Category Archives: communciation

Sharing with other writers

Path

Finding your Path to Writing Guerito via Flickr

Claudia’s Story

As a writer, it’s always interesting to learn how others find their way to this crazy craft that empowers so many of us.  Learn about how another member of FWA/Palm Coast was inspired to write by click here or the title above.   Remember that post about inspiration?  It finds us in the most unusual and unpredictable places.

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Freelancing Tips — some things you may not have thought about!

Guest post by Sherry Zander of Writing4Effect

 

Thanks to Sherry Zander for providing this guest post.  Sherry and I met through LinkedIn at The Blog Zone group and decided that exchanging  guest posts was a great way to expand our horizons in the world of blogging and helps us connect with more readers!  Find out more about Sherry in the bio at the end of her post.  Thanks for reading.

Essential Tools of the Freelance Writer

Freelance writers just starting off and those who are seasoned can benefit from a checklist that ensures they stay on track and grow their business once it’s established. Not only does it provide a head-start for those just beginning their journey, it also serves as a reminder along the way of things that may seem simple, but are easy to forget.

Build a Blog

If you want to showcase your talents, create a blog and begin writing posts. Do an Internet search for “free blog” and you’ll find a plethora of sites that offer them. The most popular are WordPress (WP) and Blogger. WP does not allow bloggers to sell anything from a free WP blog, but Blogger does. Both are easy to set up and use.

Talent, Spelling, Semantics and AP Style

Although there are many writers out there who have talent, not all of them have great spelling skills or understand the semantics of sentence structure and AP style – required by most journalism jobs and content mills. Most writers have blogs with the benefit of showcasing their talents. The downside for some, however, is that they don’t edit their articles sufficiently. If you’re going to have a blog, create posts in MS Word first, spell check them and use the Merriam-Webster online dictionary for words on which you are unclear. Some words sound the same, but have different meanings – e.g., piece vs. peace.

Office Setup

If you don’t have a private room separate from the living area for your office, set it up in a corner of your bedroom or some other area of the home with the most private surroundings – as much as possible, free from noise, distraction and family activity. It’s always more difficult to accomplish tasks with outside interruptions.

Your home office tools are essential for the support of a successful freelance writing career. Purchase a laptop with wi-fi, so that you have access to write for your customers no matter where you are each day. Many restaurants, libraries and airports offer free wi-fi. A printer with fax, scanner and copier capabilities prepares you for anything a client may need. For example, I’ve had to scan my university degree for some clients and fax, or scan and attach to an email, freelance contracts to others.

Freelance Job Sites

Primary to getting freelance writing jobs and finding others along the way is registering for jobsites that post freelance writing jobs. I’m registered for a number of them. I set up auto-alerts on a daily or weekly basis, depending on whether I need work right away, and skim the list to see if anything catches my eye. I spend around 15 minutes a day checking my alerts. Be creative as to how you set up the alerts. Use the words remote writer, freelance writer or similar terms. I have to say that Problogger, AmericanJobs and Craigslist are my favorites, because writing jobs are quite prominent on these sites.

Problogger often has some of the best freelance writing jobs available, but I don’t believe you can register for auto job alerts. Instead, you’ll have to check the site daily or at your discretion. You don’t have to register for AmericanJobs to access writing jobs. If you do, however, it costs $29.95 and the site posts your resume on 48 other sites for greater exposure. I am not registered, but I do check it every other day or so for new writing job posts. A fellow writer friend of mine, Sam Bangayan, also advises how to set up auto alerts for Craigslist ads via iGoogle, so that you receive writing job ads from all cities in which you’re interested. It takes a little time, but the benefit is huge.

Another strategy that I’ve used effectively is simply to contact web development companies to see if they might be interested in hiring a “resident” content writer. Web developers create/maintain websites for clients that need content. It’s a perfect match and eliminates the need to constantly be looking for work. This approach might work well, but just be cognizant to keep other jobs on the burner since the work may be ebb and flow.

