Back on the ‘Write’ Track

It’s been a good week. The client that hired me to ghostwrite some posts for his Cast Iron forum contacted me again to do three times as many comments for his new Reef Tank forum. I’ve only got ten of them written so far, but I’ll have the rest done by the end of the week.

If you happen to be a reefer yourself (yes, that’s really what reef tank hobbyists call themselves) by all means check the fledgling website out and supplement my ghostwritten comments with some genuine expertise. I knew nothing about the hobby when he asked me. I’ve had to watch a ton of YouTube videos and make lots of notes to get my head around it. It’s a pretty cool hobby.

Also, a local pub that’s been closed for a while is getting new owners. They announced on Facebook that they needed some help moving in, so I volunteered! They were really nice people and even gave me £30 for doing it! So I bought myself this:

DarkCrystalGame

I saw a post about it on Facebook and I had to get it. For those that don’t know, The Dark Crystal is one of the best fantasy movies of all time. Every character in the movie, as well as all the plants and animals, is a creation of Jim Henson’s Creature Shop.  I’m really looking forward to playing it.

I’m keeping it sealed until I can do an unboxing video. Then after that, my family and I are going to play it. There’ll be a review article written on GamesNGeekery shortly after that. I haven’t been keeping it up to date, but maybe this will help me get back into the habit. Though it may end up just being and occasional whim rather than a regular thing because…

The best part of the week though was going to the Kidwelly Writers group. I was putting it off because the last writing group I was a little depressing. They didn’t seem to talk much about their own writing, or at all. The sessions involved doing writing exercises that the organiser got from a book.

The Kidwelly group, however, was awesome! They were very talkative and friendly, and they seem to actually have ambition! One of them already has a novel out called ‘Not Thomas’ and another of them is writing full-time, publishing his ‘Deathworlders’ series on Reddit. Apparently his fans insisted he set up a Patreon page so they could sponsor him. It took him three years, but now he doesn’t have to do anything but write.

It reassured me that it was possible to build up a full-time income just from writing stories. I had the right idea back when I was writing a new Hermes925 entry every week, but instead of sharing it on Facebook and Twitter, I should have been using Reddit! This is going to take some studying up because I’m not familiar with Reddit at all. In fact the few times I have checked it out it seems like a confusing mess of categories that I’m not even sure how to navigate. Yet.

I’ve already committed to making The Haunted Story: Investigation and Hermes925 into books (I promised the artist that made the book cover for The Haunted Story: Dead Letter that she could do the next few books as well), but maybe I can turn The War on Magic into a Reddit series after I’ve got the knack of Reddit and tweaked my Patreon page.

The Hunt Continues

I may have to give up on my goal of moving into my own place next month. I’m continuing to apply for jobs in the area and not getting anywhere. I did have a job as a lead generator for a telemarketing call centre, but I found it difficult to lie to people and be surrounded by people who felt so comfortable with being dishonest.

It doesn’t help that I’ve also been fighting the cold from hell. It’s been over a week and I’m still snotty. I wouldn’t have been able to work even there if I wanted to. At least the coughing and sore throat have mostly gone and the dizzy spells only lasted a day or two.

I’d like to get a job lined up soon for several reasons. I made a promise to the landlady that I would be able to move in March 1st and pay the first month’s rent and deposit. I’d feel terrible if I had to break that promise. I’m currently living with my parents and I don’t want to have to impose upon their kindness for long. Partly because they’re wonderful people and I don’t want to take advantage, and also because I don’t want to get too comfortable and become a stereotypical jobless loser playing videogames all day.

It would be great to have my own space, in the middle of town. Able to fend for myself, invite people over when I wanted, and still be close enough to family to come by when I want. However, since no-one has offered me a steady income to write everyday, I’m going to need a day-job to do that, and I don’t want to go back to telemarketing.

