I’VE BEEN DOING A LITTLE RESEARCH ON THIS SUBJECT RECENTLY and I’ve come to a conclusion: It’s time that you made that money as a writer!
Writing short stories or poetry is great fun and . . .should be regarded as a hobby. For now. Let’s get you a steady income from your writing. This will give you the breathing space before you tackle that novel!
Write Articles – Freelancing
There are plenty of writing jobs if you know where to look. If you can tell the difference between genuine opportunities and harnful scams, online freelance writing is your best bet.
The vast majority of people are unaware of the varied writing possibilities available on the net. Write some simple articles and press releases. Get blogging. Eventually, you might move on to authoring e-books; the scope for earning money from writing is pretty amazing. (I’ll get to blogging in a bit.)
Clients often pay up front for material by offering a set fee per word, or per assignment. Others will pay per hour for proofreading or writing website content.
Freelance writing network sites like Freelance Writers or The Freelance Writing Jobs Network are the best place to start. With writing jobs and advice, these places make it simple to get moving. Websites like Elance and Freelancer are good bets too.
Every day, thousands of businesses post up writing projects on the sites I’ve mentioned here. Suck it up, push yourself forward and apply to these new opportunities: there is an immediate income available for you.
Respond to as many writing job notices as possible. Offer to work at a reasonable rate. Be quick to respond to enquiries from prospects.
Keep applying . . . landing that first assignment is often the hardest part, but as you build up a portfolio and client list, you’ll get work more consistently. Keep on going.
The key to gaining and maintaining a steady income from freelance writing is to produce as many quality pieces for your portfolio as possible. That’s not all – use job boards and social networking strategies to promote your work. The more traffic that you can send to your work, the more interest you’ll stir up from businesses who need writers like you.
Here are 4 tips for your writing portfolio:
1. Set up a web page with your curriculum vitae, your contact info and a few writing examples. It’s very easy to do this by utilising sites such as Churchill Hosting.
2. Establish a good reputation by submitting your best quality work to potential clients.
3. Network with other busy writers; they may send extra work your way.
4. Participate in writers’ forums by writing useful comments. Include links to your website and online work in your profile.
Make Money Blogging
What is blogging?
‘Blog’ stands for web log. Effectively, they are online diaries. You can make money with a blogging site. The secret is this: focus on an area of expertise, or a subject that is popular with search engines.
Here’s how to get started blogging:
1. Approach it with the intent to write unique, quality prose. Offer useful info. By establishing yourself as a trustworthy resource, your readers will send you word-of-mouth traffic to your blog. Do your research carefully because your visitors can tell whether you know what you are talking about. You must focus on quality material.
2. It’s easy to get started blogging. Go to blogging websites like blogger.com or wordpress.com. I’ve found WordPress to be the best blogging site. Personalise the blog with your own domain name: you’ll have to pay, but a great cheap alternative is churchillhosting.com. On this site, you’ll get a free .com domain when you take out their hosting. Installing a blog site is very easy, you just need to click a link.
3. Once you have got going, you can monetise your blogging endeavours, utilising advertising networks. Set up free accounts with Google Adsense or Chitika. With a few clicks and a copy and paste or two, they’ll serve relevent adverts on your blog. You’ll get paid whenever somebody clicks on these ads. Amazon’s affiliate programme is very popular. Check to see if you want to earn extra cash in this way.
4. Promote it using social media sites like Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin. Posting meaningful comments on forums related to your blog content is also an excellent way to gain attention. Put your mind to it; you’ll find plenty of other ways to poke traffic at your blog.
Freelance writing and blogging are only two of many ways to make money online. You can write your short storys, of course – and your poems. You can enter into writing competitions, or write your novel, but you know how hard it is to get these accepted. By freelancing and blogging, you are on to a sure way to make money. I know that following this advice might require a little time and effort, but you’ll quickly be earning. There is a huge potential for large profits; go for it.
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I hear people saying ‘Scam Scam!’, but let me tell you that CoffeeshopMillionaire’s techniques do work. However, you must understand a few things:
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As you can see from above, it would be easier to cry ‘scam’ than it would be to actually work.
It would be healthier for you if you were to think of this as a possible way to fund a holiday, or possibly a deposit on a new car.
The advantage of coffeeshopmillionaire is that if you get it right, every product that you promote has potential to keep earning for you whilst you do other things – like finding new products to promote (working), and/or bumming around in coffee shops. Just don’t cry ‘scam’ if you don’t want to put the work in.
