Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Note on Blog Posts and Upcoming Materials

I'm getting ready to hop on a plane and go visit my folks in South America. I'll be there for the rest of 2007, so the blog activity may be reduced. I'm pretty sure you won't miss my posts during the holidays, though (you'll probably be busy drinking eggnog and eating ham). 

Okay. So, what's coming up? I have invited a student in USP's Master Program in Biomedical Writing to tell us about her experience taking the classes online.

Early next year, I will publish the updated second edition of Becoming a Medical Writer, with an exciting new bonus for those of you interested in Technical Writing.

Happy holidays!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Kindle, the new e-book reader by Amazon

No, my ebook is not available for Kindle. In fact, from the reviews I've read, it seems you can't read a PDF in this reader without first converting the file to MOBI (a format supported by Kindle).

So what is Kindle (1) and why am I talking about it here (2)?

1. Kindle is a little machine that can store up to 200 books, and uses an "electronic-paper" technology. It is supposed to look like real paper.
2. I love books, e-books and electronic stuff. I just couldn't resist!

However, because I haven't used it yet, I won't try to do a review here. Just check out the video on Amazon's Kindle page, and see what you think. If you like it, let me know!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Are You an Angry, Frustrated Freelance Writer?

By Yuwanda Black (Guest blogger)

Do You Recognize Yourself in These Signs?

As a freelance writer, it's very easy to become discouraged. Discouragement can lead to anger and frustration, which can stall your career - without you even realizing it. Following are signs to look for, and specific things you can do to get back on track.

1. Expending Negative Energy: Most freelancers surf the net looking for assignments. As you read job ad after job ad paying little to nothing, you boil over.

"Don't they realize I'm a professional, I have a family to feed, my skills are worth more than that?" So, what do you do?

You start to leave nasty comments and before you know it, you've spent two hours doing this. After logging off in disgust, you decide to take some time off because you're so mad you can't even focus.

Look at what this has cost you? Precious marketing time; not to mention focus.

Solution: Accept that there will always be jobs that don't pay enough. This is freelance writing after all. And while we should all earn a decent wage, there should also be world peace, enough food to feed the hungry and free medicine for those who can't afford it.

Not to make light of the situation, but focusing on what you can't change won't help. By NOT accepting low-paying assignments, you are sending a very powerful message. So, move on - if a job does not pay what you want, spend your time looking for ones that do, not sending nasty messages to job posters who offer low-paying assignments.

After all, the reason they're probably looking for help is they're where you want to be - a busy, working freelancer.

2. Output: As in, you haven't been doing any lately. Are you depressed over lack of work; not motivated because you are bored with work; and/or frustrated at the type of work you're doing?

Whatever your reasoning, as a freelance writer, you should always be producing - unless you are on vacation.

Many freelancers make the mistake of not working when there is no client project on their desk. Just because you are not working for a client doesn't mean that you don't put in 8, 9 or 10 hours a day.

Solution: This is one of the reasons I like article marketing - it forces me to constantly write, stay motivated and fresh. I may write about a new diet drug one day, or a new type of mortgage the next day, because as a freelance writer, my job is to write.

To this end, I keep my portfolio bulging with various samples; am always working on a new e-book or planning a new e-course.

Getting up and "going to work" every day is what I do - whether it's a client project or a "Yuwanda project," produce I must and produce I do.

3. Organization: As in, is your work hampered by your lack of organization - not only of the thoughts and tools you need to work with, but organization for the future of your business. Do you wonder, "Where will this freelance thing take me? Will I ever make enough to survive on this alone?"

Solution: If you find yourself thinking along these lines, then perhaps it's time you make a real plan for your future beyond just banging out the next client project.

Like any business, if you want freelance writing to be your full-time job, then you must plan for it - eg, create a full-fledged business plan. Target a niche, create an advertising budget and come up with a marketing plan.

In conclusion, frustration is the ever-present enemy of all who have a desire, but encounter obstacles. Embracing the obstacles and creating a plan to thwart them is the key; not expending negative energy railing against them.

Yuwanda Black is the publisher of THE business portal for and about the editorial and creative industries. First-hand freelance success stories, e-courses, job postings, resume tips, advice on the business ofLaunch a Profitable Freelance Writing Career in 30 Days or Less - Guaranteed! freelancing, and more! Article Source here.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Staying Creative with Fiction Writing

I can't believe it's Thursday already and I haven't posted anything this week (in fact, this month). Well, but I have an excuse. November is the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).
National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.
Well, I took the challenge and have written more than 12,000 words so far. I've always wanted to write fiction but medical writing has consumed most of my time. (I did write a novel in high school, but that doesn't really count!). And since I'm the kind of guy that works better under the pressure of a deadline, NaNoWriMo was the perfect opportunity to get creative and write down a novel.

Perhaps you are not as passionate as me for novel writing, but you like poetry or theater (or even stand-up comedy). Well, there you go. Why don't you try writing a few verses or lines of dialog every now and then? You'll see that when you go back to your medical writing projects, you'll feel more creative and inspired. Perhaps you'll write even better.

Oh, and don't worry. I won't be posting excerpts of my novel here!