Category Archives: writing for a living

Quick Tips for Freelancers: Managing your Time and Money

It was all so different when you were employed. Now you’re master of your own time, time management is key. One of the big ups of freelancing in the chance to take time off during the week, to go for a swim when the pool is at its emptiest or meet a mate for a long lunch. However in order to do this AND have money to pay for the treats you need to plan ahead. Work out how much you need to earn each month to pay your bills and have spending money. Allow for tax and National Insurance too. You might wonder what this has to do with time management….but time is money. Your income will depend on the hours you put in. It may take a while to work out how much work you need to do to earn the amount you need to live, and it can take time to build up enough good contacts to have a ready flow of commissions too. You may spend more time pitching or generating business in the early stages so try to have some cash in reserve.

Antonia Chitty is author of Family Friendly Working (www.familyfriendlyworking.co.uk), A guide to Promoting Your Business (www.prbasics.co.uk) and a number of parenting and health books. She has a book on earning a living from writing, The Commercial Writing Guide coming out in July 2009 . You can find out more about her own freelance writing career at www.antoniachitty.co.uk and her PR business at www.acpr.co.uk.

Review of Special Educational Needs: A Parent’s Guide on Best Bear

A Parent's GuideOne of my recent books has just had a great review on www.bestbear.co.uk. Best Bear member Bea reviewed this book. She says,“My daughter has learning difficulties and is due to start school next year, so the timing of this book could not have been more perfect. I am just starting the statementing process for her, and this book has helped me understand more about the support that will be available at school and the what will be included in her statement.”

Bea continues, “I also really liked the checklists throughout the book which are useful for diagnosing specific problems and for writing notes/reports about her development. I also felt that there were lots of practical ideas and suggestions of things I can be doing at home to help my daughter. The book looks at a wide range of educational needs including autism, vision and hearing problems, dyslexia, dyspraxia and global developmental delay. It gives ideas of where you can go for additional help, support and information (12 pages of contacts at the back of the book!) together with details of how professionals such as Occupational Therapists and Speech Therapists can help. I think this book would be worthwhile reading whether you just have some concerns about your child’s development or schooling, or whether you have a named diagnosis already. One to keep for future reference I think.”

Find out more about what Best Bear said about the book.

Editorial or Advertorial

Sometimes it is easy to be confused between Editorial and Advertorial
Editorial is what the publication’s journalists write. they may research a news story or use information from a press release, but it is up to them what they include. You have no control over what they write. This makes up most of the content of most good media.
Advertorial is paid for, like an advertisement. A business may decide that potential customers will be more influenced by an article promoting their business. They pay for the space, and fill it with an article, often in a similar style to the rest of the publication. You can spot advertorials though as they must have ‘promotion’ or ‘advertisement’ printed above the text.

Make your copy smarter

I read a great post over at Daily Writing Tips on ‘Five Words You Can Cut’. Check out the post. You will soon realise that you can slash and erase ‘perhaps’, ‘that’, ‘quite’, ‘just’ and ‘really’ from your copy while retaining the meaning AND making your text easier to read. I’d like to add ‘very’ to the list: how much more does calling your products ‘very’ good tell your customers? Aim for short snappy text to keep readers interested all the way through your promotional literature.

Does what you are writing affect what you do?

I finished a book for White Ladder Press in January, all about problems at school. Snce then I have looked at two different schools for dd, and am probably going to move her next term. Ok, this is mainly because she is doing less well, and the school don;t seem to be dealing with it, but I can;t help feeling that spending four or five months genning up on how to move schools spurred me on in some way.

I knew someone else would say it better

As usual, I am behind with reading the newspaper. I finally caught up with mediaguardian’s law special today. Alexander Ross of Wiggin writes that ‘copyright is under attack’. He draws out, better than I did yesterday, the conflict between the desire of much of the web using population who are happy to upload material for free, and ‘creative businesses’ who want an internet where ‘distribution is controlled and monetised’. What heartens me about the feature is that, Wiggin’s survey of 1600 consumers shows people rating reading books only second after HDTV as favourite activities in the next 6 months.

Incidentally, I like the quote in the article from Mark Cranwell of video-on-demand service Babelgum, “A three minute pop song deserves the same protection as a new car. Just because you can hotwire it doean’t mean you have a right to drive it off the lot.”

All rights reserved

Wendy Cope is writing about copyright in the current issue of ALCS news (previously printed in the Guardian). I’m usually pretty clear about copyright, and stick strictly to the line that if you want my writing, what do I get in return? Wendy’s piece got me thinking perhaps in the opposite way to that which she intended. One of her bugbears is finding her poems on the net without permission. I just wonder how long writers can carry on being paid in the same way, and whether all those people hoping to make their websites pay will ever achieve their aims. Yesterday’s mediaGuardian highlighted a new media company paying blogers an advice on their writing. Great idea? Well, nope, not if they didn’t get the required number of page views for their scribblings as they they would get the push. The piece wasn’t clear what happened to the advance in that case.

It makes me feel quite pessimistic about the long term possibilities of earning a living from print media, and I’m not sure that writing for the net is ever going to pay well enough to live on. How do you see writers getting paid in the future?

In the news – Family Friendly Working

I’m in the Bexhill Observer this week after the launch of Family Friendly Working, and just did a short interview this morning on BBC Radio Solent. It’s nice to be back on the radio again – hopefully there will be a few more interviews in the next few weeks. The Radio Solent researcher found me on Expert Sources – check it out if you want to be called on as an expert.