My Examiner article from August 23, 2013.  Hopefully it’s helpful advice for budding freelancers.

September is “Be Kind to Editors and Writers Month.” Many writers and editors earn a living as freelance workers. A freelancer is someone who sells services to clients without the commitment of long-term employment to any one person. Freelance writers and editors are able to work on a variety of projects for various clients at fees that are agreed upon between the client and the freelancer. This allows freelancers to diversify their skills and improve their portfolios while working with different people.

Reasons for becoming a freelancer

Freelancing is wide open with opportunities for professionals in many areas. Forbes lists the writing professions as some of the top areas where freelancing continues to be a prosperous option. Many people begin freelancing to escape the routine of the traditional workplace. They want the freedom to set their own hours, rates of pay, assignments they want to work on and the ability to work wherever they choose. Some do it because of the lagging job market and the inability to find suitable work in the private sector. Still others choose to freelance because of family obligations such as child or elderly care issues or health concerns.

Read more here.

My review:
Harry Potter’s creator takes a pseudonym, learns the “F” word along with other colorful words and uses them. A lot. And BTW, this is a pretty good detective novel. Give it a try if you can get past JK Rowling’s use of expletives. Many, many expletives.

Amazon Product Description:

A brilliant debut mystery in a classic vein: Detective Cormoran Strike investigates a supermodel’s suicide.

After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office.

Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: His sister, the legendary supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man.

By Laurie Mega | November 1, 2012

As a freelance writer, you certainly want to present the best writing you can. Knowing how to write content that is well-written and well-researched gives you credibility and makes you shine in the eyes of your editor. When an editor is considering writers for the next assignment, you get the call.

However, there is another way to stand out in your editor’s mind. We all have our bad days, sure, but there are certain gaffes that, if they show up in your work consistently, will make your editor cringe and file you away in his or her brain as a weak writer.

To help you navigate the sometimes-uncertain world of web content, I thought I would share the top ten pet peeves that make most editors wince. But rather than looking at this as a list of peevish complaints, think of it as a handy checklist to go through before you submit a piece. I promise, your editor will be grateful.

So without further ado, here are the top ten editorial no-nos that make your editor grimace.

Continued @ How to Write Content: Top Ten Writing Gaffes and How to Make Them Work for You | Skyword.

A recent report by psychologist Robert Hogan suggests that 75% of workers attribute their workplace stress to their immediate supervisor. This stress may be caused by working with an incompetent boss, or worse, a bullying boss. Incompetence may be solved by providing better supervisory training. Tackling a bullying problem may be a tougher task.

Employers must make a conscious choice to eliminate bullying from their businesses, but they may need to seek outside help to learn how tackle the issue. One answer would be to read The Bully-Free Workplace (Stop Jerks, Weasels, and Snakes From Killing Your Organization). The book was written by Gary and Ruth Namie of the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI), internationally known for their research of this subject.

According to the WBI websiteworkplace bullying is defined as repeated abusive behavior that is harmful to a person’s health. It is committed by one or more people against one or more targets. Bullying is detrimental to business because it creates an atmosphere of mistrust and hampers productivity. Some bullying behaviors are verbal abuse, intimidation (including nonverbal behaviors), work sabotage, unfounded accusations, gossip and social ostracism.

Continued at Namie book provides employers with tools against workplace bullying – Rockford Workplace Issues |

By Nina Amir

An enormous amount of content comes across the transom of social networks like Facebook. We share business and personal information, news, entertainment, inspiration, and a whole host of things in between. And we do this for a variety of reasons depending upon our goals. Those of us who engage in relationship marketing for business, however, want to attract potential customers and clients.

Call them friends, followers, tweeple, pinners, or a tribe, it’s all the same. We want our presence on social networks to work like a beacon shining into the darkness and guiding people to our pages on social networks and, ultimately, to our websites. Eventually, we also want the people who connect to us to purchase something from us. For that to happen, though, we first have to have something to say to these people. Actually, we have to have something worth reading.

It’s the words we write on these social networks that make people want to connect with us—to like our pages, subscribe to our updates, or follow us. And it’s by reading our status updates and the links we offer that they begin to trust and like us—and that’s why they buy our products and services.

Many relationship marketers don’t realize they are leaving one important potential product untouched—one they may have created already or could create as they continue their networking activities. It’s a product that also will enhance their trust factor and expert status. What is it? A book.

Stop and consider all the content you produce. It could be repurposed into a book, or, better yet, you could be writing that content as you network with the end goal of producing a book.

Continued @ How To Blog Your Book And Own Your Niche As An Author.

