Freelance Writing for Dummies

I don’t regret my choice to be a freelancer. While some people might stress out about an unpredictable schedule and a lack of structure, that is exactly the part about this job that makes me so happy. I don’t have to report to anyone if I don’t want to. You always want to be nice to your clients, but if someone is a complete jerk I have no problem telling them to go find someone else. That’s the advantage that a freelancer has over the average worker. Today I’m gonna teach you how to get started as a freelance writer and make your own money!

Find a Niche

There are a few ways to get started, and some are easier than others. You can broadly divide them into two paths: content writing, and creative writing. Content writing is writing for ads, websites, and brochures. Creative writing is writing for ebooks, journalistic articles, or short stories. The path you choose depends on you as a person.

Content writing is the hardest to break into, but it is arguably the easiest to do well. The basics of content writing can be summed up this way: Less is more. The shorter your web copy is, the more it will be read. A quippy 4-word headline does more than a descriptive 20-word headline. And your content must grab the reader right away; most people never read past the headline and the first paragraph. https://peakstriker.com/ has great examples of this quick and efficient writing style, and they use it to highlight the benefits of different sports racquets!

Creative writing is easier to get into, but it is much harder to do well. In fact, I would say that you either have a gift for this type of writing or you don’t. Just try your hand at writing ebooks or short stories for someone and see if you have the knack!

Where Do I Get Work?

So you have the skills and you know what path you want to take… How do you start writing? Who is going to hire you? You feel like someone who has the best badminton equipment, but no one to play with. I recommend that you start with Upwork and Fiverr. Fiverr is the easiest, but it also has much cheaper clients. You will get a lot more rude people there. Upwork is better in my opinion because most of the clients are more professional and know what they’re doing. Just create a portfolio of work and start applying. If you don’t have a portfolio, create some content just so you can demonstrate your writing style. You will almost never get hired if you can’t prove yourself.

Don’t be afraid to work for very little at first; you may feel like you’re almost working for free. That’s ok for now; you’re learning! Think of it like school. But after your first 3 gigs, you need to up your prices. You’ve proven yourself; now people need to pay up if they want your services!

The Boxer Rebellion

The Boxer RebellionIt was time. This writing caper was starting to be my undoing. Sitting on my ass hammering away at the keyboard and doing no exercise was adding inches to my belly and stiffness to my unused muscles. I had always been a very fit guy, playing so many sports that I had to keep a timetable to know what equipment and which uniform to put on before I dashed out the door to play.

As age takes hold of you, then the inclination to do some physical activities just for the sake of keeping fit disappears down the toilet. Older people tend to turn to more Bacchanalian pleasures that involve restaurant menus, recipes and wine lists. Oh, and don’t forget the cheese. I have to admit that I found these pastimes a lot more pleasurable than shopping for sporting equipment.

I don’t ever do things by halves. It’s always full steam ahead, like a bull at a gate. So with trying to get fit, I looked at my options, the things that I thought I might begrudgingly like. Walking? Sure, but to walk off this tummy and get a bit of fitness it meant 20 km a day. Who had time for that? Jogging? Too physical and my football knees would last maybe two days, one of them being at the medical clinic buying a knee bandage. Swimming? Yeah, worth looking at, but not in the winter. Even with a heated pool, you still had to brave the ice cold elements walking to and from the car. And a bathing costume. I would have to buy something that was both modest and stomach covering.

Most people overcome this problem I was having by signing up with the local gym. I checked it out. I met with a personal trainer there and he did a physical check on me. We went through some of the more low impact equipment there, a few weights, some treadmill stuff and specific exercises for my ailing back which sitting and writing weren’t helping. Then he suggested some boxing. I blinked twice and looked at him as if to say “You’re crazy!”

Once he explained it to me, I got a better understanding. He didn’t mean for me to jump into the ring with a wannabe Muhammad Ali, he suggested the punching bag and gave me a website on which I could research some boxing gloves that would suit the exercise. To be honest, the only time I ever wore a set of gloves was when I had a fight in the schoolyard with the local bully. The teacher made us put on gloves and go hell for leather. I remember I won because I landed an early blow to his nose. He was a prolific bleeder. Bad luck for him.

Anyway, I checked out all the equipment I would need, not a lot really, and from this website I picked a set of gloves and started going to the gym. I found hitting the bag a rather cathartic way to release daily frustrations. Who would have thought that?

Staying Healthy While Working At Home

As a freelance copywriter and photographer, I spend much of my time working at home. While I really enjoy the perks and pluses of working at home, there are also a few unique challenges with the nature of my work. I especially find staying healthy and fit as the most challenging part for work-at-home people. There is the constant battle against procrastination; the need to stay focused at all times; and the temptation to binge on anything in your fully-stocked fridge. So, I’ve written some notes on how to stay fit while working at home.

