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Recently I received a strange request on Linked in, Anil Sharma( name changed), a call centre employee wanted me to write a love letter for him to his girl friend. He of course was discouraged by the high rate I quoted, so I decided to devote a post to all those who want to express their feelings through the written medium, I mean you can always say it with a song, or an SMS. You could also make use of greeting cards,but of course if you like things the old fashioned way, here goes:
I do like long letters and e-mails, so I would suggest you write a long one if you plan a letter, a short one is a note, not necessarily a letter.

The first thing to do is, to check the mentality and likes and dislikes of your prospective partner.

The age group– yours and hers are very important, if you are teenagers, keep things sweet. Some girls like letters written in blood( personally, I feel it has better uses and ink is just great :)), well I’m not too sure whether you should comply with such tastes, but yes, try and keep things simple. If she likes things straight, avoid games. If she is a bit mature and likes a bit of style, please do not rush in, just write a friendly feeler, it should introduce the idea, that you have some thing other than plain friendship in mind. See how she takes it, does she like it, or she is avoiding certain topics , while just maintaining the friendship, if she is just politely replying, then stop, she may not be interested.

On the other hand, if she returns your attempts at mild flirtation with some hints and suggestions, start building the friendship, and of course when you finally confess your love, induce some humor into it, so she doesn’t feel overwhelmed and feels pressurized into replying.

Nothing is more distasteful than a friendship that has gone sour, just because you couldn’t control your feelings.

The final word on this one—Good Luck!:)

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Have you ever imagined the comic effect that would result if you placed one word in place of another? Such as, “that is the end of the tail,” instead of saying, “that is the end of the tale.” Today I plan to discuss homonyms; we use them ever so often, but when asked to explain we tend to go blank( my favorite hobby).  Homonyms can be categorised as words that are spelt the same or have  similar pronunciation but  are different in meaning.

By definition a homonym is (grammar) a word that is spelt like another word (and may be pronounced like it) but which has a different meaning, for example can meaning ‘be able’ and can meaning ‘put sth in a container’(OALD).

Fowler’s Modern English Usage describes homonyms as, “a word of the same spelling or sound as another but of different meaning,”  they have cited the example of  the word, “calf” and “calf“, which has the same spelling as well as pronunciation but differs in meaning. The first meaning could be calf as the young one of a cow, and calf as the fleshy hind part of the human leg. For those words that are identical in sound but not in spelling he has cited the example of “tail” and “tale.” While the former means tail of an animal the latter refers to a narrative or a story.

Words that are same in spelling are known as homographs and those that are same in sound or pronunciation are called homophones. Homographs need not have the same pronuniciation, such as lead and lead, one is a heavy metal and the other means to guide. Other examples could be read and read. Homophones on the other hand just have the same sound, they could have completely different meanings, such as, aloud/allowed. Current/currant. The example that I cited in my introductory paragraph, which is tale and tail is an example of homophones.

So here I list some commonly misused homonyms. The first one is ‘quiet’ and ‘quite’( this though wouldn’t quite fit the definition mentioned above as the spelling differs).

Quiet is an adjective, can also function as a verb and noun. It means making very little noise. You could refer to the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary(henceforth OALD) for other meanings of this word.

Quite is an adverb which means fairly, pretty, to a certain degree. “I quite like the book.” For detailed reference, please check the OALD.

The next one in the list is advice and advise. While the former is a noun the latter is a verb. Advice as a noun means, an opinion or a suggestion about what sb should do in a particular situation, e.g. follow your doctor’s advice.

Advise on the other hand means to tell sb what you think they should do in a particular situation, e.g. I would strongly advise against going out on your own.

Magazine and magazine. A noun in both cases, one refers to a thin book containing articles, discussions, photos on a particular topic or maybe a mixed bag of articles.

Magazine also means the part of a gun that holds bullets before they are fired. It also refers to a room or building where weapons, explosives and bullets are stored.

article and article. This word actually has 4 different meanings. In each case however it is a noun. The first article is a piece of writing on a particular subject in a newspaper or magazine.

The second meaning has a legal reference. A separate item in an agreement or a contract.

The third refers to a particular item or a separate thing.Especially one of a set.

The fourth has grammatical reference, one of the three articles, ‘a’, ‘an’, or ‘the’.

Kind and Kind. Here too both are adjectives but they have different meanings. The first refers to, a group of people or things that are the same in some way; a particular variety or type.

