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02 Oct 09 5 More Ways to Improve Your Writing Part-XI

We have come a long was in this series, and in the process we have learned quite a few things. We have covered from timing to inspiration to description to techniques to tools of writing. Each one of them was important, and so are the tips I am going to share in this part. In this part of the 5 Ways to Improve Your Writing series, I will tell you about quality; about how you can maintain the quality of your writing. Let’s begin with shedding inhibition for risks.

Take risks

Do not always play a safe game; rather, never play a safe game. Take risks and explore the terrain. You will not learn new things about life, about new ways to construct sentences, and will never get new ideas to write about until you venture out and take risk. Try different construction; try different storyline; so what if you fail!

Revisit your write-ups

Reading and analyzing what you have written in the past is another way to ensure quality of your future writing. You should have a sense of history. You should know from where you started and how far have you come, and then only you can realistically decide where you can go from here.

Rope in your friend

This advice is the toughest to follow because no matter how good your friendship is, he or she will not like to do proofreading for you, at least not readily. My friends have never done that for me, and neither have I put myself through the grueling session of proofreading for my friends. You got the clue, but still you need to talk your friend into proofreading your stuff. If they don’t agree then you have not tried hard enough.

Take a break

Writing is not like producing soap in the factory. You cannot just keep on pouring oil and chemicals for hours, even when you are tired and exhausted, to get the final product. To write well, you need to take breaks between your writing. Play games, watch TV, listen to music, or do whatever you like, but take breaks.

Take a break then return to proofread

Do not proofread your document right after finishing it. You will miss out many errors because your mind was primed by the article. Take a break 10-20 minutes and then come back to do the proofreading. Please do not think about what you wrote during the break.

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30 Aug 09 Freelance Writing Checklist Part -3

In the last two articles of the series, I shared things that you need to do to prepare yourself for the freelance writing career. In this article, I will tell you what you should do once your résumé is in place, you have written a good cover letter, and you have built your portfolio.

How much do you deserve?

This is going to be tricky. You have two big giants to tackle: The pay rate in the niche you have chosen to write and the amount paid to new writers like you. For this, you will have to do some research. Ask as many people as you want to ask, and go through as many project postings as you can and see the bid people have made there. This will give you an idea about how much your niche pays.

Visit freelance forums and blogs

Freelance forums and blogs are the goldmines of resources. Hence, you should consider being regular on one or more freelance forums and blogs.

What are the best practices?

Not knowing the best practices of the industry and not applying it are two different things. You should research and find out not only the rates, but the prevailing best practices of the industry as well. You also need to know the payment terms used by the genuine employers.

Find Jobs

This is what you were preparing for all along. Visit different blogs, freelance exchange websites and get yourself registered, if asked to, and start applying for the jobs that interest you.

Fill in all the details in the form, when registering into freelance exchanges. I would recommend uploading your image as well, and not any avatar or any funny picture. You should look professional, in the photograph. I prefer it this way because a photograph tells the prospective clients about you, and on the Internet, everyone prefers doing business with an idiot whom they know then any undercover genius about whom the clients have no clue.

Research your clients

To safeguard your interest, you need to do some research on the clients before you accept the job proposal sent to you. Not every client is created equal. Some are crooks as well.

Read, Read and Read

It comes at the end of everything, isn’t it? That is why it is important. You will have to read as much as you can: read about freelancing tips, read some authors from your field, read how things are changing, etc.

This brings us to the end of the Freelance Writing Checklist series. I wrote three articles in this series, links to which are provided below:

Freelance Writing Checklist part -1

Freelance Writing Checklist part -2

Freelance Writing Checklist part -3

Hope you liked the series, your views and reviews are welcome. You can either use the comment box to share or view or you can mail me on bikramksingh [at] gmail [dot] com. waiting to hear from you.

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15 Aug 09 Is Your Job In Trouble?

The economy is on the up finally, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t still quite a few jobs being cut at companies that are desperate to make financial ends meet.  So you should always be aware of the warning signs that your job may be in trouble.  Here are a few that could clue you in about when it might be the right time to start getting that resume together.

1. Bad Performance Reviews

Okay, so it’s your monthly performance review and normally you excel at your job, this month has been no different, so you’re expecting a quick and easy positive performance review right?  Well what if you get a bad one out of the blue?  This could be a clue in that your company is setting you up to be fired.  It’s always favorable for Human Resources and the legal departments if someone has a few bad performance reviews on file before they are terminated, to show that the company had adequate reason.

2. Your Inclusion In Projects Is Limited.

If you’re starting to feel left out of your bosses tactics, and are feeling fairly underappreciated, you may not be imagining things, it may just be that you’re slowly being phased out of that workplace.  Anytime your boss is avoiding you more, leaving you out, or your own colleagues are leaving you out of private meetings, it wouldn’t hurt for you to start browsing some opportunities elsewhere.  At least that way your job loss won’t come as an earth shattering shock.

3. You Get A New Boss.

Managers like to work with employees that they are familiar with.  With workers that they know well, a boss knows what to expect, how far they can push, and which goals that they will be able to accomplish.  The problem with that strategy is for your new boss to make room for new people, he/she has to get rid of you.  A new boss is always a good time for you to brush up that resume and be prepared to be job hunting.

4. Coworkers Begin Getting Fired.

Even if you’re a star performer at your job, if the company starts making cuts on account of an economic crisis nobody is safe.  So if you see a lot of heads rolling at your company, get your interview skills practiced once more, because you could be following suite before too long.

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