Bad attitudes do not cause disability any more than good attitudes guarantee health

Disabled writer
This article was originally published on The Independent in August 2012 An ‘inspirational’ photo has been making its way around Twitter and Facebook. The photograph is of Oscar Pistorius, a disabled athlete, running with a small, disabled girl. The caption, “The only disability in life is a bad attitude”, is a quote from Scott Hamilton, a former figure skater who is also a cancer survivor. There are others, too, in the same vein, including one of a small child walking with prosthetic legs and the caption, “Your excuse is invalid”. For many disabled people, myself included, this kind of inspiration porn is tiresome at best, and damaging at worst. Using a snapshot of disabled people as a tool to convey a message to, primarily, non-disabled people, involves playing on stereotypes…
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Fixing the Mistakes Made by Hiring Cheap Writers

Fixing the Mistakes Made by Hiring Cheap Writers

About Writing
I've lost count of the number of times somebody has approached me about my writing services. They complain that they hired somebody to do this work already but, well, it was awful and now they need someone to fix it or to start again from scratch. Invariably, they paid that person around $5 for 500 - 1,000 words and the content they show me is an unmitigated disaster. So, they hire me. I do the work they need, and they pay me. They've paid out twice for writers when, if they'd only bitten the bullet and paid fair fees in the first place, they would have saved themselves both money and time, all the while reducing their stress levels as an added bonus. Those of us who charge higher rates…
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I Get 30 Press Releases a Day. Here’s How to Get Me to Open Yours…

I Get 30 Press Releases a Day. Here’s How to Get Me to Open Yours…

About Writing
As a writer, I do a combination of commercial content creation and journalism. As part of the commercial work, I write press releases for businesses that want to gain some press attention. As a journalist, I get an inbox full of unsolicited, mostly terrible press releases from PR companies and brands. I open maybe 10% of the press releases I receive, and I follow up on maybe 10% of those... so, if you are hoping to attract a journalist's attention, what do you need to know to be part of that 1%? Press release dos and don'ts: what this journalist needs you to know Do have a good subject line. This is probably the most important factor in whether a journo will hit 'open' or hit 'archive'. It must intrigue the…
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5 Common Mistakes This Proofreader Sees on CVs and Resumes

5 Common Mistakes This Proofreader Sees on CVs and Resumes

About Proofreading
When applying for a job, it is vital to make a good impression. Most openings have many applicants, so you need to stand out from the crowd. I proofread a lot of CVs, resumes and covering letters and, because I have hired staff, I also know what employers want to see. Here are some top tips to make sure your job applications stand out for the right reasons! Avoid spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors. It is really hard to proofread your own work - your brain reads what it thinks you wrote, rather than what you actually wrote. Having somebody else (e.g. me!!) proofread your work can help to make sure you don't send out your job application documents with any embarrassing typos. Think about the length of your documents…
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Create a New WordPress User Account for your Freelancers

Create a New WordPress User Account for your Freelancers

Video, Wordpress
When I create content for clients, I offer to provide that content to them in the way that suits them best. Sometimes, that is a Microsoft Word or Open Office file or a Google Doc, and other times I add the content directly to their website’s CMS; this is usually WordPress, but sometimes it’s Movable Type, Blogger or something else. On WordPress in particular, it is betrer for the client to create a new user account for me than it is to just give me their login details. Specifically, this is a good practice for the client’s own security. Recently, I was doing some work for a client who was not very confident with the tech side of things, so I made this video to demonstrate how to go about…
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Escape from Content Mills: Tell Me What YOU Need to Know!

About Writing, Freelancing
So many freelance writers feel trapped in the under-paying, soul-destroying 'race to the bottom' freelancing sites and content mills. I have escaped from that depressing hole, and I want to help other writers to do the same! But to do so really effectively, I need to know what the barriers are that you face so that I can guide you to smash them and thrive with your own, private clients! [tweetherder]What are the obstacles that trip you up when you try to escape from the content mill trap?[/tweetherder] Do me a favour and fill out this survey. You can also use it to sign up to the email list that I have set up for this purpose, specifically. And, if you have friends or colleagues in a similar situation, please…
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Run, Don’t Walk, Away From Content Mills: Secret Sneak Peak!

About Writing, Freelance Self-Promotion, Freelancing
[caption id="attachment_1825" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Photo credit: Howtostartablogonline.net[/caption] One of the questions I get asked the most by fellow freelancers is how they can escape from writing for mass freelancing sites with low pay and a 'race to the bottom' mentality. The fact is that even if all your current work is underpaid and undervalued, even if you are doing some kind of ad-based revenue share that earns you 22 cents for an article you spent three hours writing, even if you are currently producing work that you know is under par because you need to write four articles an hour to break even, and even if you have never had a private client of your own, it is possible to escape from the content mill, but it takes some focused work to get your foot in…
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Keyword Stuffing, Video Style

Language
Thanks to this post from Convince and Convert, I've discovered a video that made me laugh like a drain. If you ever wondered what the outdated practice of keyword stuffing would look like in video form, Mike can show you here and now. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_zx7jPLmyk I get the distinct impression that he buys golf clubs. Legend.
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Book Recommendation: The Freelance Writer’s Guide to Making $1,000 More This Month

About Writing, Freelancing
[caption id="" align="alignright" width="338" class="zemanta-img"] Bookshelf (Photo credit: Wikipedia)[/caption] You may remember Mridu Khullar Relph who I interviewed on the podcast recently. Well, she's written a book. And it's really good. Full disclosure: Mridu and I are friends and she gave me a free copy of the book. However, if I thought it was terrible I would simply have never mentioned it again. Instead, having read it and been inspired, I actually can't recommend it highly enough. Firstly, her credentials. Mridu has years of experience in journalism and counts the New York Times and TIME amongst her credits; this shows in her writing. The Freelance Writer's Guide to Making $1,000 More This Month is packed full of tips to get more work and improve your income and these tips are not vague, they are…
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