Everyone’s social life has taken a dive at the moment. Social distancing has meant an end to going out to the pub, going to the cinema and even going for a meal. Thankfully we have the technology to ensure that we can still do some of these things. Here are some ideas when you’re ready for a night out but you’ve got to stay in.
Form a book club and meet on Zoom. Books can be borrowed online from your local library and then you can meet together and discuss them. PJs and wine optional.
Hold a party on Zoom. Following on the Zoom theme, one person I know is holding a virtual cheese and wine party on Zoom. Sounds like fun.
Go to a theatre night at the same time as a friend and message together. There are lots of theatre performances taking place on YouTube. Why not arrange to watch the same time as a friend and message together when you do.
Join a Twitter event – last Monday night, Dr Who fans watched an episode together while actors from the episode tweeted
Have a WhatsApp party – similar to FaceTime and you can have different people on video at once.
Dance in a socially isolated way. There’s a street where people come out of their houses and dance together.
Sarah Arrow of Sark -Media has agreed to be my next interviewee. I hope you enjoy her answers as much as I did.
Name: Sarah Arrow
Writer Alias (if you are willing to let us know)
I have several, including Sarah Stanton, Danielle Stanton, Danielle Field and few others that I’d rather not mention.
How long have you been a writer?
Erm, I’m not sure. I’m not sure that I even like writing at times! However I just can’t seem to leave it alone long enough to allow something else to take over! Rough idea of where you live: I live in Essex approximately 12 miles from London. Which is close enough to love the City, but far enough away to breathe. My house is on a golf course and in the summer I write in the garden, watching the golfers play. The 8th hole is at the bottom of my garden, so the last 10 feet of it is a no-go zone when they play. Sometimes I sneak to the fence and throw a ball back onto the green when they’re not looking.
Are your clients local, global or a mix?
My clients are a mix of global and local. The power of the internet means we can do business anywhere that speaks English.
1. What is the first piece of writing that you remember doing?
My first piece (that I can recall) was an article on Henry VIII. I grew up in East London which is rich in history from the Tudor period. Roads are named after his first two wives and many of the landmarks are related. I found it compelling, yet gruesome to be a Queen in those times and I was thankful to be born now. I still have a fondness for Katherine of Aragon, and I often wonder how England would have looked if she’d have had a son. Did you know she was Regent of the country for a while and she martialled an army to repel Scottish forces? She won.
2. What made you realise that you wanted to write for a living?
It crept up on me! One day I was on maternity leave and playing with the children, the next day I was a blogger! I write prolifically as I’ve found when you do something more you get better at it.
3. How did you get your first client?
My first client came from a blog post and that fascinated me, I wanted to pick apart why that post worked, why the person contacted me to work with them… The rest they say is history.
4. What do you wish that you had written?
Where do I start! Harry Potter (for the money), I wished that I’d written that. I love how children worldwide started to read again with Harry Potter, proving that they don’t need dumbed down writing, but books that make them feel, and understand those feelings. I’d also loved to have written Philippa Gregory’s books, she writes very readable historical fiction. There are so many wonderful women writers, and I’m going to read Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel next and by the end of it I’m sure I’ll wish that I’d written that as well!If it was a non-fiction book, then Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art. It’s the book I read the most, I have it on audio and I pick it up at least once a day. I have a handbag edition, a car edition and an under-the-bed edition (for when I lack motivation). To write this book, I’d have had to live a full life and then share my wisdom, and that’s part of the reason I love it so much.
5. What is the one tip that you would give aspiring writers?
To keep writing. The words are no good if they’re in your head. So write them down, type them.. Just get them out of your head and onto the page. Don’t be scared to experiment, don’t think you can’t self-publish as that’s not real writing (look at E.L James she did it and now lives in the centre of London in a fab home), you can do anything you want to do, but if you keep the words locked up… No one will ever know your brilliance.
6. What is your current project?
Aside from my 30 day blogging challenge, I’m writing an alternate history book about a famous English battle. I’ve mapped the book out, the characters and the basic plot and I’ll soon be ready to start filling the pages!
You can find Sarah at her blog, Sark e-Media where she is currently running a 30 day blogging challenge.
Thank you, Sarah for agreeing to be on my blog. There will be more author/freelance interviews soon so keep checking this page for more details.
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If you would like to take part as an author/freelance interviewee then email me at sarahthecreativewriter[at]gmail.com
I read round the Internet avidly and every so often I come across some really great posts that I consider helpful. I am sharing them here today, knowing that someone else could find them useful too.
Guiletta Nardone wrote a fantastic guest post for Men with Pens about being bold and fearless in our business. In ‘Have You Discovered Your Fearless Why?‘, Guiletta explains her own thoughts process as she came to terms with marketing her design business.
