At first glance, stock market genius Jim Cramer’s painfully frank biography Confessions Of A Street Addict might not seem like a writer’s cup of tea. What freelancer has the money to sink into stocks or the time to properly manage a portfolio?
That’s what I though plowing into this, but I was quite surprised to read about Cramer’s horror stories as a writer–working as a broke, literally homeless crime writer for the LA Herald Examiner. It’s hard to complain about a little freelancer cabin-fever when reading about a writer who lived in the back seat of his car when he wasn’t out hanging out at murder scenes. Jim Cramer learned a great deal the hard way as a writer, including a much publicized scandal that nearly got him indicted for writing about stocks that he also happened to be invested in.
He nearly lost his entire career because of a simple editorial mistake. (He was cleared of any personal wrongdoing, and if the facts as presented in the book are true, he didn’t really deserve any of blame.) Cramer repeatedly tried to walk away from writing as his stock market career took him into millions of dollars in personal success, but his love of the craft brought him back for the creation of TheStreet.com, and the rest is history.
In short, this is an AMAZING book to read from a struggling writer’s standpoint. You can learn a lot from Jim Cramer’s mistakes and his successes in and out of the writing game. This is making the rounds at Freelance-Zone, and it’s kept at least one of us up at night, unable to put the damn thing down.
Buy for $10.20
The Zoom H2 Handy Recorder is a simple, easy-to-use digital recorder custom designed for interviewing and on-location recording. The built-in mics are broadcast quality and even features a surround sound recording option. The Zoom H2 records to an SD card and has a USB port, letting you send audio files to your computer, or you can listen to the playback with headphones Best of all, it records to .wav or MP3 formats in a variety of quality settings–with a 4 gig SD card you can record two hours of audio at the highest .wav setting (96K) or a whopping 130+ hours of audio in MP3 format. A half-gig SD card is included, plus a USB cable and power supply. The H2 weighs only four ounces and uses two AA batteries. The Zoom H2 is perfect for interviews and podcasting, even as a budget location sound tool for indie documentaries or film projects.
Buy for $188.00
Sure, children’s writing is an overcrowded market. Every mom comes up with at least three ideas they’re sure would make a great kid’s book. Don’t get us wrong, we’d never discourage anyone from putting ideas together…but the market is vastly overcrowded. How do you get an edge on your competition? The Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Guide has plenty of information and resources for the beginner. Knowing how things work in the world of children’s publishing definitely gives you an advantage, at least over the clueless competition. We’ll take a wild guess and say that for every person who properly submits to publishers in this genre, at least five people ahead of you at the post office sent manuscripts without a clue on how to avoid the reject pile. Don’t be one of them!
Buy for $17.81
Many ask, few are happy with the answer. It’s time to go fulltime freelance when you have one or more of three basic questions answered in the affirmative:
1. Is my current gig interfering with my growing career?
2. Is at least half my income coming from freelancing?
3. Do I have work to rely on as a fulltime freelance writer?
If you can’t answer all three questions “yes”, you might not be ready for the leap. There is one major reason for this, money issues aside. Networking, having contacts in the industry, and knowing where you can pick up work are the essentials you need to survive as a fulltime writer.
Continue reading When Should I Go Full Time?