Saturday, April 28, 2012

Yay, Bottlenose! Social media app saves drowning writers from a sea of constant status updates

Using the Bottlenose app feels just like this.
Come up for air and enjoy social networking again!

Looking for real-time results on what your network is talking about, but don't want to spend an hour surfing the feed? Same here.

So I checked out Bottlenose, a social media app that reads your Facebook and Twitter feed and lets you know what topics are popular.

How does it do that? With real-time Sonar, an interactive visual way to see your network's trending topics, people and more. It even shows you how these topics relate to each other and lets you click on each topic to really delve into what people are chatting about. Next to the Sonar graph are the related messages in your social sphere.

How does Bottlenose help writers?

In multiple ways--from social to promotion. Now you don't have to waste time finding someone

Friday, April 27, 2012

Xenophobia produces poor journalism, writing

That is an obvious statement, perhaps, but think about it. How true could the reporting of xenophobe be if they are writing from a skewed lens of unfounded fear or suspicion of the strange or foreign, especially in regards to people? Even the form of uncritical stereotyping renders their writing dishonest. Maybe not intentionally so, but still inaccurate.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Pinning My Writing Inspirations on Pinterest

Pinterest is a magical tool for visually inspiring writers.  I know I said that before in January, but thought it was worth stressing again. The photo pinning social network can be used to create topic boards on all the topics you like to write about, but it's more than that. If you just use the site to pin things you like--and create niche topic boards for these pictures--it hones in on things you really love.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Keeping Old Writing Clips: Super smart, sweetly nostalgic or just plain old hoarding?

Maybe I should make a clip book like this.
Throwback Thursday

Do you have a massive stack of old clips sitting lonely in a box? I'm slightly embarrassed to admit I do. The frail newspaper could-set-your-house-on-fire kind. Okay, even the xeroxed almost as flammable paper kind, from junior high. The problem is figuring out whether they've outgrown their usefulness, professionally and personally.

It started out innocently enough, even naturally. I wanted to be a journalist growing up, so I saved the yellow copies of my junior high paper and the newspapers from high school. Making a spiffy neon clip book, I proudly showed my work to my college newspaper adviser. It's what I had read writers do.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Joke Time! Writing humor and gags worth a giggle

Writing can be serious business. So today I want to lighten the mood by sharing a few of my favorite writing jokes and gag gifts.

Sadistic Mouse

Want to keep a writer productive? Gift them this chocolate bar ice cream sandwich mouse, from Amazon. Tell them they can have the real thing when they make deadline. We really will work for food--if it's yummy enough!

Exception to the Rule

A linguistics professor was lecturing to his English class one day. "In English," he said, "a double negative forms a positive. In some languages, though, such as Russian, a double negative is still a negative. However, there is no language wherein a double positive can form a negative."

A voice from the back of the room piped up, "Yeah, right."

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Identifying interesting interview angles & subjects

Interview, originally uploaded by smiling_da_vinci.
 It would be nice to have instant access to the most famous or obviously newsworthy people on any given subject we're writing. While it doesn't often work that way, freelance journalists can still dig up some interesting people to interview on any given subject. All you need is an angle.

Writing about a movie? Interview real life people who have been in a character's situation or worked in the portrayed profession. Talk to fans.

Political news breaking? Get the opinion of lesser known or retired politicians. Talk to the people who the news will affect. 

Big event? Look for the smaller story within the larger picture. Go after that interview. Here is an excellent recent example by freelance writer Marie Anne St. Jean: "Dogs of the Titanic: a Dozen Aboard, Three Survived."

Monday, April 9, 2012

Here's a harebrained idea.. drop that horrific client

Wave buh-bye to terrible clients. 
Seriously. Just do it. Live longer.

Yeah, it sounds crazy to fire a paying client. Maybe also a little tempting?

Don't get too eager--I'm talking about that client that gives you nightmares, fills your days with dread and prompts spontaneous bouts of sobbing at the thought of writing for them.

You know which one I'm talking about. They are literally ruining--and stressing years off of--your life.

Be professional, but tell them your writing services will no longer be available after x amount of time.

Then take a minute to breathe and go out and find a better client. Actually, you may want to do that last part first, depending on the severity of your situation. Just don't remain trapped in a cycle of unhappiness and unrealistic

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Google Plus: Balancing socializing and promotion

It's hard to tell if my friends are really beginning to use Google+ or if my circles are just growing. Either way, it's been months since my news feed could span days in a few seconds. Which meant I could check in a few times a week and be all caught up.

It has expanded to a social network that I need to be tuning into daily, but at first it was hard to break my less frequent habits. For me, Google+ was just, well, forgettable. 

Which was slightly mystifying, since I enjoy the design, functionality and customization. 

Was it just one too many social networks to handle? Perhaps, but months after joining I added Pinterest and Empire Avenue to my daily routine.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Freelancer Fantasy: A fiction writing vacation

The perfect writing spot: Decatur Street, New Orleans.
Lately my mind has been wistfully conjuring images myself typing away as indifferent strangers pass by with unknown purpose, shrouded in the mystique of a locale that thrives on its crush of humanity.

Now that would be a proper writing vacation.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Err.. What was that about enthusiastically embracing new writing endeavors?

An A to Z Throwback Thursday

For my 'E' post last year, I wrote about "Enthusiastically Embracing New Writing Endeavors" and I guess it's time to fess up to my success...and failure.

Of the two new projects I mentioned in the post, Pundit This is off the ground and running. My dream of turning it into a website and featuring the political voices of average Americans has come true. We are on to building readership, consistency--both of which already far exceed

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Dogs: Taking care of writers since 2008

Okay, maybe the year just applies to me, but my canine companions definitely get credit for keeping this writer healthy. Which is important, because if I'm not feeling well--I'm not thinking well. And unclear thinking leads to sloppy writing.

My canine caregivers.
No, I don't have a trio of Doggie Bowser, MDs on my hands. Just normal, lovably active dogs.

As a primarily online freelance writer, it's not hard to get lost for hours down the internet rabbit hole. There are days where I'm so engrossed in what I'm writing that it's doubtful I would leave

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Cowboy Up: Find a home for those rejections

Writers get rejections. It's inevitable and what you do after receiving these disheartening emails often decides whether you can make a living as a writer or not.

What do working writers do? They cowboy/girl up and get creative.

Because we have bills to pay.

You probably do too, so take a look at the rejection and decide if the piece is salvageable. Give it an honest once over and decide if it is publishable. Is it out of date? Have too many errors? Need fixed?

Is it worth fixing?

Yes? Then look for other--preferably paying--avenues of publication. Find websites, blogs, trade magazines, newspapers, contests, etc that accept that type of content and send it off

Monday, April 2, 2012

Branching out towards your writing bucket list

Are you moving towards or away from your goals?

When it comes to a writer's bucket list, it matters not whether you take cautious steps or brash leaps towards your goals. The importance lies in the actual movement and the direction it takes. 

That story or novel you want to write before you die isn't going to automagically appear. 

Especially if you are spending all of your time writing to a niche that has nothing to do with what you want to accomplish. Not to say you should give up all your paying gigs and live the not so romantic life of a starving writer. Just take--or better yet create--at every opportunity a chance

Sunday, April 1, 2012

April Fools from Klout

Have you hooked up your MySpace account to your Klout profile? No, I'm not joking...but Klout is. In exchange for pulling our influence-seeking legs, Klout is offering a glitter-rific animated makeover for your score.

To get your--admittedly female-centric--MySpace inspired score:


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