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Writer's Notes - By Jeanne Dininni

WritersNotes.Net: Helping Writers Follow Their Dreams Through Information, Inspiration, and Encouragement!

Interested in Free Writing Advice and Job Leads? Try Freedom With Writing

If you're interested in receiving leads on often little-known markets for your writing, along with informative articles and e-books that can help you advance your writing career, visit the Freedom With Writing website and sign up for their free service. I've been on this company's e-mail list for quite some time and have received some great leads and insights into the writing business. Once you've signed up, every few days the company will send you an e-mail containing a link to its latest article or e-book download.

Of course, just as with anything else, you'll find some of these resources more helpful than others, but don't let that stop you. Though I sometimes feel a bit overwhelmed by the sheer volume of e-mails (since I'm often too busy to open them right away and click through to check out the latest info), overall I've found this site to be well worth signing up for, since I'm rarely inclined to delete their e-mails before checking out the resources they contain -- even though they may sometimes sit in my inbox for a little while before I get to them!

Hope this resource proves helpful to you!

Happy Writing!


Articles on Writing by Young (and Young at Heart) Writers

Hope, at Funds for Writers is currently seeking young writers 8-21 years old to submit 500-word articles for WritingKid. “Adults who understand kids who write” are also welcome to submit.

Here’s what Hope has to say about this opportunity in an issue of the young writers’ e-zine:

We need guest articles. Have you considered writing a guest article for WritingKid? Are you a student, a parent, a teacher? All are eligible. Just make sure the topic touches upon writing and runs no more than 500-550 words. Those under 16 receive the book of their choice. Those over 16 receive $10-$20, depending on the quality of the piece, the amount of editing required and the obvious amount of research.*

Here’s a link to the latest issue of WritingKid.

Article Topics

According to the job ad, which I found a little over a week ago at but which represents an ongoing opportunity, here’s what Hope is looking for:

The subject may be about anything to do with being a writer, learning how to write or the importance of writing. Talk about what you like about writing or someone who impacted your writing. Who is your favorite writer and why? What do you plan to do with your writing? What experiences have you had that molded you as a writer?

The WritingKid E-Zine

Young writers will want to check out WritingKid regularly – not just for the insightful articles it contains, which can help inform, inspire, and jump-start their own creative process – but also for the great list of writing markets and contests specifically targeting young people that Hope lists in every issue. WritingKid is published bi-weekly at FFW.

Here’s a link to the WritingKid Archives to give you even greater inspiration and more numerous writing resources.

Give WritingKid a Try

If you’re a young writer who enjoys writing on any of the above topics, or an adult who possesses considerable insight into what it’s like to be a “writing kid,” give this market a try. It might just prove a most rewarding venue for your work!

Best of Luck,

*The ad itself says that payment per article is $10-25 for writers 16 and over.

If you are a young writer – or an adult with a young writer’s heart – what are your thoughts on this venue? Anything you especially like about it? Any snags you’ve encountered? Do you know of any other markets where young writers can submit their work and earn money doing it?

Note: If the above job ad should be unavailable by the time you read this post, use this link to the FFW Submissions page to access the site's writer's guidelines and submission details. This is an ongoing market.


My apologies for the long silence. Client projects have been keeping me quite busy lately, and illness and other life happenings have added to the multitude of distractions that have kept me otherwise occupied. Just wanted to pop in, though, to share the latest free offerings from International Freelancers Academy.

Free IFA Video Training

International Freelancers Academy, the relatively new training extension of International Freelancers Day, has begun offering free sets of weekly training videos on numerous topics of value to freelancers.

Most weeks feature two videos that offer great advice on how to make the most of your freelance business. However, this week's IFA video training offers a three-part series on getting new clients, with Parts 1 and 2 held over from last week.

The above link will take you to the main Training page of the IFA website, which links to each week's videos. New videos are posted each week and the old ones taken down, so depending on when you read this, the videos mentioned above may or may not still be available. However, if they aren't, you can be sure they'll have been replaced with other excellent presentations.

Weekly Video Training Link

The reason I haven't linked to the videos directly is so that you'll always be able to use the link to access the current week's videos, no matter when you may be reading this post. Personally, I'd recommend bookmarking the IFA Training page as well, so you can quickly and easily access each set of new videos.

Video Release Schedule

Individual sets of training videos are available each Wednesday through Tuesday. So, be sure to watch by Tuesday at the latest so you won't miss any of these excellent opportunities to glean more freelancing wisdom from the experts at International Freelancers Academy: Pete Savage, Ed Gandia, and Steve Slaunwhite of The Wealthy Freelancer fame. I heartily recommend their videos, as well as their book. I refer to The Wealthy Freelancer often in my own freelancing work. It's a book that offers some great strategies for increasing one's freelancing income.

Hope these free IFA videos will be a boon to your freelance writing business!



Update: Though the videos mentioned in this post are no longer available, free ongoing weekly video training is now being offered on the International Freelancers Academy Training page. For more information about these video presentations, see my post, Get Ongoing Free Training through International Freelancers Academy. You may also want to keep up with the latest IFA happenings via the International Freelancers Day Facebook page. Enjoy!

Don't Miss Out!

If you're a freelance professional and you haven't yet viewed the International Freelancers Day videos, you still have a chance to catch these informative presentations. All 24 videos will remain available for free viewing on the International Freelancers Day website through October 31st. The foregoing link will let you access the first three videos without even having to register. Then, once you've had a chance to sample the content and see its value, you can decide whether you'd like to register for free access to the other 21 (highly recommended).

