14 Top Sites to Help You Learn More About Grammar and Writing Style

GrammarGrammar mistakes can make you look bad. A misspelled word here, a dangling participle there. That’s all it takes for your would-be client to decide that you’re sloppy and move on.

That’s why it’s so important to proofread anything you publish.

Of course, it’s hard to catch your own mistakes. There’s nothing more annoying than rereading an old post or article and discovering a mistake you didn’t see the first time around.

But sometimes, you don’t realize you’ve made a mistake because your grammar skills are rusty or weak. In those instances, you won’t find the mistake no matter how many times you reread your material.

Fortunately, there are plenty of resources available online for writers to improve their skills. Many of those resources are free. In this post, I list 14 of my favorite grammar resources.

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Why I Love Editing

love-editingWe writers love to hate our editor.

Saying “the editor goofed it up” is one way to escape the blame for a poorly written piece.

In some ways, editing is the least favorite of the writing-related professions for many writers.

Some writers hate editing even if they are asked to do it themselves. I’ve met writers who won’t accept editing projects.

Not me. I happen to love editing projects and I’m always glad when I’m offered one. Likewise, I appreciate the efforts of a good editor.

Whether you like editing or not, there’s a lot of demand for good editors. My recent editing projects have included a white paper, the copy for an infographic, and a book for children.

In this post, I’ll explain why some writers dislike editing. I’ll also describe the reasons why I happen to love it.

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The One Question to Ask Yourself BEFORE You Become a Freelance Writer

one-question-freelance-writingSo, you want to be a freelance writer.

That’s great. Freelance writing can be a rewarding career choice. I should know.

I moved from a technical communication department twelve years ago to freelance writing and I’ve never looked back. Freelance writing has been good to me.

Unfortunately, some people become freelance writers for all the wrong reasons.

In this post, I discuss the one question every would-be freelance writer should ask. I also examine the possible answers.

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What Freelance Writers Need to Know about Guest Posting

guest-postingGuest posting has been a somewhat controversial topic lately. I listed guest posting in my list of bad writing gigs a few weeks ago and sparked a discussion.

One reason guest posting is currently looked down on is the huge quantity of spammy guest posts that have flooded the content arena.

In this post, I’ll take a closer look at guest posting. First of all, I’ll discuss the definition of guest posting. I’ll explain why I think guest posting is often (but not always) a bad gig for writers as well as website owners. Finally, I’ll discuss the right way to go about creating content.

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5 Surprises New Freelance Writers Face

A white gift box springs open to reveal the word SurpriseFreelance writing is full of surprises–some pleasant, some not so pleasant.

Many freelance writers simply don’t know what to expect from freelance writing.

Much of what has been written about freelance writing is incomplete. It highlights certain aspects of writing or certain problems and glosses over the rest.

When I started freelancing several things took me by surprise. Even though I had read all I could find about freelance writing, I was still unprepared. I don’t want other new writers to go through that.

In this post, I share five things about freelance writing that may take you by surprise if you’re just getting started.

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4 Reasons Why Freelance Writers Need to Take a Break

take-break“I’ve been freelancing for over seven years and in all that time I’ve never had a day off, not even a weekend.”

Those words made me sad when I read them on a forum for freelance writers. I know firsthand that not taking a break can exact a heavy toll on a freelance writer.

Of course, I can relate to the writer’s statement. As a freelancer, I’ve had my share of weekend working and working vacations. Sometimes you have to do that to meet a deadline.

I also understand the financial pressures that freelance writers face. If you don’t work, you don’t get paid.

But if you’re one of those writers who never takes a break, you’re doing yourself a grave disservice. Here are four important reasons why writers need to take regular breaks.

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Announcing The Step By Step Guide to Freelance Writing Success

Getting started as a freelance writer can be scary. There’s a lot to learn and you may not know where to turn for answers.

Did you ever wish that an experienced writer would sit down with you and share what they know?

Unfortunately, coaching and mentoring services can be costly. If you’re just starting out as a freelance writer, they might be out of your reach.

Fortunately, now you have another alternative. I’ve teamed up with veteran freelance writer, Carol Tice of How to Make a Living Writing to create an ebook just for freelance writers, The Step By Step Guide to Freelance Writing Success. Not only is Carol the author of a well-known blog, she’s also someone whose advice I personally trust.

With this ebook you get the advice of not one, but two, experienced writers. Together, Carol and I tackle some of the toughest problems that freelance writers face. And we do it in a friendly, dialog format that you’ll love reading.

(Note: This post contains links to an ebook product that I sell.)

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Learn Our Freelance Writing Secrets with New Ebook (Update: Contest Closed. Winners Announced)

small-cover_stepbystep-2Is freelance writing easy?

Having worked as a freelance writer for a dozen years, I’d have to say, “no.” There are plenty of obstacles and pitfalls that freelance writers face.

Of course, long-term freelance writers learn to overcome the obstacles, often through trial and error. Some of those lessons you’ll learn along the path to successful freelance writing are pretty hard. You may even want to give up.

But, what if there were a better way? What if you could easily sidestep some of those pitfalls and meet the challenges head on? You’d want to do it, right?

To avoid a long and painful freelance writing learning curve, you need to know what long-term successful freelance writers already know and you need to know it now. If you could have access to such information, you’d have a head start on a successful freelance writing business.

Fortunately, there is a way for you to discover what long-term freelance writers know. I teamed up with Carol Tice, founder of the popular blog Make a Living Writing and the Freelance Writers Den, a few years ago for The Step by Step Guide to Freelance Writing Success Bootcamp webinar series. If you missed the bootcamp the first time around, a recording is still available to members of the Freelance Writers Den. (Affiliate Link)

However, webinars aren’t convenient for everyone. You may learn better by reading material. You may want to print information out to underline sections you like. Or, you might not yet be a member of the Freelance Writers Den.

That’s why Carol and I decided to convert this popular webinar series The Step by Step Guide to Freelance Writing Success into an ebook. You can purchase the ebook here or get it through the Freelance Writers Den.

(Note: I am an affiliate for the Freelance Writers Den. This post has some affiliate referral links.)

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5 Really Bad Writing Gigs that Keep Perfectly Good Writers from Making Ends Meet

Bad-gigsDo “prospects” ask you to write for free or way below market rate?

If you’re a freelance writer, chances are good that you’ve been approached by a so-called “prospect” with an offer you must refuse.

You must refuse the offer if you want to stay in business, that is. After all, you can’t spend all your time working for nothing, or next-to-nothing, if you want to earn a living as a writer.

It always amazes how much effort some folks will go to in order to take advantage of writers through lousy freelance offers. Don’t just take my word for it. Check out the experiences of other freelance writers.

Lori Widmer does a good job of documenting some of these bad offers in her series on her Words on the Page blog, Writers Worth: This Job, Not That Job. Deb Ng lists some more bad writing opportunities on kommein blog in the post, Here’s What’s Wrong With Freelancing Today.

The worst thing about these opportunities is that some writers will fall for them.

In this post, I list five of the most common types of bad gigs freelancers face and examine what’s wrong with each of them. So, the next time you’re tempted to accept a bad offer, check here first. Then say “no.

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