Freelance at a Glance

What a great month we’ve had, discussing the many styles and facets of freelance writing. Why? To inspire and promptto lead you down the write road. (Sneaky reference to our tagline). 🙂

Is there something you’d like to explore in more depth? Many of our articles included links to follow for more information.

I’ve summarized the month to make it easy for you to check them out.

Now, if this isn’t enough to keep you researching and studying and goal-setting for a while, just wait until November gets started with devotional writing. I hope you’ll stop back in often to see what’s happening.

We’re always up to something on the Inspired Prompt blog. [click-to-tweet]

And speaking of prompts, here’s a fun one—what do you see in this photo, beyond the obvious? Let your imagination run free, and start a story…

imagination, voyage

3 Questions Wednesday with Mary DeMuth

Mary DeMuth is an international speaker and podcaster, and she’s the novelist and nonfiction author of over thirty-five books, including the latest: The Seven Deadly Friendships (Harvest House Publishers 2018). She loves to help people re-story their lives. She lives in Texas with her husband of 28 years and is the mom to three adult children. Find out more at marydemuth.com.

Welcome to 3 Questions Wednesday, Mary. Here’s our first question—

Can you describe yourself in three words?

Mary:  Authentic, communicator, empathetic

I love those, and I’ve read enough of your writing to agree with all three. Next question,

Someone offers you a fully-paid writing research trip to any place you desire to go. Where would it be and why?

Mary:  Geneva, Switzerland. I’ve actually had a conversation with a friend of mine who is interested in me possibly being a writer in residence there. I love Switzerland, plus I speak (bad) French. The food is amazing. The people are awesome. The scenery is magnifigue!

What a great place for a writer. The history, the scenery…the food! Question #3:

If someone made a movie of your life, what would be the theme song?

Mary: In the Sun, by Joseph Arthur – The song has special meaning to me as we used it as the background music for a presentation we made when we were church planters in France. The year prior had been a literal hell, but we were still standing.

Here are the lyrics:

I picture you in the sun wondering what went wrong
And falling down on your knees asking for sympathy
And being caught in between all you wish for and all you seen
And trying to find anything you can feel that you can believe in

May God’s love be with you
Always
May God’s love be with you

I know I would apologize if I could see your eyes
‘Cause when you showed me myself I became someone else
But I was caught in between all you wish for and all you need
I picture you fast asleep
A nightmare comes
You can’t keep awake

May God’s love be with you
Always
May God’s love be with you

‘Cause if I find
If I find my own way
How much will I find
If I find
If I find my own way
How much will I find
You

A beautiful song, and a wonderful memory. Sometimes you just have to walk through things. Thank you, Mary DeMuth, for taking time to answer our three questions.

And now, a treat for our Readers—

About the book:

There’s something wrong with your friendship, but you can’t figure out why. Is everything in your head? Unfortunately, toxic friendships happen to everyone, but we seldom identify the underlying issues while we battle confusion or the friendship breaks up.

Maybe you’re left bewildered in the friendship’s wake, paralyzed to move forward.

After wading through several difficult friendships, Mary DeMuth reveals the seven different types of toxic relationships and empowers you to identify the messiest relationships causing you the greatest anguish.

Face the reality of your broken relationship, and unearth exactly what went wrong. Discover why you may attract toxic people. Heal from broken relational patterns so you can choose safer friends. Evaluate when it’s time to press into a friendship or let it go.

You’ll gain a new relationship with Jesus as you trust him to be your confidant, healer, and life-giving friend.

Click to Tweet: Multi-published, award-winning author, Mary DeMuth, is our 3 Questions Wednesday guest via @InspiredPrompt. Leave a comment on the blog post for a chance to win her new book, The Seven Deadly Friendships.

How to Break Into Freelance Writing

by Jean Matthew Hall

A freelance writer is one who works on a self-employment basis. They can work for just one magazine or, more often, for several different publications at a time. The more versatile a writer can be, the more likely they are to be published and paid for their work.

Freelance writing can include magazine articles and stories, curriculum materials, coloring books, online magazines and websites for adults or for children, business websites, ad copy, testing materials and on and on.

Whatever type of writing you choose to do a few basics apply. They include (1) targeting the periodicals to which you submit and (2) creating your articles to fit those target periodicals.

