Doing What You Should Be Doing

It’s rare that I have two videos on one article, but today’s the day to be different. Actually, every day is a day to be different, but today I’m being even more different than usual. Sounds convoluted, doesn’t it? That explains me to a T (I don’t know where that phrase came from, and neither does anyone else apparently). Anyway, that’s the best I’ve got. 🙂

In this first video, I question why we don’t do the things we should be doing. Let’s lead with that, and then come back:

Continue reading Doing What You Should Be Doing

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Most People Hiring Writers Know Nothing About Writing

Last year I wrote an article titled Are Writers Taken For Granted? It addressed how horribly many people who are trying to write for living or to make extra income are paid, which is still a problem these days.

breakfast at B'ville Diner

The last paragraph explains this picture 🙂

At the time I said that I wasn’t going to be shilling myself out there trying to find writing gigs because it felt demeaning. Well, after as bad a last 12 months as I’ve had, I’m back to looking for some writing gigs as I try to reestablish my consulting business.

How did I get into this position? There were a few things that got in the way.

It took me about six months to get over the depression of my mother passing away. Then I started working on content for a health care revenue cycle training site, and I was doing pretty well with that until some of the technology parts of it shut me down. I was always pretty good creating websites and understanding word press, but things like auto responders and templates outside of WordPress templates, and many other things were way beyond my field of expertise.

This was something I actually started in late November, and because of the technology issues I didn’t launch the site until either the last week of June or the first week of July. To say that it’s been a bust so far would be under estimating just how bad it’s been.

In trying to resurrect my consulting business I spend a lot of time on LinkedIn, basically promoting myself, my business and my training site. The thing is, LinkedIn tells me that I’m reaching anywhere between 300 and 1500 people with the things I’m posting, but that doesn’t mean anything because they use the word “impressions“, which means it might show up in their feed because they’re connected to someone else, but it doesn’t mean that anybody has actually clicked on what I’ve posted. I have a plan for the next step I’m going to try there, but it turns out that over the last five years a lot of my previous connections have left the platform or aren’t doing that kind of work anymore.

So, I’ve been intentionally scrolling through and bidding on writing gigs. I set a minimum price for myself because it doesn’t do me any good to take on writing articles if they’re paying anything less than $35 an hour. What’s funny is that, overwhelmingly, people are paying way less than that. Since I’m only looking at potential writing gigs from people in the United States, it’s proving to me once again that those who really aren’t writers have no idea how to judge how much they should be paying writers.

Let me give you a couple of examples. There are some people who want to pay three cents a word for articles between 750 and 1,000 words. For someone like me, if it’s on a topic I already know I can hammer that out between 15 and 30 minutes. If it’s on a topic I have to research, it could take between two and three hours. At three cents a word and 750 words requested, that comes out to $22.50. For 30 minutes that’s not bad, but for three hours that comes to just under $7.25 an hour, and that’s not sustainable.

There are also a lot of requests for ghostwriters to write books for other people to take credit for, and I understand that’s kind of a thriving industry these days. However, most of the people who are looking for ghostwriters are looking for anywhere from 20,000 to 50,000 word books, and have budgets of less than $300.

One of my books over there on the left comes in at around 56,000 words. It took me three months to put it together (actually 2 years, but that’s another story), and it was on a subject I already knew. I’m just imagining how bad a book on a subject I don’t know, such as vampire stories, lesbian love, or a lot of things that young people do these days that I don’t even know what these things are, would be, let alone whether I would write it quick enough to write a quality book where making $300 sounds like a good deal.

Still, I did find, apply and got one writing gig and that wasn’t bad, as I bid for $50 an hour and that’s what I got… kind of… The guy who hired me paid $50 an hour, but the site I got it through took 20% of that which means I got paid $40 an hour. That’s not bad because it took me two hours to compose each article, with most of the time spent researching the topic and then testing out what I was going to recommend for people who might see those articles. The person who requested that understood what writers go through, was specific on what he wanted, and gave me the leeway to have time to research it. The gig could have lasted five hours for each article, but I got them completed quicker than that and, being ethical, I only billed for the time it took me to complete each article.

If you take a quick look at the services link at the top right of this blog, you’ll see that I have pricing for either writing articles, editing articles, or editing books. I think those rates are fair, although I’m realizing I need to increase the amount for editing someone’s book, which I’ve done often enough over the years.

If you’re editing a book that’s enjoyable, that’s not a bad price; if you’re editing a book on a topic you don’t like, or there are so many errors that it takes you forever just to get through one page, you’re drastically under charging. Many people who hire editors want the editing done as quickly as possible, and if you’re going to devote yourself to something like that you deserve more money.

My overall thought takes me back to the biggest recommendation I’ve made for anyone who’s looking to start a blog. Sit down and write 10 articles, and see how long it takes you. If you can’t write 10 articles, then you don’t want to be a blogger. If it takes you three months to write 10 articles, you can still be a blogger, but it’s going to be harder than you thought it was going to be.

If you want an idea of how much time it will take someone who’s a professional writer to write on a subject they don’t already know, you should sit down and try to write just one article on a topic you know and see how hard or easy that is. If you find it easy, you should write your own content. If you find it hard, and you still want to hire someone else to do the writing for you, you have to be reasonable and pay writers at least a fair price because it’s not only about the writing, it’s about the research.

Those are my thoughts on the subject, and as someone who tips servers anywhere from 30% to 50% in restaurants, I think I’ve proven, at least to myself, that I’m willing to pay more for quality service. But that’s me; let me know your thoughts.

