I have an idea for a series of magazine articles, and I’m trying to decide if I should start writing them and then query magazines, or query the magazines first before I put a ton of effort into them.  I’m really not sure how any of these things work, so I guess the very first thing I need to do is find that out!

I know so little about any of this freelancing stuff.  That’s part of why I’m writing this blog.  I figure that if I have no idea what I’m doing, lots of other people are in the same boat.  So as I learn, I can post what I’ve learned and maybe help someone else.  Plus, if anyone reading has any advice or info that could be helpful, I’m always open to that too.

I haven’t found any new jobs on Freelancer.com or on Elance.com lately.  I’ve put in some bids, but no real response.  I’m trying to avoid the low-paying jobs that are $3-5 per 5-700 word article because I don’t have enough time to write enough articles for that to be worthwhile, if it ever is.  I also can’t see spending an hour or two researching and writing an article to get paid $3-5 for it.  I’m worth more than $5 an hour.  Maybe I’m looking at it wrong, because I used to think it was at least good experience, but now I feel more like it’s just working in an article mill.

I value my time.  I value my writing.  I just don’t see myself putting out articles for little to no money and no credit.  I do contribute occasionally to Associated Content and Helium.  I consider that different.  My name is on those articles.  I can refer to those as writing examples/clips when I’m applying for things.  These article mills take jobs from clients, assign the articles to writers, and then the articles go back to the client for use.  The writers get no credit, just the few dollars they make for the work.  I’ve done that.  I realized that, with research, it was taking me nearly 2 hours to do an article (with some interruptions) and I was getting $5 a piece.  So it wasn’t really worth it.

I want to get a subscription to Writer’s Digest.  I really love that magazine and have found very good and helpful information in it, but buying it at the store is silly because that’s so much more expensive.  I also think I should get the latest edition Writer’s Market, or at least take it out of the library if I ever have a chance to get there.  I need to start doing more things that will build my portfolio and I also need to do things that actually pay.  I love writing, and I would do it whether or not I was getting paid for it, but I also have bills and kids and a desperate need to make at least some money.  It won’t be as much as a full-time job, I’m not kidding myself, but I need to do something.

Which of course brings me back once again to the book that I should be editing but still don’t seem to be picking up.  I thought that maybe the problem was that I never seemed to get to it on the computer, so I printed some of it out so that I could do it by hand.  I wanted to at least start reading through it and making notes of where changes need to be made.  That was about a week ago, and I still haven’t done anything with it.  I need to start.  It’s not that I think it’s the next great novel, although I think that is every writer’s hope.  It’s that I don’t have the chance to even find out if it’s any good because I haven’t looked at it since November.  I’ve never even read it.

I hope that everyone is doing well out there.  If you read this blog, feel free to comment and let me know you’re out there.  I see the statistics, but I’m still pretty sure I’m just talking to myself.  I’d love to be proven wrong.