4 Free Places to Find Stock Photos for Your Niche Blog

It’s no secret that for today’s bloggers, there’s many websites offering free, high-quality stock photography.

While lots of these websites are wonderful, the sheer volume of images available on them can be overwhelming to mine through. These sites tend to be generalists, offering a smaller number of photos across a broader range of categories. If you’re looking for something unique, specific or offbeat, you might end up searching multiple sites to find that one perfect image you need.

Luckily, there are a handful of free stock photo websites targeted toward a specific niche or category. If your blog caters to foodies, history buffs or creative freelancers/marketers, it might be worth checking out one of the websites below.

Note: Each website has its own licensing rules; check before downloading and using any photos. Also, different rules may apply if you want to change an image or use it commercially. You’ll also need to verify whether any of the photos you select require attribution.

1. Gratisography

Gratisography is a great place to find free, high-resolution images that are quirky, offbeat, and just plain fun.

All images are taken by visual artist Ryan McGuire, with new pictures added weekly. Images can be used for personal or commercial use, and no attribution is required.

You can filter by big bucket categories (e.g., Animals, People, Nature), or do a custom keyword search. Pictures range from whimsical (ex. piglets donning party hats) to wacky (ex. a man mowing the lawn wearing just his undies and a beer helmet).

If you or your client approaches content with a sense of humor or satire, then Gratisography should definitely be added to your stock photo toolkit.

2. New Old Stock

If you’re looking for free vintage stock photos, New Old Stock is a good place to start.

Free of known copyright restrictions, these photos have been thoughtfully curated from participating institutions on The Commons on Flickr. (Note: It’s a good idea to double-check the institution’s rights statement, which can be found by clicking on the link for the image’s original Flickr posting provided for each image.)

Browsing New Old stock, you’ll find a variety of beautiful, vintage stock photos from the world’s public archives—great for historical topics, blogs, and societies/organizations.

Whether you’re looking for antique images depicting city life, farming, or transportation (e.g., automobiles, trains), this website is a great one to bookmark for sourcing snapshots from bygone eras.

3. FoodiesFeed

As the name suggests, FoodiesFeed offers free, high-resolution food photography — perfect for food bloggers and food-related businesses.

Its collection of food photography is available for personal or commercial use, and images are grouped into broad categories like Coffee & Drinks, Cooking & Baking or Grocery & Ingredients. The numerous display ads are a bit annoying as you scroll, but the array of appetizing imagery makes it worth the inconvenience.

In addition to its collection of free images, FoodiesFeed offers a few Premium packages, which grant you lifetime access to hundreds of more photos, regular updates/notifications, and thematic photo bundles.

4. Startup Stock Photos

No stuffy suits, phony smiles or post-meeting high fives here — Startup Stock Photos offers free business stock photography for the modern creative professional.

Founded in 2014 by Sculpt, an Iowa-city social media marketing agency, Startup Stock Photos caters to creative freelancers, agencies and the startup community.

Its collection of photos features plenty of casually clad workers (think flannel and beanies), either working solo on MacBooks or participating in a brainstorming session at a coffee shop or downtown warehouse loft.

Many big names have used images from Startup Stock Photos; their client list includes Mashable, Forbes and The New York Times (among many others).

Bonus Round

While not targeting one particular niche, these free stock photo sites cater to a particular aesthetic:

KaboomPics

Here you’ll find beautiful images related to fashion, food, and interior design—often pairing modern elements with rustic accents (ex. an iPhone and laptop on a flannel blanket in the grass).

Images are free and can be used for personal or commercial use.

Minimography

Modern, minimalist photography (think lots of white space and clean lines, with purposeful pops of color). Categories include nature, objects, animals and architecture.

All images are free to use for personal or commercial use.   

Where’s your favorite place to find stock photos? Let us know in the comments below.

The post 4 Free Places to Find Stock Photos for Your Niche Blog appeared first on The Write Life.

     

Source: Writer Life

By | 2017-04-17T15:25:26+00:00 February 22nd, 2017|Categories: General|Tags: |

Review: John Wick: Chapter 2 is a Satisfyingly Symphonic Sequel

Keanu Reeves returns as the titular protagonist, a retired hit man who just wants to grieve in peace.

 

Everything except for Keanu Reeves’s emoting gets kicked up a notch in John Wick: Chapter 2, a sequel to 2014’s surprise action hit about a retired hit man who just wants to grieve in peace. There’s more blood, definitely more head shots (not the modeling kind), more hand-to-hand maneuvers, and surprisingly even more humor, courtesy of the chic and oddly proper underworld introduced in the previous film.

 

 

Screenwriter Derek Kolstad and director Chad Stahelski (who goes way back with Reeves, having worked on stunts for both The Matrix and Constantine) both return for the second chapter, picking up roughly where the first film ended.

 

Those who missed the first film get brought up to speed within the first five to ten minutes as a Russian mobster swigs vodka to calm his nerves about Wick (Reeves), an assassin likened to a boogeyman because of his ability to get the job done through impossible odds. Wick shoots and smashes around the man’s garage to while the mobster bemoans how his idiot nephew brought on this world of hurt by killing Wick’s dog and stealing his car.

 

Wick retrieves the car, which like that dog, was a gift from his deceased wife, Helen (Bridget Moynihan, shown only in photos and a brief flashback). He returns home to the young pit bull picked up toward the end of the previous movie, but he’s given little time for solace.

 

Turns out to leave this interconnected underworld when you’re as good at your job as Wick requires a blood promise, a future debt. Wick gave his to Santino D’Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio) in exchange for his freedom and life with Helen, but with Helen gone, D’Antonio returns for a favor: Kill my sister, so I can take her place in the underworld hierarchy.

 

Wick declines (“I’m not that guy anymore,” he says), so D’Antonio makes him an offer he can’t refuse, including putting a price on Wick’s head.

 

Part of the film’s charm is this underworld, first seen in the original film with The Continental, a hotel for assassins where rules say no business is conducted on the premises. Wick returns there reluctantly to satisfy his blood promise. Animal lovers will be glad to see he leaves his dog in the care of the concierge (Lance Reddick), one of many exchanges in this brutal world amusing for their politeness.

 

But the film doesn’t stop there: The Continental turns out to be part of a worldwide chain, a kind of Ritz-Carlton with a sommelier who recommends a robust AR-15 instead of a ripasso. (Franco Nero, the original 1966 Django, plays the Italian version’s counterpart to the New York branch’s Ian McShane, wondering if Wick’s return this time spells doom for the Pope.) The hotels also connect to an anachronistic communications network of pneumatic tubes, operators routing calls via wired switchboards, and Teletype machines for entering contracts on a person’s life, all of which wind up as texts somehow on modern-day smartphones. Best to smile at that and not think too much.

 

John Leguizamo and Laurence Fishburne turn up along the way as a mechanic and an underworld figure called the Bowery King (his communication relies on off-the-grid carrier pigeons), while rapper turned actor Common (Suicide Squad) and Ruby Rose (XXX: Return of Xander Cage) go hand-to-hand with Reeves. There’s never any doubt that Wick will outsmart his attackers as the noose tightens, but the enjoyment for action fans is seeing how he uses what’s at his disposal in areas such as a staircase, a subway car, and a mirrored art exhibit. Stahelski wisely shoots the one-on-one moments in medium and wide shots so viewers can follow the action clearly.

 

Reeves’s Zen-like cool serves him well here. He’s like an athlete resorting to muscle memory, lethal and lightning quick as he automatically falls into what he’s done best. Having seen the originalJohn Wick, where his grief for his wife was palpable, I think that’s a deliberate choice for this film rather than a flaw. (I have a theory that by John Wick: Chapter 3, we’ll see Wick reach the end of his phases of grief.) But those who missed the first film might find him extraordinarily cold.

 

For action fans, that’s no matter. Just be prepared to wince at some crunching bones and blood spatter as well as laugh where you didn’t expect to do so.

Source: Script Lab

By | 2017-04-17T15:25:26+00:00 February 21st, 2017|Categories: main|Tags: |

10 Online Gold Mines for Finding Paid Freelance Writing Jobs

If you’re a freelance writer, the task of finding quality, well-paying gigs can be a daunting one. Where do you even start? How you can guarantee the jobs you’re looking at are legit instead of scams?

Let’s get the bad news out of the way first: the Internet is chock full of people who are willing to pay pennies on the dollar for hours of your highly skilled time. (Keep reading for some words of warning about these people.)

The good news is that we’re here to help you weed out the dreck and find the sites that are actually worth your time and effort. (Click to tweet this list.) Whether you’re a copywriter, editor, creative writer or anything in between, these sites offer the well-paying, reputable freelance writing jobs you really want.

Better yet? While some sites charge a monthly fee to access their job listings, all of the resources below are free.

So where can you find freelance gigs?

1. BloggingPro Job Board

Also listing a healthy dose of copywriting jobs (you can search postings by category), this board is, as the name suggests, right up a blogger’s alley. Whether you’re into health and fitness, pets, writing code or whatever else, you’ll find a steady stream of employers looking for blog writers versed in these and many other subjects.

2. Journalism Jobs

While most of the postings are (you guessed it again!) for those whose focus is journalism, you don’t necessarily have to have Lois Lane dreams to find a gig here. There are also editing positions, ad copywriting and other jobs thrown into the mix. Some are location-based, some can be done remotely.

3. MediaBistro

Check out the freelance section of the site for a wide range of jobs from industries like TV, PR/marketing, magazine and book publishing and social media — a little something for everyone.

4. FlexJobs

One of the top job boards for telecommuting, FlexJobs enables you to create a custom job search profile to meet your specific needs. Select your categories (there are several under “Writing”), your preferred work schedule, your experience level and more to hone your search results down to those that best fit what you’re looking for. You can also set alerts so you’re notified when new jobs matching your search criteria are posted.

5. Morning Coffee Newsletter

This weekly e-newsletter provides a nice compendium of freelance writing and editing jobs of all shapes and sizes from around the Web with competitive pay rates. Save yourself the time of scouring numerous sites and let this newsletter bring the decent jobs right to your inbox.

6. ProBlogger Job Board

Created by Darren Rowse of ProBlogger, an authority site on blogging, you know jobs listed here will be from serious employers who have an idea what good writing is really worth. Plus, given ProBlogger’s high profile in the blogosphere, you can often find jobs posted by some big-time blogs here.

paid writing gigs

7. Freelance Writing

With exclusive job opportunities as well as posts pulled from sites like Indeed and Craigslist, this board consolidates a variety of gigs for everyone from newbie to seasoned freelancers. If you don’t want to see jobs from a certain source (Craigslist, for instance, can sometimes be sketchy), you’re free to narrow your displayed results to exclude them.

8. Be a Freelance Blogger Job Board

Freelance blogger Sophie Lizard’s community forum features this board where writers and clients can share scoops on job opportunities. Each opportunity must pay at least $50 post or 10 cents a word.

9. The Ultimate List of Better-Paid Blogging Gigs

Lizard has also compiled a free ebook listing 45 blogs that pay $50 or more per post, broken down into sections like Writing Blogs, Food Blogs, etc. She also includes some good tips on how to approach these blogs, how to promote yourself once you’ve landed a post, and more.

10. LinkedIn Jobs

If you’ve already got a LinkedIn profile (and you really should), don’t let it just sit there. Networking goes a long way in the freelance world, and LinkedIn is a great resource to do some networking through common connections.

While you’re doing that networking, check out the Jobs section and sign up for email alerts when jobs are posted that match your interests. Many will be location-based, but who’s to say you can’t approach these employers with a proposal for freelance writing services? Maybe they need someone to fill the gap in the hiring interim, or maybe the job could just as easily be done remotely but they hadn’t considered that.

Pro tip: You know that “people who’ve recently viewed your profile” notification you see when you sign into LinkedIn? If you don’t recognize some of the names, why not reach out to them and say “I see you’ve looked at my profile. I’d love to explore if there are any ways we can help each other.” Can’t hurt to try, right?

Sites to avoid

Especially if you’re just starting out, it’s tempting to be lured into content mills like Demand Studios or free-for-alls like Guru, oDesk and Elance, where it looks like you might stand a better chance to land something even if you don’t have the biggest portfolio yet.

Don’t be.

While it may seem like these sites are your best best when you’re a newcomer, they’re largely a crapshoot when it comes to winning a project. These sites are a rush for the lowest bid, and you’re competing against hundreds if not thousands of other desperate freelancers prepared to sell their firstborn for the chance to write someone’s 250-page ebook. (Some writers have been able to make a decent buck on sites like Upwork, but they are often the exception rather than the rule and have usually invested huge amounts of time to make it happen.)