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6 Things You Should Know About Your Feet

I really do share about almost anything on this blog. 🙂 In today’s lesson, I want to talk about feet, your feet specifically but using my feet as an example. many of us don’t tell the truth about our health; some try to ignore it. One of those things we tend to lie about is our feet.


Gramody via Compfight

We need our feet if we hope to continue getting around. Sure, sometimes it’s our legs bothering us, but sometimes leg problems are caused by your feet; I’ll get into that one a bit more; let’s get started.
Continue reading 6 Things You Should Know About Your Feet

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Try Not To Take Things Personally

Back in 2011, I wrote an article titled Taking Twitter Unfollows Too Personally. In that article, I talked about the strange reaction Chris Brogan received when he decided to unfollow all the people he’d been connected to, even though his reasoning was pretty just at the time. I was pretty amazed that all those people took it personally, even though he wrote about it to explain what he was doing.

Amnesty 20p books - 2

Caroline via Compfight

I’m going to admit that there are times when I struggle with not taking things personally. Sure, sometimes things do get personal, and in those instances you have to deal with it directly in some way. My favorite way, at least on social media, is to block people so I don’t have to bother with them anymore. It keeps me from saying something rude or from escalating things to an extreme.

Every once in a while I’ll stay calm and try to diffuse a situation, especially when I don’t really know the people I’m suddenly in conflict with. For instance, some years ago I got into a confrontation with a couple of millennials about something called Gamergate, which I really didn’t understand but had read a story about. I let them fuss and fume, called them on a couple of things they said, let them calm down and then had a nice conversation with them that ended well; they thanked me for listening to them and their side of things. I could have really gone off the deep end but in that case I felt it was better to see if I could find a way to talk to them instead.

I could bring things closer to home by talking about people I know. In at least 3 cases now I’ve asked people if I could interview them, only to see them do their first interviews with someone else. Each person started off with something like “I’d be too nervous to do an interview” or “I don’t know what I’d say”. Each of them I pursued more than a couple of years. Eventually… well, I already stated what happened.

Now, I could take it personally, wonder what I might have done, wondered if I wasn’t as compelling a person to be interviewed by them and sulked. Truthfully, I did sulk briefly each time I found out about it. Then I moved on; after all, I’ve interviewed a good number of people anyway, including one of the people I’ve talked about above, though I’ve struggled to get anyone to let me interview them in the longest time.

One of those things we all have to learn is that it’s not always about us. Sometimes it’s timing. Sometimes a person is having a bad day and decides to take it out on you. Last year I was having a conversation with a guy on Twitter about something and he said he was tired of being called a racist. I said I hadn’t called him one. He looked back through his stream, saw that I hadn’t (I hadn’t even come close lol), and apologized for his overreaction. His assumption that, based on what he was saying at the time, was that I was going to call him one, which was strange because I’d began the conversation by saying I agreed with him on something.

It’s hard enough in life to not take everything personally. It can be harder on social media, especially since we can’t always see someone’s facial expressions and, let’s face it, the English language is so goofy that you can look at a sentence and take it many different ways sometimes, depending on how you’re reading it at the time (proper punctuation might help; just a suggestion…). Even with emojis, there’s not enough to cover some of the emotions you wish you could share that aren’t over the top or doesn’t capture what you’re feeling at the time.

By the way, here’s something to know, at least on Twitter (which I’m presently still boycotting). Back in 2016 I was vehemently against the orange guy (I live in NY state; we knew a lot about him that people in other places didn’t), and supporting Hillary Clinton, who’d been a pretty good senate representative. I mentioned that only once on Twitter, and suddenly I was being swarmed by tons of responses with all mentioning the word “deplorable” (that was their talisman after Clinton mentioned it in a press conference).

Initially I was overwhelmed, before I remembered that Twitter allows you to block words and phrases you don’t want to see. Of course I blocked “deplorable”, then blocked the orange guy’s name; all messages immediately stopped, which proved to me that they were all bots (well, it’s possible that one or two weren’t, but the majority had to be). That’s one of those times where you definitely know it’s not personal, and shouldn’t ever get upset when something like that happens.

You can also block people on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram. The processes are different for each platform, but if you’re not being bombarded it’s a better way to go than trying to get the platform moderators to get some relief; if you’re reading this you probably already know that.

Enough of that mess. In any case, try your best not to take things personally if you’re being piled on for something you might have said that pretty much means nothing, block where you can, and see if it makes you feel better and helps you communicate better, online or in person. I feel compelled to add that if you actually said something that you should have known would inflame others… well… that’s on you, Boo! Otherwise, do what I do when I just can’t handle things in the moment; go to McDonald’s and buy a fish sandwich with small fries and a large drink; yeah! 🙂

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The Proliferation Of “Fake” On Social Media

I remember years ago I read an article about the rise of fake Instagram accounts that follow those of us on the site, using the avatars of very pretty women. It’s pretty easy to tell these accounts are fake because… well, let’s face the fact that suddenly having a stunning woman with a foreign name following you is pretty suspect. Not only that, but you might get a message saying something like “hello dear” or “I’d love if you sent me a private message”.

nothing fake about this nutella pie!

Whereas that’s a nice pipe dream to believe, knowing my own personal history, I’d be an idiot not to doubt it; so would you. If you need to, you can click on the name and notice there’s only a few images along with a fake link to follow if you want more… trust me, never click on those links.
Continue reading The Proliferation Of “Fake” On Social Media

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Blogging, Social Media, Writing, Motivation and General Stuff