Blog to support the book "Creatively Self-Employed: How Writers and Artists Deal with Career Ups and Downs" by Kristen Fischer

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Location: Point Pleasant, New Jersey, United States

30-something Jersey gal working as a freelance writer. Starbucks addict, beach-lover, kitty mother.

Creatively Self-Employed Website

Thursday, August 28, 2008

My friend and CSE contributor Kristen King will be leading a workshop in Washington DC. Here are the details.

American Independent Writers
Saturday Seminar—September 6, 2008
Registration from 8:30 a.m., Program from 9:00 a.m.—3:45 p.m.
Research Building, Room No. 163
George Mason University (Web site at www.gmu.edu)
4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
Metro: Vienna, Orange line and then a CUE bus or GMU Shuttle bus

WRITERS—PUSH THE ELECTRONIC ENVELOPE: Sharing Your Writing and Selling Your Work in Cyberspace

The proliferation of online tools, social networking sites, and Web markets has created a lot of opportunities – and revenue streams – for writers. But along with the possibilities may come some confusion. Do you need a website? What is Twitter? What’s the difference between a blog and a vlog? Why do writers need Facebook?

In this all-day seminar, we’ll walk you through some of the most popular and writer-friendly Web tools to help you find new work, promote your services, sell your book, and build your platform.

Seminar Director: Kristen King, M.P.S., is a communications consultant who has been writing and editing for business and publication for more than five years. She launched her first business, Kristen King Freelancing, in 2004 and re-launched it in June of this year as Inkthinker Communications, LLC, which provides a full range of writing, editing, and consulting services. Her website www.kristenkingfreelancing.com was a finalist in the 2006 Writer’s Digest Best Writer’s Website Contest. King currently writes four blogs, two of her own (www.inkthinkerblog.com, named one of the Top 10 Blogs for Writers in 2006, and www.meowbarkblog.com) and two for global information network b5media (www.bizchicksrule.com and www.livelywomen.com). She was profiled in the fifth edition of Lucy V. Parker’s How to Start a Home-Based Writing Business (Globe Pequot Press, 2008), and is scheduled to appear in the revised edition of The Well-Fed Writer, by Peter Bowerman. King has spoken on marketing, networking, blogging, and online promotions to the National Writers Union, the Society for Technical Communications, 40plus, and The George Washington University, among others, and is a familiar face at AIW events. King will be speaking on blog promotion at the BlogHer Reach Out Tour `08 in DC in October. She was elected to a two-year term as an AIW Board Member for 2008-2010. King has a BA in English from Mary Washington College and an MPS in publishing from GWU. She lives near Richmond, Virginia, with her husband, an uncoordinated 140-lb English mastiff puppy, a long-suffering 100-lb bullmastiff, an energetic pug, and three very tolerant cats.

For more, visit http://www.inkthinkerblog.com/

link | posted by Kristen at 8:15 AM | 0 comments

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Keeping Your Cool with Competition
by Kristen Fischer

People often complain about freelancers being too competitive—but that’s not such a bad thing.

As a freelancer competing for jobs, you have to make it a point to stick out from the rest. And as long as you’re professional about things, there’s nothing wrong with maintaining an edge.

Here’s how to—and how not to do it!

DO: Make your marketing collateral flawless. These days, a simple click to your website by a prospective employer could mean the difference between getting the gig and getting passed up. So make sure that your logo is solid, and your branding carries across things like your brochure, business card and website. Content matters just as much as design, and you’ve got to have both to compete against others.

DON’T: Ask colleagues for specific referrals. While there’s nothing wrong with seeking out a mentor, I think it’s vital not to try to step on their toes. I’ve had plenty of people ask me for specific leads and referrals—and it wasn’t the way to enlist my help. Stick to asking others for advice on how to do things and don’t try to dig for anything more, such as asking them who some of their clients are. They’ve gone through tons of hard work to get their connections and it’s only fair that you do the same.

DO: Keep learning. It’s vital to stay on top of your game—and that means staying on top of your industry, too. Whether you read books or attend seminars, it’s always great to learn the newest techniques, tricks and players that affect your industry. This is especially true if you’re in a more technology-based field, as that’s always changing. Even writers that only use Firefox and MS Word to get by can still learn new tricks and make new connection.

DON’T: Get nasty with networking. I attended a networking event once geared towards creative professionals. Everyone was nice, except the other writers. It seemed that everyone within their own specialty wasn’t too chummy, and instead were only nice to those who could possibly give them paying work. But even others in your field can provide connections. No matter what happens, it’s best to be nice to others in your field, especially at networking events where people can pick up on your vibe easily.

DO: Enhance your services. As a writer, there is still plenty of ways for me to improve. Because I do mostly Web collateral, I try to make an effort for more print work. I also try to complement my book-writing with magazine-writing. I’m always looking for more to give my clients, and always looking to make things easier on both parties. Staying competitive means constantly taking stock of what you can improve—and your services offer direct benefits to your clients so exploring this area of your business is worth the time.

