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Archive for March, 2009

Info for Gamers

inv_jewelry_talisman_07If you play WoW, you might be interested in finding out what the Argent Dawn group can do for you, even at level 80. Check out my article at Bright Hub for tips on improving your Argent Dawn reputation!

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If you are at all like me and constantly have to research while you work, you likely have a few resources bookmarked that help you get through the day. While I do love to Google, I also tend to get sidetracked when I create a new Google search. I usually can’t just stay on the assigned topic for some reason, and when I do somehow finish an article without doing so, I have to go back and investigate something new I saw. Some of these resources help with writing, and some are simply great for finding writing jobs. So without further ado, here are the resources that I always check at least a few times per week:

1) Thesaurus.com



untitledWhen you write about several similar subjects in one day, both you and your reader run the risk of getting bored if you continually use the same few words repeatedly. For this reason, Thesaurus.com (or any similar site full of words) is a content writing services provider’s best friend. An honorable mention in this category goes to the “synonyms” feature of Word, as it always has me right-clicking and perusing their list of unique words.

2) About Freelance Writing



Not only is this blog fun to read, but the author also gathers up all the writing jobs she sees on the Internet and posts them three days per week. This is one of the first writing blogs I read when I started out as a freelance writer, so I seem to have a soft spot for it.

3) Craigslist



I think this place is often underrated. This is another of those invaluable resources that I started using when I took the leap to become a writer last year. Sure, a lot of the posts are people wanting writers to provide content writing services for pennies, but these types of post are merely there for entertainment (or at least I assume they’re joking). One particular post had me chuckling all day; the poster mentioned that his ideal candidate had to have newspaper publishing experience, as well as a master’s degree, and he would pay them $10 per hour. The truly sad part is that he just might have found his perfect writer with this economy, but it seemed an odd request for Craigslist, nonetheless.

Anyway, I did pick up many of my first jobs through this site, and still do browse it. My web designing friends over at Webflo Studios have attested to the same experience through Craigslist. Some of their first and largest clients found them through a Craigslist ad. I think the fact that you can find just about anything and anyone on there makes it both useful and entertaining.

4) AP Stylebook



ap_stylebook_cover I have a few jobs that require me to use AP style, and since I haven’t written consistently in this style since junior year of college, I typically have a few questions. I find that clicking on over to APStylebook.com is much easier than pulling out my bruised and battered 2004 version of the AP Stylebook (and this site is probably a lot more updated). I love the question-answer format, as it is almost as cool as the “cache” feature on Google (actually I admit to using the very similar “Find” function in the browser whenever I visit this page).

5) Common Errors in English Usage



Okay, this website is actually more of a personal site for me than a business resource, but I think that’s justcover because I’m weird. I cannot get enough of this website! When I found it, I wondered if the authors had expected people to read it like a book, because I was. There have been so many times when I muttered some well-known but weird phrase, thought about it for a second, and decided to mosey on over to this site to see if the phrase was even correct.

For example, I wrote “fit the bill” last week in an article, and then stopped, remembering that the previous day a character in a book had said “fill the bill.” I wondered…was this character wrong, or was I wrong? I looked it up and found that, yep, the original phrase is actually “fill the bill,” but like many things in America, it has been slowly changed until it no longer make literal sense. Anyway, I have toyed with the idea of having a “phrase-a-day” feature on my blog in which I write an often misused phrase alongside the real one, but I am assuming not too many people care as much I do. If I’m wrong, let me know!

Either way, I hope these resources can help at least a few writers out there. If you have any you’d like to share, let’s hear them.

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twitter-bird1Har har…anyway, you can follow me on Twitter if you want to be alerted when I post a blog…or a particularly interesting horoscope from The Onion.

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Today I was reading one of my favorite blogs , which recently discussed a few money issues when it comes to freelance writing. In this and other blogs, some people have mentioned that it is difficult to pay the bills on small SEO articles that only pay a few bucks each. 296-1226867106mpr81

I see their point, as obviously it is easier to pay the mortgage with higher writing jobs. However, to say it cannot be done is incorrect.

What many people fail to see is that, no matter what your freelance job might be, you have the power to make your dream hourly wage. Whether you are a handyman striking out on your own for the first time, a web designer, a freelance medical transcriptionist, a writer, or anyone who gets paid by the project, you are in control.