I consider myself an expert in customer service. Most of my jobs since I started working have involved some level of customer service. I like to make people happy and to feel like I’ve genuinely helped them. I’ve also enjoyed training others on how to make customers happy. Presenting to a group, one-on-one coaching, and leading by example.

Perhaps I’m going about this all wrong. Instead of trying to find an employer, maybe I should be finding clients. People who would be interested in learning what I know about how to help people, or about how to self-publish, or participate in writing classes, and be willing to pay me for it.

At this point I’m willing to do odd jobs for people, like walking people’s dogs, painting and wallpapering, doing people’s dishes and ironing, unblocking sinks or fetching their groceries. This does have a certain appeal since I would like to be a part of the local community and make some new friends.

If I post on the Facebook noticeboard that I’m available to do odd jobs, I’ll have to word it very carefully to avoid panicking the landlady. Or just tell her that it’s unlikely I’ll be able to move in after all. Which is a shame because the flat is awesome and it would be a shame to lose the opportunity to live there.

I have less than two weeks to secure a job, or find some other way to earn at least £800, or I’m going to have to let it go, and sponge off my parents a while longer. If you have something that needs doing let me know what it is and how much you’d be willing to pay someone to do it, and if it seems like something I can do I’ll do it.

What I’d really love to do is to tell stories. This could be reading stories to people that can’t read for themselves anymore, or that are still learning to read. However, ideally It would be a story game, a narrative rpg, similar to The City of Gate.

For those that don’t know what that is yet, The City of Gate is a text-based (forum-style) roleplay game I’ve been running for the last seven years or so. Every Sunday I post the next part of the ongoing story and tell the players what happens next to their characters. The players then have a whole week to comment, in character, to act on the new situation. It’s a lot of fun.

The City of Gate is a fantasy story. It’s centred around a City that grew up on the doorstep of paradise. A huge fortified gate blocks the way to a land of plenty where everyone is happy and takes care of one another. Only one person is allowed through each day. People line up at the gate every day to barter, bribe and beg the guards to be allowed through. The City grew up around them, mostly populated by people who were turned away and had nowhere else to go, and merchants that saw an opportunity.

Brawl

The players pick all kinds of different characters. Elves and dwarves, vampires an were-creatures, bakers and farmers, mages and hunters. Anything you want to be, I will run with it and incorporate it into the story. There’s no rulebooks, no dice, and no graphics. It’s entirely story-led based on the imagination of the players and myself, and it’s awesome!

We could start a new story in the same setting, but at a different time. We could run a game that’s based around a different town in the world, such as Traveler’s Rest, Coal City, or Skelbania. It doesn’t have to be related though. I can create an entirely new fantasy, sci-fi or horror setting for the new game. I have two questions for you though. How much would you pay per month, or per week, to participate in a game like this? And what would you like to be?

If the story game doesn’t appeal to you, I can do lots of other things. I can write. I can do origami. I like to build flat-pack furniture and I know my way around a tool-box well enough to repair furniture and fix a leaky pipe. I get along great with dogs. I can keep children amused for hours with games, stories and crafts. I also enjoy gardening, cooking, and just listening to people talk.

If there’s enough demand for me to design a training course in how to write and self-publish, or how to be the ultimate customer service rep, or even how to blog, then I would be more than happy to do so.

What would you have me do?

Merry Solstice/ Christmas/ Kwanzaa/ Hanukkah/ Saturnalia/ Festivus

In recognition of the festivities, I’m offering a £10 discount on all my rates from now until the end of the year!

That means blog articles are now £40 (instead of $50) per 500-600 words, and my normal rate of £25 per hour for ghost writing short stories, novellas and novels is now reduced to just £15 per hour!

What is Ghostwriting?

Let’s say you’ve always wanted to be a published author. Nothing would make you happier than to see a book with your name on it being read on the train, or being sold in your local bookstore, or on a shelf in the library. There’s only one problem. You hate writing. It’s just too hard and everything you try to write seems stupid and childish. Don’t worry, you can just hire a ghostwriter to do the hard part for you.

