Chocolate Milk Comes From Brown Cows, and Freelance Writers– Write?

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Maybe you heard the news. It’s a fact that 7% of American adults, roughly 17.3 million people, think that chocolate milk comes from brown cows. If you are among those 17.3 million, read no further . . .

You’re probably wondering how the brown cow theory relates to freelance writing. Well, let me tell you! A surprising number of adults have no idea what a freelance writer does, and trying to explain it to them is like digging one’s self into a deep, deep hole.

I cringe whenever someone introduces me: “This is my friend, Jean. She’s a writer.”

Here’s what happens next.

“What do you write?” someone asks.

450c2ca7a249674a727a02491d1e4d1c(I begin digging.)

“I’m a freelance writer.”

Blank stares.

(I’m up to my ankles now.)

“I write mostly nonfiction for Christian publishers.”

There’s a pregnant pause. Then someone asks, “What are your stories about?”

(I’m in up to my knees.) “I don’t often write stories. I mostly write nonfiction—devotionals, books of prayers, things like that . . .” (I’m up to my waist now, and the person who introduced me is long gone. I’m in this alone.)

“So, where do you get the ideas for what you write?”

(I return their blank stare, and I pause–pregnantly. ) “The editors I work for give me some ideas about they want me to write, and then I create a manuscript . . .”

(Ouch! I shouldn’t have gone there. I’ve dug myself in up to my neck.)

images“Oh, you write scripts! Do you write plays? Do you write scripts for movies? Have you written anything famous?”

(Good grief! I’m in over my head!)

“No. No . . . I’m kind of like a reporter. I get assignments to write something, and then I write it . . .”

(I’m dug in so deep now that I hear my voice echoing.)

“I WRITE! I JUST WRITE!!!

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Freelancers, does this sound familiar? What do you say when someone introduces you: “This is my friend. He/she is a writer”?

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Did You Grow Up With Little Golden Books?

Maybe you remember a time when a Little Golden Book was tucked into your Easter basket. This year celebrates the 75th anniversary of the first printing of these classic treasures. I’ll be posting more about Golden Books in the coming months. But, let’s get started with a list of the original 12 titles:

poky-puppyThe Poky Little Puppy
Three Little Kittens
Bedtime Stories
The Alphabet A-Z
Mother Goose
Prayers for Children
The Little Red Hen
Nursery Songs
The Golden Book of Fairy Tales
Baby’s Book
The Animals of Farmer Jones
This Little Piggy

 

$_32The first 12 were published in 1941 when Simon & Schuster partnered with Western Printing, a publishing house in Racine, Wisconsin.

The average cost of a children’s book that year was a whopping two or three dollars–but Little Golden Books were affordable at just .25. They were sold in family-friendly places other than bookstores: department stores, supermarkets, train stations and five-and-dimes.

 

Did you grow up with Little Golden Books?
What were your favorites?

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7 Online Tools for Improving Your Writing

toolsHere are seven simple online tools to help you become a better writer. All are free and don’t require a download.

  1. Word Counter

Maybe you have a habit of overusing a word or words. Word Counter can help. Simply enter your text, and Word Counter will show repeated words.

  1. Cliché Finder

There_s nothing inherently wrong with clichés. They_re just . . . tired. Stale. Overused.Overused clichés are part of our everyday speech; so common that they slip into your writing unnoticed. Cliché Finder will identify clichés. To use this tool, delete the text in the box and replace it with your own.

The Oxford Dictionary blog offers an excellent article on avoiding clichés. Find it HERE.

  1. Rhyme Zone

If you write for children or if you’re a poet or songwriter, Rhyme Zone suggests rhyming words for your text. Enter a word to find a list of its rhymes. The drop down menu offers many additional options like finding lyrics and poems, similar sounding words, related words . . .

  1. Capitalize My Title

Paste in the title for a chapter or blog post, and Capitalize My Title will automatically correct any capitalization errors. You can choose from APA, Chicago, AP, or MLA styles.

  1. Portent’s Content Idea Generator

This tool turns any subject you enter into an idea generating title. For example, say you want to write a blog post on the subject of dinner. Type in the word “dinner” and the idea generator suggests titles to direct your content: “Unbelievable Dinner Success Stories”, ”Why Dinner Beats Peanut Butter on Pancakes”, “How Dinner Made Me a Better Person.” Have fun playing with this one!

  1. The Hemingway App

46062-Ernest-Hemingway-Quote-All-you-have-to-do-is-write-one-trueThis tool has so much to offer! It analyzes your writing for adverbs and weak phrases, complex words, passive voice, and hard to read sentences. The Hemingway App also shows word count and readability. To use, delete the text under the header and enter your own. A desktop app is also available.

  1. Read-O-Meter

According to Time Magazine, in this fast paced age of technology humans have a shorter attention span than a goldfish! Is your article or blog post too long to hold your readers’ attention? Paste in your text, and Read-O-Meter will estimate the reading time.

Check out THESE attention span statistics from StatisticBrain.Com

Do you have a favorite online writing tool? Share it in a comment.

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Are you on Facebook? Check out my page where I post daily articles
and inspiration for writers.

august2016wordpress
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*NOTE: Any ads appearing in this post were not put there by me nor do I endorse them. WordPress sometimes posts ads in exchange for hosting this free blog.

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Filed under Tools for Writers, Uncategorized