How long does it take you to write a blog post?

June 22, 2011 § 7 Comments

Blogging is a funny old thing. It can be cathartic, it can be controversial, it can even be lucrative if you build up a good blog that people want to read and be seen on. Like this one, *obviously*…

However, some people are not great at blogging (my own struggle is not for things to say, but for the time to say it) and they would rather pay someone else to do it- I have personally offered this service for a long time as part of my copywriting business.

I think paying people to blog for you is a great idea- everyone has skills, and things they aren’t so great at, and if I could swap blogging for someone cleaning my house, I’d do it in a heartbeat, but I do have this poser- how long does it take you to write a blog post?

My initial thought is that the answer is going to be that it takes as long as it takes, which is fine if you are blogging for yourself- some posts are easier and quicker to write than others. But what about when you are charging people? Or if someone is paying you to blog for them?

I recently saw a ‘job’ advert, aimed at mums wanting to work from home that was paying £7.50 an hour to write 2 blog posts an hour. And I’m not sure if this is a reasonable expectation and rate- I guess some people would think a £7.50 an hour job would be OK, but I doubt you could turn out good quality blogs at a rate of 2 an hour consistently. So the potential employers are either after low standard work, or (if a blog post takes an hour) they are expecting you to work for £3.75 an hour.

But perhaps it’s just me. I would appreciate your thoughts…

(photo by Michaelaw )

So have *you* won the Buy Student Art competition?…

June 20, 2011 § Leave a comment

Greetings! With apologies for the delay (and the shopping in the background) it is now time to announce the winner of the http://www.buystudentart.co.uk competition to win some fabulous FREE contemporary art work from up and comind artists Laura Lou Power.

So without further ado, a drumroll please for my gorgeous assistants…

Congratulations! I will be in contact later today to ask for your address so we can get your fantabulous artwork posted out to you.

Thanks again to both Laura Lou and Kerri for supporting this competition. Next stop- Cybermummy!!

People per hour – worth a look or another way to devalue writing?

May 23, 2011 § 1 Comment

Hi. My name is Sam and I am a writer.

You wouldn’t think that would be so hard a thing to say, but, despite the fact that more and more of us are writing through the explosion of blogs, many people have a mental block considering themselves a writer.

I am fortunate in that I genuinely do earn a living from writing, both as a copywriter under Clarity, but I also write articles for various websites and magazines. Not quite brave enough to call myself a journalist yet mind. However, when I started out as a writer a few years ago, I signed up for all these freelance bidding sites hoping to get some work.

Back then, they were all US based, and being competitive against the exchange rate would have been hard enough, but with the number of bidders flooding these sites from places like India, where a $1 would actually be reasonable money for them, it was impossible.

Now, the UK site People Per Hour has grown to become a genuinely useful resource for those looking to supplement their income by doing some freelance writing (amongst other specialisms), is UK based, and many of the buyers are looking specifically for UK writers. You can join for free, and make up to 10 bids for work per calendar month. If you want to upgrade, prices start from £7.95 a month which allows you up to 40 bids. So far so good.

However, my problem with the site, as with all sites of this nature, is that it perpetuates the myth that writing isn’t worth much.

When you start out, you probably don’t know how much to charge. If you look on these sites you will get a distorted view of what writing is worth. Obviously, if you are just starting out, you will command a lower price than an experienced specialist, but according to People Per Hour, writing is not even worth minimum wage.

A number of job postings pay less than £5 per hour, and some even state this in the job description. While this is probably legal, the minimum wage regulations covering employment, rather than freelance work, I do not think it is fair or right.

Being as I am of a journalistic bent, and have developed a taste for asking questions over at Bitterwallet I thought I would ask PPH what they thought. I asked them if having such pitifully paid jobs devalued the site as a jobs board. They said “not at all”.

I asked if they offered guidance to job posters on what a reasonable rate might be. They said

The fact is that many clients are uneducated about what certain services cost. We’re not in a position to set prices for the hundreds of jobs posted on our site everyday. That’s not our expertise – it’s the expertise of the freelancer who knows his or her industry, and the value of his or her service offering.

