits, which I just think is cool. So hands down, the "BEST" blog post I ever wrote was this:

Why I'm Not Ashamed to Be a Freelance Writer

That one would have otherwise been on every single other list had I not set it apart, and that one post really did put this blog on an entirely new level by virtually every measurement I make and keep track of. So with that post getting its due, from there I thought the common sense way to start off would be to mention my 5 favorite blog posts, which were:
  1. Setting Ridiculously Ambitious Writing Goals
  2. Freelance Writing & Gambling: How the 2 Relate
  3. Freelance Writing: The 4 Year College Plan
  4. Passive Income vs. Active Freelance Income
  5. Why Is Full Time Passive Income So Hard?
While these are my personal favorites, if I'm basing the most popular posts on number of comments, then the 5 most popular posts of my blog are:
  1. Setting Ridiculously Ambitious Writing Goals (we all seem to like this one)
  2. 50 Things Beginning Writers Should Know
  3. Constant Content Review
  4. Entry Level Freelance Writers: Don't Get Discouraged
  5. Freelance Writing & Blogging
It's kind of funny to me how that one post strikes a major chord, but otherwise there's a pretty good divergence between the posts I liked most and the ones most popular with readers. Then again, some of them make sense. Writing about the 50 things beginning writers should know might not interest me because I've been there, done that, and have long since moved beyond many of those lessons. On the other hand, what a great post for writers who are literally just getting started in freelancing.

The success stories I've been e-mailed by some of my readers just encourage me beyond belief and make me really happy that I'm doing this. Because time wise versus monetary return, this blog should have been abandoned long ago. But I really enjoy helping others, I like being able to talk about freelance writing, and although there are the occasional trolls, it really is a small price to pay for the people I've met, the online friendships developed, and for the other places I think this blog (and my writing in general) are going to end up taking me. I want others who are on the fence or afraid to be encouraged and to work for more, and to dream of more, than they otherwise would.

I also want to take time to mention resources I would encourage beginners and intermediates in the freelance writing and passive income business to check out. These are good informational sources, each one I personally approve of and would have no problem recommending someone to.

Jade Dragon @ Innovative Passive Income
Allyn Hane @ Blogger Illustrated Video Blog
Grizz @ Make Money Online - first of the honest blogs about making money online that I've found, and this guy has influenced so many people he's like the "Godfather" of the honest make money online bunch.
Courtney Tuttle @ The Keyword Academy
Lissie @ Passive Income Ideas Online
Felicia Williams @ No Job for Mom

These blogs cover the gamut from freelance writing to affiliate programs, SEO, AdSense, passive income, and everything in between. If you want to learn how to become an online freelance writer, or make passive income online, it doesn't get any better than those sources. After that, it's just a matter of taking some type of action each and every day towards accomplishing your freelance writing goals, because even a small step is still one that gets you a little big closer to your freelance writing dreams than before.

There are two other sites I'd like to share. I haven't had correspondence with these individuals, or comment back-and-forths or anything like that, but I enjoy their blogs and think some people will enjoy them, as well.

There's Justin at Life of Justin, I think formerly it was "Digital Nomad," but I'm not 100% sure on that one. Enjoyable blog that also tracks how he went from corporate job to being self employed and being able to "go mobile" to enjoy life a lot more and still get the income to live well.

Then you have Ben over at Making Money Online with SEO. I have absolutely nothing but mad respect for this guy. You know how sometimes you think "If I just write 10,000 articles I'll have enough to make x a month?" but then you never follow through because that number is so ridiculously high? Well Ben learned SEO, keywords, finding good niches, and then he put in 18+ hour work days for months on end to prove that sheer volume, when done right, is enough to get to a full time online income pretty darn quick. If you feel yourself slacking off, reading the work he does acts like one heck of a kick in the pants to get you going again. And once again - rock solid information, and just like Grizz's blog, read all the comments.

There's the shout out to my friends. Sharing some of my favorite pages or "surprises," does come up with some issues. I'm not going to share my best money making pages, because giving away your niches is the best way to lose them. But I do have pages I wrote for fun which led to other opportunities, and those I'll be glad to share.

Some pleasant freelance writing surprises:

My Coen Brothers Biography on Squidoo. My first venture into passive income came when I was starting a new job in Austin, Texas, and my boss wanted me to become familiar with Squidoo. This was the first page I wrote, and it's made me $215 and makes about $20 a month. Strangest thing, for the longest time I couldn't figure out how the heck it was getting 300 visitors a month from search engines. Now I've figured it out and am going to be doing some experimenting. I'm not going to give away that secret, but I will say it's one of those "that's so stupid I can't believe it's working," things. Gotta' love when things bounce the right way. Another plus of this Squidoo lens: it led to a print publication as a Coen Brothers expert in the .Cent international arts magazine. Freaking cool.