A LACK OF LOVE OF LANGUAGE MUST BE THE ROOT CAUSE, I surmise, of its continuing degradation. What else can be so destabilising a factor as to result in the puerile whimsical puns of journalists and a street proliferation of ‘kwik’ contractions with all their implications of speed, of being ‘bite-sized’, of being dumbed-down for the hard of understanding? Those who are being taught are let down by some who teach, but they in turn are at the mercy of a societal urge towards the simple.
Think of a black hole: in some suggestions the spiral of the funnel leads to a simple, dense singularity. Certainly, in UK society, the trend towards this analogous point has been taking place – in language – for at least a generation, possibly more. It is more complex an issue than to simply refer to language as just reflecting the nature of language ‘as it is’ (the descriptive, rather than the prescriptive argument). It simply does not excuse the funnelling of language use towards the simplistic.
Those who are in the privileged position of being able to directly and quickly effect culture transition should be made acutely aware of their culpability. Defences such as ‘art reflecting society’ are not assembled with absolute integrity. ‘Art’, in this sense, encapsulates the output of TV, film, advertising, newspapers, the internet, magazines and, of course, books. Language absolutely must be loved.
It has always struck me that early education, in the UK at least, is fundamentally flawed. A ‘back to basics’ approach is often espoused by right-wing proponents of educational reform; yet, the ‘back to basics’ foundation is known as ‘The Three R’s’: that is, reading, writing and arithmetic. Has nobody else ever become irritated by the lack of urgency in addressing the irony? Perhaps the notion is not deemed important enough. Frivolity is, after all, a notable quality: anathema to the serious business of survival on this planet; we should not take ourselves so seriously. The dangerous implication though is that we then do not take anything seriously.
Language defines us. We, as a species, have opposable thumbs and words. If we cannot take what separates us from our primate cousins seriously, we risk joining them. Yes, the future of our species is at stake here. It really is of phylogenetic importance that we understand the slide of our linguistic demise.
Without a love of language, with a continuation of the ‘kwik-kulture’ (and it pains me even to write this in this way), the simple singularity of the black hole draws ever closer. ‘Art’, being all its potential cultural forms, must start to take responsibility: all of us who use words must be included in this statement. As a society, we must look at the basics and know that the details matter. If we ignore such fundamentals, if we continue to show such flagrant disregard for language, we will no longer be the greatest of the apes.
– Rafael Shareef
IT IS A LITTLE BOOKSHOP, AND IT ISN’T REAL. Perhaps. Well, it is my place – though I open the doors to you now. In fact, the door is always open. It’s warm inside: there’s a fire, a Chesterfield sofa, comfortable chairs, rugs and throws. It doesn’t sell coffee, though you’re welcome to bring your own. You don’t even have to buy a book (if might even be preferred if you don’t), but if you do, you name the price. The owner will read quietly or talk with you about books: whichever the case may be, your needs will be sensitively known.
So, what is the point of this fictional space? Well, in the first instance, I’m struck by the lack of affective quality that many bookshops seem to have, even the little ones. The affective environment is the one that stimulates and results in feelings about a place: that which can affect. A book is an object of sensory appeal (it has physical weight, texture, smell). Always smell the pages of a book! Objects with the power to affect the senses also have the power to affect moods, before the words are even read. Such objects deserve a similar magic of environment.
In the second instance, a magical environment can’t truly be found in the corporate stores with their fitted shelves and units that partition spaces into neat pockets of subject areas. Sure, walking into even a corporate branded store does excite a certain small crackle for the dedicated bibliophile, but that will wane when compared to the feeling of walking into a ramshackle haven off the beaten track. The latter isn’t perfect though: they’re all too often owned by the quirky oddball you’d cross the street every time to avoid. A magical environment is one where any book might be found, where corporate coffee isn’t on tap, and where the owner may be odd but isn’t unapproachable.
I don’t mind if the owner is male or female, young or old but, in the third instance of this little bookshop’s exceptional status, he or she must know each and every person who comes through the door. I don’t mean ‘know’ as in ‘have met before’; rather, I mean ‘know’ as in ‘intuitively gets what they need’. When I walk into a bookshop out there in the real world, I’m often received with disdain, with an aloofness, by a feeling of being frowned upon – or at least watched. How poetic it would be to be ‘read’ well by the bookshop owner as you entered over the threshold.
Despite the popularity of the electronic word, a book still has a place in this world: it should be a place that fits the book’s esteemed nature. A book should be absorbed in affective surroundings: surroundings that, in turn, absorb the reader. A book deserves better than the cold comfort of corporate shop units, ill at ease amongst the branded coffee mugs. A book, its owner and its reader should all be connected in an understanding: the owner and the reader should know what the book represents and what and who each other are. It is a little fantasy place. If I’ve imagined a reality, please do let me know.