I can't stress enough how many professional strategies and resources you'll miss out on if you let this opportunity slip by. These presentations could easily have been offered as paid webinars, and yet all 24 are available free for your benefit. Most are quite comprehensive and include a wide variety of principles, strategies, and techniques you can use to make your solo business more successful. I know how busy the freelance life can be, but you owe it to yourself to make time for these 24 free presentations (or at least for the ones that interest you most). I'm sure you'll find them worthwhile.

To your success!

Have you watched any (or all) of the International Freelancers Day videos? What did you think of them? Any favorites? What are some of the benefits you feel you've received by viewing them? Is there anything you'd say to other freelancers who might be tempted to ignore them because they're so busy?

If you're one of those freelancers who feels you're too busy to watch, what are some creative ways you might fit these critical freelancing resources into your schedule?


Conference Videos Available Free Online

Watch First Three Without Registering

If you weren't able to attend the International Freelancers Day Conference online last weekend, I have great news for you: You can still view the high-quality conference video presentations online completely free through October 31st. By visiting the following link, you'll be able to view three of the videos without even having to register: IFD Introductory Videos.

The introductory videos include the following:

Facebook Marketing Success Secrets for Solo Professionals, presented by the Queen of Facebook, Mari Smith

How to Trigger The Big 5 Subsconscious Buy-Buttons Without Feeling Like A Slick Idiot, presented by Jonathan Fields

How To Build Your Business By Creating Your Own Smarter, Faster, Cheaper Web TV Show, presented by David Siteman Garland

Register Free to Access All 24 Presentations

These three videos are but a small taste of the 24 incredibly informative sessions presented during the two-day conference, and once you've seen them, I'm sure you'll want to check out the other 21.You will, in fact, be able to view the rest (and even watch the first three again if you'd like) completely free by simply completing your free registration on the International Freelancers Day website where you watched the first three.

To give you an idea of the wealth of information in store in the other videos, the titles of all remaining videos are posted to the page on which you view the first three. You're sure to find many intriguing topics on that list, so why not stop by the site at the above link and take a look at it. I'm sure that once you read those titles, you'll realize how much value they can potentially add to your freelance business.

Videos Available Free for a Limited Time

Since these videos will only be available through October, and there are 24 of them, each containing a ton of valuable information, I'd like to encourage you not to wait too long to take advantage of the opportunity to access them. If you're serious about freelancing, you'll probably want to take notes as you watch -- particularly since you won't be able to refer back to them after the end of October. You may even decide to watch some of them more than once while you can. Each of these videos presents helpful strategies for freelance success, as well as links to numerous resources that can help make life easier for you as you run your freelance business.

If, like me, you realize you need all the help you can get to succeed as a freelancer, hurry over to the International Freelancers Day website, via the link in the first paragraph of this post, and take advantage of this great opportunity to learn all about freelancing from the experts -- completely free of charge.

It's a deal that's tough to beat!

To your freelance success,


This Freelancing Conference Is Excellent!

If you attended Day One of the First Annual International Freelancers Day Conference, you know how incredibly informative the sessions were. If you didn't (and you are a freelancer), you have no idea how much valuable information you missed. But, fear not! You still have time to sign up for tomorrow's sessions, and your registration will give you access to all conference videos after the conference ends. In practical terms, that means that even if you were to sign up and not view even one video on either day of the conference, it would still be well worth your while, since you'd be able to view them all later, at your convenience. It doesn't get much better than that.

Sign Up for Free Access Both During and After the Conference

Personally, I missed the first four videos, but I'm not worried since I can expect an e-mail from IFD sometime during the next week or so, which will provide a link (or links) to all the conference videos. At that point, not only will I be able to watch the videos I missed (which is great, because I'll be tuning in late tomorrow, as well), but I'll have the option of going back and reviewing those I did watch, refreshing my memory on all the fantastic hints, tips, and techniques they contain and filling in the blanks in my conference notes.

This Conference Will Both Motivate and Equip You to Succeed

Aside from all the great advice from freelancers who have "been there," this amazing collection of videos contains so many helpful resources, most of which are free -- and these alone are more than worth the time you spend viewing the sessions.

These excellent sessions challenge the freelancer to set more energetic goals, providing a vision of what success might look like and a road map for actually reaching it. I highly recommend that if you haven't yet, you avail yourself of this completely free body of freelancing wisdom. It will motivate you to make your own freelancing business more successful and provide many of the tools you need to do just that.

Just One Day Left: Make it Count for Your Career!

Don't miss out! Visit the official International Freelancers Day website and sign up for free access to all 24 informative freelancing videos. I haven't the slightest doubt that you'll be glad you did! In fact, if you'd like to see how enthusiastic other freelancers are about the conference, visit the International Freelancers Day Facebook page and read the comments of those who attended.

To your freelancing success!


It's International Freelancers Day!

September 24th 2010 07:22

Free Online Conference for Freelancers this Weekend

September 24th is International Freelancers Day, and The Wealthy Freelancer is hosting a free two-day web conference this Friday and Saturday. For information on how to register, visit the International Freelancers Day website.

The conference, billed as "The Biggest Ever Free Online Conference Exclusively for Solo Professionals," will feature video sessions by 25 freelancing experts over the two-day period. Sessions start at 9:00 am U.S. Eastern Time (GMT minus five hours) on each of the two days (Friday, September 24th and Saturday, September 25th). To find out what's covered in each of the 24 sessions, visit the International Freelancers Day Sessions Page.