As a ghostwriter I can write any story you want. If you don’t have any idea what sort of book you want to write, I can help you figure it out. I have a ton of ideas just waiting to be made into stories, but if you’d rather use one of your own, that’s marvelous. 🙂

You may even have written other books yourself already, but there’s this one story that’s been bugging you for years and you can’t figure out how to finish it. I can help you with that too. I’ll use your outline and whatever you’ve written so far and get the story going again.

Why does it cost money to do this?

The story I write will be yours to do with as you wish. I don’t want an author credit or any of the royalties. It’s 100% your story, and any and all money you make from it will be yours. It could become and international best seller, and make you a millionaire, and I would have no legal entitlement to any of it.

Whatever you choose to do with the story is up to you, it’s yours. You can have it edited, changed and rewritten to suit your own needs, and I won’t bat an eye. You can then submit it to prize-winning contests, have it published (either through self-publishing or traditional), or even sell the story to a movie studio to become the next blockbuster hit!

Of course, you don’t have to make money off the story I write for you. If you like you can commission me to write you a unique, one-of-a-kind book, just for you. You could even have me include a loved one as a character in the story and give it to them as a gift.

If you do choose to use the story as a source of passive income though, then the money you pay me is your initial investment. It also means that I can do this full-time, without being distracted and exhausted by a time-consuming and low-paying traditional job. I simply don’t have the time to do this while also working as a minimum wage employee.

What exactly am I paying for?

I have loved reading and telling stories for as long as I can remember. I was raised on amazing stories from fantasy, folklore, science fiction and history. Over the years I developed a fascination for the art of storytelling that borders on obsession.

In later years the childish sense of the fantastic and whimsical has been tempered by disappointing reality. This too has influenced my writing, adding a layer of cynical realism to the magical and futuristic worlds I created. I still write the fanciful and idyllic from time to time, but I find that a touch of real pain and conflict makes the characters far more relatable and interesting, don’t you?

If you would like to see some samples of my work, there are a couple of short stories on Amazon published in my name, and also a first-person sci-fi story called Hermes925 that you can find right here on this website. The two short stories are Dead Letter and Murder Inc. The latter of which is part of an anthology called UbiquiCity. You can also observe the ongoing fantasy adventure I write as the GM for an RP group on Facebook called The City of Gate.

What sort of things will you write?

Pretty much anything. For myself I tend to write sci-fi, fantasy and horror, but I don’t mind writing romance, westerns, comedy, self-help (and other non-fiction), and any other genre you can think of. As I’ve hinted at earlier, I’ve already written campaigns for role-play adventures such as D&D and ShadowRun. Ask for something really weird and see what I can come up with. It’ll be fun!

If you need a screenplay or script, It’ll be a new challenge for me, but I’ll give it a try. I’d likely write it as a story first, then try to adapt it. If you’d rather have someone with experience do the adapting, I’d be more than happy to just write you the story and let you do whatever you want with it afterwards.

I think I’ll just save my money and write it myself

That’s awesome. If you want to bounce any ideas off me or any other members of the Creative Writers Facebook community, just ask. If you get stuck, we can help (and it’s completely free). If you try everyone’s suggestions and your story still isn’t going anywhere, you’re welcome to talk to me again about ghostwriting it for you.

You’ve convinced me. What’s next?

If you’re ready to discuss ghostwriting your project, or have some more questions, just contact me using the email form on this website, or you can track me down on Facebook and message me, or or my sadly neglected Google+ profile and chat via Hangouts. You could even use the comments section of this blog post if you like 🙂

I hope to hear from you soon. Have a great day 🙂

 

Prospects and Plans

I did a little maths (that’s British for math) on the way home from the hotel job this morning. I figured out I only need to earn an average of £35 per day to match what I make as a night-porter. This feels like an achievable goal, which is a relief because the job is becoming a lot more demanding than I’d hoped.

The job has it’s perks. I get to complete the tasks unsupervised, which is great because I often felt patronised by managers at other jobs. I much prefer to be left alone and trusted to do the work well. Also, if there isn’t going to be an event the next day and wasn’t one that day, all I need to do is change the dirty table cloths, relay the tables, take out the bottle bins and bathroom rubbish, and then wait 5 hours until it’s time to set up the breakfast buffet. Ideally, this five-hour gap would give me time to write, read and network. However, there have been a lot of events lately.

Last night, the last of the guests didn’t go to bed until 1 am. They left several dirty glasses, coffee cups and assorted rubbish that had to be cleared. The glasses and cutlery they’d used had to be washed so I could use them for table settings. I then had to rearrange the tables in two rooms, then lay them (only to discover I still didn’t have enough cutlery and glasses), bring several chairs in from another building on the property, and then set up the breakfast buffet.

I have to go back for another shift in seven hours, and I’m still hurting from last night’s physical labour. I know to some of you it may seem like I’m whining, and I am. I know this. Suffering is a part of life, but (to a certain extent) we get to choose how we want to suffer. I’d much rather struggle over plot points and character development or push myself to meet deadlines and exceed client expectations.

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In order to achieve this, I aim to generate enough freelance writing work to earn £40 per day, with a stretch goal of £50. I’ve already spoken with several potential clients, three of which have already sent me their drafts and outlines. I’m feeling good about this. The sooner I no longer need to work at that hotel the better.

There’s no shortage of writers that have had an idea and begun writing a story, only to get stuck and lose hope. Some of them don’t even consider themselves writers, but I’m sure they’d love to see their name on a book! I can make that happen. £25 per hour may seem expensive (and if it is you think of it like an eight-hour workday), but I can work on your story for just one or two hours per week if you like.

A ten-hour work week would be all it takes to make the hotel job unnecessary, which is great because, with having to sleep during the day and getting no time to write during my shift, I often only have a couple of usable hours in a day at most. My days off are often spent recovering from work and networking to try and gain more clients. Hopefully, this blog post should help with that too.

Speaking of blog posts, I setup a Fiverr.com gig to try and get more writing work. I used to write an article per day for free when I first started blogging for a geeky WordPress site. I’d much rather get paid for it! One article per day would be enough to be able to quit the hotel job and write full-time. If you have a blog that needs articles, I’m your man!

Prices are negotiable, especially if I can get my name out there instead of ghost-writing, but my priority at the moment isn’t self-promotion. It’s getting enough money coming in to make working in a ‘regular job’ completely unnecessary. I’m a writer. That’s all I want to do.

This post, by the way, is what a ‘short’ article would look like. I can make it shorter if you want, but as you can see, it’s a little more than 500 words 😉

Have a great day 🙂

 

The New Plan – Operation Freelance!

After talking it over with a very smart friend I’ve decided to offer blog articles for £100 each, and £50 each for short ones.

I’m offering Ghostwriting and Co-Author services too. If you have a great story idea but don’t think that you could do it justice, then I can help. You may even have started writing it yourself and got stuck. You can hire me as a Ghostwriter, in which case the book has your name on it, and you get to keep the royalties, but you pay me for my time upfront. Or, you can let me take a Co-Author credit, both names are on the cover, we split the royalties 50-50, and it costs you nothing.

hypnotoad

I’m hoping to build up a client list as quickly as possible. I need to be a full-time writer. I’m going nuts. I’ve been trying to build my profile, and my reputation. Take my time. Do this right. Work wherever I can to survive while I make myself look great online. The problem is that the job I’m doing for money is taking all my time, energy and motivation.

I didn’t realize when I started working nights how lonely and depressing it would get. I needed some time to think, but now I’m ready to rejoin the world. I could just get another shitty job doing bar-work, retail or call centre customer service, but I really don’t want to have to. I want to write. It’s all I want to do, and I’m good at it.