– Dean Cody Cassady
RUSS JONES RETURNS WITH A SECOND ACCOUNT OF INDIAN TRAVELS.
Our driver, Om (yes we all made the ‘meditation’ joke), recommended a flash visit to Jaipur, Rajasthan’s largest city. Jaipur was famed for its nearby tourist attraction, the Amber Fort: a 16th century palace-cum-battle arena that consisted primarily of pretty wall patterns and a mass of ancient toilets. Its creator, Meenas king Raja Alan Singh Chanda, may have endured an unhealthy set of bowels but at least he enjoyed a pretty picture as he tore out his guts.
This mixture of peculiarity mixed with a sense of aesthetic beauty rather suited the city, which was home to a vast – but unsurprisingly similar – array of jewellery shops and gem cutters. We didn’t know Om well and were suspicious as he parked his taxi in a backstreet car park and ushered us into (what seemed to be) an old man’s back room. The owner met us, welcomed us to his ‘high quality’ establishment and we were taken through a small labyrinth of mysteriously degrading rooms, each veiled in gemmed ornaments: some tacky, some really tacky, and in their defence, some bizarre relics of the imagination, including a monkey god with rubies for teeth and eyes. The old man showed us how the gems were chosen, polished and carved, remarking on the various healing qualities they provided for the body and soul. It turned out he was a psychic too (we’d met three psychics already during our four days in India) and though he didn’t seem to pick up on my disinterest in gems he did offer to read the ‘nature of our chi’, free of charge. I don’t believe in all this spiritual stuff but the bargain hunter in me couldn’t resist. ‘You’, he said, holding my hand in his, ‘are in finance, very mathematically minded and – you’, he continued, taking my girlfriend (Jo)’s hand ‘are a very creative spirit, always making art and inventing.’ Her job is in competitor analysis, mine is as a poet. And we’re both terrible with money.
We left without buying any of the old man’s precious jewels set into pendants, wooden elephants or otherwise. Om drove us around the city for a while and eventually to our homestay, which was owned and run by a charismatic retired couple (him from the military, her having been a housewife but definitely still ‘wearing the trousers’ as she sent him on errands across town). It was getting late and we were getting hungry so we headed out into the night to find something both nourishing and non-lethal. Lacking any sense of direction, we walked out of the main streets of the city and only managed to find one or two places still serving food. One was bustling with locals, burning red tikka chickens wheeling around on a rotisserie, their fragrant spices begging us to enter. We’d grown confident in our iron stomachs and so strolled in, pointed at a few interesting-looking foodstuffs and sat down. What came – I assume – was goat patties with a yoghurt and mint dip, and half a chicken covered in a charred red tikka sauce served with sliced red onion. We ate happily, though cautiously. Jo queried the rawness of her chicken thigh but the ridiculous glutton in me scoffed his down with glee. Nothing can hurt me, I’m immortal; I’m on holiday.
The next day was one of the worst I’ve felt in my life to date. But it started off well enough: it was Christmas day and Om bought us a bouquet of flowers (because, being white and from the UK, we must be Christians . . .) But it was a kind gesture and it warmed us to him. ‘Want to see more forts?’ he asked in earnest. ‘No, we want to see monkeys.’ And if you like monkeys, Jaipur is the place to be . . .
The Jaipur Monkey Temple is home to over 2,000 monkeys who roam freely around a hilltop sanctuary. You can buy a large bag of peanuts from a local seller for around twenty rupees, which the monkeys have been trained to take (using their mouth or hand) from you without aggression. It was a magical world of excitement and joy: babies bounded from the tree tops and into their mothers’ arms, juniors swung across branches and chirped, adults took nuts from you and passed them out to their young. And then the goat and chicken had their revenge.
No-one wants to hear the details. I don’t particularly want to tell them. But being half way up a small mountain surrounded by monkeys repeatedly expressing their love for one another (with no consideration for the less churlish of us), as you gag from both ends in the ridiculous heat of an Indian winter is no way to spend your Christmas day.
We eventually made it back to the homestay, car seat unblemished, and I reminisced about our time so far in Jaipur: a city of beauty and brutality, glittering palaces and ancient wars, of backrooms filled with gemstones, of bustling chicken shacks and burning stomachs, endearing primates more lurid than loving. It was a place of two halves, which did neither without gusto, and as I sat on my porcelain throne, watching small colourful kites lift into the evening sky from the bathroom window, I began to understand Raja Alan Singh Chanda’s appreciation for a mass of toilets and pretty things.