Social Networking

Register for websites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Join groups, gather a following and post regularly. Not only do you get the word out about your blog to gain subscribers, but you also advertise and showcase your writing expertise … if you have talent, can spell and understand sentence syntax.

Never Stop Learning

No matter how little or long you’ve been freelance writing, you must always be learning. Grow your understanding of SEO – search engine optimization. Google periodically adjusts its web crawler to capture or eliminate certain items when ranking sites – e.g., broken links, low ranking links, word stuffing, etc. Learn about SMO and SEM – social media optimization and search engine marketing, respectively. Use Google Ad Words to optimize your blog’s exposure when Internet users search the web, and learn the terms that gain the greatest exposure.

What experience or processes helped you establish and grow your freelance writing business?

Bio –

Sherry Zander completed her BA in Business and HR in 2004 and has been freelance writing since 2006, after years of technical and non-technical writing in project manager positions. She currently writes online copy for Fox News and other websites, and produces articles for her local city newspaper the Gardner News. Sherry has a passion to help and see other writers succeed. For more information about Sherry, visit her blog here — http://writing4effect.wordpress.com/.

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Do you think sewing is a lost art? Think again!

Needle plate, foot and transporter of a sewing...

Image via Wikipedia

Christine Speno: Sewing guild coming to Palm Coast | StAugustine.com.

Just when you thought that the world of technology has totally taken over our lives, something comes to light that makes you realize that some things from generations past never go out of style.  Now I love a story based on history and when I received a request to post some information on a new sewing group forming in my community, I grabbed the opportunity to do a little research about a hobby that I enjoyed for many years — sewing.

People have been sewing as far back as the last Ice Age —  more than 20,000 years ago.  Bone needles have been discovered in archaeology digs with evidence that these needles were probably used to sew together skins and furs.  Our innovative forefathers in Germany created needles from iron way back in the 3rd century B.C.

In 1790, Thomas Saint, a British inventor patented the first running sewing machine, and the craft has been evolving ever since.  Although sewing first was a necessary part of our ancestors’ daily lives, today it can be much more than sewing clothes.  So forget about that Home Ec disaster you may have created back in high school.  Today’s sewers use their creative vision and embrace quilt making and even some ancient arts – like Kanzashi  – a centuries-old art of creating Japanese hair ornaments that were used in traditional Japanese hairstyles.

And today’s sewers in the U.S. have the support of a national organization, the American Sewing Guild (ASG) that promotes sewing as a art form and life skill to be passed on to our future generations.  You can learn more about sewing and its history and movement into the 21st century at ASG or by doing your own research online.  I found links to several sewing guilds and organizations the world over.

So now you know about  one more way to express your creativity through the art of sewing.  Communication knows no limits.  Click on the link above or below to see how sewing is enjoying life in our community of Palm Coast, Florida.

Christine Speno: Sewing guild coming to Palm Coast | StAugustine.com.

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2010-2011 Right Whale Results « Ocean Publishing’s Blog

Southern right whale (Peninsula Valdés, Patago...

Image via Wikipedia

Be sure to catch the update on the “Right Whale” as well as a little background on how they got their name.  These amazing creatures visit the northeast Florida/southeast Georgia coast each winter.   Ocean Publishing does a great job of keeping us all in the loop through their blog and their  many publications.  Be sure to check out Frank’s Whales written by Ocean Publishing owner, Frank Gromling.

To visit’s Gromling’s update, click on the title above or the link below.  Also check out my past post here.

 

2010-2011 Right Whale Results « Ocean Publishing’s Blog.

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Putting a cell carrier service to rest.

Mobile Phone

Image by johnmuk via Flickr

Several weeks ago I attended a Webinar sponsored by MLT Creative that discussed B2B (Business to Business) blogging techniques.  One of their ideas was to write a blog in a different format from what you usually use.  They even suggested a poem.

Now a writer I am, a poet I am definitely not.  I tried, and it was pretty pathetic so I took my ideas and put them into prose here and embedded a few attempts at poetic lines.  Here ya go and please don’t laugh!  I’m trying to keep my readers engaged here….

The Saga of the Final Cell Phone Bill – Communication in Dollars and Sense!

