Tag Archives: freelance writer

Who Are You? Discovering Your Inner Writer

questionby Catherine L. Tully

This is a test…

What do you love?

Why am I asking you this? Because it can help you find what you are looking for in writing. Here’s the quote that got me started on this:

“The things that we love tell us what we are.”
-St. Thomas Aquinas

And if you want to be a writer, there’s no better way to wind up in the right spot than to know what you love to write about.

When you first start out as a freelance writer it’s all about trying to get established. Making sure you can pay the bills and building your portfolio are all-important, and often all-consuming tasks. While this can’t really be helped (everybody pays their dues in one way or another), once you head down the freelance writing path a bit, you might want to start thinking about who you are as a writer.

Or, at least, who you would like to be.

Here are a few simple ways to go about that:

  • Keep a list of your favorite magazines. This will help you see themes and overall subject matter.
  • Be aware when writing. Keep an eye out for times when writing is a pleasure instead of merely a job.
  • Journal. A professional journal is a great tool for learning more about yourself, your work preferences and your likes/dislikes.

I’m going to toss this out to the readers now…

How did you discover your inner writer? Any tips you’d like to share?

Words and Reason: In a Fix with Affixes

by Cynthia Clampitt

Cynthia Clampitt

Cynthia Clampitt

Continuing our focus on writing language-acquisition lessons for educational publishers, I’d like to talk about affixes. Affixes are things that get stuck on words to change their meanings or their parts of speech. The two primary types of affixes—the only ones you’ll be asked to teach in textbooks—are suffixes and prefixes, stuck on (or fixed) after or before the words to be changed.

Most people think they know about suffixes and prefixes, but it’s surprising how often they are misled by words that look like they might be affixes but are, in reality, word parts. A word is only an affix if you can take it away and still have a word (or close to a word, as minor changes do occur occasionally).

Part of the reason this gets tricky is there are a few roots that appear as both word parts and affixes. These word parts that double as affixes are known as combining forms. For example, uni-, which means “one” or “having only one,” can be a prefix, as in unicycle or unicellular. But it can also be a word part, as in unify. Unify means to make one, so it still has the same meaning from the same root, but it’s clearly not a prefix. If you take it away, you’re left with -fy, which is not a word.

Another example is trans a word that is very useful to teach. However, if you teach it as a prefix, use examples such as transatlantic or transcontinental. If you use transfer, we’re again talking word part, not prefix.

When explaining these two affixes, point out to students that prefixes change meaning and suffixes change part of speech. For example, unhappy is the opposite of happy. Meaning changed. Happy is a noun; happily is an adverb. Part of speech changed.

It’s also important to keep in mind that some affixes have more than one meaning, and more than one root. For example, the prefix “ex-“ can be the Greek “out of” or the Latin “former.” Make sure you know which one you’re teaching in a lesson, and make sure the examples you give all match the definition you’re using. (Only in rare cases will you have enough space to compare both meanings, so remember to say, when defining, “One meaning of ex- is…,” so students know there are other possibilities.) Continue reading

Writers – Is It Time For A Tune-Up?

Catherine L. Tullyby Catherine L. Tully

Welcome to autumn! Whether this seasonal change is one you embrace or one you detest–it does offer one key opportunity–the chance to tune up your writing game.

I take the time each quarter to clean, file, update and generally organize my desk area, my computer and my contacts. It’s a great way to transition from one mode to another–which can be very helpful if you are a freelance writer.

For example, if you are pitching magazines, you’ll need to keep a running tally of queries out, queries in and query status. Or–if you have some clients you haven’t worked with in a while, it can  be a good idea to send a quick note here and there. There are always plenty of things you need to stay on top of in this career field–and setting aside the time each quarter to do some of these tasks is a smart move.

What you will do to stay organized will depend on what tasks are a part of your writing life, but some things are common to most writers. Here are a few you may want to add to your list: Continue reading

Writers – Do You Hate Mondays?

calendarby Catherine L. Tully

Guess what?

It’s Monday again.

I’m a self-employed freelance writer. I often work weekends. So why should Monday matter to me even one bit?

I’m really not sure, to tell you the truth–but it does. I still hate this day more than any other. Perhaps it’s the ingrained history of my experiences with this day from when I worked a corporate job. Or maybe it’s the fact that I teach a class in the evening on Mondays. I’m not really sure why it is that I find this day so daunting, but I do.

My question is–am I alone in this? Or do other writers find Mondays at the bottom of their “favorite day” list as well? And if you are among the group of people who dislike this day–do you know why?

My favorite day of the week is probably Tuesday. Monday is over and a solid week away, and I have a habit of working light on this day for some reason. Probably because I’m a workhorse on the day before.