Targeting Periodicals

  • Get organized and prepared—as a freelance writer you’ll be dealing with a number of publishers, website owners, etc. Create a large file for each one.
  • Decide what topics interest you—Most periodicals buy far more nonfiction pieces than fiction. Make a list of things you are curious or knowledgeable about: animals, space exploration, American history, Madagascar, inventions, etc.
  • Research periodicals that relate to those topics—this will be really time consuming. But you want to avoid sending your articles to the wrong types of periodicals, if you want to be published.
  • Start with Market Guides—Google “magazine (or periodical) market guides” and you’ll find a list for your type of writing. They cost about $30 each. Then USE them. Check the material in the front of the guides. Most have lots of information for creating and submitting the articles you are writing.
  • Make a chart—make a spreadsheet type chart for organizing the information on publishers. Include the following for each:

Periodical’s name, acquisition editor’s name, editor’s email or submissions email address, periodical’s website URL, do they accept unsolicited queries, the number of subscribers, target readers (age or business or hobby), list their regular features, what rights they purchase, what they pay, type of fiction they use. Make a column for notes.

  • Choose 5 or 6 publishers to target with your submission.
  • Read and study several issues of each of those periodicals. You can do this by requesting or purchasing copies, reading samples on their websites, reading them in your public library, using your public library’s website “Research Tools.”
  • Study the periodical’s website. Writer’s or Submissions Guidelines are often hidden. Search under “Contact Us” or “About Us.” Also look for author’s terms. Read and follow their guidelines exactly.

Now you’re ready to research and/or write your article or story.

  • Brainstorm ideas. Nancy I. Sanders suggests a “Wagon Wheel” graphic organizer that includes a hub with the types of articles you wish to write and spokes for potential ideas for nonfiction articles. On the side of the page list the topics that have already been covered in the magazine samples you’ve read. Those should help you with ideas to write on the spokes.
  • Contact the publisher with your ideas. Write a short paragraph of description for each idea. Be sure to include how you think it will fit in with that periodical’s focus or theme. Mention any other publications you have written for. Ask the editor if they would be interested in any of your ideas. Be sure to include your contact information and thanks for considering your ideas.

Sound simple? NO!

But it’s worth the effort if you:

  • Want to see your name in print
  • Want to touch the lives of thousands of people with your idea
  • dream of writing an article about the subject of your passion
  • are serious about generating income from your writing.

You can also search for freelance writing jobs in places like:

Job Boards. Try some of the free ones:

  • Problogger
  • BloggingPro
  • All Freelance Writing Job Board

Twitter is a great place to find freelance writing opportunities. Follow several freelance writing job boards like:

  • @Write_Jobs,
  • @WhoPaysWriters
  • @JJobs_tweets

Ask around among friends, family, neighbors, former coworkers.

Make it clear on your website that you are looking for freelance writing opportunities.

Guest blog for free. Such articles not only give you exposure, but also count as writing samples!

Network with other freelance writers on Facebook.

Visit local printers and web designers. Let them know you are looking for freelance jobs, give them a sample or two of your work and a business card. Ask if they will keep you in mind or mention you to their customers.

Join Face Book Groups for freelance writers. A few of these groups are:

  • The Smart Passive Income Community
  • Blogger2Business
  • The Entrepreneur Incubator

Oh! And don’t forget to pray. Ask the Lord to provide opportunities and to put you right where HE wants you with your writing.

Jean Matthew Hall spent twenty-six years teaching children and teens–and loving it! Then twenty more years teaching women’s Bible studies.  She recently signed a contract with Little Lamb Books for a series of picture books. Yipee! The first book should be available in the spring of 2019. Sometimes our dreams come true in ways we couldn’t imagine. Jean’s have.

Click to Tweet: How to Break Into Freelance Writing via @InspiredPrompt with @Jean_Hall – make it clear on your website that you are looking for #freelance #writing opportunities.

 

How to Spell Freelance

by Kristy Horine

He darted through the stream of folks flowing into the sanctuary.

Behind me, the pastor asked a deacon, “You ever see that man before?”

A stranger. Here. In the vestibule of our church.

Normal people would think, “Oh, how nice. A guest. Let’s go make him feel welcome.”

Not me. I’m a writer, with a hyperactive imagination. I breathed a prayer of protection and courage, fast-forwarded active shooter training in my head, then slipped into the sanctuary toward my usual second row seat, ready to worship, ready to move if necessary.

Moments later, the stranger appeared at the end of my pew.

“This seat taken?”

“If you sit in it, it will be.”

I smiled and prayed again. Hard. This was close-range business now. I extended my hand in his direction.

“I’m Kristy, and you are …?”

“John*.”

“Where you from, John?”

“Texas.”

“What brings you to Kentucky?”

“Fort Knox.”

That explained the high and tight hair and the clipped answers. I simply could not stop the interrogation at this point.

“You drove at least two hours this morning to come to church here?”

“No,” John admitted. “I’m going to the library to do some genealogical research.”