Along the same lines, other Squidoo lenses that have done well for me include: Sinclair Lewis Novels, It Can't Happen Here as a Prophetic Warning, and Best Dystopian Novels. All of these have led to a wide variety of opportunities including being a specialty guest on radio and Internet radio shows on multiple occasions, and guest speaking at a high school and college on these topics. Once again, all really cool stuff, and it makes my "Academic Resume" look really good. Never mind that I'll probably never apply for a professor's job again, but eh, still cool. Strengthens a safety net, as well, and I like my options :)

My original page helping freelance writers is also on Squidoo, and doing well and helping people, but I'm not linking back to that one, because that's one of my best links to this blog and I don't want it to be reciprocal.

Writing on HubPages has led to a lot of hubs that haven't made me money (although there are plenty that are) but several I've made have led to some amazing conversations about philosophy, Alaska (love the state), pros/cons of legalizing marijuana, and a wide variety of other topics. Writing there and seeing detailed but civil arguments or discussions in the comments section has been a real cool thing. Writing for HubPages also almost got me in a story for USA Today. Granted, this story would have been cooler if I actually ended up there, but hey, it shows the possibility is at least there.

Probably my best story is how a little read article (only a few hundred people) resulted in me getting a thank you note from a king. An article I wrote for Associated Content about an new charity resulted in the King of the Isle of Man (and yes, I realize there are arguments over this, but the title has been granted to him) reading it and sending me a thank you note. So I'm one of the few people on this Earth who can say I've received a thank you note from a King.

Among other pleasant surprises, my article on the 10 best post apocalypse movies is probably my favorite. I know from testing that articles like that don't end up converting in AdSense and they don't get people to buy the movies, so it looks like "worthless traffic," so I like getting paid on a per view basis for that type of traffic. And this article makes me $12-20 a month in page views, and has made me well over $200 for what was about 70 minutes of work.

Which brings me up to a bit of advice, if you're writing for Associated Content and you want to get anywhere remotely close to a decent passive income stream from it, then you want to write list articles. Out of my top 20 monthly earners, 17 are list articles. So are #21, #23, and #25, for that matter.

On this blog, I'm seeing more and more attention, more and more search engine visitors, and more consistent lurkers and registered followers. I'm beginning to see more natural backlinks to the blog, which means bit by bit I'm ranking for more terms for Google, "Master Dayton" is becoming a more recognized moniker, and more people are finding me every day. This is all really cool, and as my passive income from freelance writing continues to grow, I think the many amazing stories and opportunities from writing online are only going to continue.

So that's it for now. Read some of my friends' blogs, get some writing done, and if the idea of a "new lifestyle" from writing seems odd, I do recommend The 4 Hour Work Week. I use the stories as more of motivation and tips for staying productive than a set business plan, but it's a pretty cool work, and one that gets you thinking.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

March Writing Goals Update #1

Update for March Freelance Writing Goals

Well this post is definitely going to be brief, or at least semi-brief by my standards. This is the first update all about the ridiculously difficult writing goals I set for myself a couple blog posts ago. Although it hasn't even been a week yet (it's 4:08 a.m. Sunday morning on the 7th, so until I go to sleep and wake up it's still 6 days by my count), but already I've seen some really interesting results, patterns, developments, whatever you want to call it, and some transparency is never a bad thing.

If you haven't read the original post, that would probably be a good idea. You can click on "writing goals" up above to go right to it. Because those weren't any ordinary goals I set. Not by a long shot. In fact, some of the individual writing goals would have made great one month goals for me in and of themselves. I've never come close to writing 100 HubPages or 100 InfoBarrel articles in one month, for example. But they're both there.

And I just kept adding on and adding on and adding on some more. As I stated in my other blog post, I wanted to shoot for the moon, so even if I fell woefully short I would still land on Everest.