The second refers to, caring about others; gentle, friendly and generous.

Type and type, used both as a noun and verb, this word has 4  different meanings. The first one is synonymous with kind and means, a class or group of people that share particular qualities or features.

The second meaning is similar to the above meaning but has a slightly different connotation. This is used informally and means a person of a particular character, with particular features etc. Such as she is the artistic type, he is not my type etc.

The third meaning too refers to the same thing as above but has a slightly different connotation. This means, having the qualities or features of the group, person or thing mentioned, such as, a police-type badge, a continental-type-cafe.

The fourth meaning refers to the act of typing letters or words. Here type is used as a verb.

Watch this space for more such lists. I intend to devote a post to the usage of colon, comma, apostrophe and the much maligned passive voice.

Today, I read an article called Twitter for writers. When I saw the title my curiosity was roused. I immediately clicked on the link and was eagerly expecting to get some useful tips on how to use Twitter to your advantage.

The writer began her article by making a powerful statement– “Twitter is not about numbers”,  so, you naturally expect her to tell you what it is about and how you could also use the same tricks. Instead, after every sentence she suggested a link to some other article about Twitter. Then she picked one topic after another and said this I’ll discuss in a later post.

Why is this method wrong?  because the reader came to read your article to gather some useful information on Twitter. He expected some information, if you offer the reader nothing—is he likely to come back? The answer would be an emphatic NO. I didn’t get a single tip from the article.

While her introductory para was good, which means she hooked me in, but  her article offered me nothing. In fact it inspired me to write this post. I feel writing an article is not just about building links, but as a writer, you should deliver what you promise in the topic or the opening para.

I kept reading the whole article hoping now she will offer me some useful information, but she did not have anything new to offer. So, when I initially saw the blog, I was planning to subscribe to the blog, but, after reading the article I realised that most of her articles would be like this. Lots of hype and no substance. Please do not write your post like a sales letter. It disappoints a serious reader.

As a freelancer who is constantly looking for tools to improve her craft, I have found many useful tools and resources on the internet and they are FREE ( that word is like music to my ears!) Let me not waste more of your time by talking about myself and let’s begin some action!

The first one that I have found is called the word web, it is a free dictionary and thesaurus, provides word meanings, synonyms and audio pronunciations of words. Just go to the link provided and download the dictionary for free. It sits pretty on your menu bar with a ‘W’ sign on it.

If you want to fine tune your grammar, ( everybody needs a little help at times) I found a site that is run by a professor emeritus and it explains all the grammar rules with excellent examples. He doesn’t just explain, subject and predicate with examples like, “ Mary is a good girl.” and then simplistically explaining that “Mary” is the subject in the sentence and the rest is the predicate. He breaks down everything beautifully.  Most sentences are not so simple and there are some very complex sentence constructions. Check out, powa. Just sign up and start the grammar lessons

Poewar is another great writer’s resource.  This site not just offers tips to freelance writers, but also lists writing jobs in USA, lessons in writing and grammar tips. I think you can spend quite some time browsing through this site. If you want to go the next step as a freelance writer, I heavily recommend this one.

I won’t inundate you with a list of sites as each site has so much to offer that even if you follow one or two rigorously I assure you, you will get all the information as a freelance writer that you require. One more blog that I recommend for newbies  in the field of writing is the writing mommies blog. They offer plenty of suggestions and all the information is simply presented.

This is one of the best resources for people who want to know how to write press releases. It offers you a proper format and then allows you to view the final version as it would appear in Press. Start writing press releases and make money.

I guess these resources should be good for today. More gems later. Keep watching this space.

Are you a book lover– who has strong opinions about any particular book? You can easily earn by writing book reviews. There are plenty of online publishers that pay for book reviews. You could even write a book review for your local newspaper or magazine.

Begin by defining the genre to which the book belongs, that is whether it is a fiction, non-fiction, biography, autobiography etc. List the title, author and the publisher.

Briefly summarize the theme if it’s a novel. If it’s a non-fiction book then provide  an overview, which includes  a paraphrase of the book quote some interesting lines from the book. You could even do that when reviewing a work of fiction.

When you are briefly summarizing the story line be careful that you do not reveal the whole plot and ruin the book for the readers. Make sure that whatever you quote or reveal just highlights the book and nothing more.

