If you are a working freelance writer, language is your stock in trade. Obviously, you love words and language or you would not be working in this field. Should you show off your love of prose by using the most exquisite and complicated version of English that you can find when doing work for clients? Nope. Readability is more important than making your work look pretty, and online readability calculators are an important part of your freelance writing toolbox. [Read more…]
Archives for July 2015
I’ve written about the benefits of occasionally working outside, and recently, I have been thinking about it again. It’s probably because I haven’t gone out to work in a while.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but you probably work at a coffee shop (as opposed to a restaurant or pub) when you don’t work at home.
What I’d like to share with you today is what to bring when you work at a coffee shop. It may seem like a no-brainer, but there may be some things that you haven’t thought of. Based on my experience, here are some things to do/prepare before you go to work at a coffee shop.
Have a special bag to carry your mobile office.
Having a dedicated bag for your mobile office, as I like to call it, serves two purposes.
One, you do not have to dig around your regular bag for your laptop, charger, and other things you need for work. Your personal items like your wallet stay in your regular bag. Things are more organized and easier for you.
Two, your devices are more protected. There are bags that have compartments that offer protection for laptops, tablets, mobile phones, and other electronic devices.
Always bring a power strip.
I used to laugh at this idea – until I struggled with finding an available socket. When that happened, I got a small power strip (2-3 sockets) that I use when working at a coffee shop.
The brilliant thing about having this strip is that when there is a lack of wall sockets, you can easily ask the other people near you if you can plug the strip and then offer to share sockets with them. If you’re lucky, then you might even make friends, contacts, or potential clients.
Earphones may not be essential for some writers, but in my case, I am more productive when I am isolated from the noise around me. Sometimes, even writers who do not really care about the buzz of chatter in a coffee shop may get distracted by unusually loud customers. That’s when earphones come in handy.
Don’t forget old-school tools.
A notebook. Pens. Business cards (if you have them).
You never know when you might need them, and as they say, better safe than sorry.
What items do you consider essential for working at a coffee shop?
As a freelance writer, you love what you do. You also need to make sure that your cash flow keeps flowing so that you can afford to stay in business. Getting paid on time is an essential part of running your business, and there are some things you can to so that you can take charge of your receivables and get paid faster. [Read more…]
Today, we learned of the passing of renowned author E.L. Doctorow. According to his son, the cause of his death was complications due to lung cancer.
The author is probably known best for Ragtime, which made it to the Modern Library’s list of 100 best novels of all time.
With his passing, we pay tribute to one of the most brilliant novelists of our time by learning from him. Of course, we can always put his books next on our reading lists, but for starters, here are some of the best E.L. Doctorow quotes that will make you think and inspire you as a writer.
Best E.L. Doctorow Quotes
- Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.
- Planning to write is not writing. Outlining, researching, talking to people about what you’re doing, none of that is writing. Writing is writing.
- The writer isn’t made in a vacuum. Writers are witnesses. The reason we need writers is because we need witnesses to this terrifying century.
- Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.
- A novelist is a person who lives in other people’s skins.
- When I’m writing, I like to seal everything off and face the wall, not to look outside the window. The only way out is through the sentences.
- I began to ask two questions while I was reading a book that excited me: not only what was going to happen next, but how is this done? How is it that these words on the page make me feel the way I’m feeling? This is the line of inquiry that I think happens in a child’s mind, without him even knowing he has aspirations as a writer.
- Happiness consists of living in the dailiness of life and not knowing how happy you are. True happiness comes of not knowing you’re happy.
- I get intrigued by a first line and I write to find out why it means something to me. You make discoveries just the way the reader does, so you’re simultaneously the writer and the reader.
- The important thing is not to be too comfortable when you’re writing. Noise in the street? That’s good. The computer goes down? That’s good. All these things are good. It has to be a little bit of a struggle.
Which of these quotes do you relate to the most? Which ones make you think about what you do?
You might also like: Writing Tools of Famous Authors
“Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.”
― Albert Einstein
We’re still alive, aren’t we? We continue to look for new clients and work with existing clients.
Shouldn’t we then apply Einstein’s words to our professional lives? Shouldn’t we find ways to continue growing professionally?
The reason I’m writing about this topic is that I have always been a firm believer in keeping up with new ideas and trends in my line of work. This is particularly important for online writers as the landscape of freelance writing, blogging, and content marketing is in a constant state of flux. If you stand still by not expanding your knowledge, you’ll find yourself being left behind.
Ways to continuously improve as a writer
One of the best and easiest ways to keep up with the times is to read – blogs of other writers, books, news, and other material that will aid you in learning more about writing and other online jobs you may have.
Another way – and perhaps more effective – is to take courses that teach you skills and ideas beyond what you already know. There are a lot of online educational providers today, some free, some for a fee.
I know that not everyone has the money to spend on expensive courses, but guess what? We have a treat for you.
The guys a Udemy got in touch with us about a “free writing course” they are currently offering.
If you’re not familiar with Udemy, it is one of the biggest providers of online courses. Their courses range from app development to search engine optimization to job search to writing. Some of their courses are free, but they also have paid courses.
One of their current offerings on writing is “Writing with Flair: How to Become an Exceptional Writer”. It focuses on tightening your writing style while at the same time honing your skills to take your writing to the next level.
Michael Blau from Udemy generously gave me a code to take the course, which is priced at $299 (now don’t stop reading yet), and while I haven’t finished it, based on the outline and the sections I’ve gone through, I can honestly say that I will walk away a better writer when I am done.
To give you a sneak peek, the course introduces you to the “world elite writing” – not the usual articles/web content you see online – and the “secret sauce of flair” (while at the same time cutting out the unnecessary).
The good stuff
When you saw the price of the course in the previous section, you might have ditched the idea of taking it – and understandably so. The $300 price tag is not easy to swallow, and even if I keep on repeating how good the course is, some of you may just not want to spend that money.
I’ve got good news for you, though. Michael was generous in giving me a code to take the course, but he has gone the extra mile by giving a code for our readers, essentially making “Writing with Flair: How to Become an Exceptional Writer” a free writing course!
How do you get in on the action?
Just visit the course page, and enter the code NOEMIBUSINESSWRITING.
It’s that simple. You get to take a $299 writing course for free!
Here’s one important detail: This code is good for the first 50 users who sign up (no fees to create a Udemy account).
Learn how to improve your writing skills from one of the most popular courses on Udemy without spending a single cent. How’s that for a great deal?
Once you have successfully landed your first freelance writing job, you should be thinking about completing it to your client’s specifications, to be sure. Now is the perfect time to start developing the habit of thinking ahead (if you haven’t already) and looking at how to get your second freelance writing job. [Read more…]
Freelance writers and bloggers have a lot of things on their plate. These days, we don’t only write for our own sites and clients, but we also play other roles like being a social media specialist and a content marketing expert. These other roles expand our knowledge, our client base, and our income.
One aspect of these other roles is blog outreach. Guest blogging reached its peak years ago, and it has often been said that it’s dead. In my experience, however, when done right, guest blogging can still bring you benefits – not only for the links but for contacts and exposure.
I’d like to emphasize contacts. [Read more…]