This Blog

When I made the decision to try and make a living out of my writing, everyone told me I needed a blog.
Really?
Well yes, they’re probably right. If I am trying to sell my services as a writer, what better way to showcase my skills?

adult-alone-black-and-white-551588 (1).jpgThat then raises a whole load of other questions. What to write about? How often to post? How long or short should the posts be? What style should I write them in? What will people want to read about? What is a blog anyway? Who is it for? What is its purpose?

For days my head was buzzing with questions like these. It was a phrase in Module 6 of my Writers Bureau Copywriting Course, that finally silenced the voices in my head. It said, a blog is “a bit like an online diary”. I liked that description. It takes all the pressure away, relieves one of the need to conform, to do it right.

And so, this blog is essentially going to be an on-line diary that showcases my writing. There!

I hope that’s ok? I hope that at least some parts of it will be of interest to some people.

One of the features of WordPress is that it allows you to sort your posts into categories. I like that too. It allows me to write about lots of different things in my “on-line diary” but to categorise them so that my readers can choose the bits that interest them the most.

I have chosen some initial categories that represent the things that interest me, the things that that I’d like to write about and the things that I think will help to showcase my writing. I should clarify at this point, that what I mean when I talk about showcasing my writing, is simply about sharing examples of my writing so that any prospective clients can get a feel for whether they want to work with me or not.

The categories I have chosen are;
• About Me – articles about me, my family and friends and my hobbies and interests
• Creative Writing – examples of, and links to, my creative writing
• Food and Drink – anything relating to food and drink including recipes and restaurant
• Travel – holidays and travel experiences including reviews of locations, hotels, destinations and travel companies
• Local News – as my main target client groups are local, small to local business, this category will include stories about local events, communities, businesses and organisations
• Reading – books I have read and want to read including reviews
• Writing – general articles about writing and my own endeavours to earn money from writing

So there it is…now to start writing and posting and see where it takes me…

Jackie Small Writing Services (JSWS)

So, I’ve finally done it! Last week I completed the Writers Bureau Copywriting Course and this week I’m finally setting up my own freelance writing business, Jackie Small Writing Services (JSWS).

I don’t plan to launch the business (or this web-site) until the 6th of April, the start of the new 2019/2020 tax year. I finished work on the 1st of March and get my final payment on the 28th. After that things will get real and I’ll be officially self-employed.

So far, I have;
• Bought a new computer
• Joined the Association of Freelance Writers
• Created a Swipe File
• Attended a number of LHH courses on Starting Your Own Business
• Bought my domain name from GoDaddy
• Bought my hosting and CMS from WordPress
• Bought a couple of books – WordPress All-In-One for Dummies and WordPress for Beginners 2019
• Started to build my web-site
• Created my own simple logoJSWS Logo 2
• Created my Letterhead
• Earmarked my business bank account
• Taken out Indemnity Insurance
• Set up an Accounts and Profit and Loss spreadsheet
• Updated my Linked In profile

Still to do are;
• Finish and launch my web-site
• Set up Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts for JSWS
• Contact HMRC to register as Self-Employed
• Find an Accountant
• Further improve my Linked In page
• Create some Business Cards and A5 Flyers/Posters
• Register on Bark, Fiverr and Upwork
• Attend some local networking events
• Get out there and start selling my services!

WISH ME LUCK AND WATCH THIS SPACE!

Rejections

I’ve sent Wait for Me to a number of agents now. Twelve in total, and most of these submissions have been met with a standard negative response or a stony silence. Most except two.

One charming agent replied within the hour explaining that he was so excited by the idea that he was compelled to read it immediately. He thought the concept was ‘terrific’ but unfortunately felt that the ‘quality of [my] writing didn’t match up to the high standards set by the idea’.

Well, I’m not going to pretend that it wasn’t a severe blow and that, for a few moments there, all my dreams of being a writer shrivelled and died. Of course they did, but only for few moments.

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Two stops or one?

Since I last posted I’ve been keeping really busy. Juggling a full-time job, undertaking a Writers Course, and editing my first novel, leave little time for much else.

August is almost over, I’m well into the course now and Anita and I are almost half-way through the editing process.

I submitted my first assignment just after we got back from our trip to Le Manoir and it was returned to me by the tutor I have been assigned, just over a week later. So far, so good! She thinks my work is “promising” so I got stuck straight in to the second assignment. This involved buying and reading loads of different magazines and identifying writing opportunities in the form of readers’ letters and fillers. The modules for this part of the course are all about non-fiction really, not my favourite type of writing but the course director advises that students embrace all types of writing covered in course, just in case you find something that you didn’t realise you might like, or even be good at.

Continue reading “Two stops or one?”

Writers Retreat

In my last post I mentioned the Writers Retreat that I went on in May to finish “Wait for Me”, and today I want to talk a bit more about that experience.

As I said previously, I realised at the start of 2017 that the only way I was going to achieve my goal and finish the book was to take some time out on my own, away from home and work. For my partner and I this was big deal, a big sacrifice. To use up some of my precious holidays, away from him and spend some of our hard-earned money in this way, was a significant investment. I needed to be confident that if I took this step, I would definitely be able to finish the book and hopefully get some return on that investment in the longer term.

Once we had both agreed that I should do it, I started “googling” for ideas about where to go. I think I typed in “Writers Retreat” and one of the first hits that came up was Arvon, who provide residential writing retreats and courses in various lovely locations around the country. After much deliberation, I decided on a residential retreat at The Clockhouse, which is linked to the The Hurst in rural Shropshire.

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Wait for Me

“Wait for Me” is the title of the first book I have ever completed. Like lots of people, for most of my life I have dreamt of writing a book. And now I have!

I say completed as that is the status of the book at the moment. I have got to the end. The story has been told. In many ways though, while I have completed this stage, the writing stage, it is really just the beginning of the next stage. I have now started editing the book with the help of my dear friend and fellow writer, Anita. She comes round to my house one evening a week and we sit together while I read out loud and she follows on my lap-top, making any necessary changes as we go. We are largely correcting spelling and grammar, re-wording unclear sentences, and correcting any inconsistencies.

Continue reading “Wait for Me”

Creative Writing Course

Yesterday the materials for my Creative Writing course arrived. I signed up for this through the Writers Bureau. I actually started this course once before, many years ago. It could have been as many as twenty, as my children were young at the time and they are in their thirties now. If it was that long ago, it says a lot for the quality of the course that it is still going after all these years. Another writer friend of mine told me that he has done it too, a few years ago, and that he was impressed.

So, I was really excited when the package arrived and I couldn’t wait to get started. I have read modules 1 and 2 already. The main thing that resonated with me was the importance of making writing a part of your daily routine and taking time out to write every single day, even if it’s only for 30 minutes or so. As the course recommends, I have started an analysis of how I spend my time each day for a week, to work out when I might be able to make time to write and what I might have to stop doing to create more time.

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The Beginning

On Sunday, a couple of days ago, I decided at last to try and make my living as a writer.  It’s only taken me 46 years to make the decision.

All my life I have loved creative writing.  At school my favourite subject was English Language, closely followed by English Literature.  I relished each new homework assignment, racing home to get started.  I would work with my dictionary by my side, looking up new words, or new meanings for old words and building them into my work.

Even then, I wanted a job that involved writing but the only one that my limited research came up with was that of journalist.  I don’t remember being actively discouraged to pursue this ambition, but I was certainly not encouraged or supported in any way.

Continue reading “The Beginning”