Is Social Media the Cure for Writer’s Block?

The growing world of social media means that everyone is now a writer. There are status updates on Facebook that could rival a short story, and the creativity required in order to twist that status update into 140 characters on Twitter can rival that of a poet, indeed inventing a new phrase, “twaiku”. These new ways of communicating have not only made everyone a writer, but they’ve opened up new doors of inspiration for working writers.

As a freelance writer, I spend a lot of time writing for various websites and blogs. There are times when the subject is dealt to me, but most of the time it is my job to think of a new and original idea. Aside from my freelance writing, I also write two blogs. And as any writer knows, it takes a lot of creativity, imagination, and determination to spend your days constantly writing about fresh, original subjects.

In Steps Social Media…

Just like so many other procrastinators, Facebook, Twitter, or some other form of social media often distracts me while I am trying to do my work (writing). Rather than hindering me, though, the updates and information I read on social media often inspires ideas for later.

Facebook as a Resource

One of my jobs as a freelance writer is to complete articles on various subjects. These subjects are usually out of my general-knowledge-range and require some research to complete. In some of these instances, I’ve begun using Facebook as a source. I recently was called upon to write an article on Global Warming, including facts. One of my Facebook friends is constantly posting news articles and videos dealing with global warming, so I utilized these posts to my advantage when writing the article.

Facebook, Twitter, and StumbleUpon as Inspiration

Writing for your own blog can be very rewarding, but it can also be stressful if you want the blog to be successful. A successful blog is one that is always fresh and has something different than other blogs. They require a lot of work and new ideas for posts daily. I keep a list of ideas that I’ve come up with, but when I get stuck, I regularly flip through Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, or any other social media site to get some sort of inspiration. I recently wrote about an article that a friend posted on Facebook, was inspired by a photo from StumbleUpon, and am continuously adding ideas to my lists from information I see through social media.

While the Internet evolves, it’s important for an internet-focused writer to evolve, too. Finding new areas of inspiration and information is one of the most helpful and rewarding ways that a writer can become and stay successful. Luckily, with the way that social media is constantly moving, there are no shortages of subjects.


Megan Campbell has a degree from Clemson University in Graphic Communications, and is currently living in Germany during a Gap Year abroad, working as an au pair and freelance writer. Her degree set her up for a great interest and knowledge of social media. You can find her on her blog, balancewithadashofcrazy, or contact her via email at meganecamp at gmail dot com.


Get a Grip on Your Writing Career with a Digital Portfolio

I am still amazed when I approach freelance writers only to find that they do not have an independent professional digital portfolio available to share with prospective clients. The disservice to their own career advancement is immeasurable. However, I do understand why many lack this vital tool for job search.

No Independent Portfolio? The Risks

While many freelance writers begin their careers on outsourcing job sites, the profiles provided there should not be the first point of reference for prospective employers. Profiles on outsourcing sites can be a great resource for building your main portfolio, but should never be considered your go-to profile. There are a few reasons for this.

  1. Relying on an outsourcing site as a main source of income is a sign of newness
  2. Past feedback or the lack of reviews on your outsourcing site profile may leave prospective clients with an invalid view of your skills.
  3. Clients who view your outsource site profile may then decide to use that site to use your services.

Most clients who have dealt with freelance writers for an extended period of time will recognize your use of an outsourcing site as a sign of your freshness in the field and may not be interested in a writer new to the game over those with a few years of experience behind them. On the same note, having negative or neutral feedback from many months ago when you were new, may not be a fair reflection of your current skills. Lastly, you never want to encourage a client who prefers to deal directly with writers to begin using an outsourcing site that will then crop your payout and subject you to their contracts and regulations.

Make No Excuses

If you are a freelance writer and have no independent portfolio to share with prospective, the time to create it is right now. There are only two options for sites you should use for a digital portfolio.

You will find FolioSpaces to be very basic and barebones. This is exactly what you want if your entire freelance career is focused on writing. Although a frilly digital resume may look great to you, unless your client is specifically shopping for graphics or photog skills, keep it pro by using FolioSpaces. You will likely need to go through some trial and error to get your portfolio just the way you desire. Ask others to check it over too in case you are missing something. Nowhere is a proofreader more important than on your resume or portfolio.



Make Your Digital Portfolio on FolioSpaces

What Your Digital Profile Tells People

Desperate Times Hits the World of Self-Publishing – Part I

For writers, the publishing world has drastically changed over the past one hundred years. At the top of the century, writers received fame and notoriety for their writing skills. Their skills combined with a bit of their own personal successes and tragedies, often rocketed them to the top of the short lists.

However, once the internet made its place in our lives, the publishing world was quickly brought to its knees. Hardcopy publishing companies of the smaller variety began to topple like dominos. Only the toughest survived and once through the fight found themselves with a new variety of beasts with which to contend. Self-publishing companies and eBook publishers have changed the entire geography of what it means to be a writer these days. I recently found one incredible digital author that agrees.

The Future of Literature

I came across a book with an interesting description not long ago. Desperate Times, by Nick Antinozzi proved to me once again why the future of literature lay in digital print. Nick’s story isn’t even my usual preference, but hooked by the storyline provided, I dove on in. Proof positive that a good description will get you somewhere.

