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

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Yesterday I hit a creative wall. Well, it was more like a work wall. I had so much going on to the point where all I wanted to do was just cry and release it all.

Most people would say, be happy you're that busy. Believe me, I am grateful for the work I have. But the problem is that my work is on deadlines and it's not just about how much I can get done in a workday. It has to be done whether I lose a night's sleep or not. (Thankfully, I've always managed my time well as not to pull an all-nighter.)

Still, it hit that wall where I couldn't take anymore, couldn't focus anymore, and wanted to go to bed.

I simply shifted my actions. I put the laptop in bed, took some deep breaths and a break to tell myself to calm down. I knew I'd get it done, but I just needed that break and I needed to be strong enough to reassure myself and support myself.

After that, and a talk with a good friend, I was fine.

Sometimes you can feel like the walls are caving in. Whether you've got tons of work or not enough. And sometimes, just a break and some positive self-talk helps. Your whole day--or whole career--doesn't have to go completely down the pot, as we think it may sometimes.

Have you ever hit this type of overwhelming "wall" feeling? How'd you deal with it??

link | posted by Kristen at 9:52 AM | 1 comments

Thursday, October 23, 2008

How to Get Good PR Despite a Bad Economy

From everything that's happened recently, it's safe to say that the economy is not doing so hot. And what's first to go when times get tough? All the "extras" such as public relations and ads--but you don't have to sacrifice those things just because the economy is stinky. Here are some tips to maintain your company's PR efforts.

Consider outsourcing. If your company retains a firm, a good way to save money, yet still maintain your publicity program is to outsource to a PR professional on an as-needed basis. Maybe you only need a writer to come up with press releases instead of fancy designs. Perhaps an in-house designer can create templates and you can just use that writer to create content. Explore outsourcing with a qualified professional and examine the going rates for such a thing.

Stay on topic. You'll save money by targeting press materials to those who will be receptive to them. Instead of sending out a press release to all the state newspapers, make sure that those newspapers have a business section, for example, or a need for your services. You'll waste money if you send out materials to outlets that don't cover your industry.

Make a deal. It's OK to recognize tough times--and you may be able to leverage them to benefit your business. You can run an ad saying that although gas may cost an arm and a leg, you'll offer a 10 percent discount, for example. Once you have a deal, you have news--and then you have even more of a reason to promote your company via the press.

Talk up your company--even in a downturn. The last thing people want to know from you is that times are so tough. They know that and don't need to hear about how hard it is for your business. Instead, focus on the positives--and what you can offer people. Don't assume they don't need your services or products. Keep promoting your company as you would in better times--and make sure to let customers and potential clients in on any special deals you may create.

link | posted by Kristen at 9:52 AM | 0 comments

Saturday, October 18, 2008

How's this for truth and beauty in one?

Get em here.

link | posted by Kristen at 2:54 PM | 0 comments

Thursday, October 16, 2008

If you're looking for something to do this weekend, consider coming to the Heart of Texas Arts & Crafts Show (which also has antiques and home decor). It's this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Admission is $4 for adults, and kids 12 and under are free.

Plano Convention Center
2000 E. Spring Creek Pkwy
Plano, TX 75074

Friday, Oct. 17: 3-8pm
Saturday, Oct. 18: 9am-5pm
Sunday, Oct. 19: 11am-5pm

A friend of mine, LindaLee, is going to be a vendor at the show.

I wish I could go!!

link | posted by Kristen at 1:09 PM | 0 comments

Can Twitter really help you boost business? Well, if nothing else, it can help you make some new pals!

Check out this list of the top 100 Web Designers to Follow on Twitter!

(Hmm, I see some CSE contributors on there!)

link | posted by Kristen at 10:29 AM | 0 comments

Support Kristen Fischer in the 2008 StartupNation Home-Based Business Competition

link | posted by Kristen at 5:23 AM | 0 comments

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Why Doing Business Like a Guy Isn’t So Bad, Either
Read Part 1: Why Doing Business Like a Girl Isn't So Bad

Whether you’re a man or woman, I think both sexes can learn a little from the characteristics of each gender. Even though these can be interchangeable, those known to be “male” in nature can be a huge plus for any freelancer.