– Russ Jones
THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST UNFORGETTABLE BOOKS THAT I HAVE READ RECENTLY. Having read Nemirovsky’s Suite Francaise, which describes life in France after the German invasion in June 1940, I was struck by how Fallada shows the Gestapo in Berlin obsessively celebrating the French defeat. In this sense, Alone in Berlin is almost a mirror image of life in Berlin within the same time frame as Nemirovsky’s book.
Such is Fallada’s depiction of Berlin that one is left with a sense of the city and its denizens being under a constant grey mantle. The fog is both physical and mental. The plot concerns the reactions of ordinary Germans to the Nazification of everyday life. The perfectly ordinary Otto Quangel, with his ‘birdlike face, thin lips and cold eyes’, is an unlikely hero. His son, also called Otto, is killed in the war and Anna, his wife, in a fit of grief, flings the accusation, ‘. . . that’s what you get from your wretched war, you and that Fuhrer of yours!’ Stung by this, Otto is driven to express his disgust at the regime by leaving anti-war and anti-Hitler postcards scattered around significant buildings in Berlin where people will find them. He knows that he is courting death and is initially reluctant to involve Anna. However, Anna is determined that people should be brought to their senses and persuaded to repudiate the Fuhrer.
The reaction to Otto’s cards is utter terror, and virtually all the cards are handed in to the police as people fear that any link to these will brand them as enemies of the regime. For about two years, Otto and Anna succeed in evading the authorities. The Berlin police nickname the anonymous postcard writer, the ‘Hobgoblin’. Eventually, the failure of the inspector, Escherich, to track down the ‘Hobgoblin’ attracts the attention of the local Gestapo.
Escherich uses pins on a map of Berlin to mark each find of the postcards. The hunt thus forms the armature of the story, around which various other fates are twisted, and most end up facing torture and death, leading to the question ‘was it worth it?’ Fallada, at the end of the book, suggests that one such moral step taken in an ocean of evil spiritually cleanses, even if it is physically futile, but he is subtle enough to let the reader make up their own opinion.
The book is based on a real case, and the afterword provides documentary samples of the real postcard writer and his wife, and some of the cards, and details their fate. Fallada was one of the very few German writers of stature (he was internationally famous for the book Little Man, What Now?, which was made into a Hollywood film) who stayed in Nazi Germany throughout the war and could thus take in the whole atmosphere of the Third Reich. Alone in Berlin (whose German title translates as Everyone Dies Alone) is thus an early work of ‘faction’, in which the border between reportage and fiction is breached. There are even videos of the historical prototype for the judge at the Quangel’s trial available on the net www.youtube.com.
This makes one look at the book in a different way and to say that was how it must have been, rather than regarding it as historical fiction. Given the background the book is unremittingly harrowing. A host of characters of various degrees of vileness is leavened by a handful of good people, such as the retired Judge Fromm, a neighbour of Otto and Anna, who hides the Jewish widow, Frau Rosenthal, in his flat. He also gives the condemned Otto and Anna suicide ampoules of cyanide – which both decide not to use until the end.
Central to the narrative is the fate of Inspector Escherich, whose attempts to find the perpetrator initially fail. The Gestapo, angered by his failure, imprison and torture Escherich. His replacement also fails and Escherich is reinstated to complete the ‘Hobgoblin’ mission. When Escherich finally catches Otto and confronts him, he realises the futility of the Nazi myth and kills himself – his one redeeming act. The Persicke family, also neighbours of Otto and Anna, are a chilling embodiment of the Nazi ethos. Baldur, the sixteen-year old son, is a member of the Hitler Jugend and openly says,’We all want to get ahead in life, and how are we going to do it except through the Party? . . . we should follow the Fuhrer’s lead and make mugs of people, put on friendly expressions and then, when no one senses any threat, take care of business.’ This rhetoric has a sinister culmination in two instances. The first is when the Persickes decide to torture the Jewish widow, Frau Rosenthal, and ransack her flat. The second instance involves Baldur banishing his alcoholic father to a medical centre where patients are used in experiments. He orders the doctor in charge to inject his father with a chemical, which kills him.
Rather than individual characters, however powerfully drawn, it is the appalling atmosphere of a totalitarian state, where everyone is prepared to rat on everyone else to save their skin and the apparent futility of any resistance to the all-pervading evil, that haunts the reader long after the last page has been turned.
– Golden Langur