Devoid of elegant prose or wordy fluff, the story quickly progressed into one I simply could not put down. Once I was nearing the finish line on the book, I began to wonder. Who wrote this book? Is this person formally educated? Where did he get his inspiration? Why isn’t this a movie?

So in my usual manner, I hunted Nick down, via Social Media of course. I located him fairly quickly by looking up the books name on Facebook. A Desperate Times fan page, complete with the book’s cover, was quickly located. I left a comment and twiddled my thumbs a bit, knowing how some of my previous responses for questions and interviews have been received. Nick quickly responded and there we began.

When did you start writing?

I have been writing for as long as I can remember. By the time I was in my mid-thirties, I had read thousands of books and armed with my trusty Starwriter, I thought I’d take a stab at writing a novel. I had no idea what I was doing, but many months later I had some 300 pages that certainly looked like a manuscript.

Like a lot of first-time writers, I thought I had just written the next Grapes of Wrath. I picked up the latest copy of Writer’s Digest and I began mailing query letters and hard copies to New York. Some weeks later, I received my first rejection letter along with my manuscript in the self-addressed, stamped envelope that I had provided on the off chance that my contact had gone out of business or moved. The manuscripts came back unopened, but the letters were kind and explained that lots of people had word processors and that there was no room at the inn.

Undaunted, I repackaged my manuscripts, wrote a fresh batch of query letters and I tried again. The postage was killing me. Still, I was sure that if someone would simply read my manuscript, they would want to represent it. One day I got the letter that every writer dreams of. An agency wrote to tell me that they saw great promise in my work and instructed me to send my novel to an editing company that specialized in work like mine. Furthermore, the editing company acted as book scouts for the major players in New York and even Hollywood. The edit would be expensive, but it was necessary.

I said I never went to college, that doesn’t mean I didn’t pay for it. They should have addressed the letter: Dear Sap.

I would later learn that the agency was receiving kickbacks from the editing company. I was crushed and years would pass before I began writing again. I had learned a valuable lesson and it had cost me dearly. I began reading books about writing as finally dawned upon me that I still had much to learn.

When did you first publish?

I continued to write short stories, now writing on my trusty Compaq 386. I had made the jump to digital and I had no idea how much it would someday change my life. I now had access to what seemed like an unlimited amount of information. Years passed and I continued to write and research.

A good friend asked me why I wasn’t publishing my stories on a website. Although I knew nothing of creating websites, but he patiently guided me through the process and suddenly, I was a published writer. I began churning out short stories and I began posting them on my website with just a five-minute edit. They weren’t perfect, but I was living my dream and people began to find me and the stories that I had written.

That was when I decided to take another crack at writing a novel and Desperate Times was born.

Self-Publishing Options Explode for Authors


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5 Common Mistakes that Can Kill a Freelance Writing Career

Although it may sound like a flashy, fun, and free-roaming option for employment, successful freelance writers can attest to the fact that it likely wasn’t easy getting to a point where work was available, and lucrative enough, to merit the words career or employment in the first place.

Underestimating the Workload

Very often, those new to the self-guided world of freelance writing lack the basic understanding of how long content creation can take. For this reason, many may underestimate the time required to adeptly data mine, study, and create original content.

Too Soon to Quit Your Day Job

Many who initiate a career in publishing, online content creation, or professional blogging do so as a secondary job while still working a full-time position outside the home. Although this is definitely the prudent path to take before embarking on a freelance position, gaining a profitable client or two may be a source of disillusion. Those new to a freelance writing career should understand fully that a well-paid contract or two is not serious cause to quit your day job, quite yet.

Blazing Burnout

For some who are first introduced to the possibility of a lucrative, beneficial, and legitimate work from home job, the excitement can be barely containable. This may cause a writer to rush out, grab up as many jobs as they can, and work ruthlessly and with great determination for long periods of time. The work is so convenient that taking a break, slowing down, or in general controlling the overflow of work seems unnecessary and detrimental to the bottom line. However, without creating a healthy and steady pace for themselves, many writers can quickly begin to experience burnout, a very effective freelance career killer.

Ignoring Social Media Opportunities

Any freelance career may be heavily dependent on networking opportunities. For freelancers who have chosen a ‘specialty’ niche, this could not be a truer statement. Naturally, those who specialize will have far more limited resources than those who openly take on a variety of industries. In these instances, refusal to utilize the career ops available through social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Thumbtack, or even Twitter may reduce overall opportunities greatly, and cause a full-time career to dwindle to little more than a part-time hobby with pay.

Improper Time Management

Those who choose a career that allows them to work from home may do so for many reasons. Most common reasons include those that involve the care of others such as children or adults who cannot care for themselves. However, sacrificing a career outside the home may not be the only required personal forfeiture. If yelling children or constant interruptions are a part of your day, you may need to set aside time at night when the house is quiet to begin your work process. Providing distracted or disjointed content due to constant interference is sure to interrupt your workflow, perhaps even destroy it.

The most important thing to remember about any type of freelance work is that there is indeed much work involved. If you begin to slack on a career that self-controlled, there will be no one to prod you along, supplying gentle encouragement, and stimulating increased focus. Those who cannot initiate their own self-driven ambition and desire to follow through may quickly find themselves submerged by the freedom they sought when they considered this type of career in the first place.

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