Best Advice

Review of 2015, Preview of 2016

A brief review of our location independent lifestyle in 2015

First, I have had more peace this year than I ever remember in my life. Taking on a caretaking job so that we pay no rent has been a huge stress reliever. We’ve been here since the end of March. We initially came to care for horses, but now the horses have been moved to their new residence, so our caretaking job is relegated to keeping the property secure until it is sold. Quiet. Peaceful. Inspiring.

It’s beautiful here. I’ve lived in a lot of places in my 16 years in Arizona. Our current location is in one of the mildest climates. It’s at an elevation where we actually get a change of seasons, so it’s been fun to watch their progression. It’s in a grassy valley between the Dragoon and the Chiricahua mountains.

Right now, I’m sitting in the living room of our little apartment, in a new recliner given to us by friends. It was given to them, but they had no place for it in their house, so we are the lucky recipients. I’m in front of a cozy fire with my kitty on the arm of the chair.

Today, my writing goal is 2500 words. This is my last write-for-hire novella, and this contract is garnering me the highest amount I’ve ever been paid for fiction writing – $.02 per word, or $20 per 1000. I would normally write 5000 words a day ($100 a day), but I have plans this afternoon.

I’ll have to update the post on Elance and oDesk. Elance is no more, for practical purposes–it has combined with oDesk and the two have become Upwork.

I have written steadily for the two sites for two years now. This has enabled me to collect and create an outstanding portfolio, which has resulted in better offers and higher pay. I now get paid $22.50 an hour for copy writing, and, as I mentioned, $20 per 1000 words for fiction. Contrast that to two years ago, when I started out at $12.00 an hour and $10 per 1000 words.

I was paid $450 for my first 30,000 word novella 18 months ago. I will receive $800 for this 40,000 word novella that I am working on now.

What’s up for 2016?

Why then do I say that this is my last write-for-hire contract? 2016 is bringing changes in our life. By the time we leave this caretaking job, social security will have kicked in for us. Because of the way we have downsized our lives, that will easily pay our bills, and we can write for ourselves. We have discussed many writing projects, and I am greatly inspired.

I will finish up this novella in January. In February, I’m starting a couple of free classes through WordPress’s Blogging University which will help me to get on track better with my blogging.

I will take up the Bradbury Challenge which I told myself last year that I would. The essence of the Bradbury Challenge is to write one short story per week. Ray Bradbury said nobody can write 52 bad stories.

I am planning a couple of anthologies my own short stories. Right now, I’m not setting a deadline. One of the things I have learned in writing for hire is that when someone limits you to a crazy deadline (I want a 30,000 word novella in 4 weeks!), it means only bad writing. And yet I was rehired many times because my writing is supposedly some of the better stuff out there when it comes to genre fiction. Go figure.

So my anthologies will be published when they’re finished–not according to any crazy deadline I set for myself. Of course, I will start “building my brand” so to speak, so that when I do launch an anthology, I will already have an audience for it.

My advice to you, then, for 2016 is to consider if you’re just starting out, but I’ll also include this link which is the best set of suggested websites for which you can write (and get paid) that I have seen. There were several which piqued my interest, and which I am checking out.

If you’re a fiction writer, consider the Bradbury Challenge.

Most of all, be creative in your living. Don’t look at what will make you comfortable, but what will bring you peace. If you find relief from the stress of the world and deep, flowing peace, I guarantee you will also be comfortable–just not in the way you might think.

On to a glorious 2016!


Ghostwriting: Good or Bad?

Today, Angela Hoy of WritersWeekly and posted this article: I Want to Hire You to Write My Book (But Only for a Paltry Share of Future Royalties).

After spending the last 9 months ghostwriting fiction, here’s what I’ll tell you. Yes, it is paltry (very), but, although I’ve been a writer and storyteller for years, I’m new at writing fiction. I am now writing my 20th novella. Number 19 is the first one I would ever have been able to say, “Yes. I want to put my name on this one.”

So what does that mean? First, if I were doing this on my own, that means I would have likely thrown away 18 manuscripts before I got to this point. Well, 17–there is one that I would have liked to have kept to rework. However, someone paid me to write them. And they must not have been too bad because several clients rehired me to do more projects.

As it is, I’ve been able to keep a roof over my head for the last 9 months with my ghostwriting. The one thing, however, that became paramount is that I find a way to arrange my circumstances so that I can start working on the things I do want to write and publish for myself. Thus my partner and I found a caretaking job. We are exchanging horse care and ranch security for rent and utilities. Not having to pay those things is a huge relief, and allows us to put that money back for future.

At this point we’ve agreed that we will each do one ghostwriting assignment per month in order to have money to pay our bills and put some away. Then, instead of taking on more ghostwriting, we will write and publish for ourselves, starting with some of the more frivolous genres (which seem to be terribly popular). They can be fun to write, and if you have paid attention to any marketing strategies whatsoever, should sell fairly well. Then when we start getting residuals from them, we can start the kind of writing we really want to do. We know how it works–we have to be putting new stuff on the market every month to keep the money flowing.

More on this subject another day. My next post will be what I’ve learned watching my clients market my books.

The Value of an Unencumbered Life


This is my friend, Dr. Tevna Tayler. She and I share similar outlooks on life. Her article that I am posting here is a great segueway to a new aim for my blog — not only to teach you how to make that shift in income when crisis strikes, but to share the wisdom of living an unencumbered life. Words for contemplation.

Dr. Tayler’s words:

The fabulous thing about having no steady job, no savings or assets, no home or car unless the money appears to pay the rent or next month’s payment, no primary relationship or partner to take care of me, no real understanding of my life’s purpose or passion, even, no sense of “community” where I feel that I really belong, and living in a country where I may not have access to basic food, shelter, or health care for me or my children even if it is a matter of life or death – the fabulous thing about “lacking” all of these is that I get the chance to really feel the truth that “security”, if there is such a thing as that in this life really, has nothing to do with any of those.

In the absence of a “safety net”, or even a “purpose”, or solid community, or plan, or goal of any sort, there is still life, hope, happiness, and even joy and a sense of internal security. If you are fortunate enough to lose “everything”, you may discover that “you” are still left, and it is a fabulously unencumbered “you” that is free to move at will towards what draws you, free to welcome into your space what delights you, free to spend the time that makes up your life as you please, free to love in the very specific way that is your creative expression of your unique self here.

It is no wonder that I have not yet won the lottery, because I am still lost in the miracle, the wonder of the miracle of the abundance of all that is–that has nothing to do with whether or not the resources at my disposal are visible to me. Regardless of how things appear, I always end up somehow having what I need, and often what i want, as well. I wonder, if I were currently abundant in the visible and obvious financial sense, or marriage sense, or job sense, etc., would the abounding abundance of the universe still be so visible to me? Would I be able to feel this sense of faith and trust in the great unknown? Would I start to believe in money instead of God? Would the presence of the safety net instill in me a fear of flying?”


21 Ways Freelance Writing is Like Online Dating


For some reason, I can’t “reblog” between my two WordPress Blogs. I’m trying to navigate my writing articles into one place now, since my is my personal blog. Here’s the link to the article: