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Posts Tagged ‘editorchat’

Doomed to Freelance?

In Writing on January 13, 2010 at 7:57 am

By Tim Beyers

BusinessWeek has a new cover story in which it describes today as the era of permanent temporary workers, one in which corporate profits have soared as pay has sagged and benefits have gone missing. Read it here.


Be warned: the story is depressing. And yet I take comfort — irrational comfort, possibly, but comfort nonetheless — in this quote:

“With the economy expanding again, and employers loath to add permanent workers, temp employment is one of the few sectors of the labor market that is growing rapidly,” writes BusinessWeek’s Peter Coy.

That’s good news. Skilled writers with the temerity to risk rejection may be positioned to profit from the economic rebound underway, even if the publishing industry isn’t recovering as fast as others. Or at all.

Read the rest of this entry »


Editorchat to Get a Winter Makeover

In Resources, Writing on December 2, 2009 at 5:34 pm

By Tim Beyers

After 11 months on the job, Editorchat is taking a break for the winter. Well, okay, not for the whole winter, but for December. My co-founder Lydia Dishman and I are taking the month to try and make the experience, and the blog, better.

You might say we’re returning to our roots. We’re taking time to remember why we started this thing. Here’s what we said back in March, when former BusinessWeek Executive Editor John A. Byrne joined us for a chat:

If you have yet to try Editorchat, think of it as the world’s cheapest, real-time writer’s conference covering issues of substance facing the publishing industry. We think these sorts of discussions are essential for survival as writers. Having BusinessWeek join us makes us think that we’re onto something.

Read the rest of this entry »

Editorchat Gets a Friend

In Resources, Writing on September 2, 2009 at 11:28 am

By Tim Beyers

Twitter sometimes acts like it’s in college; everything’s fine till someone throws a party.

Dozens are invited, of course. Tweets flow like beer and whiskey. Tweeps get louder and more obnoxious with each thread, right up until someone breaks a stereo — I mean, server — and the killjoys who weren’t invited hear the noise and call the cops.

Stumblers head for the exits. Some make it. Others enjoy a nice, quiet ride downtown to the drunk-tank. Everyone else passes out on the couch, waiting for Twitter to rally from its out-till-3-am alcohol and Cheetos bender.

Source: PhotobucketAnd of course all of this happens in a matter of minutes — just enough time to transform Editorchat from a joy to an annoyance. My friend Lydia Dishman and I prefer it when Editorchat is a joy, which is why we’ve moved the chat from Twitter to FriendFeed. Read the rest of this entry »

Meet My Favorite Editor

In Writing on August 17, 2009 at 1:48 pm

By Tim Beyers

My idea of freelance writing heaven is having an editor who is one part Pitcher and one part Partner. But these are only two of the six types of editors my friend Lydia and I dream of when thinking of working with that Great Typewriter in the Sky.

Source: FlickrFortunately, I’m already living the dream daily. My editors at The Motley Fool are heavenly. What’s your favorite editor archetype? Please read Lydia’s post and leave your comments there. We’d love to hear from you.

© Copyright 2015, Tim Beyers.

Was Big Brother Watching Twitter?

In Resources, Writing on July 22, 2009 at 8:47 pm

By Tim Beyers
Check out my page!

Once again, Twitter failed us during #editorchat.

If you’re unfamiliar with #editorchat, it’s a weekly discussion on Twitter run by yours truly and my friend Lydia Dishman. Writers and editors use the forum to talk about topics of interest to the beleaguered publishing industry and in the process help each other to work smarter and more profitably.

Tonight, we had hoped to tackle pay. We knew it would be a contentious topic, one guaranteed to raise tempers and maybe even voices. How it could not when outlets are increasingly choosing to pay by the penny, and still shift risk to their freelancers?

Big Publishing Brother apparently doesn’t like such talk. So, he decided to shut down the conversation before it could begin. Maybe. All we know for sure is that the Fail Whale belly-flopped into our #editorchat tweetstream.

We’re going with the conspiracy theory, if only because we find it more entertaining. Herewith are our top 5 Big Publishing Brother reactions to tonight’s proposed #editorchat topic, none of which have any basis in fact other than they were trending topics on Twitter when #editorchat stalled. Drum roll, please: Read the rest of this entry »

The Elements of Indispensability

In Writing on June 8, 2009 at 5:37 pm

By Tim Beyers

Is it possible for writers to elevate their craft to the point of indispensability?

Source: Google image search

Source: Google image search

We discussed this from the reader’s perspective — the idea of indispensable content — during last week’s Editorchat, but we couldn’t agree. Freelancer Erik Sherman argues that indispensability varies by audience. For example, a reader facing foreclosure might find a piece about a specific house-saving strategy indispensable and a great article about grilling merely enjoyable.