If you are thinking of setting up a Facebook page, then Karen Gunton of Build a Little Biz explains what is and isn’t allowed. The rules can be quite strict regarding marketing using Facebook, so it is worth checking out before you begin. The cans and cannots of Facebook plus some dos and don’ts too is her sum up of previous articles so that the information is all in one place.
Jenn Mattern’s post on How to Make Better Decisions About Your Freelance Writing Career could actually apply to any small business owner. Jenn explains the steps you need to take to make your small business a successful small business.
Finally, the community of Enterprise Nation has been going for five years, but this year they have decided they are ripe for change. The community have been switched over to Bitsy where there will be the opportunity to sell your services (for a small fee) and join in the business conversations in both the forums and Twitter. The website has only just launched, but if it is anything like Enterprise Nation was, then it is going to be an invaluable website for small and medium businesses.
What blog articles have you found useful recently? Let me know if you like any of these.
I haven’t written a ‘helpful blogs’ post for a while, and I’ve been enjoying some new heights of helpfulness since my last one. If you’re running a business, then here are some blogs you may find helpful.
I love Enterprise Nation! It has a great forum for asking questions, daily helpful articles and a twitter meet-up every day around the watercooler at 11 am.Particularly if you are a UK business, then do check it out.
I found Enterprise Nation from Startup Donut. Again it has a help forum and is particularly useful for information and help for newly formed businesses.
Karen Gunton’s blog, Build a Little Biz is a new favourite of mine. It is great reading for new business owners, or even those just beginning on the Internet. She writes well for Mum entrepreneurs but her advice would suit anyone looking for more information on running a business online.
Freelance Switch is a great site for web developers and designers, but it also includes writers in the mix. The articles are regularly added and very helpful, it has a great cartoon strip and advertises jobs. Well worth a look.
I have only recently begun following Freelance Folder. It is similar in style to Freelance Switch which is a clean professional look. The articles are just as good with lots of helpful hints and tips for business owners.
Finally, if you are looking for either a creative job or for creative workers, try CrowdSpring. It is a simple website that posts projects for a set amount, allowing simply the best proposal to stand out. There are jobs for graphic or web design or for writers. Check it out if this sounds what you are looking for.
We all have different websites that we regularly visit and enjoy. Recommend your favourites in the comments below.
When you are producing your piece of writing for a client, it is best to be consistent with grammar and spellings, particularly when using headings. Here are some of the most common things to look out for.
The beginnings of words in a heading should be capitalised unless they are small words such as ‘and’, ‘is’ or ‘of’. It is sometimes helpful to bold the heading to make it stand out from the rest of the text. Make sure that if you decide to do this, that all the headings are capitalised and in bold.
The Main Body of the Text
Start with your opening paragraph which sums up what the article will be about. Keep it short and succinct. It does not need a sub-heading over it – in fact your first sub-heading should be at least one paragraph in.
If you are writing for the web, then keep paragraphs short and to the point. There should be two to three paragraphs underneath each heading and of course they should be relevant!
Consistency, Checking and Counting Words
When you are writing your first draft, then just get the ideas down and let them flow. Write until you have finished, Then go back over it and read through. Check for spelling errors (be aware of the differences between American and UK spelling and use one consistently throughout). Also keep an eye out for grammatical problems and check out the word count.
Clients are usually very definite about the amount of words used in a piece of writing, but it is important to write in a focused way on the topic. Beware of fluff or filler. Take out any words that are unnecessary, read your work aloud to check for flow and ensure that your sentences are short and to the point rather than long and wordy. This makes them much easier to read.
End your writing with a strong point or call to action. Revise it again and again until you are happy with it.
Finally when you think your work is done, put it away for at least 24 hours before getting it out and reading it again. The distance is important: it allows you to view your work with fresh eyes and improve it.
Consistency and care is the key to producing strong work which you can be proud of and which is more likely to please your client and bring in more work commissions for you.
The Internet is a great place to be involved in sometimes, especially for writers. No longer do writers have to sit in a solitary place, banging out another article on their keyboard.
Now we can network, share blogs, contact other writers and share details. We can even write a novel in a month!
Contact with other writers is essential so that we can share success and horror stories and help one another. We are no longer restricted to our own locality, but now the world is in our own backyard.
Here are some of the writing blogs that have inspired me. Go check them out and feel free to add some of your own.
http://www.aboutfreelancewriting.com/ Anne Wayman’s blog which is one of the best ones out there for newbies to read.
http://allfreelancewriting.com/ Jenn Mattern’s blog tells it how it is. She has strong opinions and pulls no punches, but her advice is always sound. Her blog is entertaining and she offers a free e-book – on writing e-books!
http://bloggerillustrated.net/ If you want to understand what SEO, backlinks, and web sites have to do with the writing world, then you could do worse than visit Allyn Hane’s site. He explains it all simply and easily in video.