Saturday, January 16, 2016

The Art & Business of Writing by Chris Jones

Loved this book. So much helpful advice. Perfect size ... not too long and not too short. It even went beyond where I am in my career right now and took it to business cards (I do have a mommy card with all my businesses on it) and web hosting (I just use free Blogger and have for about 9 years) advice.

Here are some takeaways for me personally, and I have been writing for publication since about 2006 and ebooks since 2009:

  • Check out the Pomodoro timer in your phone's app store. Interesting to see how much work I was actually getting done versus how much time I THOUGHT I was spending working. It was much less, actually. Here's my post about discovering this helpful app!
  • This book made me realize that it would be doable for me to write 500 words per day if I made room in my life for that and did it first, BEFORE sitting down to my proofreading jobs. It's all about priorities.
  • The book is about the Art + Business of writing. To me that's like being good at English + Math, you know? You can't be all about the art of it ... because you also have to worry about record keeping, collections, getting clients, marketing and so much more!
  • Who is my reader? What do I hope they will learn and how will I help them? Like with my cookbooks, that's easy. And same for my book about making money to write for magazines. But my parenting Christmas and Halloweens? Kinda general and might need to be reworked into a more general Holidays book that's more focused on solutions.
  • Am I writing for them or for me? You have to somewhat write for yourself. Like most of my parenting articles were for me and same for the tater tot cookbook and even the magazine one was to compile all my markets but then I wrote all the tips in the beginning for the reader! I put all the tater tot recipes in one place so I would have them. Then I spiced them up and created more and added desserts! This gets me so excited to work on my other 8 projects I want to do, like this one!

What are some helpful things that work for you in your life as a writer?

**There were typos that were distracting to me as a proofreader. If there were only a couple I would not even mention it, but there were many and they were easy-to-catch things like commas for pauses and "your" instead of "you" ... and others. I have to admit I do proofread my own work because I'm a proofreader, but I probably should not be doing that. I recently read something decent with few typos and knew the author did not use a proofreader and she said she used Grammarly. I'm just saying Word and Grammarly are not humans, so spend the money to hire a proofreader for your baby (your book) or someone like me is going to mention it so you fix it. We don't do it to be mean, we do it so you'll make it right and do better on your next book! I promise I am not even trolling for new clients when I point these things out; I am so busy on Fiverr already! I loved this book so much that I am choosing to ignore the typos and give it five stars on Amazon!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

The #Pomodoro Technique: Focus for #ADHD #Writers

I'm reading The Art and Business of Writing by Chris Jones on my Kindle and it's full of helpful advice. I'll review it in a later post. For now, please take this gem I got in there (then, interestingly enough, I also found the same gem the next day in a speed-reading ebook I was proofreading on Fiverr, which tells me the Universe wants me to try it).

Basically in the mornings, I put my butt in my seat after getting my coffee and something to eat. Focusing after that is hard. I want to check email, Facebook, my ebook sales, Fiverr, blog stats, do some blog social media, and more. Back and forth and then I've wasted an hour! That is no way to make your dreams come true of moving to the country, traveling the world with your family and writing a bunch more books! 

So you start by hitting the app store with your smartphone (or you can just do it yourself with a timer, I suppose, but I am trying out this free app to see if it keeps track of stats and stuff ... there are also paid versions).
Then you handle your settings. I left mine on the default. So I proofread for 25 minutes and then take a break. I plan to also use this for writing so I can get articles and ebooks actually WORKED ON! After every 4 sets, you get a longer break. I'll have to use this to switch out the laundry, do some dishes, throw dinner in the slow cooker, brush my teeth, get dressed, etc. I am only doing this in the mornings so far when the kids are sleeping and I am not distracted or interrupted. Once the kids are up, all bets are off and it's homeschool and family time until I can get more work done at night, usually about another hour until my brain is too tired to think.

The timer goes quietly for 25 minutes and then buzzes or can go off with an alarm with noise and then switches to 4 minutes of break (yes, you can pause it if you need to). Sometimes I might grab my 5-pound weights I keep by my desk (a 1950s Formica table in the corner of the kitchen, my "office") or do some planks or squats. Or check email. But the point is when that time is up I have to get back to work. No more languishing in Facebook land for me!

