Tag Archives: writing jobs

Helping Another Writer = Good Karma

by Catherine L. Tully

Catherine L. Tully

Editor, Catherine L. Tully

It may seem counter-intuitive, but helping another writer get work can actually bring you good writing karma.

Many writers I know are reluctant to share information they come across about jobs in the field. There’s always this feeling that you should keep it to yourself–just in case you need it.

I take another approach…

If I hear of a job I can’t take on – I pass it along to another writer who I know is deserving. Now…that is where you have to use sound judgement…you don’t want a recommendation from you to be associated with a writer who can’t do the job…so you have to know they are a decent writer. And if they are, I say, give them the job–or at least share the opportunity with them to follow up on.

Part of the reason I do this is completely unselfish. I know how hard it is to get jobs in this field and how competitive things are when it comes to work. I’m sincerely happy to help out a fellow writer.

The other part is not as unselfish. I’ve gotten jobs this way too. Writers  that I have helped out along the way have done the same for me from time-to-time. It’s nice. It’s like a big job pool. And I have to say, it feels really good when we’re all working together rather than elbowing each other out of the way.

So…for the holiday season, that’s my pitch to you in the coming year. Look out for your fellow writer.  It will not only make you feel warm and fuzzy, but it may come around and net you a little cash down the line. Let the writing karma abound!

$140,000 Per Year on Elance.com?

by Mike O’Mary

Will work for food iStock_000004304868LargeI’m curious…do any members of the Freelance-Zone.com community have experience using Elance.com to get jobs? If so, how did it go for you as a freelancer?

I ask because I’ve used Elance.com as a client, and I have mixed feelings about it. A while back, I mentioned to someone that I needed help from a graphic designer and a proofreader, but that I was on a tight budget. My friend suggested Elance.com. So I gave it a try and posted a couple of jobs.

As a client, I was pleased with the results. I got bids from graphic designers and proofreaders from all over the world. And the prices reflected the global nature of the competition. In fact, some prices were so low I couldn’t believe it.

In the end, I didn’t go with the lowest bidder. Nor did I go with an overseas bidder, although there were many. I went with U.S. providers, partly because of my comfort level, but also because I found that I could hire a U.S. freelancer and still spend way less than I had anticipated. In fact, at the end of the graphic design job, I gave the designer a bonus because I couldn’t believe how much work she did for the price she had quoted me. And that’s where my mixed feelings come in… Continue reading

Speechwriting Skills

by Mike O’Mary

“I got skills… You know, like nunchuck skills, bowhunting skills, computer hacking skills…” — Napoleon Dynamite

ninjaI feel like a hypocrite. I am looking to hire a speechwriter. One of the requirements is that the speechwriter also have PowerPoint skills.

I feel like a hypocrite because if you have a good speech, you don’t need a PowerPoint presentation to go with it. But the requirement for PowerPoint skills stands nonetheless.

Let me get the self-serving part of this post out of the way: if you are a good speechwriter in the Chicago area with good PowerPoint skills, or if you know a good speechwriter in the Chicago area with good PowerPoint skills, please contact me via my personal e-mail address, which is mike at michaelomary dot com. Thanks.

Back to the requirement for PowerPoint skills…

Why does a speechwriter need to know PowerPoint? Because people expect it. My day job is writing executive communications for a Fortune 300 company. A recent audit showed that we produce about 120 “executive communications” a year for the company’s top two executives. Sometimes the ”communication” is a relatively simple e-mail announcement to employees. But other times (about 40 times a year, in fact), the communication is a speech or a presentation.

More and more, we’ve been moving toward speeches rather than presentations. But most keynote addresses still come with the expectation that they will include a PowerPoint presentation. I think that’s just a fact of life for the foreseeable future. Still, I’m looking for a good speechwriter because my hope is that some day, if the speeches are consistently good enough, our speakers will get to the point where they feel so good about their speeches that they won’t want a PowerPoint presentation — because it will detract from their marvelous speech.

But until that day comes, best to keep up-t0-date on your skills…you know, like nunchuck skills, bowhunting skills, computer hacking skills…and PowerPoint skills.

Mike O’Mary is founder of Dream of Things and of the Note Project. He is also responsible for executive communications at Discover Financial Services.

Hey, Tweet Thang

by Mike O’Mary

iStock_000005848850XSmallOkay, I never thought I’d say this, but there’s some fascinating stuff on Twitter for writers. I see lots of job postings and writing advice. Have you gotten a freelance job via a Twitter contact? I haven’t gotten that far, but I’m finding decent advice and interesting revelations in 140 characters or less. Here are some of the results from a recent #writing search (followed by selected parenthetical comments from Yours Truly):

“Marry somebody you love and who thinks you being a writer’s a good idea.” Richard Ford @AdviceToWriters (Do you think Richard Ford really abbreviates writer + is = writer’s?)

