Don’t Forget the Old School: Say hello to the library

There’s this place with books and periodicals, a staff that has an acute expertise for researching just about every subject and best of all it’s free! It’s the public library. This installment of “Don’t Forget the Old School” will take on why visiting the library is important to writing. Ambiance It’s the library’s mystique – the rows of books, the smell of the pages, the weird looks from that one guy who appears to be talking to his toes… Technically, writing and researching in a library won’t increase your I.Q. immediately, but it will be a more productive place to [Read more…]

Clips 'n Things

This week my family is moving some things around and one of the places I dreaded attacking was my clip file. Wait, I should call it my clip bin, like one of those storage bins people store knick-knacks or winter clothes, etc… I have a bin full of clips. I’m not saying this to brag, because there are multiple copies of each piece. Largely because my husband hordes my work. He picks up at least five copies and only because I begged him to stop picking up 10. To be honest I don’t go through them often enough. So in [Read more…]

Persistent and Consistent – Keys to successful article writing

I talked to a friend and mentor the other day and she stressed the importance of being persistent and consistent in whatever you do. Initially, I was inspired to apply those key terms to another area of my life when I realized she said, “in everything you do.” It applies to article writing as well. Are you persistent – writing despite things going on in your life or business? This is important especially if you’re a blogger, but applies to magazine and web writers as well. Blogging on a regular basis despite sickness and strife helps build and keep your [Read more…]

Three Things to Do When You Lose Your Editor

Freelance writers and editors often are portrayed as having an adversarial relationship. The long suffering writer has to bow down to the editor – supreme being of a publication. The editor has unfair demands and a fickle finger. One minute you’re in, the next you’re a kill fee. On the other side, editors are rumored to be workaholics who have so much to balance and not enough time to do it. They are besieged by freelancers who keep spelling the editor’s name wrong and while mass pitching 1000 word/$5 per word pieces.  They juggle writers who miss deadlines and who [Read more…]

Popular Query Questions Answered! part 2

If you missed the first Popular Query Questions post, be sure to stop by and take a look! 5. What is a good query? A good query is like a old school burlesque show. Take the lady with the giant fans. There’s a show going on, but the tease is killer. You want to see how it ends even as you enjoy what’s happening. The performer knows just how long to lead you on before you get bored and turn back to your drink. She also knows how much to show to keep you interested. You’ll never see it all [Read more…]

10 Popular Article Writing Questions – Answered!

The FWJ mailbag is always pretty full and there are a few questions that pop up regularly. Deb reposted her super popular Frequently Asked Questions and made me think about the most popular questions I receive over here at the Article Writing blog. So here they are in no particular order: 10. How do you write an article? It’s true, I get this one pretty often and it’s kind of like asking someone how to cook – there’s a lot to it. So in pretty general terms: start with a topic, research the topic and based on your research find [Read more…]

5 Ways To Tell Your Article Angle Sucks

Coming up with article ideas or interesting angles is one of the challenges of being a freelance writer. Throw out the thoughts of being in competition with other writers, your main competition is yourself. Can you continually come up with ideas and angles? Are those angles fresh and interesting or the stale standard? Do you have the determination to mine resources for new ideas? I know, it gets tough out there. It seems there are a million “writers” and actual writers covering every topic under the sun. The internet has spawned a deluge of information and the average writer may [Read more…]

Why are you writing that article?

Is it because the rent’s due? You like to see your name in print? It’s a part of a bigger plan of total world domination? You’d anything not to go back to a corporate job? Think about it, we write article after article here at FWJ discussing the best way to write an article, interview techniques, source cultivating, how to make money at the craft, the pros and cons of freelance writing, etc. Today I ask, “What is your motivation?” Some of us are adrift. We write the articles, we send the invoices, we look for more work. A lot [Read more…]

Writer? Journalist? Is there a difference?

On my web site and in bios everywhere I tend write “freelance writer/journalist.” Sometimes I alternate – freelance writer for one publication, freelance journalist for another. I feel compelled to highlight the difference, but I have to wonder does it matter, if so to whom? I also wonder if there is really a difference. A person writing for a magazine or newspaper has to follow journalistic guidelines, except in first person narratives, so does that make them a journalist? When a journalist blogs like I do for a non-news blog are they a writer only? I tend to attach journalist [Read more…]

This Week in Media News 3/31 – 4/4

Happy Easter FWJ crew! If you don’t celebrate Easter then, of course, happy Sunday. It’s been good week in media news: Where are the Women? – Alicia Shepard asks an all important question about NPR & it’s diversity or lack of in some areas. A dangerous assignment gone really, really bad -”Paul Raffaele, a top flight freelancer for Smithsonian magazine, was badly injured in a suicide bombing while on assignment in Afghanistan in 2008. Raffaele says the magazine agreed to insure him but he has nothing in writing. The two are now at an impasse. Writer Katie Rolnick tells the [Read more…]