It's important to note that, during the conference, sessions will not be viewable on demand. Each session starts promptly at the scheduled time, and those who tune in late will miss part of the session. Videos will, however, be available to registered participants for on-demand viewing after the conference ends -- one reason you'll want to sign up even if you'll have to miss some -- or all -- of the sessions.

Hurry over to the International Freelancers Day site, and see what the excitement is all about! Then, sign up and join in on this exciting opportunity to learn the tricks and techniques of the experts, which can help make you a better freelancer.

See you at International Freelancers Day!



9 Writing Markets That Accept Reprints

September 29th 2009 20:02

I recently wrote a post about increasing your writing income by selling reprints. To help you get started doing that, I'd like to point you to a few of the many publications that accept previously published work. You'll find many more on such websites as Duotrope's Digest (which is where I found these).

Some Points to Consider Before Submitting Your Work

Compensation varies with each of these markets from "token" to "semi-pro" payments (to use Duotrope's payment categories). Most of these publishers provide sample issues that can be read online. I highly recommend that you study these to get an idea of the style and tone of each publication. That way, you won't waste your time—and theirs—sending work that doesn't fit the market.

Some of these publications follow specified themes for each issue, and others are open to various topics. Some have limits on how many stories, poems, etc., you may submit at one time. Most have specific formatting and/or submission requirements you'll need to follow when offering your work to them for publication. At least one refuses to open attachments, while another requires them. That's why it's so important to check each publication's submission guidelines carefully. Otherwise you might be out of the running before you even leave the starting gate.

The Reprint Markets

Note: Where a separate link to the market's guidelines has been provided below, I've done so because a Submissions link was not immediately apparent on the site's home page. All the remaining sites' Submissions links are prominently displayed on the pages linked to below. (At least they were at the time this post was published.)

The Houston Literary Review
This market accepts poetry, prose, and visual arts. It doesn't appear to offer payment, other than "an editor's choice award of $100 (which) will be paid to the poet whose published poem is selected as the best for that quarter." The site also states that "(a) similar award will be given to visual artists as well (pending quarterly budget requirements)."

This publication "focuses on works of flash fiction, flash nonfiction (memoirs, essays, creative nonfiction, humor) and short poetry."

Joyful! (Submissions page)
This is a market for "new AND experienced storytellers, poets, artists and photographers."

The Shine Journal
Described as "a home for some of the best, most exceptional flash fiction, non-fiction, poetry, art and photography in the world!"

THEMA Literary Journal
Accepts "short stories, essays, poems, and art."

GlassFire Magazine
This "non-genre literary e-magazine, is looking for fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry."

Ancient Paths (online and print magazine)
This publication seeks "poetry, prose, or art" with Christian or "universal religious" themes.

Fear and Trembling: Stories from the Shadowscape
This market is open to "Christian-friendly horror" fiction and poetry.

Crime and Suspense Magazine *
This publication is "interested in nearly any sort of crime and suspense fiction. Mystery, detective, noir, horror, action/adventure, and thrillers are all acceptable." They also "consider both short and feature-length films for online distribution."

Best of luck selling your reprints!

* Note: There's some question whether this market actually accepts reprints. At Duotrope's Digest, they have checked the "Reprints OK" box in their listing, but their submission guidelines seem to indicate a strong desire for first rights. Perhaps this is a new development, since their site has recently undergone reconstruction. You may either want to seek clarification from this publisher before submitting reprints or simply submit new material instead.

Know any other great reprint markets? We'd love it if you'd share them!


Blogging Friends Help Keep Us Informed!

Thanks to my blogging friend, Lillie Ammann, I learned just this morning that today is World Alzheimer's Day. (I can always count on Lillie to post about the less-widely publicized days that are worthy of note. Thanks, Lillie!) To read Lillie's post, follow this link: World Alzheimer's Day: Wear Purple.

Alzheimer's: A Widespread Problem That Hits Close to Home

Over five million people in America alone currently live with Alzheimer's. Many of my Writer's Notes readers know that my mom was one of them until this devastating illness took her life on May 17, 2009. That was an extremely difficult period in my life, which makes this a cause that's close to my heart. That's one reason I want to do all I can to help raise awareness about Alzheimer's.

The Alzheimer's Association: A Lifeline to Patients and Their Families

Another reason I feel pulled to publicize World Alzheimer's Day is to draw attention to the Alzheimer's Association and the wonderful job it's doing to help support Alzheimer's patients and their families. I've personally experienced that support, through my own local chapter, and I can't stress strongly enough what a godsend it was to have that lifeline to hang onto as I plunged deeper and deeper into a world I didn't understand and didn't possess the skills to cope with effectively. I didn't even avail myself of all the services the Association offers; yet, I found its support invaluable.

Bloggers: Join the Cause by Spreading the Word

If you have a website or blog—or even if you only have a Facebook or other social media account—and you'd like to help spread the word about Alzheimer's, visit this webpage and choose one of several widgets to display on your site and/or profile. (While the animation doesn't work on Facebook, the logo will still display, though it will only show one side rather than switching back and forth between the front and back.)

If you have a Facebook account, you can also show your support by becoming a fan of the Alzheimer's Association on Facebook.

How You Can Learn More

To learn more about Alzheimer's, visit the Alzheimer's Association's blog or read and/or download a copy of the 2009 World Alzheimer's Report.

Many people are wearing purple today to commemorate the Alzheimer's cause. Whether or not you choose to do that, you can still get the word out about Alzheimer's!

Thanks for reading!


An affordable Source of Writing-Related Materials

I came across an interesting website recently and thought I'd share it with you--though I should preface this post with the disclaimer that it will only apply to my U.S. readers. (My apologies to the rest of you! The site is planning to expand into the international arena in the future but as of this writing it hasn't reached that point.) The site, called swaptree, while not directly related to writing, could prove really handy as a potential source of writing resources (books, videos, etc.). The best thing about the site is that it doesn't require a ton of cash to get the informational or inspirational resources you need to keep yourself growing as a writer. The only money involved in any transaction made on this site is the cost of shipping the item(s) you trade with others. It's a pretty revolutionary idea, really. But, I'm getting slightly ahead of myself.

What Exactly Is Swaptree?

Swaptree is a website where you can trade books (on a wide range of topics), CDs, DVDs, and video games for other items you want or need with absolutely no fees for listing items or making trades. Such an arrangement can obviously be a real boon to the writer whose budget is tight but who has unwanted items to trade. And, when you think about it, there's a double benefit to acquiring your writing resources this way: not only can you choose the precise items you need or want from among the many thousands of items others are offering in trade, but you can also de-clutter your home or office at the same time by getting rid of the materials you no longer want or need. It's really the perfect arrangement!

How Does Swaptree Work?

Swaptree allows you--and every other registered user (and registration is free)--to set up two lists: a list of items you have and would be willing to trade and another list of items you want. All you do is enter the UPC code or ISBN number of each item you have to trade, which creates your "have" list. You then peruse the site to find items you'd like to own that have been posted by others and add these to your "want" list. The site's software then compares your data with that of all other users of the site and generates a list of potential trades. You can then determine which trade(s) to pursue further. For more complete information about the finer points, logistics, and safeguards that swaptree has instituted, visit swaptree's how does this work? page. (You'll find a link to their FAQ page there, as well.)

Swaptree is the ultimate way to "recycle" your no-longer-needed materials and end up with a whole collection of new-to-you items that could just prove valuable to your career and/or otherwise enhance your life!

Hope you'll find this site helpful!

What are your thoughts on a site such as this? How needful/helpful would you consider such a service to be? Does it surprise you to hear that this service is completely free? Why, or why not?


Do You Have a Book Inside You Struggling to Get Out?

If you've envisioned the perfect plot for a blockbuster novel or have a fantastic idea for the next non-fiction best-seller, yet have found it difficult to motivate yourself to get started or stick with it for very long, you may just find the inspiration you need by writing your book with novelist Holly Lisle.

Let Holly Help You Get Your Book Written!

Holly Lisle, an experienced author with over 30 books to her credit, who offers various courses in fiction writing at her website,, has brainstormed a fabulous idea for helping her fellow writers find the initiative to get their books written. She calls it Write a Book With Me.

A Group Writing Plan That's a Little Different

Perhaps you've participated in other community writing efforts, starting out enthusiastically enough but losing steam partway through because the high daily word-counts were difficult to maintain. You may have fallen behind and catching up simply required too much effort. If so, I have good news for you: You won't have that problem with this absolutely pressure-free group writing plan. Holly has made it almost ridiculously easy for any writer to participate and stick with the program by requiring (and I use the term loosely) a minimum of only 250 words per day, five days a week, and by not requiring that missed days' word-counts be made up later. What more could a writer ask?

A Program That's Not Just Fun but Guilt-Free

Holly also gives the reticent writer a convenient "out." Should you try her writing plan and decide it isn't for you, you simply quit—without recriminations. Here's the way Holly explains it in her "official" rules:

You acknowledge that all this has to be is fun—it isn’t work, a competition, or a form of self-flagellation—and if knocking out your words at this pace stops being fun, you walk away with no guilt.

Well, that certainly is refreshing, isn't it? Writing without guilt—and having fun doing it! I hope you'll pardon the pun when I say, "What a novel idea!"

You'll Enjoy the Flexibility of Holly's Plan

As you can see from the points mentioned above, flexibility is the hallmark of Holly's cooperative writing plan. In fact, the most important "plus" that I see in it (aside from actually getting your book written) is that, no matter what you do, you absolutely can't fail. And, in our often stress-burdened lives, there's certainly a great deal to be said for that! (You can also join this group writing plan regardless of your book's current stage of completion--another obvious indicator of its flexibility.)

So, what are you waiting for? Check out Holly's "requirements" for participation and then get started. Now's as good a time as any—and probably better now that this super-flexible plan has been developed—to get your book written!

Holly's plan may be just what you need to free your Muse and get your creativity flowing.

Happy writing! (And I do mean happy!)

Do you have a book "in you"—one that you've always dreamed of writing but never gotten around to? Or, have you started your book, only to lose your enthusiasm part-way through? Perhaps you've joined other cooperative writing programs that were more of a challenge than you were prepared to undertake and quit soon after. I'd just love it if you'd share your experiences with us. What were the positives and negatives of the programs you've been involved with? What do you look for in such programs? Or are you a lone-wolf writer? If writing alone is your preferred modus operandi, what don't you like about writing along with others?


A picture may be worth a thousand words, but it isn't worth a thousand frustrations!

The Ups and Downs of Images

Free Pictures | Need images to liven up your blog posts? Want a few photos to enhance your website's design? Most of us know that relevant images can attract attention--and readers--to our blogs. Yet, we don't use them nearly as often as we should, simply because it seems too much trouble to search for them, download, save, sometimes resize, and (finally!) upload them. If we were honest, many of us would have to admit that looking for just the right image to illustrate our ideas and then handling the myriad related details is far from our favorite pastime and definitely the least enjoyable part of writing/blogging.

