The Adventures of a Freelance Writer and Editor

Archive for May, 2011

Wedding News

I am a huge Rules of Engagement fan, so I was super excited to write about actress, Shedding for the Wedding hostess, and Jenny Craig spokeswoman Sara Rue, who recently got married. After losing 50-lb, she looked stunning in wedding gown. To check out my full post on Sara Rue, visit A Garden Party Florist.

Today my first wedding post on the Music by Design blog was posted. It is an article about alternative wedding bouquets, inspired by the lovely country star Miranda Lambert. Click here to check it out.

I’d love to hear your feedback on my wedding posts. Thanks!

Happy Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day everyone! It is a beautiful day (feels like summer). I’m getting ready for a BBQ with friends and family (it doesn’t get much better than that), but I wanted to take a moment to update everyone on my current and upcoming projects. Since it is a holiday, I’ll keep it short and sweet. Here we go:

*This week on A Garden Party Florist I wrote about Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton’s recent wedding and offered some wedding ideas inspired by the country couple. Click here to check it out. Stay tuned for my next post about Sara Rue’s wedding.

*I started blogging for a Hampton Chef Society. This week, I wrote “Do You Know Where Your Blueberries and Cranberries Come From?” Keep an eye out for my next article, “Why You Should Eat Blueberries and Cranberries.”

*I got hired as a wedding blogger for Music by Design, a wedding DJ located in Chicago. In the beginning of the week, I should have my first article posted.

*As usual, I worked on some grants for Cystic Fibrosis Worldwide (CFW) and Gloucester County Habitat for Humanity (GCHFH).

This upcoming week, I will be writing more articles for A Garden Party Florist, Hampton Chef Society, and Music by Design. I will also be working on grants for CFW and GCHFH. When I’m not writing, I’ll be looking for more projects (such as grant writing and copy editing), but for now, I am going to enjoy the holiday. Happy Memorial Day!

Each Mistake is A Lesson Learned

Well, I just got the results from my copy editing test:

“Your editing skills are good—certainly better than average.  You were able to
spot redundancies, clear up meanings by rearranging words and phrases, and
correct punctuation.  However, in these two pages of text you missed at least
five things…I regret that we cannot use your editing services at this time.”

Here is what I missed:

Leash was spelled Lease

Then was spelled Than

Quiet was spelled Quite

Changed of the worse said Changed for the worst

The couple left the same way they had come was written The couple left the same way they came

What I learned:

Editing tests make me nervous. Instead of picking up the obvious (like misspelled words), I was obsessing over commas and semi-colons. I know I have strong grammar skills. For instance, last summer, I took an English class with a teacher who took off two points for every grammatical error. One of the papers I wrote was error free. That is almost unheard of. I also know I have strong editing skills. I frequently circle mistakes in published newspapers, magazines, and books. During writing workshop classes, I find myself correcting grammar and style in addition to offering feedback on content and structure. However, I have learned that I need a little more practice. Luckily, I am taking several copy editing courses online, and I have a good selection of books, articles, and handouts to review. Next time, I’m going to try to stay calm so I don’t miss mistakes that I should have seen.

What I’ve Been Up To

Well, another week has passed, and another weekend is halfway over. Time really does fly by when you’re busy (and having a little fun). So here’s a recap of what I’ve been up to this week, and what I have planned for the upcoming week.

I posted juicy details about Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton’s wedding and engagement party on A Garden Party Florist. Next week, I will share more details about the wedding and offer ideas for your own wedding or event. Check out my recent posts and upcoming posts on A Garden Party Florist.

I published an article about the best margarita recipes. If you need a great drink idea for your upcoming Memorial Day party, be sure to check it out.

My article “7 ways to Improve Employee Satisfaction” was published on Inc.com. I wrote this article for an online writing course, so I was excited to find out that the teacher published it.

I volunteered at Gloucester County Habitat for Humanity. I am helping the executive director write and submit grant applications. We have three more applications we want to submit by the end of June, so it is going to be a busy month.

I also started researching grant opportunities for Cystic Fibrosis Worldwide. Each month, I write and submit grant applications on behalf of the organization. Starting in June, I should hear if any of our applications have been awarded. I am crossing my fingers that our hard work pays off.

