Real-World Art-ing: Do Something

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You know you’ve got a book in you. Or a painting. Or a song. Or some other kind of art. You know it’s in there, because you can feel it in there, kicking around in your soul.

I know the feeling–kind of antsy, kind of inspiration-y. But also a little self-doubt-y.

Because those feelings of inspiration are often quickly followed by that little voice. You know him–he tells you that you don’t have time right now, that it’s selfish to go off on your own to be creative, that this isn’t the right time, but maybe in a few months …

Yeah. Don’t listen to that voice. Don’t put off your desire to create. Do something.

Even if it’s just a little bit.

There is always a reason to take a pass on art. There’s never, ever enough time. You have to make the time. And if you make the time for art enough times, that’s when it starts to add up to something.

It’s not about starting and finishing an entire work in one month, one week, one day. It’s about giving it that 1 percent of effort that you can, over and over and over again.

So don’t listen to that little voice. Make room for the inspiration. Show up, and do something, even if it’s just a little bit. Believe me, it adds up, if you just give it the time.


Sorry, I don’t post on Creative Juicer anymore.

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A Special Series Just for My Book Launch: Real-World Art-ing

 


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Hello, Juicers.

Yes. It’s been a few months. And no, this is not an official re-launch of the blog. But my first novel, Mud, is releasing this month, and I wanted to celebrate that with all of you.

After all, you’re the ones who went through the years of writing my fiction on the side with me—through all the early mornings, and creative frustrations, and the hard lessons you can only learn through doing.

You’re my favorite group of creatives. So to celebrate Mud’s release and thank you for your support along the way, I’m bringing Creative Juicer back for a special series:

This month-long series will feature a series of short posts intended to support, inspire, and share what I’ve learned while trying to squeeze my creative work into the fringes of a full-time life.

I’m so excited to share this with you. Look for more in your inbox next Monday!


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Endings, and also Beginnings

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You’ve probably noticed that the blog has been on hiatus a while. I’ve had to make the hard choice to let this go while getting some other projects in place.

Which brings me to an announcement: Friends, the Creative Juicer to come to a close. I’ve written many times about choosing where you invest your creative energy carefully. I’ve written about the power of saying yes, and also the necessity of sometimes saying no. The simple truth is that I’m spread too thin right now, and other things simply must take priority.

For one, my fantasy novel Mud has been aquired by City Owl Press, and will be published in the coming several months. It’s fantastic news, and I could not have gotten here without the support of this wonderful community. Thank you for all your support!

Which means that not only do I have a lot of edits to take on, but I’ve also got to whip my author platform into shape! And this is only one of a few big projects I’ve got underway right now.

wordhaus is expanding. In January, we’re launching a book club. I’m super excited for it to kick off, but it’s a beast of a project and requires a large chunk of my time as I get my team in place, reach out to authors to feature, and prepare for the launch promotion. (If you want to participate, join the wordhaus email list–deets coming soon, ONLY to these wordhaus subscribers).

I’ve also started an exciting new venture of my own. After eight years as a marketing and PR executing online strategy for clients, and another year applying those strategies to authors in my DIYMFA column, I’m creating a new program to work with authors one-on-one.

It took a while to create just the right service, but I’m crazy thrilled with the results: It will be a 12-week program where I work with authors one-on-one in weekly sessions to work toward a specific, personalized goal the author wants to reach for his/her author platform. Along the way, I’ll teach the authors how to keep up their progress long-term, so that after the 12 weeks is up, they’ve not only met a goal but also are well equipped to continue the progress on their own.

For the first round starting in January, there are a very limited number of spots, which I’m offering at a significantly discounted rate–check it out and apply here. 

And then, of course, there’s ongoing client work and also my new WIP sci-fi novel (to stay up on my latest fiction news, join my author newsletter).

So as you can see, I have to do something to make sure I can give these projects the focus they deserve, and not spread myself too thin. Creative Juicer has had a great run, but it’s simply time to put it aside, at least for the forseeable future.

But please stay in touch! The links above will connect you to other ways to keep being a part of this expanding online neighborhood.

And welp, I guess all that’s left to say is goodbye. Thank you for all your support, and the best of luck to you in your own creative endeavors. Dream big, friends!


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If you like what you see & want more, join my author email list for updates on my writing, posts about sci-fi and fantasy pop culture, and other readerly fun by clicking here.

Cold Pitching to Get New Freelance Clients

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Cold pitching. Any savvy freelancer knows you gotta do it.

Unlike bidding sites like Upwork and job boards like ProBlogger, when you make a cold pitch to a prospective client, you don’t have any competition. When you’re one in a pool of one, your odds of building new client relationships goes way up.

ILD

But let’s get real: Cold pitching is the worst. No one likes to do cold pitches. No one.

What not to do

When I first started freelancing, I was extremely eager to get clients and

I started reaching out to all the biz’ in my local area, and just figured I’d refine my approach as I went, working from trial and error. I created a big list of various marketing-related businesses and cold emailed them.