This is a fair point from a must-follow blogging writer. And yet I wonder: Isn’t any piece of writing that gets you paid indispensable to the someone who paid you for it? We call these people editors, and their job is to be both reader advocates (i.e., seek and publish indispensable content) and publisher advocates (i.e., keep costs under control).

Maybe the question of indispensability is best asked with these gatekeepers in mind. Can a writer become indispensable to an editor? I think so. But just as no two readers are alike, neither are any two editors alike. Thus, in seeking a definition for what makes an indispensable writer, I run the risk of making the same mistake I made during Editorchat. “Indispensable writer” could be as loosey-goosey a phrase as “indispensable content,” and just as useless.

But I doubt it, if only because the process of thinking about what qualities our editors consider to be indispensable forces us to think as they do. This is the key, I think. Being good matters; understanding what our editors need matters more.

So what do they need? Read the rest of this entry »

5 More Must-Follow Bloggers for Aspiring Writers

In Blogging, Writing on June 5, 2009 at 4:45 pm

By Tim Beyers

Yesterday I introduced you to five of my favorite blogging writers. Today, I complete the list.

Source: Google image search

Source: Google image search

But before we get to the names, a hedge: There are many writers whose work I love yet who aren’t on Twitter or who use it sparingly. Kerrie Flanagan, Director of the Northern Colorado Writers and keeper of The Writing Bug blog is one of those writers. So treat this as it’s intended: a compilation and nothing more.

Now, without further ado, here are five more blogging and tweeting writers that all aspiring scribes should read regularly. Read the rest of this entry »

5 Must-Follow Bloggers for Aspiring Writers

In Blogging, Writing on June 4, 2009 at 1:11 pm

By Tim Beyers

With Technorati now indexing more than 100 million blogs and the esteemed editors of Writer’s Digest having named the 101 best websites for writers, I could be kidding myself trying to tell you who to follow.

Source: Google image search

Source: Google image search

Certainly this would be a silly exercise if I were assuming some position of authority in presenting this list. I’m not. My aim is to feed your brain with ideas by introducing you to those who feed my brain with ideas.

Also, this is a writer’s list, not a list for writers. Writer’s Digest has already singled out top blogs about the craft and business of writing, such as The Renegade Writer blog.

Writers who blog are a different breed. Here are the first five of my 10 favorites, listed in no particular order and all of whom you can find on Twitter. (Look for the other five here tomorrow.) Read the rest of this entry »

My Table at the Algonquin is Online

In Resources, Writing on May 21, 2009 at 4:21 pm

By Tim Beyers


Source: WordCount blog

Source: WordCount blog

Today is Guest Post Day in the 2nd annual WordCount Blogathon, so please welcome Michelle V. Rafter, a Portland, Ore., freelance reporter for national business and trade magazines and websites and keeper of the indispensable blog WordCount: Freelancing in the Digital Age. She’s filling in for me today. You’ll find me over on Michelle’s blog talking about writing for content aggregators.

Top 10 virtual hangouts for writers

By Michelle V. Rafter

If Dorothy Parker were alive today, she’d probably be tossing around those famous bon mots on The Red Room.

We writers are extroverts who spend too much time by ourselves. Or are we introverts who force ourselves to talk to people? Either way, we’re alone with our thoughts and computers for hours on end. When we’re not writing, we like to talk – about writing. Our preferred partners in conversation are other writers, people who can relate to miseries only we understand: endless waiting for editors to reply to pitches, and when we finally land an assignment, more waiting for the inevitable request for a rewrite.

Freelancers working in self-induced isolation have several options for filling our need to mingle and kvetch. We can join local writers groups, which is fine if you don’t mind kibitzing with poets and posers. We can go to fancy writing camps, inevitably somewhere far away and expensive and not at all satisfactory when you’re jonesing for daily gossip.

Or we can go online. Virtual writers groups have been around since the days of CompuServe forums. But thanks to the Internet, software that makes web-based message boards easy to build and the rise of the Gig Economy, there are more online writers’ circles than ever. Here are my top 10 virtual hangouts for writers: Read the rest of this entry »

My New Class: Six-Figure Freelancing

In Resources, Writing on May 16, 2009 at 6:11 pm

By Tim Beyers

On May 30, I’ll be teaching a class called “Secrets of a Six-Figure Freelancer,” sponsored by the Northern Colorado Writers (NCW). I’m thrilled to have a chance to share my experience with fellow writers but I’m also nervous that my story won’t be  interesting. I’ve only been freelancing for six years.



What’s more, I wonder if “Secrets of a Six-Figure Freelancer” — my title, not the sponsor’s — sounds arrogant and overdone. Who am I to talk about freelancing in this way when Bob Bly, Christina Katz, Kelly James-Enger, Linda Formichelli, Diana Burrell and Michelle Goodman are published experts on this topic?

My class could be a disaster. Here’s why I think it won’t be. Read the rest of this entry »