Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy 2010!


Hello lovelies! It's a day early, but I wanted to wish you all a happy, prosperous, successful and fabulous 2010! Thank you for all your support; it is very much appreciated ♥

P.S.- If you have anything in particular you'd like to read on here, please let me know!



Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Letting go of fear

Like many people, I have let fear keep me from doing and pursuing the things I really want. While I still have little bouts of fear, I now try to tell myself that fear is only False Evidence Appearing Real (it works sometimes, other times, not so much).

And of course, pursuing a writing career can be daunting, and can cause you to worry that you won't make enough money, that you're not as good as the next person, the list goes on and on.

Fortunately, there are ways to overcome your fears. Check out this post I saw on one my favorite websites, Freelance Writing Gigs called 5 Solutions to Prevent Fear from Hindering your Success.

How do you overcome fear in your writing career or life in general?

Photo from psychologytoday.com

Sunday, December 27, 2009

My Career Goals 2010

I'm sure you all are aware that at the end of the week we'll be bringing in a new year! A new year means new goals (at least I hope so). My goal is to basically take my writing career to the next level and make x amount of money. Here's my game plan:
  • Obtain work (that I enjoy) to make the amount of money I want.
  • Get published in a national consumer magazine (more than once).
  • Have at least two well-paying pieces published per month.
  • Have 50 subscribers to for colored gurls by the end of the year.
  • Redesign fcg website & revamp MW website.
  • Attend networking events.
  • Really promote.
  • Continue honing my skills.
  • Assist people through this blog.


(I recently wrote a column about setting goals- and reaching them. Check it out here).

So it's your turn; what are some of your writing goals for 2010?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Holidays!


Just wanted to wish you all a safe and fun-filled Christmas (if that's your thing)!


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Getting readers for your blog

It can be discouraging when you start a blog and the only people reading it are your friends and family. Not to worry, there are ways you can get dedicated readers for your blog, but it takes time and work.

Problogger, the go-to website for bloggers, has a post with 23 ideas for finding new readers for your blog. It's kind of old (from '07), but I think the tips are very useful, so check them out here.

Please feel free to share any tips you have about getting blog readers. Happy blogging!

Why I freelance

Some of you might wonder (or not) why I choose to freelance instead of working with a publication. Well, here's my reason:

Ever since I can remember, I've loved to read and write. When I was in fourth and fifth grade, I devoured The Baby-sitter's Club books, and since I was around 11-years-old, I've wanted to be some type of writer (just didn't know what kind at the time). Starting in middle school, I read the newspaper daily and every week, I would get a new magazine, usually Seventeen, YM or Teen People. This began my obsession with magazines and the media.

Unfortunately, the only 'journalism' class my high school had was yearbook, so I didn't get much experience there. Anyway, I went to college in '04 and after changing my major from marketing to English, I ultimately changed to the best major (hehe)- mass communication (with a print concentration). Regardless of what people say, it is not an easy major, but I loved it!

So, I graduated last year, and I had an internship with a startup magazine, which didn't turn into a job like I thought (but, thankfully, I did have a part-time job at the time). After the internship, I looked for media jobs but couldn't find anything, which is one reason I decided to pursue freelancing.

Also, I knew there were particular things I wanted to do (like write primarily instead of editing), and I knew there were certain things I wanted to write about and you can't really choose what kind of work you want to do as a staff member at a publication. As a freelancer I can write about what I want and about things I think people should know, and that's important to me. I also get to learn and write about different topics, and I get to help people develop their businesses.

That's my story, so...

Why do you freelance or why do you want to pursue it?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Thoughts on writing- *12.18*

If you're like me, you might find yourself comparing your writing, your success or even yourself to other writers. I'm guilty of it myself, even though I try not to do it. I have gotten better at it though.

To counter my negative thoughts, I often think of this quote:

"If success takes a long time and takes a lot of persistence to happen, you're lucky. Because if you get success too fast, you blow up too soon. You're the flavor of the month, everyone wants you, and you don't have the know-how and expertise to deal with all the projects you get. Slow and steady sets you up for a longer career."
~Kimora Lee Simmons

Here's something I wrote last month:

As I go on with my daily routine of writing, blogging and looking for work and all that good stuff, I get somewhat discouraged because at times I feel like I'm going nowhere fast. I mean, it obviously takes time to get established when starting your own business and being a freelancer, and I've only been doing this for about a year.

Anyway, I thought about this quote today, and I'm really trying to get this in my head and stop stressing about it so much. Very rarely is anyone an overnight success, and if he/she is, it generally doesn't last long. I want my career to last as long as I choose to work, so I have to practice the two p's: patience and persistence. It gets difficult at times when it seems that others are getting more successful in shorter periods of time, but I'm realizing that a) I'm not them, and b) Success is different for everyone. For some, it's money, cars, material things, but for me, I want to be happy, do what I love and live a comfortable life. I don't really want to make all this money...