In retrospect, I wasn’t nearly focused enough in the types of businesses I was looking for, and I wasted a lot of time targeting businesses that probably don’t have the budget for outside content services in the first place. Worse, my content was salesy, and probably got deleted without being opened at least 90% of the time.

Needless to say, I didn’t get a single response. Then I read The Well-Fed Writer, and it changed everything.

Picking up the phone

The Well-Fed Writer gave me a game-changing epiphany: phone calls! Picking up the phone to introduce myself to new businesses had literally not once occurred to me (I know, my Millienial is showing.)

My library’s copy of Well-Fed Writer was fairly old, so I wanted to make sure cold calls didn’t go out with fax machines before I started doing it. But after some Googling around to see what other reputable sources had to say, it appears this is still something freelancers do with real success.

Thanks to Well-Fed Writer and other great freelance resources like Make a Living Writing, I’d also gotten smarter about my targeting. This time, I focused on established marketing agencies in the closest major city.

I make calls in 20-company spurts on a weekly basis. This let me balance these efforts with other outreach and client work, while still making steady progress.

I got conversations and email attention from these with some fair consistency—at least one or two bites per 20-company batch. But then the bites never went any further.

For something that’s a real time investment (20 calls took about an hour, and then followup emails took almost another hour, plus the research to find the companies in the first place) it just wasn’t getting a return.

And besides, cold calling is just really not fun—for the caller or the recipient. I was even asked once if I was a “real person,” because companies receive so many automated sales calls. ::facepalm::

Honing in

So I wasn’t getting the results I wanted, but I wasn’t giving up yet. Cold pitching can be a valuable and important way to round out your client acquisition. And other freelancers use it successfully, so surely I could too.

I was closing in on 100 cold calls with nothing but vague expressions of interest that don’t respond to followup to show for it. Then I came across an article bout an approach a freelancer had used to find new clients that she discovered on Make a Living Writing.

I recommend reading the full article, but here’s the gist:

Pick a niche that is appropriate for your experience, and research companies that work in it—looking specifically for companies that have a blog on their website with outdated content.

Then, you email the company leadership with a genuine, kind email that says something nice and also offers support to kick the company blog back into gear for them.

Aha! The trick here is, these companies already understand the value of a blog—that’s why they have one. But they’ve also found it challenging to manage the upkeep on their own.

I’ve been trying this for just a little bit, but so far the results are promising, and I have a few relationships in the works.

The research up front is a little more time-consuming, but it saves me so much more time that I was wasting reaching out to businesses who had no interest in a freelancer.

I’ll probably keep tweaking it as I go, but this is the method I’m sticking with going forward.

Cold pitching can be a great way to gain new clients away from the competitive environment of bidding sites and job boards … or it can be a real time suck. I’d recommend trying a few methods for yourself before settling into one to stick with—it’s the only way to discover what works for you.


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4 Best Job Boards for Freelancers

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For freelance writers, job boards can be a great 4 best job boards for freelance writersway to nab new opportunities, or a bottomless, time-sharing pit.

On the one hand, where better to look for gigs than where businesses are going to list them? Rather than running around trying to create your own opportunities, you can go to a single source where business are already looking for people with your skills.

On the other hand, job boards also draw a large number of professionals who offer similar services—meaning the competition for each gig listing is stiff.

Because of this, I don’t spend a ton of time applying to gigs on job sites. But I do check in with a few sites I respect and trust every week, and keep an eye out for positions that are an exceptionally good fit for me.

If you’d like to do the same, here are the top four job sites I use:

ProBlogger
ProBlogger is a leading authority on blogging as a craft and as a business. If you’re not reading its blog now, it’s well worth checking out. The job listings are likewise narrowly focused on blogging opportunities, so if that’s a service area you want to grow, this site is for you.

The Write Life
This is another fantastic site for writers—in each week’s newsletter I find absolutely invaluable articles about craft as well as business tactics. The site’s job board is one of the biggest and most diverse I’ve seen for writers.

JournalismJobs.com
More than its name implies, JournalismJobs.com lets you find all kinds of news reporting jobs, as well as other writing positions in related industries such as marketing and public relations. Sifting through the listings is made easier with filters for both industry and job type.

LinkedIn
It’s not exactly a job board, but it’s easy to search through the public job listings for any company on LinkedIn using the search function, and many companies list gigs here that you won’t find anywhere else.

Increasing Your Odds

Make no mistake, job boards can be a very useful resource, but they can also take your time and attention away from other important freelance activities. If you’re going to invest significant time applying to gigs on job boards, I recommend reviewing the information in this awesome post very carefully first to up your odds.

http://www.freelancefreedomfighter.com/pitching-blueprint-for-job-boards/

I also strongly recommend that you only apply to gig listings that are an exceptional fit. Not only will this reduce your time investment, it will also ensure that you truly stand out agains the competition for the gigs you do go after.


Sorry, I don’t post on Creative Juicer anymore.

If you like what you see & want more, join my author email list for updates on my writing, posts about sci-fi and fantasy pop culture, and other readerly fun by clicking here.