I got my start as a blogger writing geek-culture articles for a WordPress-based website. The articles I’ve written for them seem to have gone, but I saved a few of my favourites and re-blogged them on Games ‘n’ Geekery. A geeky website of my own I created using all the skills I learned while working for them, and a few tricks I’ve picked up since.

They didn’t pay me anything, but the experience was invaluable. I learned how to use WordPress, how to make a good-looking blog article, and that I could churn out an original 500-1000 word article, including research, links, pictures and video, every single day.

ubi-ad-300-square

I used what they taught me to create this blog, and others. The Hermes925 serialized story that I’ve been posting to this website attracted the attention of Tod Foley, who recruited me for the UbiquiCity project. The writer team would video conference online to talk about our ideas and world-build together, then we each wrote a short story that fit into the world we created. My short story, and the others, are now available on Amazon as part of the UbiquiCity anthology. The accompanying RPG sourcebook will be out soon. It was a fun project. 🙂

I got the opportunity to ghost-write a story for someone, and that was fun too, but the client put the project on hold before I saw a penny for the work I did. I definitely learned a lesson there, but it put me off the idea of ghost-writing for a while.

I submitted a short story or two to contests and publications that offered a cash prize or payment if you were accepted, but it didn’t take me long to figure out that writing short stories for submission, especially if they don’t get accepted. Too much time and effort, for not enough guaranteed reward. If I write a good short story, I want some guarantee I’m going to get paid for it, and I certainly didn’t want to have to pay someone to publish it.

It’s about that time I got distracted by the Creative Writers group. It had only 32 members left, no admin at all. It occurred to me that I could test some of the things I’d learned about social media management and audience building, and also create the kind of supportive community I wanted to find. The group now has over seventeen thousand members.

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I even created an opportunity for group members. I’ve always been a ‘learn by doing’ kind of person. I learn best when it’s a necessary means to accomplish a desired outcome. In hindsight the Monolith project was probably a little too ambitious, but that was kind of the idea. Set the bar high and see if I could pull it off. I didn’t, but I learned a lot along the way.

The idea was to create a series of large anthologies, containing well-written stories, all conforming to the same theme. There would be no charge to submit and we would review the stories as they were submitted. That way we wouldn’t have to try and deal with a huge pile all at once after the submission deadline, and the writers would get feedback right away instead of having to wait. This also gave them an opportunity to try and improve their submission and try again.

We ended up with a lot of great stories, and a lot that could have been good if the writers had been willing to improve them. The project became a logistical nightmare, even with help from other admins in the group, and so the project was abandoned. However, I decided to test self-publishing anyway with one of the short-stories I had written. It sold pretty well for a short story, and I’m currently writing a longer story, hopefully a novel, inspired by the short story. It’s called The Haunted Story.

Dead Letter cover

It’s taking longer to write than I wanted though. I enjoy writing stories, but they’re harder than blog articles. I have several work-in-progress story-lines that I will to turn into books. A few of the ideas have already been mentioned in this blog. I know I can manage my time better, and be able to spend more time and energy writing my stories, if I can write full-time. The night porter job is an inefficient use of my time and wastes my creativity.

I could replace the hotel job by securing enough clients to write an article a day, just like I used to do. I’m a good writer, as you can see from this blog and my published stories. I’m more than happy to negotiate, especially if I can gain something else besides money, like cover-art, editing, or marketing.

I can do blogging, and it comes easily to me, but I’d prefer to write a book with you. I know from the previous experience that I write better and faster when I’m working for someone, and it gives me something to look forward to each day. Unlike my current job. At this point I’d welcome any opportunity to write for a living really.

So, want to write a book with me? If you don’t have any ideas, I can help with that too. I’m aware that some people just want to see a book on the shelves with their name on the cover. I can arrange that. I can also go to the opposite extreme and help you polish up and revise a story that you’ve mostly written already (and that wouldn’t cost as much). It’d be much more fun to bounce ideas off each other and come up with a great story together, but I’m flexible.