Even if you’re brand-spanking new to the game, no one deserves a gig that pays one cent per word. And chances are if someone is looking for the sort of writer willing to write a word a cent, they’re not going to be the best client to work for. Don’t sell yourself short just because you’re new. Have a little patience, keep persevering, and you will find those clients who truly value you.

Looking to get even more serious about your freelance writing. The Write Life published two e-books to help you find more paid writing gigs. Check out our shop to buy 71 Ways to Make Money as a Freelance Writer and Get Better Clients and Earn More Money.

This post originally ran in September 2013. We updated it in February 2017.

Kelly Gurnett is a freelance blogger, writer and editor; you can follow her on Twitter @CordeliaCallsIt.

Looking for freelance writing jobs? Check out The Write Life’s Job Board. Good luck!

be patient, persevere, and you will find clients who value you

The post 10 Online Gold Mines for Finding Paid Freelance Writing Jobs appeared first on The Write Life.

     

Source: Writer Life

By | 2017-04-17T15:25:26+00:00 February 20th, 2017|Categories: General|Tags: |

5 Ways Writers Can Utilize a Personal Website

by Onicia Muller (@OniciaMuller)

As a screenwriter, having a personal website isn’t obligatory. For most screenwriters, a well-managed social media account or two is sufficient for advertising your accomplishments and letting people find you. But if you already have a website or want one, here are five smart ways writers can maximize their digital real estate.

1. Be Found

Implementing basic SEO increases your chances of being discovered via your website. For example, “Caribbean comedian” and “Chicago” are key terms on my website. Last year, I booked a show because a booker had a Google Alert for Caribbean comedians living in Chicago. Just be careful about posting your personal email address on your website. Having my email on my website and public social media accounts caused me to receive lots of spam. Be sure to use a contact form to hide your email while still letting new contacts reach you.

No website alternative: If you must make your email public, post it as an image or write it out like this: “your handle

[at] email host [dot] com.” Choose a handle that’s close to your name or describes what you do.

2. Showcase Your Work

Trying to share your work via social media is tricky and limiting. For sharing portfolios, design a simple website using drag-and-drop builders like Weebly, Squarespace, or Wix. Nayna Agrawal keeps a beautifully simple website that puts her accomplishments and writing samples up front.

No website alternative: Create a page on a free blogging platform like Blogger, Medium, or Tumblr. Occasionally send a brief email about recent achievements to your industry contacts, including your school’s alumni department. I do this at least twice a year.

3. Join the Conversation

If you have something to say, publishing long-form commentary helps develop connections with like-minded collaborators. Your articles can be as simple as “A Totally Random Number of Great Films You Might Have Missed in 2016.”

No website alternative: Be a guest blogger or join a Twitter chat. Remember: you’re a screenwriter, not a blogger. Don’t get lost in trying to go viral or running a content mill. Your end goal should be to build your credibility as a screenwriter. Just write something relevant and share it. You might be retweeted by someone cool.

4. Be a Fan

Since the days of Awkward Black Girl, Issa Rae has been a champion of promoting fellow artists. Through her YouTube channel, Short Film Sundays, and website, she helps audiences discover new talent while staying relevant and accessible to the next generation of content creators. Some of my most shared posts feature shout outs to writers and performers I admire. Your website doesn’t have to be all about you. In fact, sharing your platform is perfect for meaningful networking and relationship building.

No website alternative: If you have a public social media profile or website, repost content by creators you respect.

5. Promote Your Side Hustle

For most aspiring screenwriters, it will take years before we get our big break. Last year, I spent about $500 on website hosting fees and screenwriting contests. Working writers like John August and Amanda Pendolino use their websites to offer writing-related services or products. John promotes his screenwriting software, card game, and writer emergency pack. Amanda offers script editing and coverage services.

Don’t be bogged down by all that “how to market your online business” noise. Your goal is to be a working screenwriter, not a “get rich quick” scammer. Last year, I spent zero dollars on advertising but generated enough income through my website to cover career expenses and help with the rent. I would be homeless without my husband, but at least I got paid to write. Effective promotion can be as simple as dropping a link in your email signature and mentioning it in your social media bio.

