Category: Web writing

Have you forgotten how to spell?

With today’s technology, it seems like things should be easier and easier, right?

Maybe.

I’m a pretty darn good speller, but I’m finding myself getting worse as time goes on. I blame it on spellcheck, lazy typing (who needs to type well when you have a backspace key), instant messaging (IMing), and text messaging.

Here are some ideas for fixing this growing problem:

1. Spend at least half an hour each week typing without using the backspace key. Force yourself to spell things right the first time. If you make a mistake, leave it.

2. Go back over your typing and circle all the mistakes you made. Write that (likely huge) number in red ink, and make it big, on your paper.

3. Now that you feel bad, promise yourself that that number will decrease each time you practice.

4. When you IM or text message, spell out the words as often as possible. I know it takes more time, but practice makes perfect.

I haven’t tried this method yet, but as I type this I’m finding myself backspacing a little less often than usual. Next time I’ll do better.

What about you? Have you forgotten how to spell or type too? Any tips for the rest of us?

Article writing at your service

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Recently I mentioned that I was writing articles for blogs who “bought” my services with credits from Entrecard. I gave it some thought, and decided against it. Why?

While Entrecard is great, and while Entrecredits can be used to “buy” advertising space on other blogs, Entrecredits aren’t worth enough for me to sell my services in exchange for them.

Some people have started selling ECs on Ebay, getting as much as $20 for 1000 EC, but often much lower. And I don’t remember high school economics that well, but I do believe there’s a reason the government limits the amount of money in circulation. If money keeps being created, the value of a dollar decreases. With Entrecard, you earn 1 EC whenever you drop a card, and 1 EC whenever someone drops you a card, and the only limit so far is in the number of cards you can drop each day.

All I know for sure is that ECs are not legal tender.

At this point I’ve decided it’s a better use of my time to write guest articles if the mood hits me, since guest blogging is a valuable form of advertising. But when I write in exchange for ECs I feel obligated to write, and I prefer to be paid real money for obligatory creativity.

One thing I learned from the Entrecard experience is that people are looking for great content. And they’re willing to pay something for it (of course, we all knew this anyway).

Let me direct your attention to my newest header tab: Article Writing Services. If you’re a blogger or website owner, and you simply don’t have the time to write lots of great articles, Crayon Writer is your new source for excellent web content.

Contact me so we can figure out your needs, and I’ll make you an offer you can’t refuse. :)

Writing for Entrecard

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If you’re a blogger too, you’ve no doubt heard about the latest social networking tool, Entrecard. I was skeptical at first, and I guess I’m still a bit cautious, but I decided to jump in while it’s still hot. If it stays that way, so much the better.

At first I was just clicking my way through the “Drop Yours” widgets like the one you see in my sidebar.

But then I realized there’s a “Shop” on Entrecard that allows its members to sell things for Entrecard Credits (EC). Sure, EC isn’t a real form of money, but it does have value. You can use EC to get your own personal 125×125 ad (check out mine at the top of this post) placed on other people’s blogs. The trick of the system is to have enough EC to place a lot of ads that hopefully get clicked on by regular street traffic.

I’m a writer, right? So what better thing to sell than my writing? Besides getting EC to advertise on other blogs and increase Crayon Writer‘s exposure, I’m also letting others see my talent even if they don’t feel like reading here. I’m hoping to get clients that pay real live money for writing services.

I’ve already written for a few bloggers who paid me EC.

Here’s a big thanks to James from Total Web Review for buying an article from me and letting his readers know about my services.

The only problem I have with Entrecard right now is the amount of time it takes. But for now, I do think it’s worth it. I’ve met a lot of other bloggers already (I joined on January 26). Unlike MyBlogLog, you have to actually visit a person’s blog to get any benefit.

Anyway, expect to see me write a little sporadically as I figure out how to use Entrecard to market my business, continue to look for a day job, build my writing business, and, of course, my most important and demanding job, take care of my daughter. At two-and-a-half years old, I’m finding she is busier than ever!

Guess it’s time to get back to business and stop playing hooky. :)

Associated Content and other ventures

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I’ve written a few articles for Associated Content now, as I said I would in a previous post. I’m not thrilled, I must say. Sure, there’s a learning curve as to what they want, but I don’t know if I have the patience to figure it all out. Of the 7 or so articles I’ve submitted, two have been accepted for upfront payment for under $4.

Several others were declined for various reasons. One article was determined to be “humor,” which they don’t usually offer upfront payments for. Another had spelling “errors” (I disagree with their spellchecker, but I fixed the words their system “caught”), and another one or two just weren’t the types of articles they offer payments for (current events and articles that aren’t “in-depth” enough.

Luckily, I’ve been able to take some of the declined articles and sell them elsewhere instead. Otherwise I’m just leaving them as “Performance Paid” articles, and we’ll see what happens.

So check out my AC posts and my recent HubPages posts. Enjoy, and let me know what you think:

Training your cockatiel to whistle

Thinking of getting a pet cockatiel?

My first pet rat

Male or female rats?

Starting from scratch with a new laptop

Calming a toddler: Count to 20 method

Freelance writing avenues to success

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Being a full-time freelance writer is a wonderful destination, and luckily there are lots of pathways that lead there. Unfortunately, sometimes it seems like some paths move around, taking you places you didn’t mean to go. And, happily, there are paths you stumble on that are perfect.