Hmm. So I asked them whether they thought it was right that jobs paying under what is, let’s be honest, a pretty measly rate anyway, should be listed*. They responded that

“Clients are terrible at guessing what most things cost unless they’ve bought it before. Our marketplace in fact educates people about that, if anything.”

So. People Per Hour educate people about how much things should cost. I see. Obviously writing is not worth minimum wage then-  take a look at this listing for a People Per Hour blogger, paying £5 an hour.

But there is some good news. On some jobs, more seasoned writers will tell the person looking for a whole book to be ghost written for £100 (for example) that their budget is unreasonable, and that they need to pay more for time and expertise. But the problem remains, while writers still bid at such low rates, people will still post jobs at that rate.

So my aim for this blog post? Whether you choose to go with PPH or not, I want to empower** you as a writer to seriously think before you agree to write 10 blog posts for £10. Without wanting to sound like Cheryl Cole (as that would be pants) you are worth it, so start believing it!

*that was my verbatim question. Including the word measly.

** I don’t usually use words like empower. That’s how strongly I feel about this.

Do you ever turn down work?

May 19, 2011 § 6 Comments

Working for yourself is a funny old thing, and probably more so if you are the main breadwinner. If someone offers you work, you do it, right? Not only because you want to deliver a great service to your clients, but also because, quite frankly, you might be in need of that money next month.

I am pretty busy writing at the moment, but I also have some University work and marking to do, not to mention the fact that I have tried to cut down on work for the past two weeks while recovering from a tonsillectomy. So when I received an email today asking me to do a small piece of work I should have said no. I didn’t.

I should have said no because the reason I work for myself and from home is so I get to spend time with my family. The only way I am going to be able to fit this work in is to do it over the weekend. So surely accepting this work is going against the reason for my current choice of career?

But on the other hand, it should only take me an hour, if I don’t do it, I probably won’t get any more work from this guy for a while and I get some pennies in my bank account.

So what would you have done? I’m not interested in anyone being judgmental (hey, I’ve said I’ll do it now, making me feel bad about it won’t achieve anything) just in how other people approach this kind of mini-conundrum.

Er, slight adjustment to the BuyStudentArt competition

May 18, 2011 § 2 Comments

I guess it was inevitable. The fantastic Mumazing/ BuyStudentArt competition has proved so popular that Facebook has gone and changed its terms and conditions in respect of competitions promoted using facebook.

So, in actual fact there are only TWO exciting ways to enter the FABULOUS competition to win FREE ART (pictured) by fledgling artist Laura Power. You know you’ll kick yourself when she’s rich and famous if you didn’t bother doing one of these two simple,easy and free things to enter the competition:

1. Leave a comment on this post (or any other post in relation to the competition) here on Mumazing. Unless you are a spammer. We don’t acept entries from comment spammers

2. Follow @BuyStudentArt on Twitter and tweet “I love @BuyStudentArt “. Or words to that effect.

If, after entering the competition using one of the only two ways to do so, above, you choose to go and like BuyStudentArt ‘s facebook page, that is entirely up to you. Naturally we would love it if you did, but you are under no obligation to do so. At all. Ever.

So what are you waiting for? Get tweeting or commenting. Now! And definitely before 6 June…

BuyStudentArt competition- Meet Laura Lou

May 12, 2011 § Leave a comment

As you cannot fail to be as excited about the BuyStudentArt competition as we are, we thought you might like to know a little bit more about the creative type behind our fabulous prize. So, without further ado (and if she goes on to make millions I hope you will all remember where you first saw her), please meet the lovely Laura Lou.

