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Job Listings: Writing and Editing

January 15, 2015 Leave a comment

 

writing jobs

Want to get that hot writing gig? Start writing as much as you can…then write some more.

The Internet is vast and expands everyday. Such a digital universe needs to be filled like a vessel: fleshed out, its parts stiched together with the written word so it can be traversed. For such a monumental task, an army of writers must answer the call.

 

There are numerous functions for writers both online and in the printed word. These markets can be tough to break into–the positions are in high demand–there is a tremendous amount of competition in an already saturated environment.

 

 

Blogging

 

Editing

 

Freelance

 

General

 

Helpful Articles

 

 

 

Photo Source: Brian Stetson

 

Places to Find Images

August 5, 2014 Leave a comment
places to find images and pictures

Take the time to search and find just the right image to give life to your project.

 

Working on a project? Need just the right image to bring it all together? Find what you are looking for with this handy-dandy one-stop shopping list of all things images and photos.

Here you will find an ever-growing list of stock image libraries where you can either purchase premium stock photos, or find royalty-free, public domain works composed by professionals and amateurs alike.

 

 

 

Free Images

 

Royalty-Free Stock Photos

 

Premium Stock Photos

 

 

Photo Source: Ronald Schuster

 

 

 

Staking a Claim: Getting Started in Writing and Building Your Name

November 13, 2012 1 comment

 

By Aaron Guzman

The road of professional writing can be a rough one, fraught with difficulties throughout the entire uphill climb. And it is an uphill climb.

In the beginning, writing can be a tremendous amount of work and sacrifice for little to no reward. But with some dedication, patience, and a little luck, you can be producing high quality work for an eager audience of appreciative readers.

What follows are several tips to help you get a foothold in the turbulent and competitive world of professional writing.

 

Write as Much as You Can

There is no such thing as “too much” writing.

Write As Much As You Can

This almost goes without saying—“practice makes perfect.” Writing is no exception.

There are plenty of reasons for producing a large body of work on a regular basis, the most important being to improve your craft. Write so much that it becomes second nature—be able to summon your talent at will and produce content with ease at the drop of a dime.

Writing on a regular basis not only prepares you for the volume of work you can encounter in the professional world, but will eventually provide you with a lush and varied portfolio that you can refer readers and potential clients to.

Finally, the most obvious reason to produce prodigious quantities of work is simply to improve your chances of getting published in other competitive markets. The more work you have being distributed and reviewed, the more likely someone is to publish it—and the more publications you have under your belt, the more readers you will earn, lending to your reputation and credibility in the field.

Make the time to write regularly. Make it routine.

 

Keep a Notepad With You At All Times

Always be prepared! You never know when or where a good idea may strike you—and when it does, you don’t want to be caught without a means of recording it.

Keeping such materials with you will also allow you to work more writing into your daily routines—during your work breaks, on the bus, at lunch, the park, etc.

 
Keep a Journal

Journals are a great way to keep track of your ideas and thoughts—but you don’t have to limit your journaling to personal matters alone. Use your journal to plot your goals, both large and small, and to record your progress towards those goals.

Journals can house facts, names, dates, vocabulary, and any other research you might perform for projects. This is also a great place for experimental writing, poetry, story outlines, and character sketches for fiction projects.

Reading Books

Every great writer should be a prodigous reader. Read and find fuel for the pen.



Read

Just as a skilled chef must taste high quality food on a regular basis in order to understand the nature of flavor, so must a writer experience the fruits of other talented professionals: the capacity to manipulate language and emotion, convey complex or abstract ideas with clarity, and above all the ability to trigger our imagination so that we may see and construct the author’s world for ourselves.

The concept is not to simply emulate and copy another writer’s style, but rather to set the bar higher. By exposing ourselves to the work of others, we learn to strive for a deeper understanding of the craft, a deeper appreciation for it. We give ourselves something by which we can measure ourselves against, and ultimately improve ourselves.