Go on to discuss your opinion of the book, what you liked and what you did not. Substantiate every statement with a logical reason. If you are reviewing a non-fiction book then discuss the author’s opinions and state what you agreed with and what you didn’t agree with. You could even present a different perspective, if you have one.

Also, clearly state what was weak in the plot or how the writer could have presented things differently. Try to relate the book to other books by the same author or similar books by other authors. Suggest how the book relates to real life situations and would it have an impact on the readers or not.

Briefly end by summarizing the book and state whether you recommend the book to the readers or not. You could even do this by awarding stars or points to the book.

 

Essay writing as a form of writing is widely used. Whether it is school level essays or college term papers, this kind of writing never goes out of style. An important aspect of a good essay is proper structure, which can be achieved, if before you begin writing you draw a proper outline.

The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines essay as a short piece of writing on a particular subject in order either to be published or as a part of a student’s course study. So one thing that you should remember while writing an essay is it should be short. It should have a logical flow of thought and a proper conclusion.

Start with a brief introduction or your basic premise, depending upon what you are writing about. If you are discussing a book or a particular character in a novel or an aspect of the character or novel. start by discussing briefly where the character appears in the novel. It is also important to offer a brief critique of the novelist and his/her works. This would help you in developing your thought pattern and help in discussing what aspect of his works is displayed in this particular novel.

If the essay you are writing is an argument, then start by stating your basic argument in the opening paragraph and then in the next three paragraphs, build the main body of the essay and then come to a logical conclusion.

A good vocabulary comes in handy when drafting a good essay. The apt use of words shows not just your skill as a writer but also helps you in developing your thought  logically.

A good essay should have the following pattern-

A good topic

An introduction

The main body( 3 paragraphs)

Conclusion

To achieve this prepare a rough draft or a brief outline of what you are going to state in the essay. Also make sure that you format your essay according to the correct guidelines, where you quote the source of your ideas or references( MLA style)

Some sites that help you in essay writing or offer you essay writing jobs are-

The Essay Expert

EssayWriter

10 Paid blogger Jobs

Blogging is a hobby and many people blog for fun. Today anybody and everybody has a blog. The rich and famous have ghostwriters working overtime to maintain their blogs and the common man like you and me writes our own blog.

Each one has a story to tell or opinions, thoughts and ideas to express. The kind of blogs I have mentioned are personal blogs, more like a personal diary, where you can write about your take on things, your ideas, opinions, your pet peeves, like in my other blog I wrote about the demand for US/UK native writers.

On the other hand there are niche blogs or commercial blogs where people sell their services or products. Some people review products for other companies and get paid in cash or kind to do so.

As per the latest regulation if you are reviewing a product in your blog you have to disclose your link with that person. Whether you got paid to endorse their product etc.

But these regulations aside, some people run interesting blogs that function like magazines and they want writers or bloggers to blog for them. I have compiled a list of blogs that pay you to post or review. I hope the list is useful to you.

The first one on my list is blogger party. This site does not pay you upfront, but you get to share the Google adsense revenue. Register and blog away.

The second blog in the list is blogitive. They pay weekly for writing blog postings. If you don’t have a blog they suggest you a list of blogging platforms and also tell you ways in which you can increase your traffic.

The third one in the list is blogvertise. Highly recommended as this site pays you upfront. Sign up and they ill provide you tasks where you have to review and link up with the advertiser’s site.Easy money is what I call this opportunity. Sign up.

The next one is payu2blog. They pay you to blog but they have certain conditions like the your blog should be 90 days old and should have posts that are 90 days old. They ask you to submit your blog and you have to wait for two days for approval.

The next one that I recommend is payperpost. This one has the easiest sign up process. Just your email and password. Complete the registration process and start blogging.

One more blog that pays you for just blogging is blogburner They share adsense revenue with you. Sounds interesting. Go right ahead sign up.

Let me add some more to the list and you can keep watching this space for all the great freelance writer resources that I have collected from the internet. The next one is called sponsoredreviews. This site pays you to review the information.

More blogging jobs for you at smorty. This site allows you to write article, reviews, opinions and pays you by PayPal.Sounds great. Just go and sign up.

This one also offers different methods to pay. Check out socialspark. They pay you for posting as well as shared revenue.

The 10th in the list is linkworth. This site also offers you different ways to earn.The ad revenue share is as high as 70% and they also pay you for blog posts.

I hope this list is exhaustive. I’ll share more information from my collection next time…