"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.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Freelance Writing Updates, Advice, and Important Miscellania

More Freelance Writing Advice, Corrections, and Updates

Hey all. I appreciate all the kind words from the last blog post of mine, about celebrating freelance writing milestones. Every single comment I receive that tell me I've helped to inspire people to get started, or helped people take the next step in freelance writing really fires me up and I count each one as a huge blessing. Thanks for the great comments, and thank you all even more for pushing yourselves to meet your goals in life. Even a quick e-mail note telling me you're a college student who writes only $100 a week just to travel during the summers - that's exciting and awesome from my point of view and I appreciate all the stories you've all shared with me.

For this post, there are going to be a lot of odds and ends that I cover as it seems like that time of year where there's one little note of interest here and one other note of interest there. I'm not sure how comprehensive this will be for complete newbies, but hopefully between all the little things I want to cover there will be some gems of information that are worth knowing, and I'll mention all the resources that I personally know are worth paying for. Yes, those will be affiliate links, but anyone who has followed this blog for any amount of time knows that's not why I'm in this one. Look at it from my point of view: I absolutely am defensive of my name and reputation because it's one of the few things I can generally control. If I don't feel completely comfortable with a product, I won't recommend it and if I'm willing to take an affiliate commission, then I know I'm putting my reputation on the line with each recommendation, so I'm very careful about what I endorse.

And as with many past websites, I reserve the right to pull that endorsement at any time as I see fit based on changes or actions of the site or resource in question. The past couple weeks have also taught me some things I wasn't aware of before, and I found some high quality blogs that are also worth a mention, particularly for those of you just becoming familiar with concepts like "Lifestyle Design" or "Automated Residual Income."

So while there are plenty of reviews and more advice coming up in later posts, right now this one is going to be a hodge-podge. Based on the sheer number of e-mails I get, I will include in this freelance writing blog post:
  • All the paid resources I can personally vouch for and have bought or used myself.
  • Some blog posts worth following (any blog I've linked to in post in the past is most likely still on my heavily recommended list).
  • Updates on various online writing websites and what I think of them as of the date of this blog post (08/20/2010).
  • Some announcements on future projects I'm working on and will be releasing by the end of the year.
  • More comments throughout badgering new readers to get started NOW, because getting started is the most important piece of advice anyone can get for freelance writing or building passive income.
So first and foremost:
If you haven't already started, get started NOW! (See, told ya' I'd be badgering over this one). If you learn everything there is to know over 8 months, in 8 months you have knowledge and you have nothing to show for your learning. The guy who throws up 10 hubs a day, even at random without keyword research, he's not getting enough for his work, but he'll have hundreds of hubs and therefore he will be making money.

So people have asked for my recommendations on paid resources. I'll give the list here, but I want to make sure this is perfectly clear: not every person has the same needs as I do, which is especially true since I'm working to switch from a mostly freelance model to a mostly passive income model. These have worked for me and I recommend them to other people. I'm also NOT saying that I don't trust anything that is not on this list. The best programs in the world might be out there and I don't even know about them. But these are the ones I can personally vouch for:

The Keyword Academy - This is an amazing program that Court and Mark oversee, and newbies get their first month for $1, then it's $33 a month after that. If you're looking to learn how to earn passive income, how to find back links, and want to learn to make a full time residual income, this is the place. As of this writing they have a goal of helping 1,000 students reach their goal of $1,000 a month passive income within 12 months. Strongly recommend if you can afford it and put in the time to work a little bit every day.

Celeste's E-Book on Constant-Content - Nobody rocks Constant-Content like Celeste. If you want to know how to make it at CC, this is the one and only guide.

Writer Gig's E-Book on eHow - I used to have this one on the sidebar, then I took it down. NOT because of quality - Writer Gig's book is the real deal, but after the eHow and Demand Studios mess, I wanted to wait and see what happened before putting this back up again. While it's not 100% up to date because of the new format, if you're approved to write for Demand Studios and want to make the most out of their residual income articles, this is still your best resource.

Justin's Great E-Book: Life After the Cubicle - Justin as a great blog, and he worked a year on what is obviously a passion. Comes with MP3 Coaching and deals with a wide variety of topics that people have to deal with when looking to work for themselves or get away from the cubicle life they hate so much. Highly recommend.

The 4 Hour Work Week (Audio Book) Revised and Expanded by Timothy Ferriss - Not every part of this book is right for everyone, and it's not meant to be. Some of the exercises are great for individuals, others I think are a touch corny. But in the end, the expanded version of this book is incredible, and if you are willing to give it a shot, there is something here for everyone who can learn to make a side income, chase their dreams, become a more efficient worker, and find a much better path that what most people are following right now. I listen to this all the time for encouraging and motivational background. In fact, this is what I'm listening to right now as I type this blog post.

How to Make a Real Living as a Freelance Writer (Print Book) - Best book I've found for magazine writing, freelance writing print markets, and how querying and research is best done for maximum effect.

These are the paid resources I would recommend at this point. You know, as long as you immediately started working on your writing career even as you were reading them. Without getting started, they're just more information overload. If you want passive income and don't know where to start, start with HubPages. It's where I started seeing major results, and I know it's one of the first places Lissie started seeing success online. It's perfect for beginners.

Secondly, there have been some very good blog posts recently that are worth having a look at. Some of my favorites from the past month or so:

JadeDragon's post on Constant-Content Success and why most new writers fail there (and why they have no excuse to). His observations on CC and how writers should be able to sell a lot here and why most don't are dead on with what I've seen. Yes, he links to one of my posts from the blog, but this truly is a great blog post and comes back to the all important point: you have to get started.