 
Specialize

Determine what subjects interest you, topics that you may already possess specialized knowledge about, and determine if this is something you can write consistently about. Put the effort forth to learn as much as you can on the subject: perform your research and publish to demonstrate your understanding of the subject.

In time, with the right audience, you can steadily build your reputation as an “expert” in your field, ultimately setting you up as a potential niche author.

Specialized knowledge can land you specialized jobs—not necessarily in the field of writing. Demonstrated knowledge, coupled with the ability to organize and convey complex ideas in a clear fashion (i.e., writing) can go a long way in impressing potential employers or future clients.

Specialize and Generalize

The more versatile you are, and the more specialized skills you have, the more marketable you will be.


Generalize

While to some extent it may seem counter-intuitive or counter-productive to generalize one’s knowledge or skills, it can be essential to expand one’s portfolio and pick up some new clients.

The philosophy here it to adapt, learn, and be able to write about virtually any subject for any client. You are demonstrating that you are not limited to one set of information or a single writing approach. Experiment with various writing and formatting styles, become familiar with researching and find a comfortable chair at your local library.

Learning a new subject primarily entails learning the specific language/vocabulary used in that field. Taking the time to understand the fundamentals and being able to express them cogently is the first step towards demonstrating your talents in new areas.

Ultimately, generalization in writing is about survival in a competitive and ever-changing market. The more you can do, the more potential clients and employers you can draw upon.

 
Create a Portfolio

Prospective clients and employers need to be able to find contact and employment information about you, as well as samples of your work. Constructing a webpage and linking to your currently published work is the most efficient way of making your projects accessible to others. Web pages or similar mediums allow you to express some creativity while demonstrating your ability and showcasing your work off-site or on-site.

Once your site is established and your portfolio is ready to show-off, inform others via your social networks and pass out business cards to anyone you might encounter offline.

Business Networking

Make connections in the virtual world with social networks and network in the real world by promoting yourself.





Build Networks and Make Connections

They don’t call the Internet the “information super highway” for nothing. Thanks to social networking, you can share information or send a friendly message to thousands of people with the mere click of a button. Those people are now your virtual audience, as well as potential clients, and should not be neglected.

Share your current work, show-off your prize pieces, and interact with your followers. From here you can make new friends, professional colleagues and business contacts that can become profitable enterprises.

 
Take on Clients, Build a Resume and Name Recognition

Once you have publications under your belt, an audience, and a way to share your work with them, it is time to step up and earn some money for your work. You may be able to find clients via social networks or you may have to go it the old fashioned way and search through online job listings. Don’t be discouraged—sometimes it can be difficult finding clients early in the game.

Take on Clients

Writing professionally for clients is the best way to start building a solid resume.

Your ultimate goal should be to compile a resume that will make you competitive and stand out amongst the other fly-by-night writers that are bidding for the same clients you are.

Writing for clients may require some adaptation on your part: you may have to write about things that don’t interest you, work with people directly that may be rude or impatient, or have to teach yourself new information and skills on the fly. But if you tough it out, in time you can build yourself a reputation, be recognized as an experienced and talented writer, and have clients fighting over you!

 
Ultimately, the best advice that can be given to any writer is simply to keep writing. And keep publishing. Don’t pass up opportunities to see your name in print and expand upon your resume. Stay active, and show the world that you are indeed a writer.

 

Image Sources (from top to bottom): Ladyheart, Miguel Ugalde, Celal Teber, Omar Franco, Aleš Čerin

 

Thinking About Freelance Writing?—What You Should Do First


By Aaron Guzman


The Path of Writing

Choose...But Choose Wisely

Whether you like to write, want to make some income on the side, or if you are just looking to beef up your portfolio or resume, freelance writing can be the perfect outlet—plus it will be a challenging and rewarding experience. But before you put your chips down on the table, there are a few things to do to help give you a leg-up in the game.