I have a Leadership Devel (sic) Freelance Writing Jobs (sic). @writingjobs_in (As they say, the devel is in the details)

Article Writer Needed for 20 Articles on Health. @TWeelanceWriter (Writing the articles is cheaper than actually going to the doctor.)

To (sic) Good Online Writing Websites. @williamswafford (Because to is better than won?)

I have an online class. I want you to take it and do it for me. @Elance_Writing (That was my post from 30 years ago. Except classes weren’t online back then, so I had to pay somebody to actually go to class for me too.)

A brief rundown of novels and historical fiction set in Vancouver. @vancouver_rt  (I think that was the full text.)

Never use an adverb to modify the verb “said.” Elmore Leonard (He said knowingly.)

Writer wanted for occasional work. @writingjobs_in (Is there any other kind of work for writers?)

FlashFiction vs Short Stories: What’s the difference? @iwritepoetry (That’s what I keep saying!)

Have a new idea for a story. Gotta start writing it down. @AntMan0623 (Doh! Too late. I forgot it!)

The Impotance of Edditting @OnUrge (Very clevver.)

I just cried writing a scene. So either it was really good, or I’m totally delirious from being locked in this room all day! @capetownbrown (I cry when I read my own writing, too. Good writing? Delirium? I attribute it to writing with an onion.)

Possibly the best book I’ve read about writing and living the creative life. @DreamofThings (Hey! I said that!)

Bottom line: Don’t waste a lot of time there. But if you have a few minutes, get your Tweet self on over to Twitter and find some occasional work!

Mike O’Mary tweets as @DreamofThings and @TheNoteProject

Playing the Numbers Game at Work

by Mike O’Mary

iStock_000009209243XSmallI used to work at a company where people were very conscious of job levels. After a big meeting of top company managers, one of my coworkers approached me: “Hey, Mike,” he said. “I didn’t know you were a nine.” Before I could inform him that I was not a nine, he continued in a hushed tone: “A bunch of us nines are getting together after work for pizza and beer tomorrow. Don’t tell any sevens or eights.” Then he hurried off.

I suppose most companies have some internal method of ranking various job classifications. At that particular company, you climbed the ladder from level one to level two to three, on up. It was sort of like Donkey Kong. How high can you get?

I don’t know how far the numbering system went, but reaching level nine held special significance. They didn’t give you a key to the executive washroom or anything like that. (That would have been silly–especially since there was already an armed guard at the washroom entrance and you had to show two picture I.D.s to get in. I showed my library card and prom picture.) But being a level nine did have its advantages. For one thing, it meant you got to go to big meetings of top company managers. You also got an assigned parking space, a slightly larger cubicle and a free annual physical. I think being a nine also meant that you are allowed to use the two-ply toilet paper. And, of course, nines were allowed to punch sevens at will.

I didn’t get a chance to tell my coworker that I was not a nine. I was at the big meeting of top company managers because it was part of my job to report to other employees what happened at such meetings. I was on hand to listen and learn–and to change the light bulb in the slide projector if necessary.

Obviously, my coworker had taken my presence at the big meeting to mean that I, too, had a reserved parking place and an unchafed bum. Apparently, I could have passed myself off as a nine if I had really wanted to. At least nobody tried to hit me at the meeting. But I decided not to push my luck, so I skipped the pizza and beer that night. Besides, I had some fives to beat up.

Mike O’Mary is founding dreamer of Dream of Things, an independent book publisher currently accepting creative nonfiction stories for anthologies on 15 topics, including an anthology titled “Cubicle Stories: Life in the Modern Workplace.”

We All Do It

wordsIt’s tough enough to sell your writing skills without tripping yourself up with bad spelling, clumsy sentences, and atrocious grammar. We all have a blind spot when it comes to our own spelling, and even the old tried-and-true “read it aloud” trick doesn’t always work the way it should.

On every page of a well-established content supplier, you’ll read: “Let’s discuss your content needs formulate a content marketing proposal.”

On another site that wants to sell you writing services:”A technical writing company with a specialty in Internet, telecommunications, and software development topics.”

And most infamously, in a crucial political race on the east coast, an advertisement for Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley’s senatorial campaign misspelled the name of the state. According to LegalNewsline.com, “After a three-person debate Monday night, an attack ad on Republican state Sen. Scott Brown paid for by the state’s Democratic Party spelled it ‘Massachusettes.’ The ad was ‘authorized by Martha Coakley for Senate and approved by Martha Coakley.” Continue reading