Freelancing Again

After a few years of being out of the freelance hustle, I’ve decided to start looking for writing gigs.

I’m not looking to do it full time again; been there, done that, and I’m glad I have the experience. But I want something part-time because–honestly–I’d much rather hustling for part-time gigs I can do from my couch rather than… well, rather than drive to work during rush hour (traffic can be a bitch in Charlotte).

So I’ve been digging out my clips, which entails a fair bit of Googling “Sarah Stone” and “Publication.” And… I wrote more pieces than I remember writing. I really should’ve compiled a list with links as they were published. Or maybe I did but it was lost when I got a new computer. Either way, I’m going to rectify that with help from Excel and Mountain Dew.

Finding freelance work isn’t the easiest thing in the world, and the biggest hurdle is going to be getting that first gig because my most recent clips are from 2016. (Though a couple pieces written back then were just published early last year.) Once I get the first one in the bag, I’ll feel better.

Like I’ve still got it. Which I do. I just need to show that after a couple of years away, I can still meet deadlines and write killer copy.

Have you ever freelanced? Do you have any go-to websites for finding gigs?


What I’m Doing Monday: Disappearing Act

I’ve done a bit of a disappearing act of late. Not only have I been neglecting this blog, but I haven’t kept up with my reading or my writing. Freelance projects have taken precedence, and starting up my business has eaten up a lot of my waking hours. During all of that, those things got pushed back. Time management has never been my strong suit.

So what have I been doing these past few weeks? That’s an excellent question. I’ve read a number of books for Check out the reviews if you’re interested.

Book Review: The Crowfield Curse

Book Review: Jacob Smith is Incredibly Average

Book Review: The Museum of Intangible Things

I also did what I’m hoping is a final edit on a freelance project that I’ve been working on for several months. This project is for a company that may have more work like this project in the future, so I’m crossing my fingers that my work is well-received.

More recently, I’ve started a trial period with a website that publishes informational articles. It’s an exciting opportunity. Here’s to hoping that the trial goes well. I’d love to write articles regularly for this organization. I’ll definitely keep you all updated on how that goes.

Reading and reviewing books for this blog has been pretty slow going. I started the current book, Cop Town by Karin Slaughter, at the end of May. I still have about a hundred pages to go. I need to just sit down and finish it. That may be a project for this week.

And since July is fast approaching, so is the second Camp NaNoWriMo of the year. I’m going to continue the story from Camp in April with the same goal of a thousand words a day. I’m debating whether or not I want to create a novel on the website.

That’s pretty much my update. How have you all been? Are you doing Camp NaNo this time around? Let me know.


Freelance Chronicles: Email Tips

I’m not sure how it is for other freelance writers, but my communication with potential clients and actual clients has been primarily by email. I struggled for a while to figure out the proper protocol. It’s a road to discovery that’s full of potholes that can stall your freelancing career if you don’t know when to go left or right to avoid a major snafu. Here are five rules I follow whenever I communicate with a client.

1. Be professional: Write as if you’re talking to someone that you want to take you seriously. And if this is your first contact with a potential client, then you need them to see you as a professional that they can trust. So no contractions, address them as Ms. or Mr., and keep it formal. Be respectful. Thank them for their time. And always include your contact information beneath your name at the end.

2. Let them dictate the tone: So hopefully you get the job, and you’re trading emails with your client about the project. Follow their lead for the tone of the emails. If they greet you with Hi or Hey, then you can reply the same way. The same goes for the use of smiley faces and other casual bits of language. If you’re not sure about the tone, it’s better to be more formal. Always better to be safe than sorry.

3. Respond promptly: Don’t wait a whole day to reply to an email. Send a reply as soon as you know the email. That will show the client that you can respond promptly and that you’re more likely to finish things in a timely manner. And if you know that you’re going to need a bit of time before you have the answer, send the client a quick email letting them know. They’ll appreciate being kept in the loop.

4. Don’t be afraid to check up on things: Imagine that you sent in a draft of the project to the client, and you haven’t heard anything for a few days. Send a quick email to check up on the status. It doesn’t need to be a long email. Just keep the tone light and avoid passing judgement. You’re asking a question, not demanding an answer as to why they haven’t responded yet.

5. Save every email: Create a folder in your email and label it with the project name. Then put all of the emails relating to that project into that folder once you’ve responded or the issue is resolved. Don’t delete anything. You never know when you might have to refer back to information that you received at the beginning of the project. Even once you finish the project, hang onto them for a while. You never know if you might need them.

Do you have any rules you follow when emailing a client, agent, editor, or anyone else? Let me know!

What I’m Doing Monday

What I’m Writing

I finished the first full draft of my freelance project, and I’ve sent in a partial revision. Other than that, I’ve been working on Camp NaNoWriMo sporadically.

Book Review: Alice in Zombieland

Book Review: No Place

Book Review: Beauty Queens

What I’m Reading

Read this Week: I read Petey by Ben Mikaelsen for

Reading Now: I’m starting Beautiful Darkness today.

Reading Next: Next up will be a YA book that I’ve yet to pick up from the library.

Camp NaNoWriMo Wrap-up

So I didn’t come anywhere near my 40,000 word goal for April, but I did make some pretty good progress. As of Saturday, I’ve written 23,408 words. That’s just under 1/3 of the way toward my goal for the final novel word count of 75,000. I’ll be able to finish this first draft by the beginning of July if I keep up this pace.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that I need to be consistent with making time to write. I need to dedicate the same ninety minutes a night to writing fiction and not let anything encroach onto that time.