“My name is Laura Louise Power, or Laura Lou you take your pick. I was born at home in a small town called Stourbridge in the West Midlands on April 25th 1992. So i’m 19 years of age. I have two siblings a brother age 16 and a sister aged 6, who is adorable, my brother not so much. Anyway …
Since I was young I have always loved artistic hobbies in general. My mother used to tell me that from a very young age , I would wake up and go downstairs to draw or colour, before doing anything else, that was my priority. My favourite toy for many years was my spirograph, a very easy way to make pretty patterns.” [this was also my favourite toy, but I can’t draw to save my life!]

As well as being an artist, Laura is also a skilled dancer, and has been dancing since she was 3, and teaching since she was 16. She won a prestigious place at the Hammond School of Dance in Chester where she  recently finished her A levels, including, of course, a top grade in A level Art.

“I mainly paint, as I enjoy the experience, I find it very relaxing and therapeutic. However, I always aim for perfection and often if a painting does not go according to plan, I will spend the rest of the day very frustrated. Mid you, it’s no better if a piece is going well and I am pleased with my work, as I will spend hours and hours in silence, aiming for the perfect detail, adding intricate tonal shading and details.

I feel this makes my pieces unique to others, you can sense the care that has gone into each piece. I mainly use acrylics as my medium, because I love the vibrant tones and added texture although I also use watercolour paints, as this nicely contasts with simple and tranquil shades.”

“I now live in Chester, and I now purely paint for enjoyment. My forte is still life, especially floral compositions. However, i would love to be taught the skills needed to master landscape paintings. For this reason, one of my favourite artists is  Philip Gray – his work is breathtaking, and his pieces fill me with emotion. One day I hope my work will portray this too.”
I think she’s pretty darn good now!

Fast Facts about Laura Lou:

  • She plays the flute at grade 8 standard and the piano at grade 5
  • She loves the colour red and polkadots but dislikes the colour green
  • She love the view of rapeseed fields, and thinks the yellow is beautiful
  • She’s a tea addict :)

Don’t forget, there’s still time to enter the competition to win Laura’s piece Reflection, or you can buy one of her other pieces on the BuyStudentArt site.

To enter, simply

  1. Leave a comment on this blog post including the word ‘reflection’
  2. Follow @BuyStudentArt on Twitter and tweet “I love @BuyStudentArt”
  3. Like the BuyStudentArt facebook page

And if you do all three, you get three chances to enter. So what are you waiting for?

Fab BuyStudentArt Competition! Win actual Art. For free.

May 8, 2011 § 4 Comments

Well, despite the fact that I am currently languishing in my tonsillectomy sick bed, in six weeks time I will be gallivanting about at Cybermummy, thanks to my fab sponsor Kerri from BuyStudentArt.

BuyStudentArt is a new business that aims to let you own original artwork, for a fraction of the price you would pay in a gallery. Of course, the art is by students, or those just starting out on their art career, but think of it as an opportunity to get in at the ground floor, while making your living space beautiful at the same time.

The art on the site ranges from just a few pounds, up to £2,300, but most are between £20 and £300. And there are some right beauties and bargains to be found. Like this piece, called Reflections, by Laura Lou. Bet you’d like to have that hanging on your wall wouldn’t you?

Well unfortunately you can’t. Unless you would like it for FREE.

To celebrate my lovely sponsorship and because I think it’s a lovely painting, Mumazing are offerig one lucky reader the chance to win this lovely picture for free. All you have to do to enter is one of three things:

  1. Leave a comment on this blog post including the word ‘reflection’
  2. Follow @BuyStudentArt on Twitter and tweet “I love @BuyStudentArt”
  3. Like the BuyStudentArt facebook page

And if you do all three, you get three chances to enter. So what are you waiting for?

The competition will close at 10am on Monday 6 June (after the Whitsun holiday), but don’t leave it til the last minute. Go. Now.

Later in the week we will be talking to the artist, Laura-Lou Power about what inspires her and what she likes to paint, so come back then!

 

STOP PRESS because of my ineptitude unprecedented demand the competition deadline is being extended to 3pm Tuesday 11th June. Also the facebook way of entering is now banned (by Facebook) so get commenting or tweeting now. NOW.

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