Tag Archives: satire

Stupid Words and Phrases You Should Never Use

freelance-writing-advice-3Drew Kerr’s article, Three Words Every PR Pro Should Ban at Ragan.com got my wheels turning. I didn’t even need to read the whole thing to know there was a screed coming.

There are words that add color to your writing, there are words you can’t live without, and there are words that violate the cardinal rule of good writing. In the Gospel According to Strunk and White, the all-time number one commandment is this:

“Omit needless words.”

So why do writers INSIST on using “additionally” or “furthermore” in their work? Why in the name of the great gods of the IBM Selectric do people bother writing “The sale is going to be held on Saturday” when “The sale begins Saturday” will do quite nicely, thank you?

Drew Kerr advises PR-heads to stop using the word “thrilled” in their press releases. I have to agree, as it seems to imply some kind of twisted sexual gratification–when you’re talking about breaking ground for a new condo or electing a new president for the Elk’s Club, that just doesn’t sound right. Ditto for Kerr’s other advice, which is to stop using the word “excited” in the same context.

Continue reading Stupid Words and Phrases You Should Never Use

Freelancer Jargon 2.0: My Top 10 Suggestions

If you are new to freelancing, you’re probably already struggling to learn new phrases and concepts. Words like “invoice” and “kill fee” probably meant nothing to you until you dived right in to the nutty world of self-employment. Now here comes a jerk like me suggesting you learn even MORE new phrases. But it goes without saying that the freelancer lexicon needs a bit of an update–industry jargon 2.0, you might say. Here is a handy list of new phrases we should all be adding to our vocabularies. Take with one grain of salt and use as directed.

10. The device pictured above should no longer be referred to as a phone. It should be called a LEASH.

9. Sleep is not a word freelancers should be using. Replace immediately with the word nap.

8. Sick is a word to be used only when you need to justify a three day weekend. If you need to take a vacation, you should be telling people you have a two-week onsite project.

7.  You did NOT just spend $1500 on a new laptop. You took a strategic tactical tax deduction. You also took a strategic tax deduction (STAD for short) on that Playstation 3 you just purchased, but only if you write a review on it for your monetized blog.

6. A magazine that goes bankrupt before paying you is a deadbeat dad. A high-paying magazine that gave you regular assigments that goes bankrupt is called a deadbeat sugar daddy.

5. An editor who won’t return your e-mails is a zombie. When you terminate the relationship with an editor who won’t return your e-mails, you George Romero‘d him. (Romero is the guy who brought zombie lore–including the requirement to shoot a zombie in the head to kill it–to pop culture.)

4. Deadlines should be reclassified. In the military, a deadline is called a suspense. While this seems to be bad usage, it does make sense, as you’ll be keeping the editor in suspense until you actually turn in your work. Will you or won’t you? Maybe we should start using this goofy term instead.

3. Freelance opportunities are often called markets, but are really meal tickets. A magazine that regularly publishes freelancers in our current economy should be known as Daddy Warbucks.

2. Starbucks should simply be rebranded as the Alternate Conference Room.

1.  Time-wasting blog entries like this should be called brain candy.  In our current economy, freelance blogs themselves could be considered like lifeboats, as in, “You’re a survivor, too?” But then again, most freelancers I know are doing better than the cubicle zombies I know, so maybe there’s a better analogy. Feel free to suggest your own freelancer jargon 2.0 in the comments section.

How to Go Full Time as a Freelancer: Five Painful Steps

Note: After a few horrified responses to this post, I should point out that I am wearing the pointy hat for much of this screed…that is to say I may have actually DONE this, but remember that all editors are slightly crazy and I’d never expect anyone to seriously take this advice unless they are as much of a rabid workaholic and certified nutter as I am.

There is no one tried and true way to make the jump from part time to fulltime…except possibly ONE method, the one I tried myself with great success. (How egotistical is THAT? There’s no way to make it except MY way, HAH!) Yet, when I think about it, this is the only method I know that makes any sense at all IF you have a day job you need to dump with extreme prejudice, and want to get yourself into a freelance situation where you wake up and tell yourself that your job is getting in the way of your career.

Naturally it’s a painful, isolating and downright masochistic path to follow to fulltime freelance success, which is why many people shy away from it. And who can blame them? Do you really want to suffer for your dream? You’ll find out just how committed you are when you contemplate doing “the Crazy Joe Wallace Method”. Also known as “Leaving Las Vegas, For Writers.”

What you do is decide, sort of like Nicholas Cage in that uber-depressing movie, that you’re going to write yourself to death.

Well, not quite. The actual trick is to write so hard that you WISH you were dead, but manage to take care of yourself in the meantime enough to maintain your madness. What madness would that be? Continue reading How to Go Full Time as a Freelancer: Five Painful Steps

How To Properly Interpret Craigslist Job Ads

I know there are still people out there who attempt to use Craigslist to find freelance writing jobs. I have my own personal opinions on the value of Craigslist for freelance writing gigs, which boil down to a single word. Patience. If you have it, you will be rewarded. If you don’t, forget it. There is about a one in 20 chance you’ll find something worth your time, and when you DO locate a good gig, it usually pays off. But in order to avoid wasting (even more) time sifting through CL ads, I offer you this helpful interpretation of the terms and verbiage often used in these ads:

  • Great exposure = work for free
  • Energetic = can work in spite of hangover
  • College students, stay at home moms, and people looking to make extra money = people who will work for cheap
  • Interns wanted = work for free
  • College graduates = can work in spite of hangover for low pay
  • Assistant = low pay and do non-writing grunt work
  • Customer satisfaction = low pay and non writing grunt work
  • Passionate = long hours and weekends
  • Enthusiastic = long hours, weekends and holidays
  • “Do you love __________” = work for free
  • Send us a sample blog post = we will use your work without paying you
  • Send us your story ideas = we’re too lazy to do our own brainstorming
  • Send us email for job details = we want to send spam to you. Lots.
  • Revenue sharing = write for free
  • Google Ads = write for free
  • New website = no readers, write for insultingly low pay
  • Experienced writers wanted = will take no experience for low pay
  • Highly experienced writers wanted = will take some experience for low pay
  • Startup = no pay
  • Non-Profit = long hours and low (or no) pay
  • Reviewers wanted = write for free and spend too much time exposed to bad “artists”
  • B to B writers wanted = commercial writing experience only
  • Writing contest = pay to write
  • Compensation DOE = won’t make you an offer, will make you name a price and try to lowball you
  • Compensation: Hourly = you can make more somewhere else
  • Subject matter expert wanted = internet researcher wanted
  • Compensation $9 an hour = clueless noob wanted
  • Must have degree = we’re clueless about hiring freelancers
  • B.A. in Journalism required = serious news gig OR clueless about hiring freelancers
  • Detail oriented = expects too much from one person in too short a time
  • Motivated = desperate