So, where do you go when it's time to illustrate your web copy with colorful visuals--that is, when you can psych yourself up for the ordeal? (Of course, if you happen to be a photographer and can illustrate your work with photos you take yourself, you are exempt from this question--though I'm sure that, at times, the image you need won't be one you have among your own photographic collection.) If, for whatever reason, you're tired of using the same old photo sites--or Googling and finally finding a new one only to discover that it charges for its "free" images--or if downloading and saving a multitude of photos to your hard drive before uploading them to your blog has lost its luster, try

Acobox is a Little Different

While Acobox organizes its photos according to the usual system of categories (and sub-categories) and allows you to search for images via keywords, as most other photo sites do, it does offer one significant difference: It allows you to upload your images directly to your blog, eliminating the intermediate step of downloading and saving them to your hard drive first. This saves you time, trouble, frustration, and--no less importantly--disc space.

Acobox also gives you the option of choosing from four image sizes, so it's never necessary to edit and change the image size yourself. This is a service Acobox provides for you automatically when the image is uploaded to your site. (In fact, most images aren't even available for download but may only be uploaded directly to your website or blog. They must also be hotlinked, meaning that they must have a link to Acobox embedded in the image--though Acobox takes care of this for you by including the link in the code it provides when you upload your photo to your site.)

Try It for Yourself and See What You Think

To access Acobox's free images, you'll need to register for the site. (Registration is free.) You'll also need to list all the blogs for which you intend to use the free image upload service. (Be sure to keep this list up-to-date to continue to enjoy the privilege of uploading free images directly to all your sites.)

Acobox makes using images on your website or blog faster, easier, and more convenient. So, why not peruse the site at your leisure and see what it has to offer. Browse its image library and see if you don't find something that will be just right for your next post--or something that might even inspire your next post.

Check it out, sign up, try it, and let me know what you think!

Happy "imaging"!

Note: To access, please click the hotlinked image in this post.


A Fascinating Collection of Quotations to Guide and Inspire the Writer

The following quotations come from a great collection I came across on a website you'll definitely want to check out. It's called Choice Quotations: Timeless words that challenge, motivate and inspire The site currently contains eight pages of these motivational gems. The ones I've reproduced below seem to me particularly pertinent to creatively thoughtful individuals such as writers.

So, read, absorb, and enjoy these wise words which can help you make the most of your writing talent.

The Quotations

A winner is someone who recognizes his God-given talents, works his tail off to develop them into skills and uses these skills to accomplish his goals.

- Larry Bird

Amateurs wait for inspiration. The rest of us just get up and go to work.

- Chuck Close

Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.

- Pablo Picasso

Be silent or let thy words be worth more than silence.

- Pythagoras

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.

- Scott Adams

Creativity is more than just being different. Anybody can play weird--that's easy. What's hard is to be as simple as Bach. Making the simple complicated is commonplace--making the complicated simple, awesomely simple--that's creativity.

- Charles Mingus

Discipline is the refining fire by which talent becomes ability.

- Unknown

Do not let what you can't do interfere with what you can do.

- John Wooden

Do not wait; the time will never be "just right". Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.

- Napoleon Hill

Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.

- Harold Whitman

Don't let making a living interfere with making a life.

- John Wooden

Don't use words too big for the subject. Don't say "infinitely" when you mean "very"; otherwise you'll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.

- C. S. Lewis

Faith doesn't mean the absence of fear. It means having the energy to go ahead, right alongside the fear.

- Sharon Salzberg

Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark.

- Rabindranath Tagore

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Handling criticism: if it's untrue, disregard it. If it's unfair, keep from irritation. If it's ignorant, smile. If it's justified, learn from it.

- Unknown

Use what talents you possess. The woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.

- Henry van Dyke

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

- Mark Twain

Hopefully these quotations have inspired you to use your talents to shoot for the stars!

To your success!

Did you enjoy this post? Which of the above quotes have particularly inspired you and why? Do you have any favorite quotes you'd like to share which have helped you achieve greater success or carried you through particularly difficult or dry creative periods?

Please note: If the StumbleUpon and other social bookmarking buttons aren't visible, please click the "Add Comments" link beneath this post. Thanks!


I've Finally Made the Leap to LinkedIn!

I've recently joined LinkedIn, the popular website where entrepreneurs and employees of virtually every type of business can connect with one another to further their business objectives. Perhaps you're already a member. I myself have been a little late acquiring a LinkedIn account, and I'm only just beginning to catch up with many of my fellow entrepreneurs and other businesspeople who've been using the service to highlight their products and services for some time. After being invited to join by two different businesspeople I know, I finally decided to sign up and see what it was all about.

LinkedIn Networking

We always hear that networking is the best way to make valuable contacts in the business world that can pay off either in the present or somewhere down the line. Yet, we don't always take this very seriously. Perhaps we feel that extensive networking is simply too much trouble, too complicated. Yet, the Internet--and, in particular, LinkedIn--makes networking with businesspeople from across town, across the country, or across the planet an absolute breeze.

LinkedIn Profiles and Recommendations

Once you've set up your LinkedIn profile, which includes much of the information you might put on a resume--and more--you may go on to connect with business people with whom you now have or have in the past had working relationships. You'll have the opportunity to write recommendations for those present or former business associates, colleagues, or fellow employees that you think highly of--and, if they are so inclined, they may do the same for you, which can greatly increase your credibility and influence in your niche or genre.

There are so many bloggers and others that I highly respect and whom I'm looking forward to recommending at LinkedIn that it will likely take me some time to get all my recommendations written--but I'll manage it eventually! You'll likely have many trusted associates you'll want to recommend, as well. But, if you take it one step at a time, everything will go fine. You'll get there eventually, just as I will.

