So You Want To Be a Freelance Writer?

The etymology for the term freelance began with Sir Walter Scott when, in his novel Ivanhoe, he used it to describe medieval mercenary warriors. Since that time, the term freelance has come to mean many things to many people but has continued to retain its connection with entrepreneurship.

With the ever expanding growth of the internet, there is a need for written content now more than ever. But even as the demand for freelance writers grows so do the rate of people entering into the field. And it’s no wonder. Opting for a career in freelance writing comes with some hard to beat benefits such as being your own boss, the freedom to set your own hours and pay scale, better tax cuts (depending on how you set up your business) and the psychological benefits of being able to do what you love.

Before you decide to hang out your shingle as a freelance writer, there are a few questions you should ask yourself:
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How To Write A Book Review

Book reviews have been around since the first caveman painted a picture of the big hunt on the cave walls. I guarantee that there was someone just a little further down painting a review describing how they thought the plot was too thin and the characters a little stale.

As an invaluable asset for the literary community, book reviews provide today’s bibliophile an easy way to find great books in an era where both time and money are scarce. Book reviews also supply writers the feedback they need to help them improve their craft which makes them a simultaneous bane and blessing for wordsmiths everywhere.
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The Lowdown On Content Licensing

Surfing the internet, I see a lot of questions regarding the use of the multitudes of content available everywhere. As writers and artists, it is important for us to understand some of the popular licensing structures applied to content so we know not only how we may use someone else’s creation as well as how we should license our own work in this atmosphere of open content.

Public Domain

When a body of work is in the public domain, it means that though it was created by someone, there are no legal restrictions on its use. For instance, a public domain photo may be used for both personal and commercial projects without being required to pay royalties to the creator of the image.

Scientific and creative works are put into the public domain when their copyright, patent or trademark has expired or has otherwise become null.
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Idea Management: When It’s A Team Effort

Okay we already talked about how to organize your writing ideas and we’ve gone over the many ways in which you can keep track of them when you are away from your office. Now we are going to talk about different ways in which you can keep track of ideas while working on a collaborative writing project.

I’ve never worked on a collaborative writing project. I’m more of a solo artist myself. However, in speaking with other writers, I get the feeling that participating in a collaborative writing project is both fun and frustrating. Fun because bringing people together from different walks of life often offers fresh and humorous perspective on the writing idea as a whole. At the same time the frustration comes in because attempting to keep a bunch of creative people on track is a little like trying to herd cats. All but impossible.

While I can’t really help you with the cat herding thing, I can offer some ways of getting your group together for jam sessions as well as suggestions for keeping track of things when all is said and done.
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Idea Management: When you are in the office

Last week we talked about a couple of ways in which you can capture your ideas as quickly as your highly developed imaginative minds can churn them out. Now we are going to talk about different methods of corralling those unruly puppies in your home office. Each of these systems will help you track both general writing ideas and specific works in progress.

1. The Notebook System

This system is perhaps the simplest way of keeping track of your ideas. All you need for this system are stacks of notebooks, a marker pen and empty space on your bookshelf. This was my system years ago before I got my first computer.

All I did was label each notebook with the aspect of writing that it concentrated on. For example, one notebook could be labeled “Characters”, another “Plots” and so on and so forth. Then it became a matter of transferring the notes from their temporary home in my pocket to their permanent home in the office.

One disadvantage of this system is that when I wanted to find something I had to flip through pages and pages of written text which, inevitably, took forever because I would get distracted from what I was looking for by thoughts of all that I could with the other ideas I was flipping past. Therefore if you have a computer, as I and most people do, I recommend the electronic version of this system.
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