My May-December Romance

by Ray Colon on December 5, 2013 · 10 comments

Antonio Canova sculpture work Psyche Revived By Cupids Kiss. Photo taken by wikipedian User:Pufacz in LuwrIt’s hard to believe that I’ve written almost 62,000 words for clients since my last post in May, but I haven’t found the time to blog. Instead, I’ve been trying to woo clients with words, formulas, and testimonials. This hasn’t been your typical May-December romance.

Hello my dear readers! Some of you have contacted me during my blogging hiatus and encouraged me to get back to blogging. I really appreciate that. It’s nice to be missed.

The Freelance Life

As I’ve hinted above, I’ve been busy trying to build my freelancing career. Things have improved since my Chump post, as I’ve found a moderate level of success working through Elance. So far, I’ve completed 32 projects for 21 clients and have slowly built up a reputation for quality work. The 5-star ratings that I’ve received have made it a little easier to land new assignments, but the task of finding new work is a part of freelancing that I sorely underestimated.

The process of searching for jobs and submitting bids is very time consuming. Simply pasting in a boilerplate response to ads won’t do. I’ve found that making a connection with the potential client and being specific about what you can do to solve their problem is the best way to ensure that your bid is taken seriously – but doling out that kind of individual attention for each bid takes a lot of time.

I’ve split my time between financial, administrative, and content writing assignments. That diverse mix of duties ensures that boredom is never a problem. Time management is my greatest obstacle. Since some clients take several weeks before they award a job, it’s important to keep my bid queue filled. Unfortunately, the risk is that I will be awarded too many opportunities too close together. That’s happened a few times. I’m glad to have the work, but managing too many projects can be stressful.

Writing for Pay

"Artwork" with 20 Dollar bills

Does the world really need another article on Green Coffee Bean Extract? Learning to write for money has been an eye-opening experience. Some topics are interesting, but others make me want to pull my hair out! I started writing for a content mill, which means that it’s low pay, but the assignments are plentiful. I did this for two reasons. I wanted to learn how to write on assignment and on deadline. And learn I did. Writing what other people want me to write; when they want me to write it is very different from blogging. It has been frustrating at times, but I’m glad that I put myself through the experience. It’s helped me to write more efficiently.

So far, I’ve written 54 articles for this client and earned my stripes as a writer who could deliver. That experience helped me to gain the confidence to bid on better writing assignments, now that I knew that I could see them through. Altogether, I’ve written 75 articles, and the content for a 9,000 word website, since June. Whew!

Nerdy Spreadsheet

How do I know how much I’ve written? I keep a nerdy spreadsheet, of course. I have fun Goggling the content to see where my words have ended up. Most post the articles as “Admin” but a few folks pass the writing off as their own. They paid for it, so I guess that it’s okay, but I could never do that. Reading the comments praising their ideas and their responses to those comments is a hoot.

The Future

Crystal BallI’d like to find the time to return to blogging. There is a lot that I have to say. Vulnerability has been a recurring theme for me as I’ve worked on my next career, as has been uncertainty, doubt, and dread. The world continues to move forward, unconcerned with my lack of contribution to this creative space. I miss the conversations with my readers as much as I miss the conversations that I carried on for years on other people’s blogs. When you don’t punch a clock, it’s difficult to unplug from the pursuit of making a living. You’re always on. It’s not a good way to live.

I feel the pressure to work – always. And if I’m not working, I’m looking for work. I have to work smarter, I know, but it’s hard to get to that point when you’re on the hamster wheel. Creditors aren’t known for their patience.

Focus

I glanced at my Twitter feed today and noticed a tweet from John Taylor. The post title caught my eye: Testicular Cancer: The Hardest Kick in the Balls.

Reading his post was a not so gentle reminder to focus on what’s important. Focus on it today!

Tomorrow may not be your day.

Author Bio:

Ray Colon has written 167 posts on Ray's Blog.

He works with numbers for a living, but don't judge - boring accountants need love too. His blog has no niche (unless writing about things that are important to him is a niche). Some folks cringe when he gets “all political” on them, but he does it anyway when he's in that kind of mood. Sometimes, he writes something nice about someone, but you shouldn't get used to that. His first book, the one he hasn't written yet, is not available on Amazon. Subscribe to Ray's Blog via RSS  or Email.