Expanding Your LinkedIn Network

You'll be able to invite your business associates and friends to join your LinkedIn network and, through them, you'll also enjoy the possibility of being introduced to their connections--thus expanding your reach on LinkedIn still further by forging new business relationships, adding your new colleagues to your network, and joining theirs.

There's Much to Discover at LinkedIn

There's much more to LinkedIn than I've covered in this post--so much, in fact, that I'm still discovering a great deal about the site, myself. If you haven't visited LinkedIn yet, check it out. Visit my LinkedIn profile if you'd like, and then do a bit of exploring. There's a lot going on at LinkedIn, and wandering around the site a bit will give you a better idea of its many features.

Get Linked at LinkedIn

Who knows, once you've discovered all that LinkedIn has to offer you and your writing business, you may just wish you'd joined sooner. If you do decide to join, be sure to drop by my page and invite me to join your network. I'd be happy to connect with you on LinkedIn!

Hope to see you there!

Did you enjoy this post? Have anything to add? Have you joined LinkedIn? If so, what do you think of it? Have you been a member long? Perhaps you're totally new to LinkedIn, as I am. If you've visited the site, what are your thoughts about it? Do you think you'll join? What do you feel LinkedIn has to offer its members? Why do you think it's so popular? I'd love to hear your thoughts!


The Lowdown Right from the Lizard's* Mouth!

Joel Ratner, Director of, has graciously responded to several somewhat skeptical comments left on my recent post: "That First Line" Contest Offers $500 Prize for One Line! In his comment, Joel addresses a few issues raised by some Writer's Notes readers. I've decided to reproduce his fairly lengthy comment in this post to be certain that everyone who's read the earlier post and either entertained or expressed doubts about the Zirdland website and its writing contests will see his remarks and benefit from hearing the other side of the story.

The Inside Scoop from the Top Man at Zirdland

The following is what Joel had to say about his site:

Hi Jeanne -

Thanks for writing so many wonderful things about our web site. It's been a long development process. But we want to make sure we get this right. For too long, writers have been left in the dark wondering how to get published. Publishers are similarly in the dark about where the "truly" great works can be found. They rely on third-parties to evaluate and recommend. Seems to us (as writers) a tragic failed business model.

So, maybe we're crazy for trying to change things, but somebody needs to do something - the same old stuff keeps getting published - and I can tell you from what we've seen in both the first-line contest and the new novel competition, that there are some incredibly talented people with very meaningful works out there. Even more tragic are some of the tales of their querying experiences.

The Arc Angel is something we've worked on for 4 years now, and when deployed, we hope it can bridge the gap - helping writers structure their plots and characters for maximum reader satisfaction, and helping the publishers wade through their slush-piles in a more organized way. While it can't "read" like a human - or interpret the social significance of a work, it can accurately detect emotional development, dramatic ebb and flow and chart-out the arc structure for each character and for combinations of characters.

The actual user-interface you will eventually see on the site will be very intuitive, graphical, and integrated with a text editor so a writer can work in the desktop environment and have the Arc Angel analyze the edits on the fly.

Our writers focus groups have given us valuable feedback and even some of the die-hard skeptics remained well afterwards to get more hands-on with the Arc Angel - addicted, as we are.

The novel competition is our beta test - giving the Arc Angel and the processing engines a work-out with real submissions. While we've taken reasonable precautions to protect the entries, writers should always copyright their works. No rights are lost by entering - we only expect to test the system. Eventually, each entrant will receive the analysis output of their entry. And of course, one exceptional writer will also get $1,000.

No entry fee this time around. The first-line contest was an effort to raise money for our literacy partners (Firstbook and National Center for Family Literacy) while providing a fun opportunity for writers. We love competitions and feel it sparks creativity. I think Zirdland will always have some sort of contest least we'll try.

Hope that helps. I'm excited to see so much discussion about our project and we'd welcome any suggestions or insights your readers may have.

Thanks again for great coverage of the adventure!

Joel Ratner, Director, LLC

Permission to Quote Graciously Granted

In response to my request for permission to turn his comment into a blog post, Joel later posted this friendly follow-up comment:

Hi Jeanne -

No problem at all in distributing my comments. Yes, I did see your later post. Again, thanks for sharing your thoughts and comments about Zirdland. I'm glad to get some opposing viewpoints from all the responses to your post - it helps us understand what areas we need to focus on as we develop this site.

It's been a lot of fun and we've received so many well-wishes.

Let me know if you or your readers have any additional questions, comments or concerns. I'll do my best to answer them.

Any Questions or Comments for Joel About His Site?

There you have it--right from the source. If you still have questions, concerns, thoughts, or opinions about Zirdland, its contests, or its Arc Angel Story Analysis Tool that you'd like to share, Joel would be more than happy to listen and respond to any issues you may have.

Thanks to All!

Thanks so much, Joel, for your willingness to entertain our comments, answer our questions, and assuage our concerns!

And thank-you, Writer's Notes readers for your thoughtful comments left in response to my earlier post! Thanks, too, for any feedback you may decide to give Joel in response to his gracious offer to clarify his site's plans, goals, philosophy, policies, and practices!

To your writing future!

* The Zirdland trademark/mascot is a bright green lizard, appropriately called a zird.

Did you enjoy this post? Have any questions for Joel about his site, his software, or his contests? Any suggestions for ways his site could better serve you as a writer? Any concerns that haven't been addressed either on the site or in his comments? Both he and I would love to hear your thoughts!

