Category Archives: Freelance Writing

Techniques and resources for freelance writers who are looking for writing jobs.

10 Ideas for Living a Good Life in Bad Times

Face it. We live in a very uncomfortable time with some very uncomfortable realities.

Donald Trump is actually a viable candidate for President. The alternative, Hillary Clinton, is no better than La Donald, just a different shape and different background. On November 8th, 2016, the American public gets to choose between a male bully with megalomania and  no morals or a female cobra with ever-changing ethics and situational morals.

Can you say Hobson’s choice?

Whoever wins this election, these United States are in for a rough ride, facing international sanctions and national crises — all of our own making and all born of greed and the overweening desire for power and control.

I can’t change any of this. All I can do is live my small life. You can’t change any of this either. So, this morning, I offer a way for you and I and anyone else who is tired of the trash talk, afraid of the looming future and worried about their loved ones, some insights from  one of my very favorite intellectuals, writers, and muses.

Maria Popova offers 10 core values which, she has gleaned over the 10 years of writing her amazing blog – Brain Pickings

My Sunday mornings are spent with a cup of coffee and her newsletter – my break, my solitude, my weekly dose of philosophy, culture, insight, learning and being.

I offer Popova as an antidote to the idiocy we see all around us. I offer her as peace in a world fraught with panic. I hope she brings you the same joy that she brings me.

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Filed under arm wresting, Death & Dying, Education, Freelance Writing, Gifts, Inspiring People, Life & Death, Mysteries, Politics, Religion, World Changing Ideas

Blunderkins© Is Coming To Town

Her name is Shirley Epstein, aka Blunderkins©.

She has a nose for bad news and an uncanny knack for diving into the middle of murder, mayhem and mystery.  Fair, fat, fertile and a bit over 40, Shirley is also pretty good at dragging her long time, ever patient, inventor husband, Bert, into the fray with her.

In Blunderkins© Saves The Baby, Shirley finds death and destruction right in her own back yard when her new and very rich neighbor starts dumping a liquid fertilizer into the pond he shares with the Espteins, something that turns the water red and his lawn an emerald green.

At the heart of this mystery is a stolen baby and a human trafficking ring. Shirley gets the facts but she also gets caught and is headed for the same fate as the other murder victims.

Bert saves the day (and his wife) with his techno-talon, a hidden, high-tech surveillance system and a GPS chip embedded in Shirley’s wedding band the day they got married.

The manuscript is in the final round of editing; the book will be on Amazon Kindle before you know it and Shirley and Bert have already embarked on their next murder mystery entitled Blunderkins© & The Bad Husband.

NOTE:  The word and character, Blunderkins©  are copyrighted and the exclusive property of Patricia and Pasquale Muccigrosso.  Copyright © 2013. All rights are reserved. This character and books named for this title character may not be reproduced or used in any manner, whatsoever.

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Filed under Book Reviews, Copywriting, Freelance Writing, Love and Marriage, Mysteries, Publishing

Don’t Get Sued – 3 Sources of Copyright-Free Images from LKR Social Media

Blogging can be fun.  It can be profitable.  It can simply be a means of leaving behind a journal for grandchildren and maybe even grandchildren you will never know.

But blogging is still covered by the same copyright laws that govern all intellectual property including photographs.  And copyright law, which includes using someone else’s photographs,  is pretty rigid.

Under copyright law, there is little wiggle room for the usual excuses and “fair use” – not monetized, one time use, educational – does not cover theft of property.

This cautionary tale comes from Laura K. Roeder, an expert in the use of social media.   The person involved used only 3 pictures which she thought were covered.   Her initial fine was over $2,000. 00. Her apology and sincere explanation of why she thought it was okay to use them got the fine reduced $1650.00.

If she had paid for the use of the photos, her total cost would have been $148.50.

Bottom line, unless you take the photo, pay for the photo or know, unequivocally, that is is copyright free, don’t use it.  Roeder provides 3 sources where you can get photos for use on your blog. Check them out but seriously consider taking your own photos.  It’s safer.

3 Killer Sources of Copyright-Free Images to Avoid Getting Punched in the Face with a Lawsuit – LKR Social Media.

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Filed under Copywriting, Freelance Writing, Publishing, Uncategorized, Writing Advice

Growing Old…er: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

For women in the over 50 brigade, none of this is news.  For those girls who are younger, more innocent and still delusional, this is your future.   Get ready.  Growing old…er is inevitable but, as George Burns said, “…growing old is not for the faint of heart.”    He wasn’t lying!

