Hope for your financial life and beyond

5 Important Life Lessons From My Freelance Writing

Yes, you could take that headline as an announcement. I’ve officially entered the world of personal finance freelance writing. Is anyone out there looking to hire?

writing in a notepad My blogging journey to this point has been an interesting one. As long time readers here know, last summer I quit my job in education to become a stay at home dad. It was a big step but one that I don’t regret. The added time has allowed me to better manage our family activities and devote myself more to blogging.

The results in our family life have been tremendous.

Less stress. More downtime. More kid time. More moments for enriching activities.

Additionally, the extra time devoted to blogging is causing Luke1428 to take off. I already have more page views than I did all of last year. It really is amazing what some additional time, effort and connection building can do.

As great as that is, I’ve felt I could still do more with my time. So I was intrigued when contacted several months ago about writing for a new website. I’d never done that for money before and thought it would be a good experience if only for me to understand the world of freelance writing.

It’s been quite the experience.

Life Lessons Realized From Freelancing

To date I’ve written seven articles for SafeBee.com, a website devoted to making the world a safer place. I’ve really enjoyed it but writing for someone else is not like writing for your own blog. However, it’s reminding me of some valuable lessons that can be applied to any life situation. Here are my initial thoughts about what I’m dealing with:

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An Audacious Goal Recap: What Bloggers Learned From Writing For 31 Days

writing on paperAfter hearing Jeff Goins speak at FinCon in September I became inspired to push myself as a writer. So I embarked on a challenge for the month of October where I would write 500 words a day for 31 straight days. This isn’t unique to me as there are similar writing challenges being promoted around the web at certain times of the year. But I thought I’d give it a go to see what I could learn and accomplish.

I encouraged some of my blogging friends to join me. To my surprise 19 signed on. So 20 of us set out to encourage one another and see how much we could write in October. Here is how it went and here is what we learned.

What I Learned From Writing For 31 Days

I successfully completed the challenge, writing 500 words a day for 31 straight days. The fewest words I wrote was 501 (think that was when I was sick) and the latest in the day I finished a writing assignment was 11:30 p.m. (almost missed that day).

This challenge drove home several points for me:

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Pushing Through An Identity Crisis: 31 Straight Days of Writing

Have you ever dealt with an identity crisis, not sure of who you really are?

identity crisisDo you wear multiple hats and thus stumble for the right words when people ask, “So, what do you do?”

Did this ever lead to an impasse where you weren’t quite sure how to present yourself?

I’ve been there in every form and fashion since I started writing on this blog over two years ago. At the beginning I still was teaching high school and always felt the blog writing was an add-on to any conversation. When people would ask me “What do you do?” I’d respond by saying I was a teacher and then somewhat sheepishly add how I was writing a personal finance blog on the side.

The first part about teaching people could relate to and was met with the typical follow up questions one might expect when inquiring about someone’s career. The add-on about blogging produced nothing. The statement crash landed.

The experience continued earlier this summer when I began to lead with “I’m now a stay at home dad.” Same results.

It’s hard to convince yourself you are something when nobody sees you that way. All people could see in me was teacher or stay at home dad. They didn’t see personal finance writer.

I’ve come to realize that wasn’t anyone’s fault but my own. You are who you say you are. People will follow your lead and respond accordingly.

Identity Crisis: Turn Pro In Your Mind

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How to Write Great Content For Your Blog

ID-10020413The blog world is such a crowded space. How many millions of posts get published every day? Too many it seems. All that content being pumped out sure makes it difficult to get noticed.

No matter how much preparation is done before starting a blog, we all have unrealistic expectations about what those first few months will be like. Nobody (at least in the realm of us common folks) has 2,000 page views the day when that very first post goes live. Building an audience takes time, hustle and more than one publication every three months.

While social media tools like Facebook and Twitter and SEO strategies can assist the blogger in building an audience, the number one way to attract readers who will remain loyal to your blog is to write great content. Produce quality material week in and week out and people will eventually come and then continue to read.

That raises an interesting question though: How does a blogger know if the content they produce is great? How can their content begin to stand out in whatever blog space they write? That’s what this post today will address.

Am I even writing about potentially great stuff?

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My 8 Step Method for Writing a Blog Post

How do you put together a blog post? I had no clue how to answer that question when I first started blogging. I just started writing without much thought to methodology. After several frustrating months, I realized the need to come up with a procedure for writing a blog post.

I needed to be able to see an idea through from inception to publish date. So today I’m going to outline the process I developed for writing a blog post that has helped me avoid some frustration along the way.

8 Steps to Writing a Blog Post

From start to finish this is what I do:

Step 1: The Listing of Ideas

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