We recently changed our cell phone carrier.  That seems easy enough today.  You go in to your new carrier of choice, they transfer your number, set up your new phone and they even cancel your account with your former carrier.  Sounds simple right?

Although they make it easy

The final bill was enough to make me queasy

As luck would have it we did this changeover on the day that our former carrier rolled our new bill.  Now we all know that you generally pay for your service a month in advance.  I’m not sure how it happened, but we ended up with a final bill for 78 cents.  That’s right 78 cents – 3 quarters and 3 pennies.  Here’s where my adventure began.

I thought now I can send them a check for 78cents, but that will cost me 44cents in postage.  That just seemed silly to me.  HA! Talk about silly.

So I thought I’ll just go to my bank’s billpayer online service, which is where I pay most of my bills.  Trouble was the bank has a minimum payment requirement of one dollar. I wasn’t crazy about that idea either.  I thought I’ll just stop by a local AT&T store and pay the *$%@# bill.

Double HA!

The nice gentleman at the ATT store said, “Sure we’ll take your 78 cents and more,”

It would cost me 500 pennies, 20 quarters, 50 dimes so thin,

In other words, to pay in full costs a service charge of an extra fin

The friendly man said, “Just go pay online”

Now that would be fine

But my closed account won’t let me in

I thought my only choice is to spend that fin

So back to square one.  I thought I just can’t win this battle.  So I figured just pay the extra 22 cents with BillPay and be done with this nonsense.

At last I guessed my journey was done

But soon the mailman came and brought more fun

To my surprise I got a check

Those two dimes plus two pennies came back

Now I get to spend some gas to drive to the bank with that silly draft

But in the end I won, I think.  Well, maybe not, just think about all of the energy it took me to figure out how to get rid of this silly little bill.

Oh what a complicated world we have created.  You gotta love it!  Do you have a story to share ?  Let’s hear it!!

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Come follow me…

For those of you that have followed  me on my blogspot location at http://www.wordsetcwriting.blogspot.com, you may be confused.  I have redirected that blog here to my new home at WordPress. I hope that you will continue to follow me here.  Now please bear with me as I am still on a learning curve with WordPress.com

I will be back tomorrow with a new post on a recent experience I had when I tried to cancel my account with a well-known cell carrier.  Wow!  What a lesson in communication it was.  But in the end I feel like I won.

Tune in tomorrow!

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More electronic etiquette – Voicemail

Okay, here we go again with yet another inspiration from one of my Facebook friends.  Last time it was email etiquette.  Now let’s move on to voicemail etiquette.  Does it drive you crazy when someone calls you at your office and doesn’t leave a message  —  just hanging up when the message time starts?   My poor frustrated Facebook friend said,  “leave a voicemail! If you call someone and they don’t answer–leave a voicemail!”

Another FB friend then chimed in, “please, even if you think we have it, leave your phone number.”

And yet another FB commenter added, “Hang in there and remember they’ll continue to not leave their names and make you guess who they are when they call and get you.”  This is probably true because as we all know old habits are hard to break.

To that I’ll add,  does it drive you even crazier when the caller just says “call me when you get a chance?”

To me, that’s  an open-ended question that’s you are afraid to answer.  For instance, has anyone ever said, “Can you do me a favor?”  Now before I’m going to answer that one, I want to know exactly what that favor is!  So leave details for the person you are trying to reach.

So recently I have been making an effort to be more thoughtful when leaving voicemail.  But I’ll take these suggestions a step further.  Be sure to leave a few details in your voicemail.  I want to know what my caller needs.  That helps me prioritize callbacks.  If you just want to say “hi” and chat for a few, tell me that.  If you need something really important, tell me that too.

With all the things we have to worry about in our day-to-day business and personal activities, voicemail may not seem important, but for many of us it is part of our daily life. And I think we’re all ready for something to make our day go a little smoother. For more suggestions, check out this article.

I hope someone out there reading this post will think more about the voicemail messages they leave.  One change a little at a time can make a huge impact.  Think about it!

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