The good: you save a small fortune on cosmetics.  Nobody’s looking at you so why use them?
The bad:
you spend a small fortune on hoof and heel cream to “moisturize” your face which refuses to give up its wrinkles without surgery.

The good: the hair on your legs grows slower so you don’t have to shave as often.
The bad: your mustache comes in better than your grandson’s.  The hair on your chin picks up the slack on your head.  Where are the tweezers?

The good: there are no worries about unwanted pregnancy – no one will touch you with a barge pole.
The bad: hormones still rush through your blood stream but all you get for your trouble is hot flashes.

The good: you have all the original equipment (read body parts) you sailed through your 20’s with.
The bad: the equipment seems to have stretched, slipped and/or slid downward. Gravity’s a bitch.

The good: You don’t care about the picture on your driver’s license.
The bad: You wake up looking like your driver’s license picture.

The good: You can stay up as late as you want and watch anything you want to on TV.
The bad: You can’t keep your eyes open after 8PM.

The good: You can get up as late as you want.
The bad: You can’t get a good night’s sleep so getting up late means 5AM.

The good: you’ve got plenty of money to buy what you need.
The bad: you don’t need anything, at all.  In fact, you are giving away more than you get!

The good: you actually get to sit on your butt and do nothing.
The bad: you actually get to sit on your butt and do nothing.

I started with a quote from George Burns.  I am going to close with quote from another 20th century philosopher, Charles M. Schulz, whose advice we women of a certain age would be well advised to take.  “I have a new philosophy. I’m only going to dread one day at a time.”  Schulz knew how short the future was so live in the moment; only dread today – it’s all you’ve got!

BTW – if you enjoyed this and want more of the same, visit C-Boom and laugh yourself silly.

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Filed under Freelance Writing, Life & Death, Uncategorized

Why I Love Working From Home

I love looking out the window in the dead of winter at 20 inches of snow, topped by ½ an inch of ice and knowing I don’t have to go anywhere…

No coat, no car keys, no struggle to get down our 140 foot driveway…just the heavy questions of what type of tea to drink and how soon my oatmeal will be ready.   I can do all of my work inside – research, interviews, even photo-gathering.  I can start at 5AM or 5PM.  I can break for 5 minutes or 5 hours, surf the net, talk on my phone or pet my puppies.

No one hovers over my shoulder telling me how to do the very job they hired me to do in the first place.  No co-workers shuffle from foot to foot while explaining why their bit of the project isn’t done yet using excuses that usually run in one of three veins:

1.       Didn’t really understand what it was I wanted them to do.

2.       Understood what it was I wanted them to do but didn’t know how to do it.

3.       Didn’t like what it was I wanted them to do so they did something else.

Believe me, after 35 years in the world of business, I have heard every lame excuse for not doing the work you are being paid to do.  And frankly, it is a joy to get up every morning knowing I don’t have to listen to one more lame reason for taking the money and not doing the job.

One other bonus that I especially love — being able to listen to some of my favorite shows like Inspector Morse – running in the background, warming my heart and reminding me about the wit, intellect and humor of Colin Dexter.

I may not make as much money as I did in the corporate world but I must say there is a whole lot to be said for working from home.  Think I’ll just go make another cup of tea.

Ice, snow and no need to travel.

The benefit of working from home, ice, snow and no need to travel.

 

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Filed under Freelance Writing

One Writer’s Mistakes – Buying But Not Reading

Writing has been in my blood for decades.  Words dance in my head from the moment I wake up to the moment my head drops onto the pillow.  Successful as a writer for magazines, professional groups and web sites, I still long for success as a writer of the Great American Novel — a wonderful goal that, at my current rate, I will never reach.

Why?  Because I persist in making all the mistakes that novice writers make starting with a common one — buying books — not reading or writing them.  I consider this…

Mistake #1

I am surrounded by books — on my desk, in the bookcase, on my nightstand, even in my car!   Pick a day or an hour and you will find me with two or three books “in progress.”  But somehow, with all that information filling every space in my rooms and in my head, this reader and writer has managed to ignore some of the best advice in the world.  I buy books on writing…but I don’t read them.

