Share Your Freelance Writing Expertise with Teenagers

This is a short and sweet post (almost like a PSA) about sharing your freelance writing expertise with teenagers.

My nephew and I have similar interests such as art, writing, history, music and design. I’ve been coaching him on how he can get started in freelance writing, even though he’s only 15-years-old. For example, I stumbled across PSE Credit Union (serving Northeast Ohio) which offers The CU Succeed Club for kids. This special club educates kids about finance and money management. I noticed that PSE allows teens to write and submit articles for their newsletter and website. If an article is chosen for their newsletter, kids receive $100 and $50 is donated to their English/journalism department. If their article is chosen for the website, kids receive $50 and $25 is donated to their English/journalism department. It’s a win-win situation!

If you’re inclined to volunteer at a youth organization, share your freelance writing expertise by teaching kids how to become freelance writers. You’ll teach them how to think outside of the normal 9 to 5 work schedule by pursuing freelance writing where they can create their own work schedule and environment. Also, teaching kids how to become freelance writers is a great way to encourage them to become entrepreneurial and own their own businesses.

Rebecca

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How Authors and Freelance Writers Brand Themselves on LinkedIn

Authors, freelance, ghost and creative writers would benefit from listening to Greig Wells‘ (owner of Be Found Jobs) webinars on creating your brand on LinkedIn. Many business professionals use LinkedIn to find employees, contractors and freelancer writers. Linked In is the ‘go to’ website for professionals. If you’re uncertain as to ‘how to’ brand yourself on LinkedIn, follow the steps below.

How authors and freelance writers brand themselves on LinkedIn

1. Create a hook. As a writer, you’re familiar with writing a ‘hook’ when you submit a pitch or query letter to editors. It’s important to catch the eye of potential clients/customers/readers in 30-seconds or less.

Greig’s three-step process to writing a hook that works is as follows:

1. You know how a <Company> is always looking for <Insert the biggest problem in your industry>.

2. I solve this.

3. I do this by Unique Way #1 and Unique #2.

Here’s an example for a Freelance Writer:

You know how business owners always struggle to write optimized web content that converts visitors to customers.

I solve this.

I do this by writing unique, compelling web content using your keywords and phrases which lands your business on the first page of Google and draws visitors to your website.

2. UVP Power. This stands for Unique, Value and Promise. What makes you a unique freelance, creative or ghost writer? What makes you a unique fiction, non-fiction or YA author? What value do you bring to clients? What value do you bring to readers? Do you keep the promises you make? For example, if you promise to meet deadlines, do you actually meet them? If you promise to deliver a thrilling novel that takes readers on the adventure of their life, does your novel deliver?

3. The Proof. What proof do you have that you’re an expert in your field? Do you have testimonials from clients? Do you have testimonials from readers? Do you have testimonials from other authors in your genre? Remember, actions speak louder than words. This may be difficult for writers to read, but it’s the truth.

Other tips are: create a word cloud; connect with ‘Super Connectors’ (people with 500+ connections), have a solid call-to-action, and post relevant status updates that people will comment on. Join pertinent groups where you can share your expertise; voice your thoughts, beliefs and opinions.

What is branding? Through the use of your name, symbol, term, sign or combination of these, you create a ‘brand’ that clients/customers recognize as a resource that solves their problem. Remember, you’re in business to solve problems and market your products and or services. Therefore, your brand should reflect this.

As authors and writers, you’re familiar with tapping into the emotional side of writing. You can do this when you create your brand as well. For example, let’s say you’re an expert author on dating after divorce. You could use words such as pain-free relationships, self-esteem, self-confidence, independence, frustration, etc.

According to Greig, “The biggest mistake is building a brand that no one wants. Get to the core of the biggest problem facing a company or client.”

The advantage authors and writers have with branding is they know how to write. However, sometimes it can be difficult to create a ‘brand’ for your author website or freelance writing business. Think about hiring someone else to do this for you so you can concentrate on growing your writing business or finishing your first novel. Check out Greig’s profile on LinkedIn and see how his program could help you, even though it’s marketed to job seekers, branding is still branding. I’ve learned a lot from listening to Greig’s webinars. Check them out today!