So how am I doing so far? Here's a breakdown of the first 6 days, with minimal commentary:

Freelance Writing Goals
  1. $5,000 in one month: right on target. Might even be slightly ahead right now, and I'm going by the $162/day accounting. That's right what I'm averaging...and I get paid big time once a month for reports I do on the 15th so I have a LOT more breathing room than it looks.
  2. Double my eHow income: a little behind, but wrote more articles for them already this month than I had in any of the last 4.
  3. AdSense: I'm not checking the #'s, so I don't know. I'm too easily addicted by number checking to trust myself not to whittle away precious hours doing just that. But traffic is up 29% already this month, so that's a good sign.
Creative Writing Goals
  1. I'm half way through 1 zombie story, and have a new outline for another. The one I'm half way through will be the longest, so page wise I'm ahead in my goal of 3 zombie short stories. This amazes me considering all the freelance work I've been doing.
  2. 2 new pages on the novel "Broken."
  3. 1 page on book for my sister - so behind on this goal.
  4. Haven't touched the novella yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if that's one I knock out 20 pages in one day towards the end of the month.
  5. 2 pages on the screen play, so just about right on target.
  6. Additional short stories: I have 2 pages of outlines. So progress, but probably behind.
Passive Income Writing Goals
  1. 100 InfoBarrel Articles: I should have 19-20 done to be on pace, I have 6, so I'm behind on this one.
  2. 100 HubPages: I have 7 of this done, so I'm a little behind. But Sundays tend to be my passive income days this month, so I'm looking at my first one tomorrow.
  3. 15 Squidoo Lenses: I have 8 in development. Now I just need to flesh them out and I'll be way ahead of schedule.
  4. 30 Xomba Articles: I have 6, so right in line.
Other Writing Goals
  1. 8 Master Dayton blog posts this month. Well this is #3, so I'm ahead.
  2. 12 blog posts at my "Fixing my Life" blog. I have 4 typed out, I just need to go post them.
  3. 100 KWA articles for backlinks. I have 12 so far, so I am behind, but in fairness, I didn't even list Ezinearticles or article directory articles for backlinks, and I've shot out about 50 of those this month already.
  4. 30 UAW articles. 4 so far, so 2 behind.
  5. Haven't touched the poetry yet, but did start a couple new ones based on lines I thought of the past few days.
  6. 10 Hand written letters - 3 ready to go Monday. So ahead.
So I don't know what the perception is at this point, but it might be important to note that for $162 a day in online freelance articles, I'm writing most of those for Demand Studios, which means 11-17 a day just for that one goal.

So what's this all mean?

Well I've already noticed a habit change in my writing. It used to be very difficult and mind numbing for me to sit down and do even $60 in Demand Studios freelancing. Now, I feel lazy if I haven't knocked out $100 by early afternoon. The habit of getting up and just going all out working has already paid huge dividends after one week. $60 a day used to be hard for me to concentrate on, now $100 a day is easily twice as easy for me to do as $60 was, and I am POSITIVE that this is because my goal was to shoot way ABOVE $100 a day.

It's like some forms of athletic training. If you want to consistently work out at a rate of 7, but you can't bust through 6, spend a few days training for less time at 8 or 9. Then go back to 7. Suddenly it seems easier and you can do it.

This is the same thing that I find happening to me right now. Your economic situation definitely changes when $60 a day turns into $100 and you have even more time free afterwords.

Another major thing I've noticed already is that by forcing myself into an insane month's worth of goals (because honestly, I'm not even sure it's possible to do everything I've set out to do in one month by myself, and starting out I didn't even expect to hit half of them by month's end) I've cut out all the little time consumers like checking e-mail 30 times a day or checking AdSense every 50 minutes. Those little things really add up to consume FAR MORE time than you think. Seeing what I'm able to do when on focus makes me kick myself for taking two years to try an experiment like this :)

The 3rd thing I've noticed is my excitement at freelance writing. It's beginning to match my excitement of creative writing for the first time, because having these incredible goals really is acting like a shot of adrenaline right into my system. It's the kind of month where if I get even remotely close to the goals, the impact could very well change my life.

This freelance writing blog has covered a lot of themes and issues over the past couple years, but in many ways these past few posts have been exciting for me. I'm not only hitting a new level on being able to concentrate, work, and make good money freelancing while still building passive income and working on creative projects - but I am absolutely SHATTERING every glass ceiling that was in place before I tried this.