I guess I say all this to say I'm gonna keep hustlin' until I get to the top = )

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Procrastination...ugh










So, I should be writing an article right now, but it's not happening. I keep finding all these other random, fun things I could be doing instead (like the Internet- ha!) Somebody help me, please!!! Lol

Seriously though, how do you deal with procrastination? What works for you?


Photo from: lifehacker.com

Stay on track!

If you're going to be successful as a freelance writer, you have to stay on track with your writing. Luckily, Anne Wayman of About Freelance Writing shares 11 tips that she uses. She:

-Writes down her goals for her business & clients.
-Breaks down larger projects into smaller pieces.
-Lets the client know in advance if she's going to miss a deadline(sidenote: don't miss deadlines often).
-Takes time off because it keeps her fresh.

Check out the rest of her tips here: How to stay on track with your freelance writing business


Monday, December 14, 2009

5 Freelance Writing Resources

Happy Monday! Hope you had a fun and fabulous weekend!

Today, I want to share some of my favorite resources for freelance writers. Hopefully this will help someone!



*Freelance Writing Gigs: Created by Deb NG back in 2005, this site features daily job leads and info about freelance writing and blogging.

*Freelance Folder: This site has some awesome posts for all types of freelancers and has how-tos, marketing and productivity tips.

*Freelance Switch: Another website for all types of freelancers; it has job leads, a blog and a forum among other things.

* About Freelance Writing: Website about freelance writing created by Anne Wayman, who has been freelance writing for over 30 years (!). This site also has job leads and ebooks about freelancing.

*Problogger: Started by Darren Rowse, problogger has "blog tips to help you make money blogging." It also has job leads for bloggers.
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What are your favorite freelance writing resources? Please share them with us!


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

How a freelancer can help you in the new year

The new year is quickly approaching (only 22 days)! Are you ready to take your business to the next level?

Of course you are! And one way to do this is through your words. Your copy should be well-written so you can properly convey your business's message and its quality.

Some benefits of good copy:
- Your business will stand out among others.
- Good copy will assist you in gaining an instant connection with potential customers.
- It allows you to clearly tell potential customers the advantages of selecting your product or service.

You can do this yourself, but here are five reasons to consider hiring a freelance writer to do it for you:

1. A freelance writer frees up your time so you can focus on other aspects of your business.
2. As an experienced professional, a writer will take the time needed for your project and complete it in the best possible manner.
3. Promotional material attracts more customers and clients for your business. A freelance writer can create the copy that will help you reach your intended audience.
4. A writer offers a second set of eyes. You don't want any mistakes in your material, and a professional writer will clean your copy and give it a polished, professional look.
5. Presenting a consistent image through your words helps brand your business; a freelance writer can assist you with that as well.

Hope this helps, and please contact me (jamiefleming@mochawriter.com) with any questions or for more info!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

So you want to be a freelance writer? (Part 2)


You can check out part 1 here. Now, on to Part 2, the other five questions to ask yourself before becoming a freelancer:

6. Are you organized? In addition to keeping up with your budget, you have to handle your daily schedule, interview notes, fact-checking material and so on. Wearing all the hats in your freelance business can be a little intimidating, but you must stay on top of everything.

7. Can you separate work from the rest of your life? (Admittedly, I struggle with this.) Working at home can be overwhelming, and if you're like me, you might be of the mindset that more work= more money. And if you really love what you do, it can be more difficult. However, problems can arise when you spend every waking moment staring at your computer screen and work is all you think about. You have to keep a good balance between your work life and the rest of your life.

8. Can you be your own boss? You have to be able to get your butt in gear because you are your own boss and you are the only one accountable for your paycheck.

9. Can you sell yourself? As a freelance writer, you have to do a lot of self-promotion to be successful. If you can find the right words to illustrate your skills and ideas, you will be on your way to a successful career.

10. Can you say no, and can you handle it when someone else tells you no? If you take on every project that comes along, you might end up with more work than you can manage. You have to be able to deal with rejection as well. So, don't take on too much just because you're able to, and don't get discouraged when work doesn't seem to be coming because it will happen.

11. Do you have many interests? You need to be open and curious about what's going on around you to be a successful freelance writer because if you're not, you won't find enough ideas for pitches. The writers with the best story ideas are the ones full of curiosity- make sure you're one of them.

Hope these questions helped you. For more info, check out the book, Get a Freelance Life: mediabistro's Insider Guide to Freelancing Writing.

Do you have any tips for freelance writing? Please feel free to share them below!

