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#BLBC12 Judge: Sulekha Rawat

[stextbox id="black"]With the Brave Little Blogger Contest (#BLBC12 on Twitter) less than a month away, it’s time to start introducing our volunteer judges. You can learn more about Sulekha in the next Writing Contest Newsletter. Sign Up Now.[/stextbox]

Meet Sulekha Rawat

I WRITE…My life is my Muse and my Muse is my life. I embrace friends and their pain becomes mine, their joys make me happy. I can’t detach myself from those I care about and that hurts me at times, but it’s all an integral part of who I am. I sing off-key, dance with two left feet. Life is interesting and challenging but I wouldn’t have it any other way because, “Life is for living”, is the best advice given by a dear friend.I greatly enjoy movies and music. Books are my passion.I love writing about the Sun, Moon, Sea, Love, Life, heartbreaks, food, clothes…etc. I tweak my writing with humour because a life without some laughs in it is a sad one. Hope to share my stories with you all for a long time to come.

Sulekha’s Website: http://www.socialpotpourri.com

Sulekha’s Blog: http://www.sulekharawat.com

Sulekha on Twitter: @Sulekkha

Sulekha on Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/luckkss

 

For More Contest Information

  • View all posts tagged “Writing Contest”
  • Check out Contest Central
  • Advertise during #BLBC12


ABCs of Freelance Writing: T is for Trade

tTrading (or bartering) is a legitimate way to do business for some freelance writers. Instead of working for money, you can do work in exchange for things you need to grow your business.

For example, I once made an arrangement to write several blog posts in exchange for some behind-the-scenes work on an old blog template that was giving me fits. The miracle worker I worked with got some great content, and I got a more functional site. It was a total win-win situation.

The more veteran the freelance writer, the less likely she is to rely on trading or bartering services. However, it still works out from time to time, and it’s a great way to build relationships with other small business owners. Before you barter though, beware!

Tips for Trading or Bartering

  • Work with someone you trust. I don’t suggest finding a barter partner by posting anonymous ads or anything. Work with people who have a solid reputation in their field—whether they’ve established their reputation online or through real-life professional networks.
  • Agree to the terms before the work gets started. It can be a little tricky trying to determine what’s a fair trade. Is writing worth more per hour than logo designing? It’s not always cut and dry, particularly when you consider the differences in experience levels. Work out the details of your arrangement before anyone starts work. No one wants to feel like they’ve become an indentured servant.
  • Don’t trade for things you don’t need. Remember that your small business is supposed to make money. Politely decline an offer that doesn’t make good business sense. Trading limits you because you can’t, for example, pay the light bill with a new blog template. When money is what you need, take bartering options off the table.
  • Know your worth. The most important part of setting up a trade for services is to understand what your services are worth. Stand your ground, because trading is a lot like negotiating. There are plenty of people out there looking to get something for nothing.

 

 

[stextbox id="grey" caption="About Word Carnivals"]This post is part of the January Word Carnival — a monthly group blogging event specifically for small business owners. (It’s the most fun you’ll have all month!) Check out the rest of the fabulous carney work here. [/stextbox]


The Definition of Freelance Writing

A guest post by Charlotte Bumstead

“Freelance writing isn’t for everyone.” These wise words were offered to me from my university professor after graduation. And it’s something I have struggled with ever since. I’ve always known I wanted to be a writer. Sure, I had my moments as a child when I would dream of being a veterinarian or wonder what it would be like to be CEO of a large company. But I would always return to the freelance writerwords. They’re my safety net; my umbrella on a rainy day. To me, everything in life is made clearer and more manageable once it is written down. Little did I know, making a living out of the words would be much more complicated. And such survival tips weren’t exactly part of the required curriculum for earning my degree.

Many of the professors of my program were freelance writers who taught on the side. Perhaps for some, this is a planned career path, but I was aware the possibility of needing a double income was a risk I was taking in entering this field. Still, it did not deter me. The reward in following my passion and fulfilling a creative lifestyle has always been beyond dollar signs, in my eyes.

I decided to take the freelancing route because I really liked the idea of being my own boss and working my own hours; from wherever in the world I happened to be. I was aware this meant climbing a different type of ladder—one that could quite possibly collapse when I reached the fifth (or twenty-fifth) rung. But then I would find a new ladder, and apply my climbing experience as developed from the previous one. So eventually, with a little skill and a lot of determination, I would reach the top.

When people ask me what I do and I tell them I am a freelance writer, I tend to get a mix of reactions. Often I can hear the sympathy in their replies as they say, “oh, good for you,” or “wow, that’s got to be tough.” It’s true—the field is super competitive, and no, I don’t have a guaranteed paycheque that gets automatically deposited into my account every two weeks. Of course, all jobs have their pluses and minuses. And as I make my way along, carving my own path, I am constantly redefining what it takes to be a freelance writer. I thought I’d share some of the descriptions I’ve learned so far:

A Freelance Writer Is Ready For Anything

It’s important to be open to new opportunities and unpredictable possibilities. Today you might be writing about the top ten dog parks in Tennessee; but tomorrow your writing could change the world. You never know who will be reading your work, or who you might end up meeting for coffee the next day.

