How To Rediscover The Joy Of Writing

Most people get into the writing business because they love to write. In fact, they can’t imagine doing anything else. However, when you write for a living, you may sometimes feel as if you’re writing by rote and as if the joy of writing has completely evaporated. Almost every freelance writer that I know has … Read more

Rhinotillexis on the Decline

You may be pleased to hear that rhinotillexis is on the downturn, at least in public places. This lovely term means “picking one’s nose with one’s fingers.” In an article by Jim Shahin in the February 15, 2008 issue of American Way, I learned that a Harvard study reveals that rhinotillexis is down 70% from … Read more

A Freelance Writer’s Basic Guide to SEO

Hands up all those freelance writers who, when scanning the job boards recently, have seen writing gigs looking for copywriters with SEO experience? (should be everyone). Keep your hands up if you don’t understand what SEO is, or if you do, were confused the first time you saw it used? (should still be everyone). And … Read more

English Grammar 101: Adverbs

Adverbs are used to describe or modify a verb, adjective, clause, or another adverb. Basically, they modify everything except nouns and pronouns (which are modified by adjectives). Example of an adverb modifying a verb: He was running fast. (fast modifies running) Example of an adverb modifying an adjective: She took a very small piece of … Read more

Speaking Of Eponyms

My first introduction to the concept of eponyms was in high school. My English teacher talked about the ‘eponymous heroine’, meaning the protagonist after whom the book was named. Examples include Jane Eyre and  Silas Marner. An eponym is a word that is formed from the name of a person. A famous example is the … Read more

Top 5 Freelance Mistakes To Avoid

The road of freelance writing is fraught with pot-holes, sharp bends, and hidden horizons, so it pays to know a few of the mistakes in advance to help make the journey go that little bit smoother. It’s easy to make mistakes when working as a self-employed person, and even the smallest error may have a … Read more

Praises to the Correct Use of The Semicolon

Lana, one of our readers, pointed me to a very interesting article over the NY Times. Titled Celebrating the Semicolon in a Most Unlikely Location, the article describes how the reporter was pleasantly surprised by finding an erudite and correct use of the semicolon on a subway sign. “Please put it in a trash can,” … Read more

A Book on Writing for Novelists

Before launching myself into the historical novel I’ve been thinking about, I decided to read some books on writing before getting too far along. My luck was to pick up Sol Stein’s How to Grow A Novel. Some writing books are good for beginners, but some are not. I think that the writer who has … Read more

The Unfortunate Dys

The prefix dys- derives from the Greek and has a number of unfavourable meanings. In Greek, using this prefix denoted the opposite of anything that was easy, favourable or fortunate, according to the Oxford Dictionary of Etymology. Connotations include: impaired, defective, difficult, slow, wrong, ill, harsh, disordered and bad. There are a number of common … Read more

Bouillon vs. Bullion vs. Boolean

Don’t confuse bouillon with bullion–one is a soup ingredient and the other is gold. Both bouillon and bullion come from Old French, and in fact the same root word, boillon–which refers to the froth on the top of a boiling cauldron. They are pronounced almost the same: Merriam-Webster says that bouillon should be said BOOL-yon, … Read more

Warning: Microsoft Did Not Invent Grammar!

Most people who advise on writing tell you to check the spelling and grammar on your work. This is good advice. However, the trouble is that the tools we often use just aren’t up to the job. Many of us use Microsoft Word for writing, and its built-in spelling and grammar checker for checking our … Read more

Top 5 Tips When Bidding For Freelance Work

One way of obtaining freelance work is by bidding for work through websites like GetAFreelancer.com, Guru.com or Elance.com. This route to contract work is a handy tool for stop-gap work but can be a minefield for the uninitiated. The idea is based on the eBay model, where clients post the type of work they are … Read more