So that's the update for now. I don't know how close I'll make it to all my final goals, but I can say this much: I'm a whole lot more confident that I'll blow that "realistic" 50% mark completely out of the water by month's end. Keep at it, and there will be some website reviews coming up in the near future.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Writing Skills: Tunnel Vision & Walking Away

Freelance Writers Need to Have Both Traits

This freelance writing blog post should be a little bit shorter than many of the others, as anyone who has read my last blog post on Insane Freelance Writing Goals will know that "full" doesn't even begin to describe my plate right now. And if you haven't read that post, go ahead and do so. It's a good one . . . might even make my Hall of Fame post list for this blog, but we'll wait and see on this one. Even though I can't really afford to spend two hours rambling, I like this blog and I like you guys so who knows? :)

While I kind of wish I had my full Demand Studios Review finished, this post should be fine without that one - which will be one of the next posts because I believe it's very relevant to writers looking to make a living freelance writing online. But we'll move on to the two freelance writing traits I think successful writers need to have (and know how to balance) and see what happens from there.

The first trait I definitely think good writers need to have is tunnel vision. I've heard that when a predator like a big cat (cheetah, panther, etc) sees some prey and begins to charge, that the cats literally lose their peripheral vision and literally only see what they're focused in on. This is well documented in police or soldiers stuck in a close quarters gun fight. Tunnel vision is something that can be very effective for writers, and sometimes I think is just outright necessary.

The last blog post I made about my ridiculous freelance writing goals for March is a prime example. There is NO possible way to come even remotely close to those goals unless I'm spending virtually every day in March 100% focused, tuned in, and spending every spare waking moment pursuing my goals. Believe me, after this blog post is done I'll be doing the absolute minimal of promoting, and then I'm immediately going back to Demand Studios to knock 3 more articles out before midnight, at which point I'll be writing some articles for back links to both my new Hubs and InfoBarrels, but also to the pages my brother and I's business.

And since I've figured out I'm at my best staying up to 5 am and then sleeping to 10:45 a.m. I'm sure there will be another Xomba article, Squidoo lens, or something going up. If it's one of those nights I get exhausted early, I'll work on my creative writing since that always fires me up and rejuvenates me. One way or another, there's not going to be any watching TV, no surfing the web mindlessly looking at NFL draft news, and the XBox 360 is staying turned off. Because I have a whole lot of work to do.

Tunnel vision is the only possible way I'm going to get anywhere close to nailing my March freelance writing goals. And so far in the first 3 days, I had a little bump this morning, as it was just one of those days where I REALLY, REALLY didn't feel like doing any writing. But I started grinding through, I reminded myself of why these goals were so important to me, and by late afternoon I was back on track again. And it happened by just focusing on the next job. And then the next. And then the next.

Basically I tunnel-visioned it one article at a time until my freelance writing was back full speed ahead. One problem with ridiculous ambitions is they can crush you, but one article should never be intimidating. Thank you freelance writer tunnel vision!

The second thing I wanted to touch on really briefly is being able to just walk away from a job when the situation isn't worth it. Now this is one of those bits of advice I have to add an asterisk to or add a note of caution with. Many beginning freelance writers (and I certainly am no exception to this) start out working under value as they learn the ropes and improve their skills. But there are going to be times where a job goes bad. There can be several reasons for this. The most common for me are:
  • A ridiculous amount of work being asked done for not nearly enough compensation.
  • A severe lack of professionalism, rudeness, or disrespect.
  • Any worried feeling that throws up red flags.
The 3rd one I trust the most, but that's something that may take time to develop. If my gut makes me suspect that there's even an outside chance of things going really bad, I simply won't take the work. The middle one should be pretty self-explanatory, and the first one is the one I run into the most often.

Now here is the reason I wish I had done the Demand Studios Review before this section, because all in all I like writing for them, and believe there is a lot there for beginning writers, as well as even for intermediate and experienced writers as a side source of online freelance writing income. There's a lot of good with that site, especially when you figure out the right styles that match your writing style as well as the right mentality to have dealing with editors (because that's where most of the complaints come from and where most of my issues crop up). So I'll have to cover that later. Just understand that overall I DO like Demand Studios as part of a freelance writing income, so don't let the following scare you off, just take it as an honest review.

Most of the Demand Studios editors I deal with are reasonable or respectful. A couple are either jacka**es or totally insane. Or don't know their own guidelines they are supposed to be enforcing.

Most of the time this isn't an issue. This is when the decision has to be made. For a $7.50 article I'll gladly spend 15 minutes writing. I'll even check one that's been flagged for revision to see what's amiss. If the editor's comments for what I have to fix are four paragraphs long, I hit the "save draft" button and let the assignment expire. It's not worth the time.

This is hard for some people. But if you've already committed work, how can you just throw away that time? Better 15 minutes than 1 hour or more...especially if after an hour the article is a complete re-write, meaning that it may or may not get accepted anyway. It's smarter to write a new $15 or $20 article during that time.

