Yes. Well the answer is a bit more complicated, but in the majority of situations a writer has the tools needed to start a blog. As a freelance writer who was continually reading guest blogging guidelines and talking with editors about offering a submission, I couldn’t help but think: I could do this. The most important aspect of a website is quality content (hence why we all have jobs), and no one can write quality content better than a trained writer. There are many different reasons that a writer could benefit from owning his/her own blog or website:
Archives for April 2012
In college you learn to abide by AP style, write in neat paragraphs and an academic tone. In the traditional writing format, these rules transferred nicely. However, when it comes to modern mediums, otherwise known as web writing, these rules generally don’t apply. While grammar should still be pristine, it’s more about the content than anything else. As an editor, it’s important that you have an eye for these key differences. [Read more…]
Being a stickler for grammar is not easy. Sure, you may have been that way for as long as you can remember, but I am sure that if you think about it, you will realize that it did take some work to get where you are right now. You started at some point. You learned – formal or not – one way or another. Good grammar may not cost you a thing in terms of money, but you do have to make a little bit of effort – at the very least – to ensure that you stay on top of your game.
As a writer, you have more opportunities to hone your grammar. However, you cannot overlook the possibility of becoming lax. You also have to deal with the fact that language is an ever evolving entity and that we have the responsibility to keep up with the changes. If we want to continue to be effective writers, then making sure that our grammar skills remain sharp should also be part of our list of things to do.
Here are some practical tips that can help you in this regard.
As Dr. Seuss wrote, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” While he probably was referring to knowing and learning about things other than grammar, we can easily use this concept as well.
I think reading can help improve grammar in two ways. One, it serves as a way to discover/remember rules and changes in usage. Of course, the key here is that you read good writers so that you can learn from them. Additionally, by reading the works of good writers, you can learn from their writing style and get inspiration as well! Two, reading helps in developing a critical eye. I do not mean that negatively, but instead, I mean that you can learn from the mistakes of others.
Stay faithful in the little things.
This may seem easy enough, but stop and think for a moment. With text messaging and chatting online, how often are you tempted to ease up on writing complete and grammatically perfect sentences? I will be totally honest and say that I do give myself a lot of leeway when composing text messages and instant messages. I have no excuses, but the more I think about it, the easier it is to go down the slippery slope of bad grammar if we are not faithful in the little things that we do on a regular basis. Am I being too strict?
Ask for feedback.
Feedback is a good thing. It really is! It may be difficult to receive feedback, especially if it is negative, but it is imperative that we open ourselves to constructive feedback. The need for feedback is not the sole domain of writers. It applies to practically any profession in existence, but let me just emphasize how important it is for us to welcome feedback when it comes to our grammar and writing style. More than merely welcoming feedback if it comes our way, I think we should also make it a point to ask trusted individuals to give constructive criticism now and then.
Do you have other tips you want to share?
Image via Glarkware
Why would anyone want to dish out insults? I am a firm believer in courtesy and respecting other people. As much as I can, I keep insults to the minimum. However, I have to admit that there are times when you just can’t help but think insulting things. You might even be justified on certain occasions.
If you are a writer, you’ll probably have more reason to make an insulting remark or two. I think that this is especially true if you write fiction, and your characters have a rough edge to them. So is there an art to dishing out insults? Probably.
I will not claim to be an expert in this matter, but I have found some interesting words that can be used to insult others. The fun part is that the recipient just might not get the fact that he is being looked down on. Here are some of my picks.
DISCLAIMER: In spite of the examples that I will be using below, I am not suggesting you go insulting others with this post. Let’s just look at it as an exercise in expanding your vocabulary.
The next time someone behaves like a condescending [insert insult here], be a little more creative and say “You’re superbious!” He might even think that you are giving him a compliment instead of the other way around! Of course, that all depends on how much sarcasm you put into your tone.
How many times have you called BS on a statement? While it is a commonly used term, especially in informal situations, there are many situations when you might not want to use it. How about buncombe instead? It basically means the same thing, and it does not sound as crass.
I like this word, if only for the reason that it reminds me of a rooster. It is used to refer to a person who is full of himself – a boastful, self-important person. I am sure you know a cockalorum or two!
Doesn’t this sound just as silly as the previous insult? If someone tells you you’re a mumpsimus, you better do a self-evaluation. This word refers to someone who is so stubborn that he continues making a mistake even after it has been pointed out.
Merriam-Webster has funny list of top 10 rare and amusing insults, if you want more.
Now remember what your mom always taught you about being polite!
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Being a successful freelancer requires that you acquire and maintain the latest information, tools, tips and skills in order to stay successful among the many people setting out on their own in the professional world. While there are tools available to all freelancers via the invaluable resource that is the internet, the physical disconnect between you and your colleagues and customers often leaves something to be desired.
On that note, as a freelancing professional looking to add to their current skill set, there is no better way to combine valuable educational opportunities with the ability to rub shoulders with the best and brightest in your niche than the many fantastic freelance conferences taking place around the world each year.
In the interest of spurring you forward towards exciting experiences and new opportunities, here are five freelance conferences to visit in 2012: [Read more…]
Do you find yourself checking the thesaurus often lately? I don’t know about you, but I do love checking for new words to use regularly. This is especially true for when I find myself using the same words too much. Sometimes, I am not even aware of that fact, but the thesaurus does help! Of course, I still believe that nothing beats reading voraciously when it comes to vocabulary expansion.