Anyway, philosophical thoughts aside, I’m finding a lot of paths I hadn’t considered on my road to freelance writing self sufficiency.

You may have noticed a new addition to the sidebar: Crayon Writer in the Blogosphere. I mention two of my other blogs, and two blogs where I’m an author. As a new HubPages author, I’ll be putting links to new posts as I write them. Eventually I’ll move them all to my Best Work tab.

So if you’re interested in reading more of my writing, take a look at the links. Be sure to leave a comment here or there (or everywhere…publicity is a good thing), and let me know what you think.

The other avenue I’m pursuing like crazy is Craigslist. I’ve actually landed a couple of good gigs there. If you haven’t tried it, you should. Apply to several, and, assuming your portfolio is good, you should get some work. Then be sure to add your work to your portfolio so you can get more

Hired blogger

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I’m officially a hired blogger.

Sounds dangerous, but I’m having a lot of fun. Babies Online has a new blog, and the owner decided to hire some contributing authors. Being the mother of a 2.5 year old, my favorite topics are babies, parenting, and getting through the toddler years with my sanity intact.

Crayon Writer isn’t the proper medium for all of my thoughts, so Babies Online is a perfect fit.

Check it out today. There is a lot of interesting and useful information, written from lots of different perspectives. Let us know you’re reading (comment, comment, comment), and if you like it, tell your readers about it too.

Copywriting tips

Trash

If you are a blogger, you’re a published writer. But that doesn’t mean you’re a good writer.

But what is good writing?

Courtney Tuttle wrote a funny post today about how not to write a blog post. A lot of his points focused on readability online.

Good writing, online at least, includes how the copy looks, not just the grammar or spelling. Perfect textbook writing that is unappealing to readers’ eyes may as well be written by a two-year-old.

Take a look at his post for some humorous, absolutely accurate points about writing for blogs.

4 Reasons to Hire a Freelance Writer

Writing

Freelance writers are the answer to the question, How am I going to find the time to do this, too?
Maybe you can write the copy, you can proofread, and you can do layout without any outside help.

But do you have the time? Can you do everything quickly and well?
A freelance writer can step in and take at least one thing off of your To Do list.

The advantages:
1. Don’t worry about benefits, vacation time, taxes, etc.

Freelance writers take care of their own taxes, vacations, and insurance needs. You only pay for the service you need.

2. Hire a writer as-needed, rather than pay for down time.

When you have employees, you have to pay them even when they talk to their co-workers, surf the internet, take bathroom breaks, or just dawdle. Freelancers are paid only for the time-on-task.

3. Freelance writers are customer oriented.

Employees are not necessarily loyal to the employer, but you can bet business owners are loyal to their own businesses. As business owners, freelancers have a strong desire to do their best work for their clients. Happy customers are essential to a prosperous business.

4. Freelancers are committed to your project.

Freelancers are able to accept assignments they want to do. There’s no boss telling them they must do a particular project. That means your job is important to the  freelance writer, hand-picked, rather than just another assignment from an employer.

A freelance writer’s job is caring about your business as much as her own.

The question is, why wouldn’t you hire a freelancer?

If you need a freelance writer to help with web content, articles, blog writing, proofeading, or more, hire me!

Polish your blog content until it shimmers

What makes good blog content?

When writing for blogs, you have to keep in mind that reading online is a very visual experience. So what the post looks like is a big deal.

I haven’t gotten into adding images yet (I will, though, as soon as I figure out where to get pictures). But try to make your post a sight for sore eyes.

Here are some ideas to make your blog content glimmer and sparkle:

The font should be comfortable to read. If you’re a youngin’ (under 30, in my book), ask someone older to take a look at your blog. You may have to increase the font size, change the text color, or adjust the background color.

People tend to scan when they read online. Notice that I make important words and phrases bold. This way, someone can scan just the bold text and get an idea of what the post is about. If they’re interested, they can always go back and read it more carefully.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like reading books online. Keep it short. Try not to use 10 words when 5 will do. Use lots of periods. That is, end your sentences quickly. I have to admit, though, that I’m a fan of commas. Use them correctly if you write long sentences.

Break up the text. In this post, I use block quotes, for instance. If you do write a longer post, be liberal with the return key. Forget what you learned in grade school about a paragraph being 5 sentences long. The return key is your friend.

Find ways to emphasize your text. Like I said earlier, I use bold for key words and phrases, and I use italics sometimes. Block quotes give the text a little flair, and I prefer it instead of bulleted or numbered lists. But don’t use underlining…that’s reserved for links.

Keep to one topic in your post. If you have other stuff to say, write a new post.

Be yourself! Don’t necessarily write the way you talk, but be conversational. Even when you’re writing about technical subjects, it’s okay to be a little relaxed.

Go further. Let your hair down and have some fun. I get a lot of compliments about writing openly and honestly. Imagine your reader is sitting next to you on your living room couch.

Readable blog content is important to make your blog successful. Check out Homebizblogger.com for more ideas.

What suggestions do you have for making blog content shine?

Articles submitted to EzineArticles.com

I’ve been working on writing articles, and have submitted a couple to EzineArticles. com.

The first is Babies at Work? Of Course!, the second is Words that Sell, while the third is Starting a Copywriting Business as a Work-at-Home-Mother. The last two are posted on this blog, but please take a look at my other one.

I’ll be adding more articles to EzineArticles.com soon. It’s fun, and you get to see what kinds of writing I can do.

Enjoy!