  1. Choose a chair to work on.

One of the best benefits of working at home is that you can choose when and where to work. You can work in the kitchen, in bed, at a desk, or pretty much anywhere. Most of the time, your work would require you to sit for long hours. While some suggest that you choose a comfortable chair, I would recommend choosing a less comfortable one so that you would be required to stand up and move around every now and then. You want to avoid sitting for long hours. Perhaps, you might want to consider investing in a standing desk or in a treadmill desk – that’ll keep you moving at work!

  1. Use a timer for work.

If you aren’t keen with using a standing desk or a treadmill, a timer would certainly be helpful. Set your timer so that you have to stand up and walk at least every hour. You’re probably aware that sitting for long hours is bad for your health. You can set an automatic timer on your phone or computer. Every time the alarm sounds, stand up and move around for at least five minutes. You can also do simple exercise such stretching, jumping jacks, yoga poses, walking, or better a fun way is to use a trampoline like the ones on this site. Your goal is to sit less and move more.

  1. Don’t overwork.

Having no official time of work is both good and bad. While you won’t ever be late for work, there’s the temptation to overwork. You can start your workday early, continue through lunch and keep working till the sun is down. While it’s okay, every now and then, working beyond capacity very often can take toll on your health. Set boundaries such as no work after sundown or weekend.

  1. Develop a healthy routine.

It is important to create a productive and healthy routine. Try waking up early and prepare for work (perhaps a quick exercise in the morning, do personal hygiene, and dress up) as if you are going to the office. Log your working hours to avoid working beyond your limits.

  1. Stuff your kitchen with healthy foods.

When working at home, there will always be the constant temptation to devour anything inside the fridge. While you don’t want kitchen trips to be taking too much of your day, you can stuff your fridge and stove with fresh, healthy foods. This way you are not constrained to consume unhealthy food.

Interesting Scrap Wood Projects

Interesting Scrap Wood ProjectsNot many of you know that aside from photography, I also am a trying hard DIY man. Actually, I have done few woodworking projects at home. Among the projects I’ve done, my all-time favorites have always been the scrap wood salvage projects.

While cleaning up the garage, I was surprised to discover the scrap wood and remnants from past home renovation projects piled up in there. I was about to junk the pile of scraps when I realized that I needed an extra side table for my room. I thought I could turn the trash into something useful.

Early the following day, I gathered all woodworking tools I could find and started working on my first ever scrap wood project. By noon, I was almost done and ready for the finishing touches. I used the Porter Cable 362V Belt Sander (read review on this site: http://beltsanderworld.com/porter-cable-362v-belt-sander-review/) to smoothen the surface. I painted with clear gloss varnish for the final touch. The result was beyond my imagination. It looked better than what I was initially planning. The variety of wood colors and wood patterns makes it look very unique. It suited my room perfectly!

From this unexpected discovery, I have done a few more projects. Here are some scrap wood projects you can find inspiration from:

  1. Raised garden beds

Old shipping pallets look great as raised wood pallet garden beds. To make one, simply attach landscaping cloth to the bottom, add garden soil, and start planting your favorite flower! This is a great scrap wood project for small spaces.

  1. Scrap wood trellis

Vines and climbing flowers add appeal to your garden. Instead of purchasing trellis, you can use scrap wood. Cut equal length of scrap wood and screw to two long woods. Paint it with outdoor varnish to make it more durable.

  1. Wooden storage

Instead of just piling up scrap wood in the garage, assemble them so to create a sturdy wooden box. Old fence planks and 4x4s are perfect for making storage. Now, you can finally get rid of scraps and make more storage space in your garage. Use a belt sander to smoothen the surface.

  1. Compost bins from scrap woods

Create compost bins using old wood pallets. Making a compost bin is very simple. You just have to screw together the pallets and attach chicken wire on its interior to contain the compost.

  1. Accents for your living room

Scrap woodcraft can add pizzazz to your home. You can create unique picture frames and shelving using scrap woods. Add details to your projects by using salvaged wood materials that you can find at a local junk store.

  1. Get inspiration from your passions

Gather inspiration from your interests and hobbies. I actually made a tall photography backdrop out of salvaged barn wood and many find it lovely.

There are a lot of projects that you can do with scrap woods. Be crafty and let your creative juices flow. You’d be surprised at the wide variety of projects you can do!

 

How to Photograph Moving Bikes

How to Photograph Moving BikesI’ve recently been to a motorbike event and that’s where I faced a real photography challenge. It’s a good thing I took my time to prepare and packed all the gear I needed to make some really good shots of moving vehicles. Otherwise, I would have come home with nothing but a bunch of blurry pictures and a distinct feeling of disappointment.