 

  • Develop Your Resume – When it comes down to it, your resume is your ultimate selling point. When a potential client isn’t actually looking at your picture or speaking with you, all they have is the resume. It’s time to re-work that old teaching or dishwashing resume and sell your writing skills! Emphasize what you do well: creative writing, product-oriented writing, health/lifestyle writing, etc. If you are having trouble coming up with writing-related experience, don’t worry. As you start to build up a portfolio with your online writing you will realize that all the cumulative work you do will progressively fill in the gaps. Take the time to develop writing samples or online content to show potential clients, and figure out how to properly organize and display that work.

 

  • Specialize – Figure out what your interests and passions are. Do you collect action figures? Are you a yoga instructor? Are you passionate about environmental issues and green living? Any of these areas of interest can help you develop content and writing ideas to help you land a niche-specific writing gig. Write about what you know. Write about what you love.
Get Writing

Don't Wait to Start Writing

 

  • Write Now! – That’s right (or write?), don’t put it off; don’t start tomorrow; let an idea pop in your head and write it down now. A typical internet article can be as short as 300-500 words. That’s less than a typed page. Easy. No sweat. Piece of cake. So do it already! The sooner you start, the sooner you will have content to help market yourself and even publish.

 

  • Read –Get on the net and do some research. Look for job listings to see what types of jobs are in demand. Learn about the craft of online writing and what is expected of writers. Do you want to write articles and content for websites?—find out what else you need to know, including the use of keywords and keyword density. Thinking about blogging?—make sure you know how to use the popular platforms and see what other bloggers can teach you about the process. The more you read, the more knowledgeable and better prepared you’ll be when it comes to finding work and getting it done.

 

  • Network, Network, Network – Get out there and talk. Find people with common interests or people in your desired area of work and find out everything you can. Take advantage of social networking sites such as FaceBook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Join groups, follow blogs and participate in forums. With every network you join, make sure to have a profile that links to your work and any websites or blogs you may have.

 

  • Be Realistic– Understand that developing a resume, building a portfolio with content, and properly marketing yourself takes time, just as it may take time before you have any clients who are willing to recruit you. Even when you are able to find paying freelance work, it might not pay well, nor will there always be work or assignments available. Be prepared for these financial dry-spells. Make sure you use your time wisely: work on a personal project that involves your writing skills, make a website or blog, or write articles for a third-party site to earn some residual income.

    Get to Know Your Computer

    The Internet: Now With Simple Point-and-Click Interface

 

  • Become Web-Savvy – Like it or not, the Internet is the final frontier for the freelance writer. It only makes sense that you know how to navigate out there, including being able to communicate with clients in a variety of ways and being competent in any software you might encounter in your field of work. A few things freelancers should have a strong grasp of: basic HTML (especially if you are thinking of doing any blogging or work with websites), social networking sites, Microsoft Word, Excel, and Power Point, an FTP program (File Transfer Protocol program for uploading files to servers and websites), instant messaging (AIM or Yahoo), and email services. It would also be useful to have Adobe Photoshop and Dreamweaver under your belt for any creative projects you may have.

 

  • Keep Writing! – I can’t stress this enough. If you haven’t started looking for work, keep writing. If you can’t find work, keep writing. If you have plenty of work and high-paying clients, keep writing. You reap what you sow, and the work you do know can always help you in the future, even becoming a source of income.

 

 

 

 

If you can read this, then you’re not writing.

 

 

Image Sources: (from top to bottom) Alvimann, typofi, Leonardo Barbosa

Reasons to Re-Visit Your Work

March 20, 2012 Leave a comment

Return to Your Publications to Make Improvements

After clocking some serious writing time and publishing work across the internet you may find yourself going back to take a glimpse at the achievements you’ve left behind. Of course, as time goes by and your craft improves, those articles and publications nestled in the past might start to seem faded and rough around the edges. Depending on how and when the work was published, you may be able to go back and make some revisions.

There are plenty of reasons to return to your work other than getting a taste of nostalgia.