No website alternative: Announce your marketable skills with a free profile on LinkedIn, Upwork, or Fiverr.

How are you using your digital real estate?

~

Created on St Maarten. Based in Chicago. Onicia writes, says funny things, and enjoys hanging with creative minds. You can read her weekly column, Just Be Funny in The Daily Herald’s Weekender or on her blog. She pays her bills as a creative project manager. Find her online at OniciaMuller.com or @OniciaMuller

Source: LA-Screenwriter

By | 2017-04-17T15:25:26+00:00 February 17th, 2017|Categories: General|Tags: |

Is Writing Your Side Hustle? 4 Steps to Take Before Going Full Time

Imagine a writing job where you get to choose when, where and with whom you work.

You have the freedom pick your projects, and any money you earn goes right into your own pocket, because you’re the boss.

Of course, such a job does exist: Being a freelance writer gives you all of these advantages, and it’s easy to understand why two-thirds of U.S. writers are self-employed.

With so many companies relying on a contingent creative workforce, many professional writers dream of leaving corporate life behind and becoming a full-time freelancer. It’s an admirable and achievable goal — one that I actually have myself — but don’t fool yourself into thinking you’ll immediately start raking in the freelance money upon resigning.

You’re ultimately running a business, and there are a lot of factors to consider beyond just writing and getting paid for it.

If you want to start a freelance business, it’s wise to give yourself as much of a head-start as possible before you quit your corporate job.

Here are four important steps to take while you’re still employed to get ready for a professional freelance writing career.

1. Start freelancing in your spare time

If you’ve never freelanced before, the time to start is while you still have steady income from another job.

You don’t want to give up your paycheck only to find that no clients want to work with you because you’re too inexperienced.

Sites like Upwork, Freelancer and other freelance job listing sites make it easy to find small, short-term projects that you can do after-hours or on the weekends.

Some of them may even develop into longer-term gigs that you can continue to do on the side of your regular job. Just be sure to check your employment contract and make sure you’re not accidentally working for a competitor or breaching any employee agreements by freelancing.

Remember, freelance work isn’t always stable or guaranteed, so you’ll need to continually work on client relations even after you’re self-employed.

2. Keep meticulous income records

Many first-time freelancers find themselves rudely awakened when they file their taxes for the year.

Unlike your regular employer paychecks, no taxes are taken out when you receive freelance payments, so the IRS expects its cut of your earnings on April 15. CalcXML offers a great basic self-employment tax calculator so you can see what you’ll owe (plan to set aside about 20 percent of your freelance earnings for taxes).

If you’re not sure how miscellaneous income reporting works, the IRS breaks it down on its website.

Even if you’re not doing a lot of gig work right now, it’s still a good idea to track everything you’ve completed and earned from your freelance job(s) so you’ve got a complete picture of your financial situation. Keep an official log of your projects, clients and earnings. This might be in an Excel spreadsheet (or even a paper notebook) to start, but as you grow, you may want to invest in a formal invoicing system.

Getting into good habits now will make it easier when you have multiple clients and income streams as a full-time freelancer.

3. Calculate how much you’ll need to save to quit your job

No matter how tempting it might be to quit your 9-to-5 once you’ve got a few freelance clients, do not do it until you’re sure you have enough stored in the bank to tide you over.

You need to build up as much of a financial safety net as you can before you go full-time freelance.

Sit down with your bank statements and write down everything you spend in a month — yes, that includes those morning lattes and “treat yourself” purchases.

Build those non-essential items into your budget (you’ll thank yourself when an unexpected expense pops up!) and give yourself a bare minimum number that you need to be earning per month to cover rent, bills, groceries, going out, etc.

Don’t forget to account for things you may not be paying full-price for right now as an employee, such as income taxes, health insurance and retirement plan contributions.

From there, determine what you can reasonably charge your clients and how many projects you’ll need to complete each month to meet that number. It’s OK if your freelance earnings don’t even come close right now; you can grow your business over time and rely on your savings in the meantime.

Most entrepreneurs recommend saving six months’ worth of living expenses in case business is slow at first, but if you’re itching to get out and have a fairly steady client base, you might be able to survive with three or four months’ worth saved up.

