Add Craigslist to your writing job search

Although I recently used with success, I think your writing job search should begin with Craigslist (external link). I’m not sure why, and admittedly I wasn’t on the service very long, but out of my three inquiries in a week I got three responses. Previously, with the different freelance sites, I got only two responses to over three dozen proposals. Could it be that Craigslist is more local and not flooded with the entire world? I don’t know. But the freelance sites do attract an enormous amount of people, all seeking work they can do remotely. Which is something you can also do with Craigslist.

I live in West Sacramento, California, a medium sized city without many editing or writing jobs listed on Craigslist. As soon as I started looking over the San Francisco Bay area listings, however, things started to turn around. Many of the jobs insisted that people be in the local area. But many did not. It’s possible, I suppose, that I could have even enlarged my search for virtual work to the Los Angeles area. Who knows what might be there?

I would highly recommend Craigslist; it’s a free service and worth investigating. Yes, there are scam artists there, just like on the freelance sites. And some employers want to pay a penny a word. Ignore those just like you would anywhere. Oh, one last tip: work on your on-line portfolio, these days you have to have a web presence just like the company that will hire you. Good luck!



Writing again

I’m proud, happy, and pleased to announce that I am now working for In Focus Publishing, otherwise known as In Focus Web Marketing (external link). They’re a Vancouver company that builds websites with marketing in mind. It’s not enough to build a pretty website and expect people to find it, you have to design a site from the beginning with an intent on getting it found. The owner, John Gorecki, has grown his business into an impressive concern. The firm has ten years on the web, building sites throughout America and Canada. I’ll be writing, editing, and perhaps helping in coordinating the work of his other writers. It feels good to be a part of a good team, and it even feels even better to again be writing for a purpose.



How does one become a better writer?

Practice seems an obvious answer but it’s an incomplete one. What’s needed is practice backed up with better reading. You need to be influenced by great writers while you flesh out your own sentences. No one desiring to draw a new automobile design would look to a Pinto, a Maverick, or a Yugo. Instead you would take cues from Lamborghini, Ferrari, and Porsche. Average influences will only produce average results, and penning five hundred or a thousand words a day will only get you more of the same. More average.

Melville for cadence, Orwell for honesty, and Hunter Thompson for outrageousness, are just some writers that are bound to positively affect you. Reading poetry, especially extended nonsense poetry, gives you an ear as to what words and sentences sing and those which merely hum. Consider the opening of Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky (external link):

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

Here, it’s not the meaning that’s important, it’s the pattern and the sound that the words possess. Such utter originality cannot be borne out of simply pushing pen against the page, day after day. While Carroll was a genius, he had his influences. We can be influenced, too, chiefly by fine, classic writers. We need to read and  read well. Without great guidance and inspiration we will simply create a Pinto, a Maverick, or a Yugo in print.


Lewis Carroll (external link) 

Update: February 7, 2015

This is a link to a speech Bob Dylan recently gave. (external link) In it he discusses what influenced him; his marvelous and mysterious songs did not appear by themselves. Someone described the speech as masterclass. I totally agree.