Photo from clker.com

Friday, November 27, 2009

So you want to be a freelance writer? (Part 1)




In one of my favorite freelance writing books, Get a Freelance Life: mediabistro.com's Insider Guide to Freelance Writing, the authors suggest asking yourself 11 questions before taking the freelance plunge:

1. Do you like being alone?
Working from home can be a luxury (sleeping in, working in comfy clothes, taking a walk in the middle of the day), but it can be lonely, too.
Fortunately, there are ways to deal with this. Some examples are going to a coffee shop for a cup of coffee, volunteering a few hours a week or participating in online discussions.
Because you're guaranteed to have some loneliness, make sure you can handle it.

2. Where are you now?
If you've been working at your day job for a while but don't have much writing experience, it may not be the best time to try freelancing full-time. However, that doesn't mean you can't start (you can).
But if you've been getting published pretty regularly and get paid decently, you may be in a good place. If you are unemployed or under-employed, and this is something you really want to do (and writing is your thing), I say make a go at it. The key is knowing where you are, where you want to be and mapping out a reasonable plan to get there.

3. Can you afford it?
If you don't have a few regular, well-paying jobs set up or money saved to last a few months (or a support system), you probably can't afford to just quit your job and start freelancing. So, it's important to analyze your budget and see where you are.
It takes time for freelance work to start coming in, and it might be a minute before you see the money. Take the time to work out a financial plan before making a hasty decision.

4. Are you flexible?
The life of a freelance writer can be quite unpredictable, so you have to create a schedule that works for you and one that permits unexpected changes to it.

5. Can you stick to a budget?
Freelancers rarely have regular paychecks, so you definitely need a budget with a cushion for the slower months and for late checks; you also need to be able to monitor and stick to it.

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Stay tuned for part 2!



Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What is a press kit?

According to allbusiness.com, a press kit (aka media kit) is a packet of informational material made for the media, potential clients, vendors and investors and other individuals.

The point of a press kit is to have a centralized overview of your business's history, activities, accomplishments and media coverage. It can be as minimal or detailed as you want, but your press kit needs to have company and product information to make a good first impression.

So how do you make a press kit and what goes in it?

Most have some or all of the following:

Introductory letter. The letter should portray your company and/or product in an effective way and show why your recipient should explore your other content.

Corporate history. This needs to have basic information about your business. You can summarize your company's history, recent awards and achievemnts, if relevant. On another sheet, you can include your mission, goals and objectives. Biographies of top employees might also be helpful.

Single-sheet documents. These are things like fact sheets for certain products, a glossary of terms (if needed) and a list of of frequently asked questions. Brochures and annual reports are also good, as are future promotions and events, a list of where your products are sold and a checklist of what else is in the press kit.

Positive press coverage. This includes newspaper and magazine articles, any press releases previously distributed and white papers.

Photos and other images, logos, CDs and/or DVDs.

By doing these things, you can produce a press kit that's easy to revise and one that will provide potential clients with lots of info about your company and position your business as a professional one.

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If you have any questions about press kits or need one for your business, please contact me: jamiefleming@mochawriter.com.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Hey editors...

...and anyone else who's interested, I write articles, too!

I specialize in writing lifestyle topics (self-help and motivational in particular), cultural and diversity issues, women's issues and profiles on individuals.

I also produce a blog, for colored gurls.

If you're interested in seeing my work you can check out my online portfolio and blog.

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Need to contact me? Leave me a comment or email me: jamiefleming@mochawriter.com.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Four Benefits of Press Releases

1. It gets the word about your new company and new happenings. Usually, when you're first getting started, people haven't heard of you. So, you want to be sure people know who you are and what your company provides.
2. Press releases are a good way to increase the visibility of your website. You'll get visitors to your site from your press release, and it will help expand your credibility with search engine positions, which can equal more visitors and more money.
3. They let the public know what you offer. Even if people have heard of your business, they may not know all the services or products you provide. Sending out press releases about new products and services emphasize top sales of a product and regularly lets the public know what your company is all about.
4. Using press releases for a home or small business can offer a great method to show that your company is legit. Since people often trust the media, you company will be more credible with a well-written press release about your business.

Have questions or need a press release written? Contact me: jamiefleming@mochawriter.com.

*Holiday Special*

Hi entrepreneurs and biz owners!

Between now and December 31, you can take $25 off of any Mocha Writer service. You can find a full list of services here.

To take advantage of this special, if you have any questions or want more info, shoot me an email: jamiefleming@mochawriter.com.


I just wanna be successful...

So I got an email today from Aliya S. King's blog, and her latest post is about this very, very persistent publicist who she feels everyone can learn from (you can check out the post here).

Moral of the story? "...that inner hustle needs to be on point for all of us."

I do hustle, but admittedly, I'm probably not doing as much as I could. It is something I am working towards though. I guess my thing is I don't want to be too annoying, I mean, there's a thin line between persistence and annoying the crap out of someone.

