Monday, April 29, 2013

Ty B.

Ty B. is another one of my repeat customers. He sends me interesting and cool business articles to write. In other words he says, "I want an article about How many frogs eat out in Italy," and I find out and write the article for him.

He has some really cool articles, and I actually learn a lot. His jobs are probably the most important to me, because I am now considered a small business owner. So things like knowing how many frogs eat out in Italy becomes vastly important.

His articles are so informative, that I frequently want to tell others about them - "Hey, did you know that 7,500 frogs eat out at restaurants in Venice on Thursday nights in May?" but I can't. Instead, I have to think up crazy titles just to tell people about him.

This is because I have a confidentiality agreement with Ty B. (In case you didn't guess by my vague references, I also have a confidentiality agreement with Simple N as well.)

Few customers actually require them, but I honor them when they do. However, even when I do not have an explicit confidentiality agreement with someone, (for example Johnny-5) I still maintain some confidentiality until the project is at least complete and old. This gives my employer a jump on the market should he or she want it.

There was one employer that I got fed up with over her confidentiality agreement and canceled the contract. She was from overseas, so I give her that. However, her confidentiality agreement wanted me to destroy all copies of my work if requested. I did not feel comfortable about this. I do not mind if someone else uses my work and says it is their own, but I do not want to destroy all my records of my work. I did actually sign this contract with her, but then I sent her my contract and she balked.
She wanted my contract to say that I would keep rewriting books until she was satisfied - sorry, been there and not doing it again. My contract stipulates one rewrite for dissatisfaction. Usually, I will have forgotten some key detail or have some minor editing. However, I am willing to actually rewrite something twice if a client is dissatisfied. Giving someone unlimited rewrites is asking for trouble, so I refused.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Simple N

Simple N is another one of my favorite clients. I do a lot of rewriting for him and I have built an entire story (which is fictional I am sure) around his life. It is a postmodern sort of story, which is the kind of writing I can do without someone outlining what they want.

You see, Simple N frequently contacts me, sends me work, and expects it complete in three days. The type of work he sends me does not seem urgent in any way, but it is to him. He is a repeat customer, and I enjoy doing the work, but I often wonder how he makes money? The things I do are not that intensive, but he pays decently. He also pays without question - another thing I am glad of.

With Simple N, I get paid by the word. While most projects from him run from $30 - $50, one was a whopping $120. I was shaking because I thought he would never pay me that much for such simple work - I was wrong.

So what does a guy do for a living, who sends someone simple rewrites with all the necessary information and pays them well for it as long as it is done in three days...I know a good story that would explain it.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Love Story

I love to write real love stories. When I was younger, I would go around asking married couples how they met. I have always been fascinated with what initially attracts people to each other in such a way that they will stay together for the rest of their lives. Or not...

Frequently there are posts asking for an author to write a personal love story of "how we met." Unfortunately, most of these are not really happy romances.

So far, I have written two romantic "how we met" stories. Both of them ended with the man (who was paying me to write the story) leaving. Sad. Shocking. Startling.

So why are they my favorite? I think it is because I am getting the other half of the coin now that I am happily married and have been for fourteen years. Now, instead of finding out what worked, I am finding out what didn't work. A small part of me is giving these people a story written down about themselves that they accomplished. I am hoping that they will find their true love the next time around. I also enjoy getting to know these people and talking with them.

The hardest part is letting go and not knowing where the story actually ends.

An alternative to this type of story is the "write my life story." These are also interesting to write, but a little more difficult and in-depth.

Monday, April 22, 2013


My favorite job right now is translating. This is an easy job that pays relatively well. Like "spinning" programs, there are also translating programs. I use one to make my job go quicker.
However, once again, computers are not very intelligent. Sometimes they spit out the worst incoherent garble you can imagine.

The perfect example of this is when in my French sentences, I discovered two sentences in Russian. Here, I thought, I will show them that I can be versatile in my translation languages. I stuck it into my translator and out popped garbage. I tried hard to get it to make sense, but I only speak two words in Russian - da and yenshina - and both were learned from an eighties rock band named "Gorky Park" who, I am sure you will be surprised to know, was from Russia. Neither of these phonetically written words were in the material I had and I do not know if I would have been able to recognize them in the native Russian writing.

Needless to say, I learned a very important lesson - I can only translate languages I am intimately familiar with. Thus said, I could probably translate Spanish into English as well. I just haven't gotten up the nerve to try it yet.

Friday, April 19, 2013


Johnny-5 is one of my favorite repeat clients. He does not pay well, but he was willing to hire me when I was first starting. Inexplicably, I find his jobs linked to more better paying jobs. It is as if he is a trend setter for me. Once he has offered me a new job and I have accepted, then other new jobs tend to come pouring into my lap.

Johnny-5 is very easy to work for. He understands that I have a busy schedule filled with better paying jobs, an he is willing to wait for the work he gives me. This means, I can accept his job and wait until I have a lull.

I am currently working on a "rewrite" for him. Sadly, this means the author he hired gave him something he cannot market. Usually a rewrite is marketable and just needs to be rewritten so it sounds like a new book. In this case, there was a need for a new book.