“So your family is from here? What’s the name?”

“Smith.”

Seriously. (*Even though I changed his name for anonymity, he did give me one of the top three most common surnames ever.)

The worship service started and the Lord helped to quiet my spirit, but not my curiosity. During the offertory hymn, I googled library hours and discovered the genealogy room was open on Sundays.  Maybe this close-lipped, corduroy-wearing Texan was telling the truth after all.

After service, I learned a little more. John served with a Texas Army ROTC Corps. He came to Fort Knox for training. He came to Paris because this place was the only known connection to his late grandfather. He had a date, he had a name , and he had a heart for his family story.

Story.

I breathed another prayer. Oh, Father, thank you for what you have written in our lives!

You see, over the past 25 years in my writing career, I have learned that you spell freelance like this: S-T-O-R-Y.

Freelance writing is kind of like renting versus buying. Renting gives shelter and opportunity, but without the permanency and obligations of ownership. There are pros and cons to each and I’ve lived under both roofs. No matter which writing house you choose to live in, there is deep responsibility on the writer’s part.

Yes, market research is important. Yes, request an editorial calendar and pay close attention to submission guidelines. Yes, write a query letter with all the excellence you can muster. But a writer’s responsibility is to the story. If you don’t have the story, what will people read?

When I breathed the prayer of gratitude for what God has written into our lives, I realized the wealth of story opportunity that came with meeting our mysterious Mr. Smith.

  • Personal Adventure – What does he find?
  • Genealogy in Kentucky – How do you learn who you really are? What are the best root sniffing places in Kentucky and where do you even begin?
  • The role of ROTC – What does it look like in the Commonwealth? Is there an anniversary coming up? Are there spin-off stories I can find by researching individual university ROTC programs?
  • Faith Over Fear – Does perfect love cast out fear? If so, how do we recover from current events? How do we approach daily life with faith no matter what might happen?
  • The Safe Church – A How-to article considering Nehemiah 4:18 and present day responsibilities in our houses of worship. What is the new role of parishioners, greeters, police in community, and how we are to move with faith in God’s protection?

The Lord gifted me with an inquiring heart and suited me for the gathering and telling of stories. I imagine that on Sunday, He snickered and said, “Oh, my child, trust me. Have I got a story to share with you … Now, go and tell somebody.”

Click to Tweet: The Lord gifted me with an inquiring heart and suited me for the gathering and telling of stories.–Kristy Horine via @InspiredPrompt  #amwriting #Freelance

Writing Prompt: Have a go at Mr. John Smith. What story does he find? What story does he write with his life after he finds it?

A Few Minutes with Linda Shenton Matchett

Linda Shenton Matchett is an author, speaker, and history geek. A native of Baltimore, Maryland, she was born a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry and has lived in historic places all her life. Linda is a member of ACFW, RWA, and Sisters in Crime. She is a volunteer docent at the Wright Museum of WWII and a trustee for her local public library.

Interesting writing rituals?

Linda: I don’t know that it’s an interesting ritual, but my desk has to be clear and organized before I can start writing. I don’t work or think well in a cluttered environment. The first thing I do when I sit down is file extraneous papers, stack the folders or put them away, and arrange my research materials. Then I turn over my hour glass, so at the end of sixty minutes I remember to get up to stretch and walk around.

What is the book about?

Linda: Set during WWII, a young woman suffering from a degenerative eye disease is the main suspect in her fiance’s murder and must prove her innocence. The themes I explore are recognizing our value as God’s creation/children and trusting in His perfect will and timing.

Favorite part of the book?

Linda: Singer Dinah Shore makes a cameo appearance, and I enjoyed researching and writing that scene.

Message for readers?

Linda: God wants what’s best for us, and if we allow Him to lead us, we will find joy no matter what.

Where can readers find you online?


Murder of Convenience

May 1942: Geneva Alexander flees Philadelphia and joins the USO to escape the engagement her parents have arranged for her, only to wind up as the number one suspect in her betrothed’s murder investigation. Diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, she must find the real killer before she loses her sight…or is convicted for a crime she didn’t commit.

Set in the early days of America’s entry into WWII and featuring cameo appearances from Hollywood stars, Murder of Convenience is tribute to individuals who served on the home front, especially those who did so in spite of personal difficulties, reminding us that service always comes as a result of sacrifice. Betrayal, blackmail, and a barrage of unanswered questions… Murder of Convenience is the first in Linda Shenton Matchett’s exciting new “Women of Courage” series.

Click to Tweet: A Few Minutes with Linda Shenton Matchett, author of historical #Mystery via @InspiredPrompt #Saturday interview