DON’T: Bad-mouth the competition. This should be a given, but I feel the need to say it. Because some freelancers don’t insult others on purpose—but that doesn’t mean they don’t do it. When clients ask why they should use you over a competitor, it’s important to highlight your advantages rather than the competition’s shortcomings. This saves you from burning bridges and also helps you appear more practical.

Even though you may not play for a team as a freelancer doesn’t mean that good sportsmanship doesn’t count. Put your best foot forward and continue giving yourself that competitive edge—the right way, of course.

link | posted by Kristen at 5:48 PM | 0 comments

Friday, August 22, 2008

Some creative goodness for you all...

From now until the end of August Leonie is running a competition! You can win a free print of her art by:

1. Signing up for my monthly Joy eLetters, or

2. Emailing 3 friends letting them know about her website, or

3. Blogging on your website about her art or website

You can do all three of course, and get more entries to win! With the second two ways, just email her with link to your blog entry or a copy of your email to friends and I'll enter you in. The winner will be notified by email and can choose the Goddess Leonie art print of their heart's calling. To see Leonie's full range of art prints celebrating the Goddess in every woman, visit her Etsy store: http://goddessofleonie.etsy.com/.

link | posted by Kristen at 11:33 AM | 0 comments

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Few things get me more fired up than people who give me attitude for working at home. Most don't, although I can tell that they think I doodle and clean all day.

That's why I had to post a part of this rant by an awesome writer buddy, Deborah Ng. In her latest post, she gives these as the reasons why people who work at home not only work, but can work harder than anyone else:

  • "Because we don’t commute, we work the hours others spend on the road. For instance, my typical day is from 7:30 or 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Sometimes longer. We’re always at our computers and always drawn to our offices - even during “non-working” hours.
  • We don’t spend the days gossiping with co-workers. No water cooler, no rest rooms, no he said, she said.
  • We’re not running out every hour or two for coffee or smokes.
  • We’re not distracted by regular meetings, birthday parties, other employees’ phone calls and stuck elevators.
  • We don’t rely on other people to tell us what to do and how to do it. We’re independent and count on ourselves to get the job done.
  • We’re (mostly) not embroiled in office politics or backstabbing.
  • We don’t always take a lunch hour - or even a lunch half hour. In fact, if my son is out of the house I generally work through a traditional lunch hour.
  • Instead of focusing on one project or job, we have our hands in several pots.
  • Cube farms and crowded offices are distracting. There’s just too much going on for one person to sit and focus for long blocks of time like the average freelancer. There are studies showing so much time is wasted because people who work in a traditional office chit chat with co-workers and run out to pick up food and drinks more often. If we get up to break, we’re back at our desks in five minutes."

Right on, sister! Sometimes a rant is perfectly in order!

For more great writing leads and commentary, visit Deb's blog here: http://www.freelancewritinggigs.com.

link | posted by Kristen at 6:13 AM | 2 comments

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


One of my creative friends took a huge leap today. And she inspired me to write.

Sometimes, it's hard to step out of your comfort level. We were just talking about this last night on FreelanceRadio (episode should be out next Wednesday!) We were talking about hte early stages of freelancing when we felt vulnerable.

I still feel vulnerable about certain things. Not so much my copywriting, but in my book-writing, I tend to take everything personally. Rightfully so--writing is very personal.

But you've got to take the leap to get out there. So what if you question things--it makes you a better creative person to check in with yourself every now and then. Doubt is part of it all, too. It's okay to feel down on yourself--just remember to use your support system to help you through the rough times. Take the leap, anyway.

After the first leap, it's inevitable that the next will be easier.

Then, it kind of feels like flying.

link | posted by Kristen at 11:34 AM | 0 comments

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Ordinary Sparkling Moments is here! It's the creation of CSE contributor, Christine Mason Miller. Who is such a wonderful creative soul and I'm so happy for her!!

"In this book Christine asks us 'What does it mean to live an authentic life?' By sharing some of her thoughts and experiences she attempts to peel away the layers of the created self in search of what it means to live fully open to what gives us the greatast meaning, even when that is extremely challenging." -From the Forward by Keri Smith, author of Living Out Loud, The Guerilla Art Kit and Wreck This Journal

Is it possible to find meaning in our day to day existence? Can wisdom be attained while we run errands, do the dishes and pay our bills? Ordinary Sparkling Moments - a joyful combination of the writing, collage and photography of Christine Mason Miller - explores these questions and more, celebrating the deeper truths that await our discovery in some of life's most mundane moments.

160 full color pages / 8" x 8"
200 Signed, Numbered, Limited Edition Hardcovers / Softcover editions will be plentiful
This book is a self-published labor of love, printed in the U.S.A.

Order the book at Christine's Etsy shop; books will begin shipping August 20, 2008.

Etsy Special: The first 25* orders beginning Monday, August 4, 2008 at 9:00am PST will receive a FREE 5.5" x 5.5" original collage!

To read more about her book tour and take a look at a few pages from the book, head on over to her website.

link | posted by Kristen at 7:39 AM | 1 comments