A Freelance Writer Controls His Own Results

Whether you’re a procrastinator or a go-getter—you decide—it is you who will see the effects of your choices firsthand. Work hard and put your greatest effort into every assignment to find the best results.

A Freelance Writer Does Whatever It Takes to Get By

This might mean taking on a second job when struggling to find new clients, or it could mean waking up two hours earlier to find time to write before heading to your 9 to 5. No one is going to hand over work to make life easier for you. If you want to be a writer and you have bills to pay or a family to feed, you might need to pick up a part-time gig on the side here and there, or give up the reality TV and spend the free time at your computer instead.

A Freelance Writer is Constantly Learning

As you continue to grow and improve, there will always be new challenges and fresh experiences. Take advantage of the wealth of information offered to you from everyone you meet and everything you read.

A Freelance Writer Lets Her Creativity Shine

Personally, I am happiest when in an artistic and inspired state of mind. It is a writer’s job to soak up every experience and share it with the world. Those amazing moments (both big and small) that really struck you as something special—chances are someone else will think they’re special too.

So yes, it’s true, freelance writing isn’t for everyone. But if you decide it is right for you, then you’re definitely in for a thrilling ride.

Charlotte Bumstead Charlotte Bumstead is a freelance writer and blogger, covering a wide-range of topics, including: environmental, health, entertainment, technology and finance.

You can find her blog and portfolio on her website, or follow her on Twitter @c_bumstead.


Playing the Name Game

Life Lessons for Writers Contacting Editors

A guest post by Terri Huggins

The name game. It’s a game that I’ve gotten way to familiar with over the years. The rules are simple. After mulling over every aspect of a pitch and practically driving a hole into the delete button, you proceed to rack your brain over the correct way to address a new editor. The hard part is realizing that you never know how to win the game; especially when there are so many options.

writer contacting an editorIf you are anything like me, you play this game on almost a daily basis and you still haven’t mastered the concept. Whose genius idea was it to have so many ways to address a person anyway? I think having the option to call someone by Mr., Mrs., Ms., Miss, or by first name is over-kill.

In all honesty, the decision on addressing an editor wasn’t always so difficult for me. My parents’ tough love and strong feelings about respect and formality were instilled in me at a young age. And it’s still very much a part of me. Because of that upbringing everyone who I perceived to be my elder or superior was always addressed as Mr. or Ms. in person and in writing.  I even did the extra legwork for unisex names to make sure I addressed people properly. (Having a unisex name myself, I understand how annoying it can get to be wrongly called Mr. Terri Huggins so frequently.)

It wasn’t until I read a few advice columns geared towards writers that suggested pitches be written in a relaxed and conversational tone to show personality. Some even went as far as saying that addressing editors in a formal way was too rigid and showed no personality. Of course, I then went into panic mode. Was my attempt at being respectful, coming off as rigid and resulting in my pitches getting ignored? Nonetheless, I continued to address editors I hadn’t worked with formally unless told otherwise. Even after I got the ok to call them by their first name, I still found it difficult to break the habit.

However, getting permission to address editors informally when working with them got me thinking. Does that mean I was originally supposed to address them by their first name in the pitch? Did I do it wrong completely? Or was I just extended that courtesy having worked with the editor already?

I decided to do a little investigation by asking a few editors what they preferred to be called.  Unfortunately, I received a bunch of mixed responses that didn’t exactly help in the decision process.  The responses ranged from preferring a first-name basis initially to those who thought being addressed formally made the editor feel old and mean or that the writer was out of touch with the times. A few said that in this increasingly informal society, it is pretty much expected to use first names. Of course, a handful of editors suggested staying on the safe side by addressing editors formally for initial communication and then using first name for future correspondence. However, most editors said as long as their name was spelt correctly, it wouldn’t lead to automatic pitch deletion. (Definitely, helps put me at ease!)

While I’m still not convinced about the right way to reference an editor, I guess the moral of the story is to do what feels right considering there will always be many different opinions of the matter.

Terri HugginsTerri Huggins is a Freelance Writer/Journalist in NJ who specializes in bridal, beauty, relationships, education and business topics. She also writes marketing paraphernalia such as brochures, press releases, blogs and newsletters for local businesses. By night, Terri is a arts enthusiast, prima ballerina, education activist, and dedicated volunteer. Connect with Terri on Twitter: TERRIficWords or stop by her blog, www.terrificwords.wordpress.com. Professional Website: http://www.writingbyterri.com/