Ursula K. Le Guin’s book Steering The Craft languishes on my shelf beside Artful Sentences, Writing Dialogue and Modus Operandi.  I could start a lending library with all the books I own.  But instead of reading them, I dust them , look fondly at the titles and think about cracking one open until life intercedes and the books go back to gathering dust and fading in the sunlight.

Well, they did until last week when I idly picked up James Cross Giblin‘s Guide to Writing Children’s Books.  Giblin  has authored twenty-five books of his own and in his years at Clarion Books helped grow its titles to 400 books in print.  The man knows the children’s book market and he shares ideas, resources and just plain common sense advice in his guide.

I wrote my whole YA novel with that book sitting about six feet from my elbow.  Three hundred pages, three rewrites and my novel is still in the “shopping” stage.  Now, only two words dance in my head…if only.

So while I wrestle with the fact that I had insight and wisdom sitting on my shelf and chose to ignore it, here’s hoping that other, aspiring authors can learn from my mistake.  Don’t just buy books – read them!  Even the bad ones have something to offer.

There are many more writer’s mistakes to explore.  In the coming weeks, a few more mistakes that can derail your writing and a few more ways to avoid them.

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Filed under Business writing, Copywriting, Freelance Writing, Medical Writing, Writing Advice, Writing Articles, Writing for the Web, Writing Resources

Writing for The Examiner; An Exercise in Stupidity

Okay, I will admit it.  I was appealed to by the idea that I could write on a topic I love – horses – and get regional exposure.  So I signed on to write for The Wilmington Examiner.  I went through the application process and they did a background check on me that would have made a police department blush.  I was found “fit for writing” and given a chance to provide content to them.

I wrote for them from September 16th of 2009 until March of 2010.  Six months ago I stopped writing for them.  I held off posting this because I needed to decide if I was overreacting.  I don’t think I am.

I published close to 3 dozen articles that were well-written, well thought out, contained original content and included interviews with local, regional and national experts.  Then, one morning I received an email from The Examiner “auditor” informing me that an article I posted on natural fly control was not “local”, got  a verbal slap on the wrist and was reminded that I w0uld not get paid for articles that were deemed not local.

When I was done laughing, I sent them a note telling them why I would no longer be writing for them.

If you write for the The Examiner, you really cannot be writing for money.  Local articles earn the writer $1.00.  No that is not a typo – that’s 100 pennies.  The article in question took me several hours to put together.  At my usual writing rate, I would get $200 for 4 hours of work.  By writing this article, I lost $199.00 in income.

Beyond the obvious, if I had been writing for money, why would I have spent 6 months writing solid, appealing articles about horses, horse rescue and horse care to earn a total of $12.34?  I earn 4 times that, per hour, for articles written for three magazines for which I am a regular contributor.

So this is NOT about money.  This is about trying to contribute content about a topic I love so that people who live in the tri-state area (or anywhere in the world since the web isn’t geographically limited) would have yet another resource for solid information and entertaining stories about the equestrian world.  My average page views ran 1210; Wilmington Pets ran at a rate of 1228 and the average for pets, in general was 1457.  I’d say I had a readership.

The article in question covered a topic that a LOT of equestrians are interested in and used experts from several companies/places discussing their respective products.  It was linked to different web sites which should increase traffic to The Examiner’s site and was tagged for SEO.

So, who is the editorial genius that says writing from my desk in Pennsylvania has to be limited to….well, Pennsylvania?  And why?  This article was about flies.  Flies don’t limit themselves to the tri-state area.  They aren’t restricted to ADIs or zip codes.  Last time I checked, flies tend to hang around stables and barns.  And Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland are… duh…in horse country.

If The Examiner wants to incent writers to leave their enterprise, this is the way to do it.  As a former journalist and a frequent contributor to several magazines with readerships in the hundreds of thousands, I find their approach short-sighted and insulting.  I have written my entire life and the product that I produced for their web site was  top drawer.

The operative word in that last sentence is “was.”  I officially resigned and have not written for the Examiner since the email from the auditor.  To their credit, the auditor did send me an apology for the email but the damage was done.  Theirs is a business model that works for them but, not, I would wager for 99% of the writers toiling over articles for this company.  If you are a writer and you are smart, you will save your words for someone who appreciates the effort, literally and figuratively.

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Filed under Copywriting, Equestrian Articles, Freelance Writing, Mid-Atlantic Horse Stories, Writing About Horses, Writing Articles