Top 3 Books for Word Nerds


image by: David Morgan

Words can get a lot of abuse from writers. We force them into phrases out of context, stuff too many into a sentence, and even occasionally skip them altogether. Before we, our spouses, our children, or our friends head back to school this fall, let’s take a moment to stop everything and stretch out our brains. These books are some fun reads about words. They glorify the vehicle of our communication and remind us that each word, or in some cases each letter, is incredibly valuable.

Read more ›

Posted in Fun Stuff

7 Ways To Keep Your Ego Out of the Freelance Writing Process

If you're making your writing more about you than the client or the audience, it's time to crumple it up and start again.

If you’re making your writing more about you than the client or the audience, it’s time to crumple it up and start again.
Photo by *_Abhi_* (Flickr)

Some of the best advice comes from complete hypocrites. I am definitely a hypocrite with this post. It’s almost inevitable that writers tie their egos to their work, whether it be fiction, adaptation, nonfiction, or just small articles. This post is about how to recognize negative emotions and unrealistic expectations so that you can avoid emotional pitfalls and be the best freelance writer possible. Read more ›

Posted in Freelancing

Extra, Extra! Spread the Word With Press Releases

Newspaper racks

If you want the media to help spread the news about your big event, discovery, or product, you have to start with a good press release.
Photo by George Kelly (Flickr)

During the course of your writing career, you might find yourself needing to share news about a company, product, or event. One great place to get some potential free publicity is from the news media — write a good press release, send it out, and you might find that they’ll publish or broadcast your announcement or even cover it themselves as a full-on news story.

The first thing you’ll want to consider when you’re thinking about writing a press release is your audience. Is this something that would fit in nicely in your local newspaper or on a local radio or TV station broadcast? Or would your news be more welcome to a niche audience covered by a magazine or trade publication? Who’s going to want to know about what you have to say? Keep this in mind when deciding whether to write a press release and where to send it.

Once you’ve figured out where you want to send your news, it’s time to sit down and write about it. This is where it gets a little tricky: News stories aren’t usually written like your typical essay or work of fiction. They have a different structure, and you’ll want to try to write your press release as much like an actual news story as you can to improve the odds that it will actually get published or broadcast. Journalists can be busy people, and the less work they have to do to turn your press release into something that fits their outlet’s rules, the more likely it is that they’ll pick it up. Read more ›

Posted in Writing Tips

Helping Out a Good Clause

Santa Clauses

No, not THESE clauses…
Photo by Rick Phillips

Sometimes, the world of grammar can be as clear as mud. To some extent, once you get past a certain age, your use of the English language becomes largely instinctive, and then, all of a sudden, some teacher is trying to slap labels on parts of sentences and make you remember them all.

To make it worse, sometimes, people use different terms to refer to the same thing. Subordinate clause? Restrictive clause? Independent clause? Santa Claus? It can all be a jumble. Luckily, I’m here to help.

Read more ›

Posted in Writing Tips

The Styles, They Are a-Changin’…

Spare change

Change is good… except when you’re going through airline security.
Photo by Adam Bartlett

We’re changing our styles. But don’t panic! Change is good.

Old styles 1 and 4, you’ve served us well… however, in the great purge of confusing instructions, you were the weakest links. Goodbye!

But before they tragically died, Style 1 and Style 4 had a baby. Its name is “the new Style 1.” Let’s take a look at this new style and all of the other updates…

Read more ›

Posted in Article Formats, News