If the editor goes on a long rant about how to write an article correctly, demanding a lot of changes that actually go AGAINST the DS guidelines for writing for specific companies, I also simply let the assignment expire. It's not worth my time or the headache.

Now most of the time this isn't an issue, and any revisions that take 10 minutes or less I'm more than happy to do the work, because at that point it's 1, 2, 5, or 10 minutes for $7.50, $15, or $20 in pay. If the editor wants a ridiculous amount of work, it's just not worth it and I let the assignment expire.

The first few months, this was REALLY hard for me to do. But I realized a few things:
  1. An abandoned rewrite looks a lot better than a rejected article, and causes less stress and frustration for me personally.
  2. As long as this is a tiny % of my total articles, it doesn't really matter in the big picture.
  3. I'm more efficient just ignoring the jobs that have become albatrosses.
  4. I'm probably putting jerk or incompetent editors on the hot seat by allowing the articles to go unedited.
Number 4 is a little of a conjecture, but think about it, if one editor has a lot of writers refusing to do any rewrites, that person is probably a lot more likely to get reviewed than an editor whose rewrites are actually done by the writers.

In the end, part of creating the best possible freelance writing career is knowing when to do the work and when to simply walk away. So if you ever experience a combination of #1 and #2, walk away from that article and move on to another. I generally have about 20% of my articles sent back for a re-write at Demand Studios, but the far majority of those are little details that are legitimate, or even if it's an opinion difference, it's work that takes all of 1-10 minutes to fix and get paid, so that's fine.

So there you have it. Tunnel vision and walking away. They seem contradictory, but these are two skills that advanced and successful writers need to have.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Ridiculously Ambitious Writing Goals: They Can Help You, Too

Making Ambitious Writing Goals A Boost & Not an Anchor

There are two ways that ambitious writing goals can generally go, and I think sometimes for both beginning and seasoned freelance writers (and maybe even creative writers, too - Justus and Ashley feel free to fill to chip your two cents in the comments about if you think this applies across the board or not for creative writers, as well) the way we handle and deal with ambitious writing goals is maybe just as important, if not more so, than the goals themselves. This is really an important point, because while setting hard to reach goals and accomplishing them can really propel you as a writer (or in any other endeavor for that matter), I know plenty of beginning freelance writers who felt crushed by the weight of their own goals, especially after falling behind and failing to achieve them.

In this post I'm going to share some of the freelance writing goals that I've set for myself for the month of March, and I'll be the first to admit that not only are they overly ambitious - but ridiculously so. That said, I know where I am in life both as a writer and as a person striving for daily betterment of my life and myself, and setting very ambitious goals is a very good idea for the situation I'm in...but where can this sometimes go wrong for writers?

One of my strong points is not organization. Anyone who reads this freelance writing blog with any frequency at all probably understands that. So I'll make a list of questions that you should ask yourself before deciding what kind of goals to set for yourself, and whether to shoot for the realistic or the ambitious.

  • Am I going to become frustrated, disappointed, or depressed if I don't reach my goals or don't come close?
  • Do I take written goals seriously, or do I ignore them completely the more obvious it becomes that I'm going to miss them?
  • Are my writing goals based around what I should do, what I want to do, or both? Or neither? Why?
  • If I have trouble accomplishing my freelance writing goals, is it because money is not enough motivation as a goal? (I know for me it's not)
  • Will ambitious goals make me rise to the occasion, or intimidate me into frustration or depression for not making the mark.
  • What are the reasons behind my goal setting? ((this might be the most important question of all, and one you need to take time to study as a writer if you don't understand the meaning)).
I might not have drawn it out completely clearly, but I think you guys probably get the gist of what I'm saying at this point. If written goals aren't heavily motivating to you, but you still get depressed from not hitting them when the month's end comes around, then you need to a) find a better way to motivate yourself, and b) work on changing your mindset.

Angry can be good. My now "famous" angry blog post about not being ashamed to be an online writer is one classic example of channeling anger into something really productive. That blog post in a way launched this blog to a new level. Followers doubled, e-mail "lurker-followers" doubled, my comments have gone up exponentially, and the links I received from people who liked the post probably got me another point of PR and ranking well enough to draw in about another 50 visitors a week. Thanks to you all.