Equipment is the key to success when it comes both to bike-riding and bike-photographing. I’ve been really amazed seeing so many incredibly skilled and daring people who ride their beautiful vehicles at breakneck speeds. What impressed me the most was the amount of courage it takes to do this as there is so very little that protects the rider’s body in case of an accident.

The only “real” protection that a motorcyclist has is the helmet. Doesn’t sound like much, right? I actually did some research into the subject and found out that motorcycle helmets today are works of art. They can really make a difference in case of a fall, and there is a great variety of them available. Just click here if you want to learn why a helmet can save a rider’s life and how many types of them exist.

I believe that motorcyclists definitely are awe-inspiring people and they deserve the best photographs. Making these shots is hard, but I did manage to succeed and today I’d like to share some tips with those of you who want to try photographing moving bikes.

  1. Get the right tools.
    To get good shots from a motorbike event you’ll need your favorite digital or film SLR camera. Digital compact cameras won’t do for this kind of photography as their shutter lag makes it impossible to take a good shot of a fast-moving object. You’ll need a camera that reacts the instant you press the shutter button. As you are unlikely to get a chance to stand really close to the track, you’ll have to take a 300mm (or even longer) telephoto lens as well as a tripod. The latter is necessary as you’ll have to wait for quite a bit to take your shots, so your hands are sure to grow heavy.
  2. Get into a good position.
    Find yourself a spot at some slow corner of the track. Bikes will be leaning beautifully here, so you will definitely get a few amazing shots.
  3. Set the focus.
    An autofocus feature becomes a hindrance when you are trying to photograph something as fast as a moving bike. So, switch to manual, set the focus on the best spot on the track and lock it. I suggest the apex of the bend as the perfect focus spot.
  4. Experiment with shutter speed.
    You’ll need to set a fast shutter speed when photographing motorbikes, but how fast is for you to decide. Experiment a bit starting with 1/500th of a second and find your perfect pace.
  5. Use burst mode.
    Motorbike racing photography is as much about luck as it is about skill, and burst mode will definitely up your chances capture the best picture.

Making your own cat food

Making-your-own-cat-foodOne of the best ways to keep your pet cat healthy is to provide it with homemade cat food. I do the same for my cat Tom and he thoroughly enjoys his meals. I am not a cook – in fact you can consider me to be a natural disaster in the kitchen. However, when it comes to making cat food, I can sure whip up delicious meals for Tom.

I make food for Tom once every two months. While the food typically lasts longer, up to about 10 weeks or so, doing this ensures that Tom always has a steady supply of good food, even in cases of emergency. The time spent in preparing food is significantly lesser than the time spent on caring for a cat and as such, it does make sense for pet owners to make their own cat food.

You will need some equipment and tools in order to make your own cat food. I have a meat grinder, which allows me to grind bones, meat, liver and skin all in one go. After the meat is ground completely, I add to it some supplemental nutrients and store it in the freezer.

Here are the basic steps that are required in order to make your own cat food:

  • Determine the dietary requirements of your pet cat

Every cat will have its own dietary requirement and you will need to determine the same for your cat. Cats will need adequate amounts of protein, amino acids, minerals, vitamins, water and fatty acids and you will need to find out the requirements for your cat. Once this is done, you can proceed to making the cat food.

  • Understand the feeding habits of cats

Cats can seem like they are hungry all of the time and if food is offered, they do not hesitate in consuming it. You will need to ensure to never over feed your cat. I provide Tom with three meals daily and offer him nothing but titbits in between.

  • Grinding meat

I grind organic raw meat in my grinder (click here to see it) as the main staple food for Tom. Typically, the meat I use is chicken and I grind the bones, skin and the fat all into pulp. Today, there are different types of meat available which are hormone free and antibiotic free and they serve great as cat food.

  • Adding nutritional supplements

While the meat is the staple food for Tom, it does not contain all of the essential nutritional ingredients that a cat requires. As such, I add a solution of fish oil, vitamins B12 and E and salt to water and mix this in with the ground meat.

  • Storing the food

After the meat mixture has been prepared, I store Tom’s food in the freezer in small containers. Food will last for months in the freezer, but it is recommended that you do not keep food beyond 10 weeks.

Tom enjoys his meals and he is quite healthy as well. Given that preparation of homemade cat food is so simple, I would recommend every pet owner to try it out.

Nail Art as Art

Nail Art as ArtDon’t let the title of this little piece fool you – just try and tell some stylist his or her nail art doesn’t really qualify as art and you’ll get an earful, or worse. As an avid fan of photography, I’m always looking for things to capture with my camera and just recently, I started looking into nail art as a real form of art. Some of those designs, especially the ones painted or created by skilled persons who have been doing this sort of thing for years, well they really do bounce or kind of jump right off the nail. They demand attention from the viewer and in this way I think they qualify as art just fine.