For example, women are great at giving clients a personalized approach and focusing on details, while men are adept at staying competitive and less emotionally involved. Which is better for your business? Neither. You can take away something from both sides.

Instead of being defensive and arguing the age-old sexism battle, try to take something positive away from what this article has to offer and apply it to your career. Chances are you’ll find plenty of characteristics you’ll want to emulate as you rise to freelance success.

· Get competitive. It’s true: Anyone can be competitive. But this is a predominantly male trait—and a good one to have in order to get ahead as a freelancer. You don’t have to be aggressive to be competitive, either. Maintaining your edge includes having the right marketing materials that tie into your overall branding that represent what you have to offer as a freelancer. It means putting yourself out there how others in your industry are. It could be via networking or by keeping your prices competitive. Survey others in your geographical area and keep up on industry trends.

· Don’t get emotionally involved. Not all women wear their hearts on their sleeves, but this predominantly female characteristic should be avoided in most cases. While it’s great to give a personal touch to business relationships, you should avoid yelling, being rude or crying with clients at all costs. Stay professional—even if you get angry or upset. Men can sometimes be better at hiding explosive emotions, and that’s one thing that can be a plus for any freelancer. If a rude client really ruffles your feathers, take a break and vent your frustrations outside of the workplace.

· Say it like it is. Sure, women can be direct. But when it comes to business, I find that men are more likely to be upfront about things and state them bluntly. Sometimes it’s good to have this trait. For example, if a client tries to get you to negotiate your rate and you don’t want to, you can stand strong by stating that your pricing is non-negotiable. Not so great at this? That’s okay—practice makes perfect and you can always rehearse on your own so you’ll be more likely to stand your ground on things.

· Check things off. Clearly, both sexes can complete tasks, but men are traditionally very task-oriented. This is a great way to keep moving with your daily work. Instead of pondering things and getting sidetracked, focus on the task at hand and worry about the rest later. Procrastinating is definitely not going to benefit your business—even if you do work best under pressure.

· Learn something new. Hey, maybe you can’t change a man—but men are driven by exploring new things. So if you’re a whiz in HTML, move on to learning CSS. This goes along with staying competitive, because the more skills you can acquire, the better. Even though women are adventurous, too, I think men have more of knack for learning something new that doesn’t naturally come easy. They’re great at persisting until they figure really complex things out, which is trait any business owner can benefit from.

These are just a few personality characteristics generally assigned to men that can be positives for your business. So whether you like football or sappy movies, you’ll want to put them into your business toolbox.

Missed Part 1: Why Doing Business Like a Gal Isn’t So Bad? Read it here!

link | posted by Kristen at 2:25 PM | 0 comments

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

There's so much going on in my creative career right now. Somehow, things feel like they've turned around so much, and all it took was one email.

An editor from a large national women's magazine loved a query and took the time to personally respond. Sounds like I may have landed the piece had it not been being written. She was so nice and invited me to pitch more ideas to her. That, for a writer, is huge. (Most editors don't invite us to share ideas--they don't even respond when we do in most cases--so this was a welcome opportunity!)

So now, I wait. More ideas have floated over to that editor and I am even more passionate about magazine writing. It's something that I've always wanted but haven't had enough energy to follow through with. I've been published in national magazines, but not really the ones I read on a regular basis. So coming into these niche publications is really exciting for me. I know that one big clip will lead to more--I just need my big break.

So that's reawakened me in many ways. Yes, I am still passionate about copywriting, but it's nice to explore a new medium or a new area of your profession that you haven't really experienced yet.

What aspect of your creative career do you want to explore more?

link | posted by Kristen at 6:37 AM | 0 comments

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Support Kristen Fischer in the 2008 StartupNation Home-Based Business Competition

link | posted by Kristen at 1:12 PM | 0 comments