4. Make a plan for scaling up

Once you know how much you need to earn with your freelance work, it’s time to figure out how to reach that financial goal.

Start researching websites and media outlets you think you might like to write for, and look into how much they pay their freelancers (if anything). If your current employer works with freelance writers and allows former staff to transition to freelance, that’s a great place to start. But budgets and assignment caps vary from site to site and policies can change at any time, so start thinking about how you’ll diversify your client base.

You might not have time to start writing for all these publications right away, but it never hurts to send out “feeler” emails to editors or current contributors, just to inquire about their process and get yourself on their radar for when the time comes.

Talking to other freelancers is also a great way to gauge current market rates for certain types of projects so you don’t over- or under-charge your clients.

You’ll also need to learn how to prioritize your potential assignments.

Some new freelancers think they should accept any and all assignments, even if it pays peanuts, just to build a portfolio (I see a lot of low-paying Upwork jobs with dozens of bids, for this reason).

But your time is incredibly valuable, especially once you’re on your own, and you need to spend it working on projects that offer a payout that’s worth the investment. It’s not worth it to work with a client who wants one 600-word article each week at $25 each, when another one will pay you $100 for that same 600 words.

Unfortunately, some people fall into freelance work by default after being laid off, and may not have much (or any) lead time to get ready for the leap.

If you are going freelance by choice, take advantage of your situation and do everything you can today to secure your self-employed future.

Do you plan to take your freelance writing full time? Tell us how you’re preparing in the comments below.

The post Is Writing Your Side Hustle? 4 Steps to Take Before Going Full Time appeared first on The Write Life.

     

Source: Writer Life

By | 2017-04-17T15:25:26+00:00 February 17th, 2017|Categories: General|Tags: |

Review: The Red Turtle Says More With Less

Simplicity can be a complex thing. 

Take the old folktale of Trang Quynh, for example – a recipient of the highest rank in the Vietnmaese Confucian court examination system, Qunyh is challenged by a Chinese envoy to draw an animal within three drum strikes. Unperturbed, Quynh assures the envoy that he can draw 10 in such a time. The envoy is, reasonably, shocked. Soon, the challenge begins and, as the envoy busies himself with drawing a tiger, Quynh remains calm as he takes in his surroundings. As the third beat lands, Quynh dips ten fingers into the paint and swipes them down on the canvas. The envoy is forced to accept defeat – after all, his one tiger is no match for Quynh’s ten earthworms.

Admittedly, “glory” isn’t the goal of The Red Turtle’s back-to-basics approach to animation and storytelling. Still, its intentional distancing from modernity makes it a force to be reckoned with in this year’s Best Animated Feature race. What the film lacks in set pieces, cutting edge animation techniques, and goofy characters, it more than makes up for in its purity of design, and this “less-is-more” approach to narrative is likely to impact viewers in a far richer way than the vast majority of its busy-bodied contemporaries. Quite simply, Turtle represents the finest love letter imaginable to what is quickly becoming an obsolete art.

Those who watched the 2001 Oscars would agree that director Michael Dudok de Wit, through Father and Daughter, is capable of calling up emotions, tears and life lessons with nothing but ambience and a tiny handful of characters. Now, with a longer runtime (and an “upgrade” in terms of gasps, groans and grunts from his characters), Turtle provides a much broader canvas than his earlier work. As one would expect, for something so minimalist, there’s an surprising level of sophistication to the film’s design, all of which work in perfect harmony in order to convey the protagonist’s growing relationship with the film’s titular animal.

It’s tough to say more of the plot since… that’s really all there is. And yet, it seems unfair to label the film as “just” a romance given its overarching, incredibly nuanced commentary on humanity’s relationship with nature. That latter motif, along with the carefully considered artistry, might explain how Turtle gained the endorsement of Studio Ghibli, the acclaimed Japanese animation house with a penchant for Mother Earth. Likewise here, the story written by Dudok de Wit and Pascale Ferran constantly suggests that nature is a force to lived with rather than fought against.

Cementing this sense of harmony is composer Laurent Perez del Mar’s ethereal score. Much like the film’s overall vision and execution, the orchestra directs attention to the imagery rather than to itself, with minor variations to its theme and nothing more. There is a certain novelty from this repetition, however: The music has a decidedly Eastern-leaning scent, which is special for something of European origins, and that this approach grants Turtle the ability to resonate with everyone, everywhere.