Catching Errors

Even the best of us make mistakes, whether it is grammatical, spelling, punctuation, or even a factual error. Having time pass can give a writer a fresh pair of eyes in which to review his work; eyes which otherwise suffer from “writer’s tunnel vision,” where the writer fails to find the mistake on paper while the work remains correct in his mind. It is important to take the time to make these revisions as it is a general expectation that writers creating content for clients be grammatically flawless. If readers or potential writers see persistent spelling or grammar errors in your work it will certainly diminish your reputation as well as exclude you from future opportunities.


Making Revisions

Spelling and grammar errors might not be the only changes your published work can benefit from. As your writing skills develop, you learn to express complex ideas more clearly, your writing becomes more focused, and your diction more refined. While perusing your old work you may find some muddled language, clunky words, or ideas that could be made more approachable to readers.

These concepts don’t apply solely to the writing of the article, but also to the layout and presentation. Where are the line breaks? Does the text seem cluttered? On the Internet, text should be clearly presented and easy to read. There should be plenty of space and separations to offset your text—don’t bog down readers with endless paragraphs and solid blocks of symmetrical text

  • Bullets are an excellent tool for breaking up text and making it easier for readers to digest information. Bullets also let you highlight key ideas.


A Picture Says a Thousand Words

The Internet is a highly visual medium. In most cases, your work should reflect this principle. An appealing, high-quality picture attached to an article can mean the difference between a potential reader viewing your work or moving on to something more engaging.

Using Pictures Can Improve SEO

It is important to note that the presence of pictures improves SEO and search engine rankings. Some search engines, such as Google, have “image-only” searches that could generate traffic to your piece. If possible, caption your pictures with appropriate keywords that people might search for.

Pictures themselves can also be an original source of information designed to attract viewers and traffic. Pictures can tell a story or reveal important facts all by themselves. Some pieces may benefit from multiple pictures, depending on the content. For example, a step-by-step article detailing how to build a chair might be more helpful if a series of pictures visually depicted what the text describes, as opposed to a single cover picture of a finished chair.

As in all things, moderation is important when making use of pictures. Just as too few pictures can inhibit an article, too many can overwhelm the reader and make information in the text less accessible.

At the very least, pictures can add visual appeal and a sense of style to your work—they can also be utilized to break up text and make longer, denser articles more approachable.


Improving SEO

SEO, or search engine optimization, is the practice of improving the visibility and searchability of items on the Internet, ultimately making them easier to find. Locating information on the Internet is an incredibly competitive business, however. While you may have an excellent article about cooking bratwurst in beer floating around, in order for people to find it they must perform an active search for it—or terms related to it. In order for your article to appear when a reader queries, your article must compete with all of the other bratwurst recipes indexed in the search engine’s database under the relevant search terms, such as “bratwurst beer recipe.” As a producer of content on the Internet, one of your primary concerns should be ensuring that your article has a good chance of appearing at the top of search lists when readers are on the prowl for information.

In recent years, SEO has become a popular and heated area of study. It is important for Internet writers to comprehend and utilize good SEO practices, such as the use of keywords, titles, sub-headings, etc. Failing to understand these concepts and apply them correctly means that people will be less likely to find your work via search engines and your traffic will not live up to its potential.

Even if you apply SEO practices to your writing, search engines periodically make changes to their search algorithms. Thus, staying up to date on search engine news and making minor tactical tweaks to your work from time to time can help you maintain and improve your overall search rankings.


Network Your Projects

Search engines aren’t everything. Ultimately it is up to you to share your work with others and assemble an audience. Thanks to the Internet and social networking, this is no longer a daunting or expensive task. With popular platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, you can share your work with thousands of people with the click of a button.

Share Your Work Via Social Networking

Forums and chatrooms are also a great way to participate with others and share information in your field. Word of mouth, recruiting friends and family members, and passing out business cards are also tried-and-true networking techniques that can never be replaced by the Internet. Spread the word and build a following!

We are never so competent at our craft that we can do without self-improvement. While our time should be focused on the creation of new things and the development of projects, it is always worthwhile and profitable to refine your work and find new readers who will appreciate and share it with others.

 

 

Image Sources: (Top to Bottom) ppdigital, Billy Alexander, Svilen Milev