Finding Your Niche

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It seems there is much controversy among freelancers as to if it is better to devote your brand to one specific type of work, or if you should keep yourself open to anything within the realm of your expertise.

I started in Technical Writing and write help documents full time for a software company. I love this type of work. I write to the point and it is great for a writer without a creative side. As I started freelancing part time, I took on writing help documents for software.

However, I am finding I enjoy editing more than writing. As I start to take on editing manuscripts, blogs, articles, and business documents, I find that these are the projects I look forward to working on. Taking on editing manuscripts is a new experience with every project. Most of the time, these would not be books I would purchase and read on my own. However, I find these new reads fascinating.

So with that, my niche has developed into editing manuscripts. I would not turn down other projects if time allows, but I find it easier when people ask what I do for freelance and I tell them that I edit manuscripts. Straight, to the point, and easy for others to remember when they network my name around.

Do you have a niche?

Home Buying and Freelancing

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I am in the process of purchasing my first house. My husband and I have been working diligently to get out of all credit card debt, and this will happen in the next couple months. (Yay!)

This leads us to searching for our new home. We received our pre-approval and have worked our finances to find a mortgage price we can be comfortable paying. Since I work full time, it was easy to get approved at a terrific rate. After researching, it seems that getting approved as a freelancer tends to be more difficult because of having a more difficult time proving the paychecks will keep coming. This has moved me to want to get a home purchased soon as I am transitioning to work more freelancer and possible part time at my current position.

If you freelance and have purchased a home, please comment below about your experience.

That Overwhelming Feeling

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I have been a terrible blog host, I realize this. I face that transitional stage in life as someone who just recently entered her 30’s. As of late, I find it hard to concentrate because my mind goes to dealing with pregnancy symptoms, looking for a new house, reconfiguring health insurance, deciding how many hours I have to work after the baby is born, if I should stay at my current job or freelance…..You know, life stuff that never seems to go away when you are on the clock.

Life is amazing though, isn’t it? All this stuff I am dealing with right now is amazing and a huge blessing. We will be out of all credit card debt in two months and will be celebrating 7 amazing years of marriage on a weekend getaway.

Now, if I can just get these distractions to stay away while I work. Here’s hoping.

Deadlines: The Day That Runs Your Life

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Deadlines is a word that every freelancer knows and despises. One cannot get paid for a project unless it is turned in on time. Because of the deadlines, other parts of life and work get neglected.

I will admit that my calendar was looking pretty manageable and I was pleased. This was, until one client just needed one more thing tweaked, added, changed, ect. I am more than happy to make improvements, but soon realized that due to the extending this one deadline, it shorted my time for other deadlines.

My manageable calendar turned into trying to figure out what other events I had to skip out on in order to add time to my calendar. Working a full time job already cut into most of my daytime hours, so things had to be given up in order to make deadline.

Here is what I have learned about meeting deadlines:

1.) Discuss with your spouse and children when the deadline is and what that means. In my case, I explained to my husband specifically what nights I was going to be spending in front of the computer all night. He is amazing when it comes to taking over so I can accomplish goals. Hubby took care of our puppy, made dinners, and took over other random items that came up so as to keep me working. It is amazing how easy things are when everyone knows the plan.

2.) When there are projects with “loose deadlines” as was with my previous project, I am going to still set a hard deadline and try hard not to pass it, knowing after that date is when projects will become too crunched.

3.) No matter what, never skimp on your skills. Give your best effort possible and then make time after a deadline to make up on sleep, eating better, and relaxing.

4.) I am a full believer in rewards after a task is accomplished. I had to give up a few events I was really looking forward to attending (By my own choosing to put deadlines above everything else.) Now that I am satisfied that I worked to the best of my ability, got the work done one day before deadline, and hope to make a client very happy, I am planning to reward myself with an evening with my gal pals by the pool.

How do you handle deadlines?

Book Review: Windows 7 Inside Out Deluxe Edition By Ed Bott, Carl Siechert, and Craig Stinson

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In order to write such a detailed and insightful book, the authors definitely must know the ins and outs of Windows 7.  This book goes through everything you have ever wanted to know about the operating system, and then includes details you thought you already knew about, but there is more to learn. Chapter Six and Seven are devoted to using Internet Explorer 9. The interface of this version is different than previous versions and the authors do a terrific job explaining each feature.

What surprised me most about this book is seeing a chapter devoted to Using Pen, Touch, and Voice Input devices based on the type of hardware installed. Included are both touch-enabled as well as tablets. Although the technology might just start to be taking over, instructions to these are important as we start to use the new technologies available.

The content of this book is what you would find in your normal computer book. The text is detailed, albeit stuffy. Few might take the time to read this book from cover to cover, but definitely keep this book on your shelf as a reference guide.

Related Posts

Book Review: “Documents, Presentations, and Workbooks: Using Microsoft Office to Create Content That Gets Noticed” by Stephanie Krieger; O’Reilly Media”
Book Review: Grammar Girl’s 101 Misused Words You’ll Never Confuse Again by Mignon Fogarty

4 Tips for Striving for Simplicity

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Today’s post comes from a fiction writer by the name of Arron LaRue. He has gratefully taken time to write to you regarding how to improve writing for your audience, no matter who your readers are. Arron is a fiction and content writer living in Raleigh, NC. Be sure to check out his website at http://arronlarue.com/

There is more to writing than merely stringing words together on paper (or the computer) to construct sentences, paragraphs, chapters, etc. For writing to be effective—no matter the type—it must accomplish its purpose, whether it’s to inform, teach, or entertain. So what’s the best way for a writer to ensure the piece achieves his goals? By writing in an unambiguous and curt manner.

After all, writing is nothing more than written communication. And communication should be clear and to the point. Period.

The responsibility of the writer is to be efficient in his use of words; likewise, he should strive to be judicious with the images those words create. Too many fifty-cent words or grandiose descriptions used for nothing except self-gratification will leave the reader bemused. But the appropriate word selection or use of imagery will enrich the reading experience.

However, the writer should never sacrifice vivaciousness for brevity. Clarity is a precondition; the gradation of directness is determined by the category of writing and intended audience—the deft writer always knows his audience. Remember: writing devoid of sparkle (whatever the classification) will eventually be absent of readers too.

Now, does this mean you should follow stringent “rules” whenever you write?

Well . . . since rules were made to be broken (words of wisdom from a former English teacher of mine), here are some guidelines to follow when you write:

1) Choose words appropriate for the piece and the intended reader.

2) If there is any doubt as to the clarity of a sentence or paragraph, reconstruct it with simplicity in mind.

3) Use imagery suitable for the particular type and style of writing.

4) Never construct superfluous or flowery prose in an attempt to impress the reader.

Therefore, your assignment is to be vigilant in the quest for clarity and straightforwardness . . . well-nigh to the point of obsession. Your editor will indeed thank you, your readers will continue to read, and your writing aptitude will skyrocket.