I found this infographic that presents 10
supposedly unusual collective nouns, which some of you might find interesting. To be honest, I don’t really think that the collective nouns in the infographic are all that unusual. However, information of this kind is always welcome – if not for its novel nature, it can always serve as a refresher.
So what are these 10 collection nouns?
So tell me, do you find these collective nouns unusual at all? Do you use them in your work regularly?
On another note, I have a more fun and alternative way for you to discover new words. If you have an iPhone (or iPod Touch or iPad), and you like playing games in your free time, I suggest that you check out W.E.L.D.E.R. – if you are not playing it already. This word game is reminiscent of other puzzle/word games out there, but it can be rather difficult. More than the enjoyably challenging experience, what I like about this game is that you get to discover a whole lot of new words. Why don’t you give it a try?
There seems to be two kinds of freelancers when it comes to the beginning to a career: those who are afraid to take on more than a single project at a time and those who jump in so deep that they are drowning in orders before they know what they are doing. Most commonly, it is the first type that we see. While freelancers have the ability to do more than one order at once, they are terrified of the risk or missing a deadline to take the chance.
But here is a secret that most freelancers who have been in the business for a while are aware of: You won’t reach full earning potential until you move past this fear, simply because you waste time that could be broken up among multiple orders trying to find one new project at a time.
If you are thinking of finally getting more than one client at a time, here are five tips to help you do so more smoothly. [Read more…]
Being a freelance writer entails a lot of responsibility and discipline. It is a given that our primary role is to produce written work that satisfies our clients, but there are so many other peripheral activities that can take up our time. One of these activities is starting and maintaining a website of your own. If you are a seasoned freelance writer, you probably already have one up and running. If you are new to the business, however, it is imperative that you establish your online presence as soon as possible. This is especially true if you are targeting the online job market!
If you are just starting out, it can be easy to become overwhelmed at the thought of having to start your own website. Where do you begin?
Do not despair! There are a lot of resources that can point you in the right direction of how to build a website. These guides are very detailed, so even the newest of new freelance writers aiming to make a splash online will be able to do things practically on their own.
Here’s a quick checklist of what you need to pay attention to when starting your own website.
- Choose a domain name. The domain name is closely tied to the identity of your website, so choose wisely. Here are some good tips on how to choose a good domain name. Keep in mind that these are only tips, and at the end of the day, you do not have to follow each of them if you have a strong argument. It’s not a one-size-fits-all thing anyway.
- Register your domain name. Sure you have your domain name, but you have to stake your claim by registering it. This can be done via a domain name registrar such as NameCheap. Alternatively, you can go to the next point – web hosting.
- Choose the best web hosting company you can find. You will be faced with many choices when it comes to this. There are the established names in the business, one of which is GoDaddy. This particular web host offers domain name registration as well, so you do not have to deal with different entities.
Whatever you do, or whatever you choose, make sure that you have done at least a little bit of research. Compare services, offerings, and prices before signing on the dotted line.
- Set up your website! I suggest using the free tools that your web hosting provider offers. Even if you have no experience, in most cases, web host providers have intuitive interfaces which include instructions on how to build your website. This should be enough to start with. Later on, when you have more experience, you can tweak and redesign to your heart’s content.
Let’s go back to the point: GoDaddy as a springboard for starting your website. You will probably hear some people offering contradictory opinions. They may have value, sure, but the thing about GoDaddy is that it makes things really easy for beginners. And, even if you are not a beginner but you do not want to spend much time on building your website at the outset, GoDaddy is a perfect place to start.
As I mentioned above, GoDaddy offers domain name registration on top of their web hosting packages. This is a matter of convenience and ease, really. It also has a very easy-to-use interface which will make your website-building endeavor less of an overwhelming idea. Last, GoDaddy usually has some good deals going on. If you are looking at more than one website, for example, the chances are you will be able to get a discount.
At the end of the day, I think that the one-stop-shop nature of GoDaddy’s services is excellent for freelance writers who are just embarking on this particular journey. Why not give a go?
Image via Daniel*1977
Grammar can be a pain in the butt, but grammar can also be fun. In the recent weeks, the Grammar Guide has been rather serious. Why don’t we have a little bit of fun today, and take a look at this infographic called “15 Grammar Goofs That Make You Look Silly”? ((Source: copyblogger))
The light tone of the title notwithstanding, the mistakes – let’s call a spade a spade – are really not that silly at all. As we always say, everyone makes mistakes. When it comes to the 15 in the infographic, however, unless they are typographical mistakes, committing the errors makes a writer look bad. I see two reasons for that:
- These mistakes make you look like you do not know the basics of grammar/word usage.
- These mistakes make you look sloppy. They can simply mean you do not proofread you work.
So what are the 15 goofy mistakes? Most of them will not surprise you, especially since we’ve covered some of them in the past. Here’s a quick rundown before you take a look at the infographic.
- Me, Myself, and I
- Improper use of the apostrophe
- Could of/Would of/Should of (Nooooooo! Darth Vader style)
- The Dangling Participle
I like the concept presented in the intro: “Engaging online writing is informal, conversational, and fun, but certain goofy mistakes just make you look silly…and not in a good way.” I don’t know about you, but I agree, and I definitely think that “informal, conversation, and fun” does not equate to goofy mistakes!
Which of these do you (sometimes) make? Off the top of my head, the most recent one I made was to interchange loose and lose – courtesy of fingers flying faster than my brain. Proofreading did help, though!
Which ones bug you? For me, could of, would of, and should of just does not cut it. No, I don’t count them as typographical errors!