The Ohio State University Kirwin Institute Writing Opportunity

Hey FWJ community! I was sent this by a friend and thought it would be a great opportunity for those interested. I am pretty sure it’s unpaid, however the perks are many – a published Kirwin Institute author (article) – sounds pretty good to me! If you go for it and get published let me know and we’ll feature your work here at Freelance Writing Jobs! Remember, we’re the number one web site for freelance writers! *end commercial* Visions 2042 Project A CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS (1000-2000 words due Monday, May 17, [email protected]) Visions 2042: Notes toward a Racial Order Transformed [Read more…]

Networking Your Articles into More Work

Carson, one of our newest bloggers at FWJ had a great post today: Writing Talent and Success as a Freelancer. Carson discussed how writing talent will only get you so far and your ability to master the business end of freelance writing is what is going to make the difference between eating steak or bologna. I added the bologna part, but it’s an important point to consider. Writers define their success in different ways – first when they get published, then when they can live off their earnings. The question is what are you eating steak or bologna? There are [Read more…]

Day 3, 5 Ways to Enhance Your Writing Skills

Day three’s tip is easy – have fun. Even when writers are actively living their dream, they can get bogged down in the everyday activities of being a writer. It is important to remember that while you’re billing clients, scheduling meetings, researching, organizing and working to improve your writing skills you can still have fun and you should, this is a fun job! Too often when writers really start working as writers – getting paid on a regular basis, they have multiple clients, etc., they lose sight of the awesome-ness of being a freelance writer and only focus on the [Read more…]

5 Things You SHOULD Say to an Editor

Last week I named a few things you shouldn’t say to an editor “5 Things You NEVER Say to an Editor” and the post was pretty darn popular so I figured it was only practical to give a couple of tips on things editor’s love to hear from writers. 5. “I need help.” Writers like to present a tough facade. They want to show they have everything under control and worry that asking their editors for help on a piece will cost them future work. On the contrary, editors love to know a writer will come to them for help [Read more…]

When Editors Behave Badly…

Editors and editorial assistants hold a lot of power. They have the power to say yes to your query or they can stab your carefully crafted piece in the heart with a kill fee. This power can sometimes have the ability to corrupt even the nicest, most well-behaved editor, but what can a lowly writer do when faced with an editor whose behavior rivals a 5 year old’s? First of all, stop thinking of yourself as lowly. Writers are an essential part of a magazine/publication/web site. The editors and editorial assistants can’t write the entire publication on their own and [Read more…]

Writing Tip of the Day: Maintain Your Cool

It’s easy to get overheated as a writer. You put your talent out there to be observed, reviewed and critiqued and sometimes the criticism is unfair, biased or just plain nasty. Blog comments, editor’s remarks, reader mail – it all has the potential to give you a serious case of the grumps, but keeping your cool in the line of fire can make you a better writer. Instead of blasting a rude blog comment, taking a deep breath and responding in a professional manner, if a response is warranted, will go a long way in establishing your reputation as a [Read more…]

Top 10 Reasons Why Your Writing is Suffering

Why aren’t I getting gigs? Why am I caught in this niche I have grown to hate? Where’s my career going? There are a lot of reasons why a writer’s work suffers and some are so common most writers have or will experience them at some point. Do any of them ring a bell? You’re bored. There are times a writer needs to switch course or look for new ways to stay passionate about an familiar topic. You’ve gotten lazy. Let’s be honest, sometimes freelancers slack off and don’t feel like doing what they are supposed to do. I’ve been [Read more…]

There's No Whining in Freelance Writing

This week I am pretty disturbed at the amount of angst Deb received when she took a break from writing leads. There was a distinctive tone I heard in many of the comments that was very familiar…it was like so many of the writers I’ve had the opportunity to work with throughout the years. I heard a level of entitlement. I’m sure you’ll find it in every line of work, a host of people who like to stay in their comfort zone, particularly when that comfort zone has a bit of hand holding. As an editor, I love to work [Read more…]

Going Off Track…And Getting Back On Again

By Terreece M. Clarke I love to write. I start or work out article kinks in my head while I lie in bed waiting to fall asleep. I spend a lot of time thinking about what I’m going to write, when I’m going to write and where my writing is going to be published. But there is a problem, I write and think about writing and work the business of writing too much. Writers are always told they need to write all the time and immerse themselves in their craft, and that’s true. But we advice-givers also need to stress [Read more…]

Query Challenge Update

By Terreece M. Clarke Where are you on the Query Challenge? We started off trying to query a few new (to you) magazines before Christmas. Some of you jumped in a little later and others are finished and just waiting to hear back from your choice publications. I want updates! Have you been inspired by the challenge to query more often? What questions do you have about queries, query letters, etc.? Talk to my FWJ and let me help you! Do you want to start the challenge? Here are some articles to help you along your way: Query Challenge – [Read more…]

Thoughtful Thursday: How's that Working For You?

By Terreece M. Clarke Tuesday in “Date Your Publication” we talked about getting to know the publications you want to query and got some great feedback, specifically from Mary who commented on how frustrating her first year writing was because she hadn’t tailored her queries to specific publications. Once she started however, her success rate climbed. Mary is an excellent example of a great writer stopping to take stock in their career to see where things could be improved. This time of year is a great time to take stock in your career and goals as Deb wrote in her [Read more…]

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