Another good thing about Johnny-5 is that he provides you with a detailed working outline. Generally, you only have to add two or three paragraphs about each of his sub-topics. However, I am hoping he will send me some new topics to explore. The past two jobs were on the same topic.

Most freelancers would enjoy writing about the same thing multiple times. It means less research and more money. You can also do something called "spinning" but I could not do that. It is where you take a computer program, put a document into it, and the computer spits out another document that will pass a copyright scan even though it is basically the same.

The biggest problem is that computers are not very intelligent. They tend to spit out garbage that makes no sense or is overly flowery.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


Although I edit immaculately for a living, I am finding that the more I get paid to edit, the less I self-edit things that I am not doing for my job. I suppose it is like this chef I once knew who was the head chef for a five-star restaurant, but ended up eating McDonalds every night because he was married to another five-star chef and neither of them wanted to cook.

I have always proofread everything I have typed into a computer. Even in the 80s, when few people were on computers but none of them followed grammar or spelling rules, I went back and edited before posting. My computer friends thought I was crazy.

Now, I have always tried to edit – even text messages, but I am finding myself slipping in a LOL or even an ASAP here and there, which may be amusing in some cases, but it bothers me afterward.

I also drop commas or add them where they don’t belong, and although I do run at least a Word check on things, I sometimes forget to read back over them.
The worst thing is that I do not know why writing and editing for a living has suddenly made me less grammatical in my daily work. However, I am warning you now that it has: so expect errors - horrendous errors to follow. If I ever become a rich and famous author, I will do my best to hire someone with meticulous spelling and grammar to write for me.

Monday, April 15, 2013

All kinds of jobs

When you freelance, you not have to be a writer. Freelancers can be programmers, web designers, artists, musicians, and yes, authors. Some people even do freelance tutoring – although how you tutor a second grader every day of the week from afar is beyond me. My specific category of freelancing is “Writing, Editing, and Translation.”

Although some freelancers only write, only edit, or only translate, I happen to do all three. I only translate from French into English; however, I am considering translating Spanish to English as well. I could go the other way, but I am not a native speaker and I know I would screw up the grammar. I tend to do pretty much any form of editing, but I am currently only familiar with Harvard and APA styles. I am thinking about learning Chicago Style, but I am not there yet.

When it comes to writing, I try to stay away from things I am not good at – like writing humor or press releases. I personally do not write blogs (as a freelancer), nor do I do web content (the one job I had gave instructions that were very vague), nor will I write erotica, product/book reviews, or anything that I feels violates my code of ethics/morals/and the Bible. I have had two jobs that I took, but then declined because of this. This includes translating websites that sell forged diplomas. Who posts these jobs?!?

What I like to do varies from time to time, but that is the nice thing about freelancing, you can change what you are doing or what type of work you are doing whenever a new job is posted.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Living under a storm cloud.

Getting this blog off was actually troublesome, but I am one to have what most people would call “bad luck.” I do not call it that. If I had to choose a term, I would say that my life has been a series of unfortunate events.

For example, when I go into the grocery store to get one item because I have somewhere I am supposed to be, the cashier will inadvertently run out of register tape and need to change it. Or it will be the end of her shift, or the power will go out just as I am being rung up. This is the story of my life.

I also tend to get rather bad fortunes in fortune cookies. No one ever believes this, after all fortune cookies are stocked with wonderful sayings like “You will have good luck for the rest of your life” “Happiness is eternal for you” and “Love will walk in at the most unexpected moments.” My fortunes are usually along the lines of “Try not to get hit by a cement truck tomorrow”
When I went to start this blog, before I wrote the first post, before I was even able to design the page, my blog was automatically marked as spam and deleted. Why? It is just the way the cookie crumbles for me. Then after waiting one whole day for my blog to be reviewed, I got on and tried to adjust the design – and the page wouldn’t load. So, I skipped that an wrote the first blog  - only to discover that it saved itself seven times. C’est la vie.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Why freelance?

When I was younger, my mother bought a Mary Kay starter kit and became the free-spirited self-employed woman of the 90s with her own in home business. Actually, she ended up spending more money on the starter kit than she ever made from the business. I think most of the products she bought expired before they were either sold (only a few) or used (much more).

Since that time I have been reasonably skeptical of businesses that target stay-at-home moms. Although I truly do like some of the products offered, I find myself feeling sorry for the woman selling whatever items at whatever the latest house party is that I have been invited to attend. I do try to make a point to go to as many parties as I can and order whatever I can afford to spend if for no other reason than to try and help the poor woman (who is almost always a shy introvert) make some of her investment money back. Yes, I know there are success stories, but those are few and far between.

So, when I was desperate for money, I was overjoyed to discover a market for freelance writers. Yes, everyone dreams of being a writer. No, not everyone can cut it. But freelancing is a whole different monster. Many make a decent living and some employers really don't care about quality as long as you are fast and cheap.

I do have some writing experience - I could have minored in creative writing had I completed the necessary forms and interviews. I also like to think of myself as a little better than average writer. Since my husband and I have a blog we write together in an effort to promote a book we have written, I figured I could write a blog about my experiences making a paycheck writing without having "made it" as a writer.