 The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandates employers to maintain a safe workplace for employees. By creating a comprehensive workplace safety program, employers can take the necessary steps to protect workers from most injuries and illnesses while at work. Some of the starting points for an OSHA-compliant safety program include:

  • Wearing protective equipment such as goggles, helmets, gloves, etc.
  • Maintaining smoke/fire alarms, fire extinguishers and carbon monoxide detectors in good working condition.
  • Ensuring easy access to alarms.
  • Using surge protectors with all electrical equipment and banning the use of extension cords.
  • Keeping cleaning supplies and other chemicals in secure cabinets.
  • Cleaning spills, using non-skid rugs and removing trip hazards from walk areas.
  • Encouraging the use of appropriate lifting techniques to avoid over-exertion.
  • Making repairs or replacing broken equipment.
  • Ensuring that thermostats are in good working order to control heat and air conditioning.
  • Restricting smoking to designated areas.
  • Conducting safety inspections of the physical plant at regular intervals.
  • Ensuring that employees maintain a respectful workplace environment free of harassment and bullying. These behaviors create distractions that decrease employee concentration and increase the likelihood for accidents.
  • Implementing a risk management program that includes reporting procedures for unsafe equipment or practices, analysis of accident trends and corrective measures taken, and consistent review and revision of company safety policies.

Chemical Safety

OSHA mandates that employers have a hazard communication program in place that supplies employees information for each chemical used in the workplace. Employee training is required to ensure proper understanding of the hazard communication program. Employees have the right to know what chemicals they are using and how to properly use them. One form of communication used is the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS). This form supplies the user with useful information about the chemical they are using, such as precautions to use when handling a chemical, how to dispose of it and what to do if it is accidentally ingested, inhaled or makes contact with skin.

Fire Safety

No matter where people work, fire is always a potential danger. Common causes of fires include defective electrical equipment or wiring and smoking. Employees must be trained in fire prevention procedures as well as how to handle a fire emergency. Fire drills can ensure that people are adequately prepared in the event of an actual emergency. Employers should also hold annual training in the use of fire extinguishers.

Continue reading at How employers can ensure a safe workplace – Rockford Workplace Issues |

My latest piece for

 Workplace violence occurs when harmful acts or threats of harmful acts are committed against persons while in their work setting. According to an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fact sheet, workplace violence can be anything from verbal threats or abuse, intimidation, or physical acts that result in injuries or homicide. It can occur in any workplace without exception, so all workers must be aware of the possibility of events that can lead to workplace violence. Nearly two million reports are received each year from people stating they were victims of workplace violence. There are assumed to be many cases that go unreported. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), there were 506 workplace homicides in 2010.

Causes of workplace violence

Several issues may cause people to make choices that are harmful to themselves or others in the workplace. These include mental illnesses, alcohol or drug abuse, and financial crises that are related to job loss. Workplace violence is often the result of a person’s inability to cope with these stressors, leaving them with the feeling that there is no alternative to solving their problems or dealing with the anger or fear they are experiencing.

Risk factors related to workplace violence

OSHA lists various risk factors for workplace violence. These factors include:

    • Jobs that involve the exchange of money with the public;
    • Unstable people in the workplace;
    • Work sites where alcohol is served;
    • Late night work shifts;
    • Work sites located in high crime areas;
    • Working alone or in small groups;
    • Jobs such as delivery drivers, healthcare professionals, public service workers, customer service agents and law enforcement personnel.

Continue reading at Preparing for the unpredictable: Taking steps to prevent workplace violence – Rockford Workplace Issues |

This article is a very good read for people (like me) who  need help with establishing a “killer” blog.  I hope to put some of these tips into practice soon.  Knowing how my attention span is – well, we’ll see how well I do!

The time has come… I NEED to teach my mother how to blog. I have no problem teaching the theory of blogging or the “how to” stuff or even breaking it down to the simplest form so that she can do it herself and be successful. It’s the “finding the time” that is the hardest part. I’ve actually started recording short snippet videos for her and the last one I recorded was the video version on the article below about the types of blog posts.

Here are the 5 Types of Blog Posts

How you create your blog posts depend on the type of blog you are writing for and what the goal of that blog is.

If you want to keep your blog fresh and interesting, you should post often. Creating different types of blog posts will help to keep your audience interested. It will also keep you from getting bored with your blog.

It really doesn’t matter if you are blogging so that you can earn income from selling ads or affiliate products off your blog, selling your own products or services. You should try mixing it up with these 5 types of blog posts.

Continue reading @ 5 Types of Blog Posts | Moms Online Business Coach.

Here is an article that outlines some of the most common writing boo-boos.  For the record,  the one on comma usage is my biggest pet peeve.  If you vomit commas on me, I will get rather surly….

Professional writers often worry that their work is unnecessary. After all, can’t anyone with even a basic education write? The answer: no, they can’t. Even college graduates don’t seem to be learning composition basics.

Of course not everyone is going to be the next Mark Twain, but career success does depend on not looking stupid. Sure, some clients, coworkers, or resume readers might make some of these mistakes themselves. But it takes just one person to see just one mistake for you to be discounted.

Avoid these 11 mistakes and get the job, make the sale, and write better!

via 11 Stupidest Writing Mistakes.