Rebecca

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What 5 Topics Are Writers Afraid to Write About?

Sometimes, writers have ‘fear’ about writing on certain topics. They either fear backlash from family and friends or backlash from strangers on the internet. Unfortunately, you can’t control the actions and reactions of others — you only have control over your thoughts, beliefs, actions, reactions and feelings. If there’s a ‘hot topic‘ you’ve been dying to explore, why not go for it? Everyone is entitled to their thoughts, beliefs and opinions. Express yours in a diplomatic, matter-of-fact way and you may be surprised to discover that readers agree with your point-of-view.

Here are five topics I was afraid to write about:

1. Parenting: When you don’t have kids. I used to fear (I have teen life coaching site but haven’t wrote in a while) this one but now that I’ve become a ‘surrogate mom’ to my nephew and niece, I’m not holding back. I have a lot to say on parenting and becoming a parent in the 21st century. I’m sure there will be a percentage of people out of the 7 Billion people on earth that would agree with what I have to say.

2. Marriage. I have a lot to say on marriage and relationships in general. For example, if you have a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach before you’re about to walk down the aisle, that’s a RED FLAG you’re about to make a BIG mistake for which you, your children and society will pay dearly for. It’s better to turn to your father and say, “I’m sorry you spent all of this money, but I can’t go through with it.” It’s better to listen to your father ‘rant and rave’ about how much money he just lost instead of being stuck in a dead-end, life-sucking marriage.

3. Politics. Like most people, I have strong thoughts, beliefs and opinions on politics, especially in the U.S. I’ve been afraid to express my view in opinions pieces but not anymore. I may ruffle a few feathers because I’ll challenge people to ‘think’ for themselves instead of being co-dependent on the media, government, other people, etc.

4. Family. What is a family? Most people hear the word ‘family’ and think of the ‘old school’ version which includes a mom, dad and kids. However, the definition of family differs from person to person. And, some adult children (some have children) are moving back with their parents. The family dynamic has changed in the 21st century.

5. Self-help advice. You’re probably groaning about this one because there are many self-help experts or gurus in the ‘self-help’ section of a bookstore. I’ve dabbled in this area, but I haven’t pushed the envelope as much as I would like to. Why? I’m different because I tell it how it is. I believe in ‘tough love’ and won’t sugarcoat anything. Most people don’t want to hear they’ve created their own problems. It takes a ‘big’ person to admit their mistakes and wrongdoings. It’s not easy but it can be done.

Rebecca

What 5 topics are you afraid to write about? Share.

R.L. Stine Shares the Worst Writing Advice Given to Writers

According to R.L. Stine, author of the popular Goosebumps series, the worst writing advice given to writers is as follows:

  • Write from your heart.
  • Write what you know.

When I read Zachary Petit’s interview with R.L. Stine in the November/December 2011 issue of Writer’s Digest, I was taken aback that Mr. Stine would say writing from your heart and writing what you know is the worst advice given to writers. Mr. Stine said, “Well, I hate it when authors come into a school and they say to kids, “Write from your heart, write from your heart, only write what you know, and write from your heart. I hate it because it’s useless.” Ouch!

Mr. Stine made a good point by saying, “I’ve written over 300 books — not one was written from my heart. Not one. They were all written for an audience, they were all written to entertain a certain audience.” Publishing is a business and most publishers are in business to make money; however, it would behoove them to understand that marketing and solving problems is a part of the business of writing as well. Authors are in the business of marketing their books and solving various problems from self-help to educating; from entertaining to inspiring. Again, it is a business.

R.L. Stine pointed out that if authors only write from their heart or write what they know, they’ll become blocked. This is true. Their imagination goes out the window along with pushing themselves out of their comfort zone. It’s good to try different genres, tones, voices and styles of writing. You won’t know what you’re good at if you don’t try it. And, you may find that you prefer one genre over another.

I’m guilty of telling writers to write from the heart and write what they know. Of course, this was the ‘friendly’ advice I was given; I passed it along to my fellow writers. Perhaps, R.L. is correct that writing from the heart and only writing what you know is the worst advice given to writers. Who knows … Then again, Mr. Stine is a famous and well paid author. Perhaps, he does know what he’s speaking about.

