Thursday, December 25, 2008

Keys to being a successful freelance writer

The Monster List of Freelancing Tips at has some wonderful keys to being a successful work at home writer or any freelance position.

Some of my favorite tips:

*Follow instructions
*Ask clients what they want and listen to the answers they give
*Explain things clearly
*Meet deadlines
*Avoid distractions
*Be an editor
*Be ready to write whenever inspiration hits

And the list goes on and on! Be sure to check it out.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Open Office 3.0

The latest version of Open Office has just been released, Open Office 3.0. I downloaded it on both of my computers today and so far really like it. There are some new features that were not on 2.4 so I'm working to become familiar with them.

I love Open Office because it's compatible with Microsoft Office but it's a lot cheaper. It's FREE!

It has a counterpart to pretty much everything in Microsoft Office except one program, Publisher. I use that program to produce several newsletters so I still have to use Microsoft Office.

The Writer program is the Open Office version of Microsoft Office's Word. Files can go back and forth in either format without any glitches that I am aware of. I use Writer most often and I really like the word count feature. In Word it is right at the bottom of the document; in Writer you click Tools and then Word Count.

To download Open Office just go to It's a wonderful tool for writers!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Historical writing

Writing World's current newsletter has a very interesting piece on historical writing, something I really love to do.

I've written numerous outright historical pieces and during the past five years of freelance writing have collected some wonderful local histories, firsthand comments on historical events, and the like. My love for local/regional history has grown and when I have time I write about neat facts I've uncovered in my blog Historical Happenings. It focuses on Arkansas and African-American history with an emphasis on people and places about whom/which I have firsthand information and knowledge.

The Writing World newsletter offers a great piece of advice on writing about history -- find something interesting that hasn't been covered a million times already! I treasure these firsthand experiences with area historical events I've collected, like one woman's take on what it was like to be an African-American student during the time the Hoxie School District was being integrated or another woman's very sharp memories of the years she attended a private boarding school for African-American students in Eastern Arkansas.

Until I decide to compile all of my collected experiences and memories in a better format, I'll continue to publish snippets at Historical Happenings.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

It's been five years!

It's hard to believe it's been this long, but I became an official work-at-home writer mom five years ago!

It was five years ago this month that my job in a newspaper office as an editor, writer, photographer, etc. came to an end after nearly 16 years. I began freelancing for a couple of area newspapers right away and after several months added another one. A couple of years after that, I began producing a newsletter for a nonprofit organization.

In the past five years I've been a regular contributor at several area newspapers, including a couple that I no longer write for because of the distance, and I've produced regular newsletters for several nonprofits. During this time I've also done some editing for different clients. I'm still writing for newspapers, producing newsletters, and doing some editing.

This has been a wonderful opportunity for me, as I've been able to stay home with my children, contribute to the family finances, and do something I've always loved to do. I'm very thankful for this and hope that it continues.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Time to get ready for tax season

Work at home writers, it's time to get ready for tax season! Have you kept up with all your paperwork/bookkeeping?

I haven't for the last few months, I'm ashamed to say, but I do have several months of figures already recorded that should make things easier.

Freelance Writing at has some good tax preparation tips to follow in the meantime.