Monday, September 28, 2009

Something Outta Nothing...

It's often surprising how little you're given to create a letter on which thousands of dollars in revenue rest for a nonprofit organization. There are also clients who practically dictate the letter to you which makes you pause to wonder why they're not just writing it themselves. And, perhaps that's why I love the challenge of this work so much. Trying to create something out of nothing - whether it's material to go on or zippo for wiggle room in the creative process - reminds me of why I became a writer in the first place.

It's just really fun to play with words...and get them just right!

Do you prefer too much or too little direction for a project? Let's hear from you freelancers and see what you have to say!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Is AWAI Bootcamp really worth it?

If you run in the AWAI circles, you know their yearly Bootcamp is fast approaching. I've received one final email on the early bird discount that ends tonight. And, wasn't surprised to see the conference is likely to fill up for the first time before that deadline expires. I've seen the lineup and it's stellar, a copywriters list of the Who's Who. But, as a two-time bootcamp attendee, (once to participate, once to speak) I can tell you the great presentations are only the beginning of the fun and the benefit of attending.

For many of the copywriters I know and for me, making the leap to attend was the turning point. Perhaps it's the financial investment or the fact that you're truly putting yourself out there as a professional copywriter, but just being there is a confidence boost you can't get elsewhere. The networking is to die for and the AWAI staff are so "at your service" it's ridiculous. They want you to have the experience you're hoping for and do everything they can to make it happen.

So, if you're on the fence, call AWAI at 866-879-2924 before 5 p.m. ET today and tell them I sent you their way because it was one investment that was far more than worth it...bootcamp changed my life. (And, Denise Ford looks really cute in camouflage ;-)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Keeping it worth it?

Just saw a tweet from my daughter's middle school teacher looking for a Twitter lesson plan. Does that mean it's here to stay? I spoke on copywriting to these kids last year and not one of them had heard of a Kindle. Told them they were pry among the last kids to go through school lugging individual text books. Though it felt good to know I knew something cool the kids didn't, I wondered why they didn't. Teens may be online all the time, but they're not playing in the same parts of the web sandbox the grown-ups are. My youngest learned I had a Twitter account and told me "Twitter is stupid, only adults care about it." Hmmm...

As I scan my inbox full of invites to webinars on the latest information sharing trends I have to wonder are they worth my time? Tell me, are you paying attention to all the latest "stuff" simply because someone (or lots of someones) are telling you to?

Friday, May 22, 2009

What recession?

So, after shaping up the office on a Friday before a long holiday weekend, I decide to crunch a few numbers and see how things are shaping up in this recession year....

Oh, happy day! The recession seems to have given me a nice raise. Being a freelancer with clients 1,000 miles away, I can't use a particular area of the country as my reason for the good news. I specialize in fundraising and you'd think they'd be hard hit by the country's economic woes.

What I realize is, I work for some pretty smart folks. Organizations that haven't hit the panic button and pulled back on mailing and who are forging ahead with a purpose.

So, if those smart moves put them ahead of the game on the other side of the recession, what do you suppose the outlook will be for my business? ;-)

Enjoy your Memorial Day Holiday and remember to thank the men and women who have made it possible!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Will swine flu affect you?

A recent news report mentioned that the impending swine flu outbreak may cause many companies to allow more telecommuting by employees. Hmmm...will that policy stick around after things settle back down? With a renewed emphasis on "being green" how many companies, especially smaller ones, might combine the swine flu temporary changes with more permanent ones? I think there will be some who opt for a four-day work week or other flex hours that save the extra expenses and environmental effects of having employees in the office versus at home.

With cell phones capable of so many functions, how many days do people really need to spend at the office anyway? As a freelancer, I learned early on that I could get double the work done at home as I previously did in an office. Take out all the interruptions, hour-long staff meetings that include 10 minutes relevant to your work, water cooler chatter and commute time and you can get the same, and more likely more, work done.

To my fellow creative types who don't already work from a home office, how would telecommuting change your work life? Will swine flu help you get the ball of change rolling in the right direction?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Internet side-effects...

I'm afraid I'm coming down with some side-effects of internet overkill.

I've been lining up phone calls for a new book project and other client projects and finding it oddly intrusive. With the internet, I control who I talk with and when and I rather enjoy that.
But, email has its limitations. How often have you found yourself sending email clarifications back and forth that one phone call would've take care of? Yup, same here.
And, now with the on slaught of social networking information filling my inbox I wonder if in a few years I'll even have reason to ever meet someone in person! Facebook is redefining "friend" and I wonder how the next generation will feel about phone meetings...or (yikes!) in person meetings.
Do you find yourself hiding behind the internet veil? Is the virtual sandbox the only place we'll meet in the future?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Not the economic change I expected...

First, welcome to all of the new subscribers to the Solution Sandbox! Now that the holiday season is behind us, there will be more regular posts and I sincerely hope you enjoy them and will chime in with your thoughts!

Now, for today's topic...

With all the grim predictions, I'd braced myself for an unusually slow start to 2009. Instead, business is up and clients seem prepared to take on whatever challenges lie ahead. They're not necessarily cutting back on mailings, either.

But with each conversation, I'm noticing there seems to be more detail and thought to the planning process for each mailing. Not that there weren't specific plans before, but perhaps a more determined mindset to make every letter do REALLY well. I'm finding it all quite refreshing and from a skill standpoint a great opportunity to step up to the plate and deliver some seriously good copy.

So, Freelancers and Fundraisers, how has your year started out?