Similar to the film’s opening in which our protagonist finds himself pummeled by a vexed sea, Turtle faces an uphill battle this awards season in what has been an unusually strong year for animation. Studio Ghibli’s two most recent heavy hitters (The Wind Rises and Princess Kaguya) faced similar hurdles, which does little to bolster The Red Turtle’s chances come Oscar night.

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Nevertheless, much in the spirit of Trang Quynh, Dudok de Wit and his talented team seem to be operating under the wisest of notions – namely that complexity for complexity’s sake doesn’t equal quality storytelling. For this reason above all, The Red Turtle moves with the sort of precision and singularness that has all but disappeared from cinemas. 

Source: Script Lab[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

By | 2017-04-17T15:25:27+00:00 February 16th, 2017|Categories: main|Tags: |

Safety First! 4 Ways to Protect Yourself as a Freelance Writer

You made the leap of faith of becoming a full-time freelance writer and are pitching pieces left and right hoping someone bites.

Seasoned freelancers know their niche, how and who to pitch, but beginners may feel a bit lost and not know where to get started.

While putting yourself out there is great, there are also security risks involved when handing a complere stranger your bio, email address, and creating a payment portal between you and a company.

Here are ways to ensure your freelance safety and pitch with ease like a pro.

1. Do business via websites meant for freelancers

While writing gigs can be found almost anywhere, even social media sites like Facebook and Pinterest, sometimes the best approach is to keep your job search to secure freelancing websites.

Upwork tends to be the go-to freelancing portal for both employers and freelancers.

You can easily set up your own freelancer page including your niche, past work experience and rate of pay. This then allows you to search for work.

Upwork allows you, as the freelancer, to also see how many other freelancers made a proposal on a client’s project, the rate of pay, and if their payment method is verified. To ebb on the side of caution, it’s a best practice to work with employers who are verified and have high ratings and a few reviews from other freelancers who have worked with them.

Beyond Upwork, Guru is the other site in which freelancers can visit for work. Just like Upwork, Guru has a checks and balances system for both employers and freelancers to see their reviews and past work.

2. Use a virtual private network

Freelance writing makes it so you always have a bio floating around the internet for anyone who reads your posts to click on and see.

Beyond giving away a little two-sentence bit about yourself, it seems like a very vague way to express who you are. Who can find you based on the fact that you like lattes and love to travel?

Well, they may not be able to find you from that, but someone digitally savvy enough could track the IP address your work comes from. This is where a little cyber security on your end can let you pitch in peace.

A virtual private network, otherwise known as a VPN, has the ability to encrypt your internet traffic or go into Incognito Mode like on Chrome’s browser.

This allows writers to feel a bit safer about putting their work out there because no one can hack your work and gather your IP address.

3. Keep your information safe

Backtracking to the former statement about using an online freelancing platform, you should also keep your information safe.

Upwork files your bank information through them, as do other platforms so that the employer does not see any private details on their end.

Employers should never ask you to simply send personal information such as bank routing numbers or your social security information via an email or phone call to properly pay you for your work.

If this does occur, then following your gut may be the best practice and cutting ties with this employer is worth more than the pay in which they were offering. There will always be other writing opportunities without the fear of identity theft.

4. Use plagiarism technology to your advantage

You wrote an article and you have rights to it — unless you just wrote something someone else said.

Now, many people are given the same information so it is possible to have multiple variations of the same story, but that is far different that blatant plagiarism.

Luckily, technology steps in and saves the day. There are now many different types of plagiarism software out there like Grammarly that can ensure you are not re-writing an article too closely to something already published.

Just like you wouldn’t want someone to take your work, you don’t want to do the same for someone else. It’s important to protect your reputation.

Freelance writing can be a very rewarding career, but it is best to impose these safety best practices early on to keep your information, identity and reputations safe for a successful future in writing.

Have other tips for keeping your freelance writing career safe? Leave them in the comments below.

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The post Safety First! 4 Ways to Protect Yourself as a Freelance Writer appeared first on The Write Life.

     

Source: Writer Life

By | 2017-04-17T15:25:27+00:00 February 16th, 2017|Categories: General|Tags: |