Suffering from writers’ block? There is a strong community of freelance writers following FreelanceSwitch, so over the last year or so there have been a steady stream of articles helpful to writers and would-be writers.
They cover topics like how to become a writer, how to improve your writing, where to do your writing, and essential reading for writers. Check them out below to build up your skill and regain your inspiration!
Essential Reading for Writers (and Novices Like Me!)
It’s been about a year since I began blogging, and during that time I’ve started paying a lot more attention to writing. Not so much that I have gotten any good at it, mind, just enough to realise what an art it is.
Fortunately there are some good places on the web to help improve your writing skills. In particular, Leo of ZenHabits has launched overnight a new site called WriteToDone aimed at sharpening your technique.
Pare a Phrase to Paraphrase: Correctly Use Paraphrases In Your Writing
“Drat!” echoes in your mind. You’ve found superb sources for what you’re writing, chock-
full of information you would absolutely love to use. How do you paraphrase the
First, why should you paraphrase? If you use someone’s information and its wording as if
it is your own, it is plagiarism. If you use someone else’s unique information and do not
credit it, it is plagiarism. Plagiarism is illegal. It also tends to have nasty side effects on your reputation, be it for work or school.
Working in the Shadows: Ghostwriting, Freelancing, and Work Without Recognition
Among other things, I’m a ghostwriter. Not the sexy kind that sits down with Sarah Palin or Oprah or that guy who killed his wife and married his daughter (I’m sure there is one!) and writes their story, getting an “as told to” or even “with” credit on the front cover. No, I write articles that appear in publications large and small under someone else’s name.
My reasons for doing this are plentiful, and not worth getting into in depth here – what it boils down to is that the money is good, the work is easy, and it saves me the time I’d normally spend querying editors and thinking of ideas. Since I teach a full-time schedule, that time saving is important.
Seven Tips for the Beginning Freelance Writer
Starting out as a freelance writer is not as easy as it appears. Learning how to become a freelance writer requires business considerations, not just writing chops.
Beyond getting out there and securing contracts, you need to be self-motivated and organized. This is a difficult transition, especially if you don’t have colleagues or friends who have been in the field and can help you along.
If you’re just starting out and hoping to make your livelihood writing, take a look at the seven tips below. Keep in mind that these are geared toward beginners who are pursuing freelance writing as a full-time job—not for those who simply do a little extra writing on nights and weekends.
Wordsmith: Words that Should be Banned in 2012
I was tickled when I found this list of 12 words that should be banned in 2012 on PRDaily.com. What started in 1975 as a publicity ploy at Lake Superior State University in Michigan has turned into a phenomenon.
The List of Words Banished from the Queen’s English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness gets submissions from around the world. The word with the most nominations this year? AMAZING. It’s the first time the word has made the list.
Shorthand Words to Eliminate From our Vocabulary…Now
I’m a writer. I like words. I also hate words. What people say in daily conversation rarely makes sense on paper. Using acronyms and emoticons are infuriating—especially to an editor.
Here’s an example: I teach undergraduate journalism courses at a couple of universities in the area. I once had a student hand write me a note and used a colon and parentheses to create a smiley face at the end of her letter. How did shorthand typing evolve into writing?
11 AP Style Guide Rules That Are Easy to Mess Up
When I was in journalism school (in both the late 1990s and mid 2000s), the AP Stylebook was our bible. We didn’t go to class without it and frequently had quizzes and assignments built around it.
I recently wrote a blog post about the future of journalism and how astonished I was to learn that my undergraduate journalism students were never made to even purchase their own copy of the AP Stylebook, let alone use it.
If you are going to write for a newspaper (even some magazines) you need to have your AP Style Guide handy. And the more current the style guide the better. So when I found this article at Ragan.com about frequently botched AP style points, I thought I’d share them.
10 Secrets to Writing Well
I require my undergraduate journalism students to buy two books to keep by their sides at all times. One of them is the AP Style Book; the other is called When Words Collide: A Media Writer’s Guide to Grammar and Style.
I can’t tell you how much I love my When Words Collide book; I use it all the time. I’d like to share some information with you about one of my favorite chapters in this book. It’s called 10 Little Secrets, 10 Big Mistakes—and the information is useful if you aim to be a better writer.
How to Become a Freelance Blog Writer
For years now, I’ve done freelance writing for newspapers and magazines as a way to make side income, supplementing my full-time job. But this year, I’ve made the conscious move to freelancing for blogs instead of print publications, to the point where I now make about $2,000 a month as a blog writer (not including my own blog’s income or my full-time salary).
Becoming a freelance blog writer isn’t always easy in the beginning, but I’ve found that it’s vastly more fun and rewarding. It’s worth the effort.
Where You Should—and Shouldn’t—Go To Write
I am a lucky freelancer—I have my own home office and no kids (well, at least not yet) to worry about. And my job means I don’t have to sit in my office, day after day, until I can’t stand it anymore. I get to go out and meet interesting people to interview and take photos. However, not everyone can work this way.
Some of you don’t have a home office, or any office, to work in. You have to work wherever you can, be it the couch, the kitchen table, or in the basement. Finding a quiet space can be difficult if you have a family. And not having anyone to bounce ideas off of can be maddening, too.