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The End of an Era

After three years of reviewing the most imaginative fictional first lines its contestants could dream up--and paying a hefty $500 prize for the one they liked best--the folks at Zirdland have decided to call it quits on their semi-annual ThatFirstLine competition. The latest contest deadline was September 1st, and the winning entry is slated to be announced on September 30th; so stay tuned for the results of the final edition of Zirdland's popular creative competition.

Zirdland's Novel Competition Still Active

There's still time to enter Zirdland's novel competition, though, which offers an even more-substantial $1,000 prize to the top contender. So, if you've got an unpublished or self-published novel lying around gathering dust, consider entering this contest. As Zirdland puts it, "On 10/10/08, you could be $1,000 richer!" There's no entry fee, and you can simply upload your novel to the website. (Your novel will not be visible to the public.) For further information, visit the Zirdland website, or see my first post about the site and its contests: "That First Line" Contest Offers $500 Prize for One Line.

Screenplay Competition and eQuery Service Also in the Works

Zirdland is also gearing up to host a screenplay competition, which will also offer a $1,000 prize. (See the Zirdland Event Schedule page for projected dates of this contest and other planned events.)

In addition, the website plans to begin offering an eQuery service in the near future, which it will provide free of charge and which will make it easier for writers to submit their work to various publishers, producers, agents, etc., by automating the submission process. Stay tuned for further information on these future Zirdland offerings.

Arc Angel Analysis Tool Soon to Be Offered Online

Check out the Zirdland website to find out more about all the fascinating offerings it has planned for writers in the very near future. You'll want to look into its Arc Angel Analysis Tool. Not only will Arc Angel be used to judge the novel competition, but the site also plans to make the tool available online as of November 1st for writers to use in evaluating and improving their own work. All Zirdland members will have access to the tool, and membership is free. (All entrants to the novel competition will automatically become members, and membership will also be offered to other writers soon.)

Some of the questions you may have about the site and its offerings are addressed on the Zirdland FAQ page.

To your success!

Did you enjoy this post? Are you planning to enter the Zirdland novel competition? Or perhaps you're more inclined to submit a screenplay to their next contest. Maybe both? Did you enter your creative masterpiece into their ThatFirstLine competition, which is being judged "as we speak"? What do you think of the unique and varied offerings this unusual website provides?

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Blogging Job Sites

August 31st 2008 03:21

A Variety of Blogging Job Resources

Here's the list of blogging job sites I promised in my last post: Blogging Gigs: Are They For You? Some of these sites are job boards or forums which focus on blogging gigs, others are blog networks that offer varying amounts of compensation for posts and/or blogs, and one is actually a virtual agency that finds business blogging gigs for subscribers.

Blogging Job Boards

ProBlogger Job Board


Performancing Blogger Job Board


Blogging Job Forums

Blogging Tips' Looking to Hire Room

AuthorityBlogger’s Want, Need, and Offer Forum

BlogHer (Women’s Blogging--and Writing--Opps)

Blog Networks




Weblogs, Inc.

Blogging Job Agency

Onward Search Blogging Jobs (Business Blogging Jobs)

Other Sources of Blogging Gigs

Blogging gigs are also regularly featured, along with other types of literary jobs, on the writing (and other) job boards linked to in my two recent posts: Job Listing Sites for Writers and Most Popular Writing Job Sites. If you know of other websites that focus on blogging gigs--or offer a considerable number of them--I hope you'll consider sharing the links with us in comments. I'm sure all your fellow bloggers will thank you!

Happy hunting!


Did you enjoy this post? Have any great blogging job resources to share? Any tips that have worked for you in landing--or keeping--blogging gigs? Any cautions that others seeking such gigs should be aware of? We'd be honored to receive the benefit of your experience!

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Win $500 for Writing One Line! is offering a $500 prize to the entrant who writes the best opening line for its twice-yearly That First Line writing contest. Deadline for the Spring/Summer contest is September 1st, so get creative and submit your best opening line before that date. The winning line from the last contest has been posted on the contest's submission page to give you an idea of the kind of writing Zirdland judges appreciate most. In fact, a number of winning lines from past contests can be found on the ZirdNEWS page.

Novel Competition Also Features a Generous Prize

Zirdland is also hosting a Novel Competition, which features a $1,000 prize. There's no entry fee for uploading/submitting your unpublished or self-published novel (plain text only), and the deadline for submissions is October 10th. So, if you've got a completed (or nearly completed) novel languishing on your hard drive, now's the time to pull it up, do a bit of editing, and place yourself in the running for this generous prize. (Your novel will not be posted to the website; its contents will remain private.)

New Arc Angel Story Analysis Tool Will Judge Entries

Zirdland has recently unveiled its Arc Angel Story Analysis Tool, currently in Beta testing, which will be used to judge entries in the Novel Competition. This marvel of modern software technology, according to Zirdland, "analyzes the sub-text of a literary work," detecting both rhetorical and plot strengths and weaknesses. The program "combines average rhetorical intensity...with (a) drama rating, and other metrics, to provide an overall story satisfaction rating," which is used to rank stories for both the site's contests and its eQuery service. (While many question whether a software program can truly assess a story's literary quality as well as a human judge, it's a fascinating concept and one that will certainly be interesting to watch.)

Free eQuery Service and Job Listings Also Offered by Zirdland

Zirdland also offers a free eQuery service for submitting your work via its automated system to publishers, agents, producers, etc. Its software will apparently generate your proposals, as well. (Is there anything this software can't do?) You'll find further information on the website. The site also offers a list of writing gigs, though at this point at least, the number of opportunities appears to be extremely limited.

