Happy Thanksgiving from OWJ!

ClosedForTurkey

The OWJ office will be closed this week on Thursday (Thanksgiving) and Friday. Please submit your invoices for this week before 3 p.m. on Tuesday, the 25th.

We will also be closed on Christmas and Dec. 26. We will post a reminder and invoicing details as those dates draw nearer.

Please note that emails to staff@onlinewritingjobs.com will not be responded to during these off days. Please take that into account when picking up and working on projects.

We are very thankful for the hard work of our writers throughout the year. Have a great Thanksgiving!

Posted in Holidays, Payments

Vowel Traps: Don’t Let Them Catch You!

A, E, I, O, U, and sometimes Y

A, E, I, O, U… why? To look smarter and make your writing clearer, of course!
Photo by kumsval (Flickr)

There are plenty of words in the English language that sound the same but are spelled very differently, like “you’re” and “your” or “there” and “their.” But even trickier can be the ones that are almost spelled the same and almost sound the same — with some words, just one little vowel can make a big difference in meaning. Let’s take a look at a few examples that trip a lot of freelance writers up:

Affect/Effect

To “affect” something is to have an impact on it: Spraining my foot affected my ability to walk.

An “effect” is a change or situation that is the result of a cause: The sunny day really had an effect on his mood.

A general rule of thumb here is that “affect” is a verb, an action word (“A” for “action,” “A” for “affect”). “Effect” comes later in the alphabet — it’s what comes later, after the action happens.

Complement/Compliment

To “complement” something is to complete something, to add to it to make it better: That scarf really complements your dress.

A “compliment” is a kind remark: Mary made my day when she complimented my work on that project.

Ensure/Insure

To “ensure” something to make sure of it, to guarantee it: John camped out overnight to ensure that he’d get front-row tickets.

“Insure” actually comes from the same root word, but it commonly only refers to buying an insurance policy to protect our income: He had to pay more to insure his new car than his old clunker.

Farther/Further

This one’s a bit tricky, but the answer’s right there in those first three letters. “Farther” contains the word “far” — it refers to a measurable distance: At last night’s training session, Bob ran father than he ever had before.

“Further” refers to a metaphorical or non-specific distance — it says “more,” but not a measurable “more”: The police will need to look into the case further before they can name any suspects.

Stationary/Stationery

If you are still, you are “stationary”: She had to remain stationary while the guard frisked her for weapons.

If you need to write a letter, you’ll need some “stationery,” which refers to paper that you use to write letters or notes: I bought her some nice personalized stationery for her birthday.

Got any other examples of words that always make you second-guess yourself? Leave them in the comments and we’ll help clear up the confusion!

Posted in Writing Tips

Neaten Up Your Writing With Parallelism

Sometimes, sentences simply sound better when you use parallelism. Learn what it is and how to use it to make your sentences and paragraphs easier to read. It’s useful, helpful, and can be a lot of fun! Read more ›

Posted in Writing Tips

13 Ways to Horrify Your Editor This Halloween

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Screaming skeleton witch

If you want to make your editor shudder, try these monstrous tactics.
Photo by george erws (Flickr)

As the days turn darker and October draws to a close, it’s the time of year when many people find themselves in the mood for a scary story. Over my years of editing, I’ve seen quite a few things that made me want to scream, though usually from frustration, not fear. Nonetheless, in honor of this hair-raising holiday, I’ve decided to take a look at ways that writers have made me tremble. If you want to turn your editor from a helpful Dr. Jekyll into a maniacal Mr. Hyde, try these ideas: Read more ›

Posted in Writing Tips

Now Read This! The Difference Between Headlines and Title Tags

Town crier

Draw people in to read your piece with an engaging headline.
Photo by Mary Ann Clarke SCott (Flickr)

It doesn’t matter if it’s fiction or nonfiction: Coming up with a good title can be the hardest part of any project for some freelance writers. To make matters even more difficult, nowadays, writers can’t simply write a header and walk away — there are many different types of titles that writers have to deal with. When writing for the Web, title tags are the most important, but how do they differ from other titles, headers, and headlines?

The Classic News Headline

News headlines typically come from the tradition of newspapers, whose only requirement was that it summarized the contents of an article and fit within a given amount of space. They should be short and dramatic or interest-grabbing. Read more ›

Posted in Writing Tips