Send Ray an Email if you have a question. He may even respond.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Kitt Crescendo
Twitter:
December 5, 2013 at 6:26 pm

Hi Ray! I’m so glad to hear that you’ve had a modicum of success in your new endeavor. I’ve missed seeing you around the blogosphere, but it’s always important to bring in income. Thanks for checking in. Hope you have a wonderful holiday and continued success (with a little less stress). :-)
Kitt Crescendo recently posted..Liquid Libations to Kick Off Winter CelebrationsMy Profile

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Ray Colon December 5, 2013 at 8:10 pm

Hello there, Kit!

Thanks, it’s been an interesting journey, experiment, fool’s errand, etc. Each winning proposal is definitely a rush — then the work begins. :)

Disconnecting was important in the beginning, but I’m looking for more balance now. I started by checking into Twitter now and then, and hope to get back to visiting blogs on a regular basis soon.

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Peter Faur
Twitter:
December 5, 2013 at 6:46 pm

Very cool, Ray! I’m really proud of you. It’s good to see a numbers guy become a word guy. That doesn’t happen too often, and for you to make a go of it is really quite something. Congratulations. I hope you have a great holiday season.

Reply

Ray Colon December 5, 2013 at 8:18 pm

Hi Pete,

Thank you. I haven’t abandoned the numbers game (I’d starve), but I have broadened my offerings by putting myself through this process. I’m especially pleased that none of my articles have been rejected or returned for editing. My writing speed has improved, but I need to be able to produce content even faster. There are plenty of opportunities available and I’d like to take advantage of them.

Season’s greetings to you and yours!

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John Taylor December 5, 2013 at 7:29 pm

Thanks for sharing my post Ray! “Focus on today. Tomorrow may not be your day.” … Wiser words have never been spoken! And congratulations on the success you are finding. That’s quite a bit of writing you have been doing! Cheers!

Reply

Ray Colon December 5, 2013 at 8:23 pm

Hi John,

It was my pleasure to share your post. It was a good read and I got a lot out of it.

Thanks for the kudos. I’ve always enjoyed writing for fun, but as is evident by the small number of posts over the years on my blog, I have never been prolific with my output. Being beholding to deadlines has shown me that I can increase my production with the proper motivation. :)

Reply

Janice Sanborn
Twitter:
December 6, 2013 at 7:43 am

I was wondering what happened to you. Kudos to all of that writing. I know how difficult it can be to jump out on your own and freelance writing is one of the more difficult to maneuver through. It is much more work than people realize, because writing is just a small part of it. Stick with it! You are an awesome writer, have the skills and can really do something with this.

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Ray Colon December 6, 2013 at 1:32 pm

Hi Janice,

Six months is a crazy long time to be away, I know.

Thanks! Writing can be difficult, but it does get a bit easier with practice. The toughest assignments are the ones that are on topics that you couldn’t care less about. In my case, that list of topics includes: fashion, celebrity anything, weight loss, and “miracle cures”. I don’t accept assignments on any of those topics anymore. It’s just too painful. :)

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Jean December 6, 2013 at 7:10 pm

Well, thanks for stats. and kudos to you, Ray, for being so tenacious and professional about a tough situation.

Please, approach your non-profit organizations: some of them may actually need someone on short term basis: remember it is towards the end of fiscal calendar year for some organizations.

I would also suggest aiming for technical writing. There are some specialized hiring agencies that specialize in this area.

Merry Christmas and enjoy the holidays with your loved ones.
Jean recently posted..Whimisical Dreams of Christmas Gingerbread MagicMy Profile

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Ray Colon December 6, 2013 at 7:54 pm

Hi Jean,

Thanks, I can never get away from stats. My daughters laugh at me because I see the world in numbers and rattle off calculations and stats when shopping, watching sports, or anytime I can.

I’ve noticed that some technical writers on Elance do very well. I’ve written process and procedure documents, HR and employee manuals, tutorials, etc., but didn’t really enjoy those experiences. It’s a grind.

Merry Christmas to you and yours too! Stay warm up there.

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