That was anger turned into production. I can't do the same from frustration or depression. I don't think I've ever met anyone who can. Even worse, being down about not making some ambitious goals can cause you to drag your feet or become despondent about your writing progress so it gets even worse, and suddenly you're in a vicious cycle.

I like ambitious goals for the same reason Timothy Ferriss does. I find in my life that average goals mean mediocre work and effort, and no major adrenaline rush when I hit them...but maybe a little of the "what's wrong how could you not even get that done in a month?" when I don't hit those same goals. If I shoot for the top of a tree and miss, I might land on the first branch. If I shoot for the moon and miss, I still might land on Everest. That's the big difference, and that's the motivation you have to be able to give yourself as a freelance writer in order to really make huge strides forward in your writing career: whether it's online, offline, passive income, or some combination of all three.

So why am I making absolutely ludicrous freelance writing goals (and creative writing goals as well - when you consider them tied in with everything else I'm doing this month) for the month of May when I'm almost certainly destined to fall at least a little short?

  1. The larger the goal, the more work I'll get done even if I fall short.
  2. Having huge goals is an adrenaline rush that keeps me on track and on task.
  3. IF, and it's a big if, but IF I somehow nail the goal and make it, accomplishing that level of work (or even coming close) will be the type of victory and confidence builder that will give me the drive and the ability to run through brick walls for months to close in on my much larger goals for this year.
Those are the reasons that I personally love setting ambitious freelance writing goals, and why I'm going to do so for this month. If this strategy works for you, copy it. If not, find what does work for you. Writing is a skill that can ALWAYS improve, no matter who you are. So get at it.

So here's my favorite time: put up or shut up. So here are the goals I'm sharing:

Freelance Writing Goals
  • Over $5,000 in freelance writing income. This does NOT include passive income or increases in passive income sources like AdSense or eHow. Does not include editing jobs, either. Writing job means writing job. This alone will require a ridiculous amount of writing for me.
  • Double my AdSense income in one month. I've been on a plateau for about 4 months now. It's time to get the work out and get my passive income to some actual serious numbers that can make a dent in the monthly budget.
  • Double my eHow income in one month.
  • Get the AdSense income to over $100/month for me and my brother's business. We hit $20 starting for scratch (and AdSense isn't anywhere close to being the main income stream of this business, but we're all about passive and diversify), and now I'd like to see that make a huge jump in month 2.
Creative Writing Goals
  • Finish 3 more zombie short stories, including an outline for the one I'm really excited about. I'd share the title, but I'm jealously guarding the plot and the title would give it away.
  • Finish 2 more chapters of the novel "Broken" I'm helping to co-write.
  • Finish 4 chapters of the novel I'm writing for my sister.
  • First 20 pages of my novella "Pawprints to Saskatoon," which currently as 15 pages of random scenes and an outline.
  • First 10 pages of "Men with Beards" screenplay I'm helping to write on spec.
  • Write, complete, revise, and send out 2 additional short stories.
Passive Income Writing Goals.
(Yes, I realize AdSense earnings could technically fall here)
  • Write 100 InfoBarrel articles
  • Write 100 new HubPages
  • Write 15 new Squidoo lenses
  • Write 30 new Xomba articles
Other Writing Goals
  • Minimum 8 blog posts on this blog this month
  • Minimum 12 blog posts over at my "Fixing my life" blog (going swimmingly, by the way, thanks for asking)
  • Rough scripts out for YouTube parodies (pet project)
  • 100 articles for backlinks via the KWA directories
  • 30 articles for UAW (which is really 90+ since you have to have 3 versions of each plus hand put in all those annoying boxes at the end)
  • Revise my poetry portfolio (I know, creative, but I told you I wasn't any good at organizing anything)
  • 10 personal hand written letters through the month of March.
So hey guys, those are my goals for this month. It's a ridiculous number of overly ambitious writing goals, but if I do even half of this, it's going to be one of the best months I've had in two years, and it's going to see me in a much better place than where I started. You know what else? The results from that work will be more than enough to give me a boost to keep going.

You know how much of a "writing god" I'm going to feel like if I pull ALL these goals off...or even come close? No blasphemy intended at all (note the lower case 'g'), but the point I'm making is that by putting this out there, this is how I'm going to absolutely kick ass in March of 2010, and get some much needed momentum and strength heading into what's going to be a difficult personal time no matter what happens of the situations coming to bear.

So how are you going to take your writing career to the next level? How are you going to challenge yourself to see what you REALLY are capable of? Leave a comment and let me know. And oh, yeah. 1st blog post of March is down. Feels like I'm already have way there :)