Okay, this one is older, but if you're new and haven't seen Allyn Hane's: Everything You Need to Know About Backlinks, you're missing out. Go watch, read, then come back and get started.

Take a look at this blog: "My 4 Hour Work Week." I've only discovered this one recently, and obviously he is also a fan of Ferriss' work, but it is great to see another perspective on learning to make passive income online, on the hard work to get there, and on how progress does happen.

Change Your Life, Are You Living or Surviving? Not about freelance writing at all, but this is a question every single one of us should be asking constantly. If you don't get the question, then it's REALLY time for you to stop and start thinking about what it might mean and what direction your life is going.

Check out Lissie's Passive Income Online article on The Secret to Online Success. Lissie is great, friendly, and and hits the nail on the head on this fantastic post!

Felicia is an absolute inspiration and does a FAR better job updating her blog consistently than I am here. She had a couple of great posts worth reading, one reflective on Choosing the Write Way (nice), and another on Dreaming Big But Thinking Long Term. They're both worth the read, and might be that last little push to get you moving.

And last but not least, thank you to TW for Another Look on Content Mills. Before anyone comments on whether or not the math was right, wrong, or otherwise, read the article, read the comments, and realize that whether or not he understood the math for the specific example, the concept is absolutely correct and Demand Studios gets mentioned a lot in the comments because of it.

Finally, as for the questions about whether some future business projects I've alluded to have anything to do with e-books or creating my own writing e-book, the answer is yes and kind of. Before the end of this year I do intend to create a few e-books that aren't just aimed at beginners, but go into things like running an actual business, finding clients, carving out a niche, improving query letters, and working efficiently to build freelance and passive income at the same time. I also have a very big project I'm proud to co-author aimed at college aged kids, or kids wondering if college really is a good idea anymore or not, and what the real options are versus what they're being told.

So yeah, there's a lot coming out in the future, and since there seems to be plenty of interest, I'll make sure to keep things posted here. A creative writing project I was hoping to have up this fall is running behind schedule a little bit, but we'll see what everything's looking at by Christmas.

So that's it for this update. Plenty of reading, plenty of resources, now get out there and don't you dare settle for anything less than your wildest dreams!


  1. I have to echo your endorsement of HubPages as the place to start. The community is helpful and many will take the time to read your Hubs which is a great ego boost when you start to see traffic like that, even if it does not pay. Eventually, the search engine traffic will appear followed by revenue.

  2. Hey Master Dayton!!
    Lots of great information here and links thanks!! I really like your blogs and find them really useful, you rock!

    I have a suggestion :), would it be possible for you to have your links open in another window? I like to open links that interest me, but keep reading the original post and because yours open int he same window I am reluctant to click the links and lose my place on your post!

    Thanks very much!
    Serena : )

  3. @Kidgas - I agree. HubPages has a perfect combination of supportive community, easy template, and early ego boost to help beginning writers and the site is strong enough to bring in traffic. HubPages was my first "a-ha, this really can be more than a few bucks a week!" moment. Thanks for the comment.

    @Serena - I absolutely agree with you, but unfortunately for some reason Blogger does not have a setting so all links will automatically open in a new tab. They've made some nice improvements recently, so I'm hoping that one is on the soon to do list. Apparently in theory I could manually mess with the HTML on every single link to make that happen...but I'm pretty sure I'll never make another penny online if I change all the links from all my old rambling posts, lol. Thanks for the kind words, and glad you found the post useful.

  4. @Serena - if you right click on the link, you can select to open the link in another window. :-)

  5. @Tricia. That's a nice trick, and actually one I'll be using quite a bit now, lol. Thanks for the help!

  6. Thanks for the mention! Much appreciated. :) Great list of links you have here too - I'm sure this will be a LOT of help to your readers.

  7. Hi Eric,

    Not a problem, it is very well deserved. I've enjoyed your recent posts quite a bit and am very glad I stumbled onto the blog. Appreciate the kind words, and keep up the good work yourself.


    Shane "Master" Dayton

  8. If not for your posts the road to success would be much harder and longer. I also read that you are suffering from carpel tunnel. Being an exercise science major and helping my father out with his carpel tunnel (software engineer) I could send some ideas your way. Exercising the forearms and upper back can go a long way in relieving carpel tunnel. Keeping wrists in the neutral position when typing is a must. Posture (yes it can actually cause wrist pain) is also important, sitting with poor posture over-stretches and weaken the muscles in the upper back. As a result everything else compensates and tightens, some of the tightened muscles can cause wrist pain. Hope this helps.

  9. Hi Anonymous,

    Thanks for the kind words on the blog, and I appreciate the advice. Any little bit of information I can get that helps out with carpel tunnel and staying healthy with a desk job (and without drugs) is information I'm very glad to have. Thank you for stopping by and thank you for the advice.


    Shane "Master" Dayton

  10. I hope you don't consider this spamming. I really feel that your readers will find this post useful.


  11. Hey Twenty Links,

    I'm usually wary of publishing "thin" comments that seem mainly self promotional, but that is a pretty good article so I don't have a huge issue. However, you might want to change eHow from your list, since you can only go through them via Demand Studios now. Also, in the future it's always good to add a little extra text and content in the comments so I get a little extra boost from publishing it, as well. Thanks!

  12. Keeping wrists in the neutral position when typing is a must. Posture (yes it can actually cause wrist pain) is also important, sitting with poor posture over-stretches and weaken the muscles in the upper back