Please email me: antonym.copeland@gmail.com or leave me a comment if you have any questions, advice for new freelancers, or a project for me. Whether you’re a fellow writer with too much on your plate, a website manager that needs more content, or just someone that wants their name on a book, I look forward to hearing from you.

Have a great day 🙂

 

On Random

This morning I should be having a crack at the unwritten portion of one of my client’s projects. That’s right, I’m switching from editing to ghostwriting. I’m generally very excited about this opportunity, but now that it comes to it I’m finding the idea of beginning this task fairly daunting.

I thought by the time I’d finished reading and editing the first nine chapters I’d be so deeply immersed in the writing style and story that I could just keep writing it, without it feeling any different from what came before it. No such luck.

I should jump in. Read through the client’s notes, think about how that fits with what came before it and start writing. Don’t worry about the style yet, or even continuity, and just get going. Edit later. Just writing this out helps it seem a little more manageable but for the longest time this morning I was just staring at the notes, unable to actually read them.

I’d go distract myself and come back to it, and still find myself unable to process the words I was looking at. I’m going to have another go after I’ve finished writing this out. Basically, I’m indulging my desire to procrastinate on writing, by writing about procrastinating! 🙂

This is a trick I’ve used before to get myself writing. Indulge the writer’s block or hesitation by writing about it. You’d think I’d run out of things to write when my inspiration is being unable to write, but I surprise myself every time.

Tangental thought, I was watching random YouTube videos while writing and a video about Fallout4 mods played. It mentioned a mod (the infamous Caliente mod) that gives the female character large breasts. It mentioned that the modder Caliente is female, and then when on to jokingly refer to her as a misogynist.

It occurs to me that this might become correct usage in the future if gender concepts continue to blur. Why should misogyny only refer to men? Surely anyone that sexually objectifies another gender could be classed as a misogynist in a gender-free society.

I also think we should all admit that it’s okay to find people attractive. We’re supposed to find people attractive. We’re supposed to want to have sex with each other. If we didn’t enjoy looking at each other’s naked bodies, then sex would just be a boring chore.

I realize as I wrote that last sentence that I have actual experience of considering sex to be a boring chore. Believe me then when I say that it is frustrating. It’s also very politically incorrect of me to admit, you are welcome to be upset with my conclusions and tell me that I’m wrong about myself. You’re also going to be super offended by what I say next.

I used to believe that appearance doesn’t matter. I believed that my own attractiveness was irrelevant. This came in handy because it means that whenever I began to worry that I might be ugly, I could just wave the thought away, reassuring myself that appearance doesn’t matter. What mattered was being smart, funny, and good at making your chosen partner happy.

I didn’t even consider my own happiness, believing that you should treat people the way that you want to be treated and assumed therefore that my happiness was the job of my partner. So when your chosen partner doesn’t share these beliefs and assumes their existence should be enough to excite you, sex really does become boring.

The fact that it was boring made me feel like a really shitty shallow person. I stopped beating myself though when she said out loud “It’s not your job to make me happy!” This broke my world view. I thought my only job was to make her happy, and that her job was to make me happy. It was then that I realized that she wasn’t trying to make me happy.

This is apparently something I’m still processing. Perhaps it’s purely due to the contrast between then and now. Not only is my current girlfriend beautiful, funny, smart, and sexy as hell, but she also happens to like making me happy! Even better she does so while also making sure she is happy. Which is good, because I’m not as selfless as I once was.

I’m so grateful for her.

I just looked at the time and I’ve spent almost the entire morning writing this instead of the ghostwriting I’m supposed to be doing. I’m going to get this posted and find some food. Maybe I’ll be lucky and find a box of frozen lasagna in the freezer.

Have a great day 🙂

 

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