While I may not have won Camp NaNoWriMo this year, I think that it was quite successful.

What I’m Doing Monday (A day late!)

What I’m Writing

My muse has decided to become difficult. She’s in the process of convincing my that I can absolutely start outlining another novel before I’ve finished the one that I’m working on right now. The problem is that I’m starting to believe her. That’s not to say that my NaNo novel will fall by the wayside. I’m just going to be multi-tasking.

The project I’ve been mentioning for the past few weeks is still going on. It’s moving at a much slower pace than I’d like, but I’m excited because the rough draft will be done by Thursday this week. That means I’m that much closer to the end.

Book Review: The Maze Runner

What I’m Reading

Read this Week: I read Beauty Queens by Libba Bray for

Reading Now: I’m currently reading The Cowboy and the Vampire: A Very Unusual Romance by Hayes and McFall. I can already tell that this review will be interesting.

Reading Next: The next book in the Beautiful Creatures series, Beautiful Darkness. 

Camp NaNoWriMo Status

How many words have you written in the past week? 3,885
Biggest Challenge so far: Getting all of my work done during the day so that I can sit down and focus at night.
Biggest Success so far: I’m getting to be pretty regular with sitting down at night and getting about a thousand words written.
Biggest Failure so far: While the schedule is awesome and I’m getting a ton done, I’ve talked myself into a fixed routine. That means I struggle if I sit down to write before that time. I wouldn’t say it’s really a failure, I just need to learn to be more adaptable and learn to write whenever I have the time.
Current Word Count: 21,316
Words to Goal: 18,684

What I’m Doing Monday

What I’m Writing

I’m still working on the potential freelance project. I’m hoping that more progress will be made on that this week. In other news, NaNo has been progressing pretty slowly. I’ve also been battling with a couple of new story ideas that are demanding my attention.

What I’m Reading

Read this Week: I read Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, Home Sweet Anywhere by Lynne Martin, and The Maze Runner by James Dashner.

Reading Now: I’m currently reading The Cowboy and the Vampire: A Very Unusual Romance by Hays and McFall.

Reading Next: I’ll be reading the second book in the Beautiful Creatures series, Beautiful Darkness 


Camp NaNoWriMo Status

How many words have you written in the past week? 3,586
Biggest Challenge so far: Again, figuring out a regular writing schedule is still kicking my butt.
Biggest Success so far: I’ve struggled with the worry of a continuity problem, that the tension would drop off before suddenly reappearing later in the novel. While writing the other day, I added a scene that I hadn’t planned on writing and it allowed me both reintroduce the tension and to have it as a trigger for another scene.
Biggest Failure so far: Not figuring out a regular writing schedule. That’s going to be my priority for this next week.
Current Word Count: 17,431
Words to Goal: 22,569

What I’m Doing Monday

What I’m Writing

My big project this past week is a freelance opportunity that I’m feeling more and more excited about. It has the potential to turn into something pretty awesome, but I don’t want to say too much more until all the details are final. Otherwise, I’ve been working sporadically on my NaNo novel.

Book Review: Keeping the Moon

What I’m Reading

Read this Week: I read Alice in Zombieland by Gina Showalter for

Reading Now: I’m currently reading Home Sweet Anywhere by Lynne Martin. (Still)

Reading Next: Next up is The Cowboy and the Vampire: A Very Unusual Romance by Hays and McFall. I saw the title, and I couldn’t pass it up.

I also won four eARCs (electronic advanced reading copies) of four romance novels courtesy of Entangled Publishing, so those will be reviewed at some point. 13845

Camp NaNoWriMo Status

How many words have you written in the past week? 6,471
Biggest Challenge so far: Maintaining a writing schedule after missing a few days.
Biggest Success so far: While it’s a work in progress, I’m working to change my attitude about Camp NaNoWriMo. I used to just abandon my project if I didn’t think I’d meet my goal, but now I’m going to keep writing even if I don’t hit 40,000 words by April 30th. Whatever I get done is a whole lot more than I had on paper at the beginning of the month.
Biggest Failure so far: Not balancing reading/reviewing, this new freelance project, and writing.
Current Word Count: 13,845
Words to Goal: 26,155

What I’m Doing Monday

Here’s the first What I’m Doing Monday during Camp NaNoWriMo, and I’ve been keeping myself pretty busy. This format is inspired by Emily over at One More Page, who posts her own version of What I’m Doing Monday every week.

What I’m Writing

Apart from Camp NaNoWriMo, I’ve been working sporadically on a couple of different projects. I have also been scouring the web for freelance opportunities and am crossing my fingers that I might have another freelance job by the end of the week.

Book Review: Fake ID

Book Review: Alanna, The First Adventure

What I’m Reading

Read this Week: I read Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen for

Reading Now: I’m currently reading Home Sweet Anywhere by Lynne Martin.

Reading Next: Next up is The Cowboy and the Vampire: A Very Unusual Romance by Hays and McFall. I saw the title, and I couldn’t pass it up.

Camp NaNoWriMo Status

How many words have you written in the past week? 7,374
Biggest Challenge so far: Balancing reading/reviewing books and getting my word count done
Biggest Success so far: I wrote a scene that I didn’t envision when I originally worked out my outline, and I’d never imagined that anything like it would fit so well. At least in this draft.
Biggest Failure so far: I missed my word count goal yesterday by about 800 words.
Current Word Count: 7,374
Words to Goal: 32,326