If I don’t like Mondays, at least I do get a lot accomplished. Since I already expect it to be a rough day, I don’t seem to mind putting in extra time and tackling tasks I hate. Funny how that works, isn’t it? I hate the day, but I’m productive as can be.

Now that I’m thinking about it…maybe Mondays aren’t all that bad after all. :)

What’s your least favorite day of the week? I’m totally curious now…

Catherine has been a full-time freelance writer since 2002 and is co-founder of Freelance-Zone.com. She is also the owner/editor and webmaster of 4dancers.org, co-founder of Pas de Trois at dancing3.com and owns the group Dance Writers on LinkedIn. You can reach her at info (at) catherineltully (dot) com.

5 Questions With Catherine L. Tully

Freelance-Zone Editor, Catherine L. Tully

Freelance-Zone Editor, Catherine L. Tully

Hey there.

We’re going to do something fun here on Freelance-Zone.com in the coming weeks.

Interviews.

Here’s the rub:

Each writer will answer 5 questions (below) about their life as a writer. I’m going to get the proverbial ball rolling.

We’re also going to toss this out to our readers…if you would like to answer these five questions and be featured on the site, send your answers, along with a photo of yourself to: editor (at) freelance-zone (dot) com.

Nothing like free publicity. :)

Here goes:

1.      How did you wind up a writer?

This is actually funny. I wanted to work from home and I was trying to think of something I could do. I had one writing job at the time (very, very, very part-time) and thought, “Why not become a writer.”

Yep. That’s it!

It took a lot longer than I thought it would. :)

2.      Was the road to being a writer what you expected? Why or why not?

Heh. See above.

It took a lot longer than I thought it would. I started in 2001 and although I went full time in ’02, I was putting in crazy hours to do it. I wasn’t what I would consider comfortable until ’05 or so if memory serves.

3.      What has been your best moment or biggest accomplishment as a writer?

Breaking into travel writing. I love writing about places, restaurants, buildings and outings. It’s amazing. I still can’t believe I’ve gotten to do some of the things I have. I’m very grateful.

4.      What has been your most difficult moment?

Moment? How about moments? :) Typically these are associated with difficult clients. A seemingly great job can be truly awful if the wrong person is in charge. Still, this is true of any job, so I take it in stride. Here are a few of the highlights:

I recall having to chase a client for 6 months over $25, finishing an assignment on my iPhone because my power went out in the middle of a blizzard and having an editor put their own byline on my piece after they added some content to it without my permission.

Lovely, huh?

5.      Can you share your top piece of writing advice with Freelance-Zone readers?

Simplify whatever you can. Time is so very valuable.

And be tenacious. Always.

(Oh, and just in case you were wondering…I did get the $25 bucks from that client. Hence the advice above.)

Catherine L. Tully has been a full-time freelance writer since 2002 and is co-founder of Freelance-Zone.com. She is also the owner/editor and webmaster of 4dancers.org, co-founder of Pas de Trois at dancing3.com and owns the group Dance Writers on LinkedIn.You can reach her at info (at) catherineltully (dot) com.

More Time = More Money

dollarby Catherine L. Tully

Cash. Moohla. Money. Dollars. Bucks.

If you want to make more, you aren’t alone.

As a freelance writer, it’s up to you how much money you make. And it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to work harder. Being smart about what you are doing, who your clients are and how you manage your time are all part of the deal.

Let’s concentrate on the time part here. I’d like to share some of my top tips for maximizing your income without spending every moment working:

+ Separate out your paying gigs from things you do that don’t directly make you money (such as blog posts, tweeting, posting on Facebook, networking, etc.). Then, dedicate one or two blocks of time per week to the non-paying tasks. If you want to do more on these, do some double-duty and dip into your TV time or your surfing for pleasure.

+ Schedule your paying gigs out for the week. Leave one large chunk of time open and use it to look for and research other paying gigs.

+ Get those receipts organized. Make sure you are taking all the deductions you are entitled to. Again, schedule in time to do this each week.

Here’s a sample schedule:

Monday morning – receipts, social media and answering e-mails.

Monday afternoon – work on paying gigs.

Tuesday morning – look for and research new paying gigs.

Tuesday afternoon – work on paying gigs.

Wednesday morning – write and schedule blog posts.

Wednesday afternoon – work on paying gigs.

Thursday – work on paying gigs.

Friday morning – open for whatever you need.

Friday afternoon – work on paying gigs.

It doesn’t really matter how you schedule things–do what is comfortable for you. The key is to make sure you have a plan. Managing time is crucial to being a successful freelance writer, and thinking through your week ahead of time can really help you make more money in the long run. Give it a try!