In the Beginning…


Last year, when attempting to make the majority of my money from home providing content writing services, I did accept some low-paying jobs. I wrote 500-word SEO articles for $5 each. Obviously, being a college graduate, I couldn’t be satisfied with making $5 per hour. I made more than that at my thankless job as a server at a pizza place, though I wasn’t doing what I wanted at all. After a week of writing about 15 of these per week, I realized I could write two per hour. 5-dollar-bill3So I made $10 per hour, which was not bad when you consider I doubled my previous wage in a week. Additionally, gas prices had gone way up, I had moved a half hour away from my serving job, and the new management at the restaurant bumbled around, firing many of my coworkers/friends there willy-nilly. I had to get out of there, and this was the first step.

A few weeks after I had accepted this new writing job, I noticed my writing skills with these articles had improved, yet again. One day, after waking up a bit later than I had wanted to, I began to write at my 2-article per hour pace (which was beginning to get quite leisurely). Suddenly I realized that the deadline of 2 p.m. was not actually my time, but Central. I got a sinking feeling as I Googled the time difference, which confirmed my suspicions: I had an hour to write five more articles.

Progress



I had never typed so fast in my life. My fingers ached when I was done, but guess what? I made the deadline. I also realized I had just made $25 in one hour. It 33-12130430812yra2sounds like a scam now (“Double your hourly wage in a week, and do it again a week later!”) but I really did go from $5 per hour to $25 per hour in a matter of three weeks. Granted, I didn’t exactly rush like that every single time I wrote, but it did make me want to experiment with my hourly wage a bit more. I found I could comfortably make about $20 per hour, writing four articles each hour in a kind of stream-of-consciousness stupor (this was after I realized they preferred quantity over quality).

Though I don’t typically deal with such jobs now, when I don’t have much work for a day, I do pick up some lower-paying jobs. It is no longer all about the project pay for me, but the hourly. Some people without experience providing content writing services would probably scoff at the chance to write two $10 blogs, but I figure it is an easy $20 in one hour. What else would I be doing in that hour on the days that I have few projects? Myspace, Twitter, the local forums, then back to Myspace again? (I really have to focus on getting more productive in my free time!)

What Are You Worth?


Anyway, the advice stays the same if you do some other job besides writing. If you are a designer and get a logo design job that only pays you $100, but you have a great idea for it that would take you two hours to complete, what’s wrong with that? I don’t think too many people should be turning down $50 per hour in this economy.

Similarly, I have seen offers of $200 for a book editing project. I hesitate before I apply for such jobs. After editing one published book so far, and countless other documents, I know exactly how many pages I can edit per hour. Sure, I could use $200 to do something I love, but if it would take me 30 hours to complete that project, I would be making $5 per hour, once again. I would rather offer my content writing services to companies that appear to pay less, but that provide me with projects I can get done quickly.

In the end, you have to figure out what you’re worth per hour. Are you okay with making $5 per hour, or would you rather just relax and enjoy life? Is the money per hour worth missing a night out with friends, or the time you’d spend reading a good book on a rainy day? You tell me: What are your thoughts on setting your desired hourly wage?

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Find out the top 5 traits of good content at my blog for Webflo Studios. I write about mainly content writing services on that site, but I also occasionally delve into marketing and design topics. It’s fun stuff. Feel free to comment any ideas for good content that you can think of.

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Whether you’re a professional writer or not, I’m pretty sure everyone has their favorite subjects to write about. You might get paid good money to write about cats, _mg_3062but maybe you look more forward to your lower-paid writing assignments about the characteristics of hamsters. I think it’s important to make room in your schedule to write about the subjects you have a passion for, whether you are getting paid for such writing or not.

Personally, I love writing about places. I never knew that until I started writing for a company that creates websites for realtors. Once I’d written a few websites full of content on a particular city in myriad states, I realized how much fun it was to find out different facets of each city. I’ve written about metropolitan areas like Phoenix, tiny towns I’d never heard of previously, cities with lots of horse property in Texas, neighborhoods in Scottsdale, ports in Maryland, oceanfront property in gorgeous Carlsbad, CA (my hometown), and more.

I think this stems from the fact that I have always wanted to travel more than I have. However, having a mortgage, a husband who is not as keen on travel as I am, and a very needy pug all make that difficult. For the time being, writing about different areas will definitely do. It’s actually more than I can ask for, as it quenches my thirst for knowledge of other places.

Do you have a favorite topic to write about, and if so, do you think you could make a living doing so?

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If you are interested in a career in journalism, or just want to acquire a journalism degree so you can pretty much ignore the reporter part and provide all content writing services (like me!), check out my brief article about obtaining a degree: Journalism Info.
BTW, that was the longest sentence I’ve written…so far today. I’ve got to work on this conciseness concept.

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