I took a copy editing test for a publishing company. Hopefully, it will lead to some copy editing work in the near future.

I wrote an article for the Hampton Chef Society. Check an eye out for my upcoming food articles.

In addition to all of the writing I’ve been doing, I have been actively looking for other writing work by bidding on projects posted online, contacting potential clients, and querying editors. If you or anyone you know has a need for my services (grant writing, copy editing, copywriting, blog writing, etc), please contact me.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

A Good Writer is a Lifelong Learner

Courtesy of Google Images

When I was in college (and high school), I counted down the days to graduation. I hated school, but I love learning.

The structure of college and high school didn’t work for me. I hated the scheduling, which made it almost impossible to maintain a full-time job and a home. I hated the homework, which usually assumed you were a typical 18-year-old student who had no responsibilities outside of the classroom. Most of all, I hated the classes. Every semester, I would eagerly look forward to my courses, but by mid-semester, I was bored. The pace was too slow, and I felt like school was based on face-time rather than learning. Your grade depended on your physical presence.

Since graduation, I have enrolled in a few online courses through mediabistro.com. I crave information; I love to learn new skills, and I like to be challenged.

Mediabistro is different from traditional college because I can complete the work at my own pace on my own schedule. I control how much I learn not an attendance book.

Some people might think it is crazy to sign up for classes after I just finished college, but I see it as an investment. I am determined to be the best writer and editor I can be; that means I need to continue to learn and improve.

By the end of the summer, I will be a certified copywriter and a certified copy editor. Not only will this be priceless experience to add to my resume and portfolio, but I will feel more confident in my skills.

Everyone has the ability to learn. The key is to discover your personal learning style. I work best independently , and I typically require an accelerated pace. Other people need the traditional classroom setting, and that is okay. There is no right way to learn.

What is your learning style?

Patience is a Virtue

We have all heard the saying, “Patience is a virtue,” but what exactly is impatience? Personally, I think impatience is an excessive amount of determination. I want to finish a project now. I want to be successful now. I want to achieve my goals now. Even though I’m being impatient, I have good intentions.

The first part of this week, I convinced myself that my impatience is actually a positive quality called determination, but by the end of the week, I realized how detrimental this “quality” can be. I started the week determined to be productive and successful. I set goals of how many potential clients to contact and how much money I would like to make this month. By the middle of the week, I was not seeing the results I wanted. I wanted clients to give me projects now. I wanted to reach my goal  now. I wanted to feel like a full-time professional writer now.

Instead, I felt stressed, frustrated, and scared. The more impatient I got, the less motivation I had. Suddenly, I went from determined writer to doubtful writer. I feared I would never get enough work to be full-time. I feared that no one would hire because I am inexperienced. Worst of all, I feared that I would never be able to say “I am a full-time professional writer.”

I needed some motivation and quick, so I decided take a day off. In terms of achieving my goals, this sounds counterintuitive, but it was actually beneficial. 

Yesterday I spent the day substitute teaching in a second grade classroom instead of writing. I spent all day with kids instead of with my computer. After work, I took myself out to dinner and went shopping. I refused to let myself think about my writing career. At first I felt guilty. I should be contacting potential clients not reading stories with 2nd grades, but this morning, I woke up refreshed and optimistic.

I spent the morning contacting potential clients and working on a grant application. By this afternoon, I landed a new project with A Garden Party. Once again, I am motivated and excited about by writing career. I guess, all I needed was a little patience.

How do you stay motivated? What do you do when  you find yourself losing hope and becoming impatient?

Grant Writing 101

Since last month, I have been writing grants for Cystic Fibrosis Worldwide and Gloucester County Habitat for Humanity. During this time, I have learnt a lot about grant writing.

Here is the top 5 things I have learnt about grant writing.

1) Researching is the most important step, and the most time consuming.

2) Organization is crucial.

3) Know what type of funding you need.

4) Make sure you clearly understand the organization’s goals and programs.

5) When in doubt, ask for help.

For more advice on grant writing, check out my article Grant Writing 101.

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