I'd love to hear about your tips, tricks and tools for getting things done! And be sure to come back to read my review of Chris Jones' book! You'll love it!

Friday, January 1, 2016

INCOME and HOURS REPORT December 2015 #WAHM #Proofreading #Amwriting #Fiverr

*Check below the income graphic to find out my hours worked and how that shakes out hourly and after taxes.

Let's get some things out of the way before I show you my rockin' infographic I made on the FREE site Also, here are the figures for August 2015 at $1,658.

Here is September 2015 at $2,354.

Here is October 2015 at $1,448. (vacation month)

Here is November 2015 at $2,272.

December was crazy busy with proofreading, as you'll see on the graphic below. Lots of Fiverr jobs and a couple of outside jobs found me as well. I've done a ton of BlogHer work but that won't pay until March so you'll see a spike then. Trying to get some of the regional parenting magazines to pay is really starting to make me mad and it's time to work on the next edition of the book and make sure they get the boot so you don't have similar experiences. Ebooks did well this month only thanks to Kindle Unlimited, where you pay $10 a month and can have up to 10 ebooks on your Kindle at a time, switching them out with others. If people are grabbing my book that way and actually reading the pages, I get paid based on pages read and based on the pot of money of KU subscribers (I am one of them!). So if you get my book on KU, please take the time to flip through it!

WHO am I?
I am the homeschooling mom of 5 kids and wife to Aron. I graduated from community college at the age of 28 with a 2-year Associate of Arts general degree. My work background: waitress, hostess, secretary, office manager at various places. I got many opportunities to learn how to proofread but have no formal training in writing, social media or direct sales. I quit my job in 2001 to stay home with my first son and never went back to work in an office.

WHAT do I do?
I'm a blogger, author of books, writer of regional parenting magazine articles, social media maven, proofreader, Jamberry consultant and Younique presenter.

Why I am sharing my income?
I like to show what can be done. I am able to fit in at least 20 working hours per week and usually more while homeschooling my kids, loving on my husband and taking the kids places to have fun (pool, sports, field trips, co-op, playdates, trips, etc.). I am not sharing this to brag or because I think I rock. I am sharing so you know that someone with no English degree can be a writer and a proofreader and make a decent income.

I recently decided to focus on just six main areas of income, as opposed to the way I used to do it, making pennies here and there in way too many online places. Diversification is still very important to online income for me, but by focusing on six areas, balls are not getting dropped and my time is more focused.

** I call Younique and Jamberry income "online" because I don't do vendor events or home parties.

So what you see above is what I RECEIVED ... in my accounts and in the mail as checks. So a lot of that was EARNED before December. So what I EARNED in December is $2,279 and I worked 100 hours this month EVEN ... no joke! ... and I'll try to get better about tracking time I worked on my ebooks so you can see time put in on the front end of that for income on the back end eventually.

If you want to divide $2,279 EARNED in January by 100 hours worked, you get $22.79 per hour. Yes, that sounds great to be working at home all comfy cozy while my kids sleep and then they wake up and we homeschool and have a blast the rest of the day.

KEEP IN MIND, however, that taxes are not paid on that. And that my health insurance is through my husband's work. If you want to take about 20% off the top of that for taxes, just for fun, then I make $18.23 per hour. Still not bad and I set my own hours and don't work with people face-to-face, which rocks for my ADD!!!! I can make more if I rock magazine articles because I spent an hour or so on one and then if it's decent it sells again and again, making my bottom line look AMAH-ZING!

The dollar amounts I show are what I actually RECEIVED in my hot little hand or PayPal account, not what I EARNED because things show up at different times and take different amounts of time to come around. Some months I may have a lot of articles in publications but don't show much income ... that's because checks will often show up later and many at one time.

*This is the book I reference that helps me make money writing articles and also brings in a little bit of income all by itself ... I don't hit the article writing very hard because I'm super busy with LIFE and MOTHERING and proofreading!

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