Rebecca

What’s the worst writing advice given to you? Share.

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How Your Freelance Writing Career Can Help Your Kids

What fun would being a freelance writer be if life didn’t throw you curve balls now and again? Of course, some curve balls are not the types of curve balls you’d expect and some are not. I was just thrown a curve ball in the form of becoming a ‘surrogatemom to my 15-year-old nephew. Did I see this coming? Yes and no. Yes, I knew that someday this could possibly happen; however, I didn’t think I’d be in the ‘thick’ of it. No, I didn’t think it would happen as I’m trying to build my brand and write my books. No, I didn’t think it would happen this year!

Thank goodness my nephew is a smart 15-year-old teenager. Now that he’s with me, I can untangle the webs that were woven into his precious little mind. I won’t preach, lecture or spew my ‘dogma’ every day; however, I’ll teach him how to ‘think for himself’ and use his mind for success. Luckily, my nephew is conscientious and actually listens to what I have to say. Imagine that!

How your freelance writing career can help your kids

1. Educate your kids about languages and writing.  I will educate my nephew about languages and the art of writing. I’ll show him how he too can use his creative mind and write eBooks, fiction, YA, non-fiction, travel, etc. His favorite class is Home Improvement. He can write an eBook for teens on How to Build a Model House Frame. My nephew’s good at drawing and could provide the illustrations as well.

2. Teach your kids to love reading. My nephew dreaded reading The Great Gatsby over the summer. Of course, I almost fell over when he said, “I have to read this long, boring book.” My response was, “The Great Gatsby is a wonderful classic novel that’s been made into many movies (big and little screen).” He still dreaded reading the book.

I may not convince my nephew that reading classic novels could benefit him; however, I’ll reiterate that reading is a privilege. To know how to read is one of the doorways to freedom. Reading is a great way to escape the daily monotony of life. Reading is a great way to educate one’s self. I’ll teach my nephew that reading and implementing what he’s learned can lead to a successful life.

3. Go with the flow. I learned a long time ago, “What you resist persists?” Stuff happens in life. You can either deal with it in a rational, calm manner. Or, you can allow your emotions to run the show. Either way, you’ll get what you expect. However, you won’t help your kids if your emotions run and rule your life. You’ll drive them and yourself nuts!

I’m learning to go with the flow. I’ll write during the day when my nephew goes to school. I’ll write when he does his homework or hangs out with his friends. If I need to write at night, I’ll do it. I’m somewhat of a night owl anyway. I’ll work it out somehow. I’m reminded of what Louise Hay says, “Out of this situation, only good with come.”

Rebecca

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How to Become a Powerful Storyteller

How powerful of a storyteller are you? Every author and writer could use tips and tricks for crafting their stories. It’s about maximizing your impact on readers. It’s important to write engaging and entertaining stories that will captivate and hold readers attention. You want them to come back for more.

How to become a powerful storyteller

1. Get in touch with your emotions and transfer them to your characters. Think about your characters and what emotions they would feel and have.

2. Who are your characters? What do you know that they don’t?

3. Stay in the moment and hold onto it.

4. Go inward to connect outward.

5. Step in and out of your characters.

6. Get into the moment and feel the emotion of it.

7. Silence is golden and can make a strong presence.

8. Think about the body language of your characters. Do they slouch or stand up straight? Do they cross or fold their arms? Is their face contorted?

9. Be comical! Everyone can benefit from laughter.

10. Do exaggerate. For example, think about how Oprah introduced her guests. When she introduced guests she wouldn’t say, “Please welcome John Travolta.” She would say, “Come Out, Jooooooooohn Trrrrraaaavoooolta.”

11. Don’t forget about branding your message. Use a catchy phrase that will stick in the minds of readers.

12. Be an authentic author. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable.

13. Don’t play it safe. Be a bold and daring author/writer. Go deep and be precise in your writing. Don’t hold back.

14. Love yourself and your readers. Remember, they buy your books and other merchandise.

15. Be the amazing author/writer you know you can be.

16. Your manuscript will set you free. Keep writing and rewriting your manuscript until it is spot on!

17. Write, edit, proofread and read your story. Put it aside for a while and come back to it. Give yourself a break. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in one day.

Rebecca

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