Here is my fourth writer interview. This one is with Marilyn Thompson, who writes on MarilynThompsonSolutions.com, and PositivelyYouCan.com. Marilyn Thompson and I are part of a Facebook writers group, which is how we got in touch for this interview. Thank you Marilyn for taking part in it!
Q) What made you get into writing?
Marilyn: You could say that it’s a combination of genetics and guidance by my parents. My mother always stressed the importance of using good grammar and becoming a good speller. My father did extensive genealogy research on our family and composed four books that read more like novels than standard genealogy data. He actually titled them “The House of (our family names) – Stories of a Family and tells the story of individual lives.
I’ve always enjoyed writing but for many years it was mostly in a business context. I found that when the creation of training resources, guidebooks, and user manuals for our employees and customers was needed it usually fell on my shoulders. I also wrote and distributed a company newsletter some years.
Q) What is your favorite topic to write about?
Marilyn: There are two main topics I guess –
Helping people start or improve their blogs by providing tips, tutorials, opinions, and recommendations and possibly transition their blogs into online businesses. I do this through my blog http://www.marilynthompsonsolutions.com
I also enjoy writing on the topic of positive thinking and motivating people to be that they can be. I wish to give the reader the inspiration to break through self-imposed limitations. I believe we all have the ability to be more tomorrow than we are today if we challenge ourselves. I mainly do this through my other blog http://www.positivelyyoucan.com
Q) Please name three places where you find new clients.
Marilyn: Interestingly I found new clients by interacting in Facebook groups and commenting on other blogs that I follow. It is a great resource for allowing a new client to get to know you.
I’ve also found clients through oDesk and similar article submission sites. I’m just now starting to promote myself as a writer for hire on my blog so hopefully that will also be an avenue to find new clients.
Q) What hours of the day do you do most of your writing?
Marilyn: Most of my writing takes place between the hours of 8 AM and 5 PM as I structure my day much like I would if I worked a 9-to-5 job but without the commute. Since I work at home I can be found writing frequently which also includes the weekends.
Oddly I find myself most productive for roughly three-hour time spans and I’m learning to tear myself away from the keyboard when that energy starts waning so that I can do something else and then come back refocused.
Q) Please share one or two tricks you use to stay motivated and productive.
Marilyn: First off I love what I do so staying motivated is not as difficult as being productive. So I’ve tried to identify when I work the best and to not set rigid guidelines for writing time frames. Instead I allow myself to write on topics when those thoughts are flowing through my head, it is much easier than trying to force an idea. Plus I think my writing is better when I do this.
I used to make daily to-do lists and be pleased my cross something off that list but now I have more of a weekly to do list and I work on these items when I guess you could say the mood is right. I also tend to think out loud and use the Dragon Naturally Speaking software for getting words written. I have a review of that software on my website if anyone is interested.
Q)How long did it take for you to get to the point where you were making your ‘goal amount’ with writing (if you have)?
Marilyn: This question made me smile because I am nowhere near making my goal amount. I know though that I will get there and I’ll enjoy the journey along the way. It is just a matter of determination, staying focused on my writing, and putting myself out there.
Q) How did you get your start in writing?
Marilyn: I started writing seriously by way of a life-changing event. I was laid off from a 38 year career in a dying industry and being of what you could call the “senior employee” demographic I decided to reinvent myself and start an online writing career.
I started with Squidoo, Zujava, and such public Web 2.0 sites and then ventured into the article submission avenues as they all helped me stretch my writing wings and improve my style by needing to adhere to various writing standards.
Q) Do you do any writing besides freelance (books, kindle publishing, your own website(s))?
Marilyn: I maintain the two blogs and I have recently started a weekly newsletter called “Dreams on Target” which I find quite enjoyable. I also create niche websites and have a couple kindle books in the making that I simply need to focus on.
Q) Is writing your only source of income, or do you also work in a ‘traditional’ job?
Marilyn: Writing is currently my predominant source of income since by traditional job went by the wayside. This has caused a bit of stress and is a situation quite foreign to me as I have not been able to make a significant contribution to our household income as I once did. But that will change.
Q) How much did you make (per word) when you first started out? How did you raise your prices? (if applicable)
Marilyn: I commonly charge $0.05 per word for articles or blog posts or a will charge a flat fee based on the document required such as sales letter.
Q) What is your favorite part about being a writer?
Marilyn: Freedom of expression, I guess you could say. I express myself much better in writing than I do speaking; somehow the words seem to flow better when I’m at the keyboard. I enjoy being able to provide insights, direction, and useful information for the reader.
It has also expanded my knowledge on a variety of topics when I write for various article submission sites or as a ghostwriter. These typically are not the same topics I would choose for my blogs or books, so I spent a fair amount of time on research and have learned much.
Then I also find that it’s a way to challenge myself or you might say push myself to new limits. Centering my business ventures on writing has opened opportunities that I may not have found had I kept it simply a hobby.
Thank you very much Marilyn! It was great getting to know you a little better! It sounds like you’ve got a bright future ahead of you with writing and all your other activities.
If you’re interested in being interviewed or this site, please contact me at Michael@WriteForMoneyOnline.com and we can set something up. Thanks for taking the time to read this, and please make sure to visit Marilyn on her sites as well: