Monthly Archives: November 2010

Restaurant criticism

There are a variety of types of freelance writing that are available — it all depends on what you're interested in and/or good at. For example, when I first started freelancing, I was just writing about anything I could try to sell — but after I got a job for a couple of years at a technology magazine, I began specializing in reviews of computer hardware and software.

I found this article by somebody who went into restaurant criticism, and who kept up with her freelance writing even after she scored a good day job — so that when/if she left, she'd still have a solid up-to-date portfolio of restaurant criticism.

Go behind the scenes of restaurant criticism

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You don’t like people? Become a writer.

A cute, if not very enlightening, article from the Yahoo! Education site — a list of various jobs you can take if you just plain don't like working with other people. Writer comes third on the list. My question: Where the heck did they get the $53K average salary figure?

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Scrawl of Duty: Novelists and Journos Defect to Video Game Industry | The New York Observer

An interesting article in the Observer talks about how writers — novelists and screenwriters — are turning toward the video games industry, either because they like games and want to work with them, or because they're attracted by the possible income to be derived.

"The games industry, both creatively and economically, is not sure how to deal with writers," said Austin Grossman, who wrote his novel Soon I Will Be Invincible after many years as a video games consultant and writer, years he called the equivalent to an M.F.A. program for the way they tempered his writing. "For a lot of companies, it's not worthwhile to keep a writer on staff, so they strictly hire freelancers. And they don't actually know who to hire, so it's totally slapdash. Culturally, they don't have the right person's phone number."

Scrawl of Duty: Novelists and Journos Defect to Video Game Industry

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Psychology Today suggests: "How to Get Paid for What You Love"

A blot at Psychology Today called "The Art of Non-Comformity" has run an entry called "How to Get Paid for What You Love" in which the writer talks about how to build a business from something you love to do. It's a nice thought, and a good one — if you're going to freelance, you might as well freelance using skills and talents that you enjoy using. As with many basic-level columns about freelancing, most of the advice is too general and a bit too optimistic — as in "Create your own market," which is always easier said than done. But on the other hand, it's good advice, and could be relevant for many beginning freelancers.

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Freelance opportunities at Ars Technica

Ars Technica, a highly popular tech site, is looking for freelance writers to do long-form "evergreen" content — in other words, articles about topics that will still be relevant a couple of months from now.??

Here's the description:

Ars Technica currently has openings for freelance assignments in just about every area we cover: IT, gaming, gadgets, tech policy, networking, security, and more. We're looking for long-form, 2,000+ word "evergreen" (not time-sensitive) content or serious shoe-leather reporting on technology issues, and we want your pitches.

The rate of pay isn't mentioned.

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The cost of going freelance

CNNMoney.com has posted an article about the cost of going freelance — in other words, what you can expect to have to give up, or pay for, if you're undertaking a freelance career. The article seems geared more for people who have full-time jobs and are thinking of quitting in order to freelance, rather than those who find themselves inadvertently??out on the freelance market, and the advice is pretty basic. However, for those just starting out on a freelance career, this can help you avoid some nasty surprises.

Thanks to Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols of Practical Technology for the tip.

The cost of going freelance

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Preparing to be a technical writer

One problem that many newer freelancers have (and that I know I had) is the tendency not to take the job seriously. If you want to make a living as a writer — or as any other kind of freelancer — you have to prepare yourself professionally as you would for any other venture.

In the case of tech writers, that may mean investing in the type of equipment — hardware and software — that you will need so that you can be ready to give your clients the services that you are telling them you can. Brien Posey is a full-time technical writer who, when he began, realized that he needed to be able to use two separate types of computer networks — a production network for his own use, and a lab network for testing products.

You may not need to go into the details of this one unless you're thinking of freelancing as a tech writer, but the amount of care that Brien puts into his business is enlightening in itself.

Provisioning and Managing Virtual Labs — Virtualization Review

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