Anyway, I did get some other advice from Ms. King. A few weeks ago, I asked her how she got established as a freelance writer, and she gave a simple, yet profound answer (after saying she doesn't feel established yet...right...):

"By working my butt off. Researching good pitches, handing in decent copy- on time. And hustling. Same thing I'm doing ten years later."

Good word...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Press Release Overview

In a nutshell, a press release (or media release) is a public relations announcement sent out to the media and other targeted publications to let the public know what's going on with you and your business. It's basically your "ticket to publicity- one that can get your company coverage in publications, on TV and radio stations."

With media venues receiving hundreds of them a day, you have to be sure your press release stands out, but how?

1. Be sure you have a good reason to send a press release.
2. Aim the press release to the media outlet you are sending it to. This means thinking about the publication's audience before sending it.
3. Your press release needs to be readable and should follow the typical format:

It needs to be typed, double-spaced, on white letterhead with a contact person's name, title, company, address and phone number in the upper right-hand corner.

Below, put a concise, eye-catching headline in bold type. Next is the dateline (ex., LOS ANGELES, Ca.). After this, you begin the press release which, at most, should be one to two pages, long enough to answer the six basic news questions: who, what, when, where, why and how. The answers should be covered in order of significance.

Other things to remember:

  • Don't embellish or hype the info.
  • Pay close attention to grammar and spelling.
  • Don't use gimmicks; if your press release is well-written and relevant, you don't need a "singing telegram" to get your message out.


Here are some reasons you'd want to write and send a press release. If you are:

  • Starting a new business.
  • Introducing a new product.
  • Celebrating an anniversary.
  • Receiving an award.
  • Launcing a website.
I have samples of press releases on my website if you want to see a completed one. Check them out by clicking here. Questions or comments? Contact me!


Why you should consider starting a blog for your business

Lots of businesses have blogs, but do you know why you should have one for your business?

Well, first things first, a business blog is a way of communicating with clientele or employees to share information and expertise. They are becoming more popular because blogs are a great way to get the word out about what your company is doing, increase traffic to your website and connect with potential customers.

How else can they help?
  • Like mentioned above, a business blog is a marketing tool. Your blog gives your company the opportunity to talk about and promote your products, services and company news. It can also generate online buzz and word-of-mouth promoting.

  • Blogs can increase your sales. Your blog can keep your products and services in front of customers and let them know the benefits. Additionally, it can provide customers with a feeling being "in the know" because they're part of your community.

  • Your blog can help communicate your business' brand message. All businesses have a brand and image that others see. Your blog will give you a chance to convey the brand image you want. Consistent branding produces a sense of security and stability in customers- these are two major aspects essential in developing customer loyalty.

You can find out more about blogging on one of my favorite informational websites, problogging.net.



Articles for your Business: The Basics

Many entrepreneurs and business owners use articles and article marketing to publicize their businesses, websites and products. One benefit of doing this is finding potential customers you might have missed otherwise.

Article marketing is a website and Internet promotional tool where one places articles written by or for an individual on article syndication sites on the Web. Other people can reprint your articles on their blog or website, which will allow people to let others know about what you've written. Article marketing can be very effective, and it's an affordable way to market your business.

The best way to write an article is to write about what you know, so writing about your product or service is probably your best bet. For instance, if you sell and make jewelry, you can write about your process for making certain pieces, what's going on in the world of jewelry design or how you advertise and promote your business. You can also write about things that interest you but are unrelated to your business.

The next thing to do is find places to submit your articles. The easiest way to do this is by publishing on your own blog, website or newsletter. You can also use article directories and submit your work to search engines. Make sure you know your target market so you don't submit content that isn't relevant to a website. Additionally, you can swap or exchange articles with newsletter publishers or search by using the term 'submit your article.'

Tips for writing articles:
  • Capture your readers' attention in the first paragraph.
  • Make sure your bio, which goes at the end of your article, is understandable, brief and well-written.
  • Proofread. When complete, check to make sure it reads easily, fluidly and has no grammatical or spelling errors.
Have more questions about writing articles or need someone to write yours? Contact me at jamiefleming@mochawriter.com.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What's a freelance writer?

If you're reading this, you probably know I'm a freelance writer. However, you may not know what that really means or what I do, so...

A freelance writer is an individual who is self-employed and writes/edits/etc. without a lasting commitment to one employer. There are many, many areas in freelance writing. Some writers only cover science topics, some write grants for nonprofit organizations, and some write a little of everything.

I write articles for websites and magazines. I also write for small businesses, startups, individuals (like musicians and artists). I work at home, which can be a good and bad (I'll discuss this in a later post), and I LOVE what I do.

I made this blog for two reasons:
1. To pass on a little info I've learned to other aspiring freelance writers
2. To give tips and info about writing to entrepreneurs and business owners

With that said, if there is something you want covered or if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Until next time...

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