You'll definitely want to check out if fiction is your forte. This is one fascinating website with many uniquely interesting offerings!

Enjoy your visit!

Did you enjoy this post? Have anything to add? What do you think of Zirdland's offerings? Do you believe a software program can really assess the literary merit of a written work? Why or why not?

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Most Popular Writing Job Sites

August 18th 2008 17:41

Staple Sites Most Writers Visit for Job Leads

Earlier today, in my post, Job Listing Sites for Writers, I offered a few of the less-widely known websites that list writing jobs, assuming that most of you already know about the sites that are the mainstay of the freelance writing community. However, on considering it further, I realized that many writers--particularly those new to the craft (or new to the profession)--may not be aware of all these goldmines of paid writing opportunities. So I've decided to provide links to the sites most writers visit first when seeking writing jobs.

Four Favorite Freelance Job Sites

Freelance Writing Jobs at About Freelance Writing

Freelance Writing Jobs, Deb Ng

Writer’s Resource Center (Poewar) Writing Jobs

WritersWeekly Paying Markets and Jobs

A Super-Simple Job-Search Strategy

You can, in fact, check all four of the above sites with a minimum of hassle by visiting About Freelance Writing's job page first, since it provides links to all three of the other sites. This is the way I generally do it for the most convenient and productive job-search session. You can, of course, bookmark each of the above sites individually (along with those listed in my previous post)--which might be a good idea in case you should ever want to divide your job-hunting into more than one session. That way, you'd be able to go directly to the individual site you want to check at the time. About Freelance Writing has made it super-easy for you, though; so, in most cases, that's the only one of the four sites you'll need to visit via your bookmarks.

Many of the jobs listed on the above sites will, of course, be duplicates, since nearly all are gleaned from the same major job boards, such as Craigslist. The only exception here is Writer's Resource Center. (More on this below.) Such duplicate postings are generally fairly easy to spot, though; and I do recommend checking all these sites, anyway, if you have the time, because you'll always find at least a few jobs that are "exclusive" to one site or the other.

Writer's Resource Center: A Great Place for Technical Writing Jobs

The jobs at Writer's Resource Center come from, which collects them from virtually everywhere. The technical writer, in particular, will find a wealth of job leads at WRC, though many other writing-related jobs are represented there, as well.

Other Popular Job-Listing Sites

In addition to those above, several other sites are widely used by freelancers and other writing professionals to find gigs. A few follow:

Online Writing Jobs

Media Bistro

Freelance Writing: A Comprehensive Job-Search Site

Another site--one which provides links to jobs from each of the major job boards/bidding sites separately--serves as a convenient hub for a wide variety of writing job sites:

Freelance Writing.

For those who prefer to check each listing service individually, this site would be the way to go. Most other sites combine jobs from all the major job boards into a single listing, whereas Freelance Writing divides these listings into separate sections, such as Craigslist, oDesk, Online Writing Jobs, etc. It also provides a helpful Magazine Guidelines Database.

Job-Search Sites Offer Multi-Talented Writers A Variety of Opportunities

The above website links, along with those provided in my previous post, should arm you well for the task of finding suitable writing jobs, regardless of your writing specialty. If you also happen to have editing, proofreading, or other similar experience, you'll find ample work on these sites, as well. For those who have additional, non-writing/publishing skills, such as art, graphic- or web-design, computer programming, sales, transcription, or virtual clerical skills, the above sites have numerous job leads to offer you, also (as do the sites mentioned in my Job Listing Sites for Writers post.)

So, what are you waiting for? Instead of pounding the pavement for job leads, as you may have had to in the past, you can now enjoy the unprecedented privilege of simply pounding your keyboard and opening a whole world of career possibilities. And the variety of available opportunities is "virtually" endless! So, why not take advantage of it?

Happy--and fruitful--job-hunting!

Did you enjoy this post? Have any job-search insights or resources to share? We'd love to hear your advice, experiences, ideas, or opinions!

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Job Listing Sites for Writers

August 18th 2008 01:08

Websites that List Writing Gigs

In my internet travels, I've run across various writing job sites (or sites that also list writing jobs), other than the more commonly used ones, and thought I'd share them. You've likely heard of some (or most); but there may just be a few here that you haven't seen before. Hopefully, they'll help make it a little easier for you to find your next paid writing gig!

Less-Common Writing Job Sites
You'll need to register for this site, so I'll provide a direct link to the jobs page in case you'd like to check it out first. The site lists all kinds of jobs, but provides a search option to narrow your search.
This site lists all types of telecommute jobs. There's a one-time charge for joining--one which seems a bit steep to me for simply enjoying the privilege of perusing job ads--but it's definitely worth browsing their job listings, anyway, because often you'll find website or other contact info for clients in their ads.
This site provides a "Search Jobs" capability. From what I can see, it doesn't appear to provide an option for browsing job listings without performing a search first.
This site offers listings for all types of tech jobs, so you'll need to search specifically for writing jobs, which will bring up a variety of technical writing opportunities. It is, however, also a fantastic site for those who have additional technological skills (beyond technical writing) and might be interested in moonlighting--or even specializing--in "hands-on" tech work.

Sunoasis Jobs
This site focuses on writing and writing-related jobs, such as editing, proofreading, etc.

Best of luck finding your next gig!

Did you enjoy this post? Have anything to add? Any questions? I'd certainly love to hear your thoughts--and maybe even your own job leads, if you wouldn't mind sharing them!

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