While they aren’t like paintings renaissance artists spent months of their lives creating, the only thing separating quality nail art from high class art like what’s been mentioned is the amount of time which goes into the job. If you gave a stylist enough time and a low-stress environment to work in, they might very well produce something like the Mona Lisa – only on a smaller scale and painted onto a fingernail rather than a canvas. It might sound foolish but I’ve seen some pretty amazing nail art lately, just by checking out salons here in town.

Like other artists, stylists typically need to go through some training to learn the ins and outs of their trade. There are exceptions, people who are self-taught for example, but this happens all over in the world of art already; it isn’t at all unheard of and to say a natural talent is no talent just because of the medium they choose when creating their art is just, well, it’s prejudiced. There are various NAIL TECHNICIAN SCHOOLS out there, just like there are various art schools. I haven’t studied these enough to really say much about them, other than to mention the fact that they exist.

If you don’t believe nail art is a real art form then I invite you to head out with your girlfriend, a sister, your mother – whatever lady in your life spends time at a salon getting her nails done, just go along on the next trip she makes and feast your eyes on the sights you’ll see. Some nail art does take several hours to complete; some even requires multiple visits from a client, to allow the acrylic or other substances to set, or harden, or be ready for the next step in the process.

Because it can be just as involved as the more traditional kinds of art, because it requires a level of skill and experience to do well like more traditional art forms and because people are willing to pay a great deal for quality work, I think nail art is as much a form of art as painting, writing or acting. That doesn’t mean I’m going to start painting nails any time soon, though. Like other types of art, I believe those who go into styling nails have a kind of calling.

The Awesomeness Of Having A Hobby

The Awesomeness Of Having A HobbyHaving a hobby is important. I enjoy many different hobbies and am always looking for something new to try. While I enjoy copywriting and photography, I need something that will help to unplug and unwind after a hard day. For those who have a hard time deciding if a hobby is worth it, the awesomeness of having a hobby.

Hobbies can be a great outlet for stress. Recently I decided to take a boxing class. The activity helps me release the stress. I can beat up on the boxing bag without having to worry. It also helps by focusing on a non-work- related task, clearing your mind, taking it off of anything that might be making you feel uptight. Once the focus if off of what I’m working on, work wise, I can feel the worry of the day fade away into the background.

Hobbies are awesome not just because they can give you the opportunity to pound away your stress at the end of a long day but because they can encourage you to take that break. It is so easy to get wrapped up in work. With the way that business are today, more and more people are being on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  By having a hobby, something that you can just do out of pure enjoyment, you will have that opportunity to step away from your work. For those that feel like breaks are a waste of time, with a hobby, your break now has a new meaning of purpose. You are being productive even if it isn’t business related.

Hobbies allow you to learn something new, giving you a break from the traditional routine. When I wanted to learn something new I decided to take up smoking meat. It is a challenge to make sure that meat is not only smoked to perfection but also to make sure it’s tasty to boot. I enjoyed researching and learning the new method of cooking. I asked questions, researched procedures, learned all about the different ways to smoke the meat. It was a lot of fun, but a great way to learn a new challenge.

When taking part in a new hobby you also get to interact with others. It might seem like hobbies are a solitary pursuit, however is not further from the truth. You engage with others who like to perform the same hobby. You get to learn from each other, bond over the fun. You get to expose yourself to a whole new world. Your hobby could be totally solitary, like drawing or writing. You can go online to learn more about the hobby, and meet others who can help you grow in your hobby.

Hobbies also help you stay in the present. It’s easy to get caught up in the flow of your hobby. You stay in the moment, you don’t worry about the past or the future. You are there in the moment, even if you spend hours on the project. It fills your focus. It keeps you from worrying about all the things that have to be done, all the things that should be done, all the things you never got around to doing. You get to live in that moment until you are finished.

The Awesomeness Of Having A HobbyWhile it might seem like all you want to do is get rid of the stress, there is an important type of stress that you do need in your life. Eustress is a positive type of stress that hobbies actually promote. It’s that feeling of excitement you get when you work on a project. By working on a hobby you access that kind of stress. You get that feeling of excitement and joy every time you sit down to work on it, especially if you only do the work because it is something you want to do, not something you have to do.

Finally, the best reason to start a hobby is because it can have great physical benefits. Some hobbies are physically challenging, like bike riding. You get out there and you’re using your muscles to move yourself around the area. You release endorphins along with the eustress and it can be a real rush. But even if your hobby is something of a more sedentary nature, you will still have some physical health benefits. Engaging in a hobby can help to lower your blood pressure and total cortisol. It can help you keep your weight down and have a better body mass index. You will also be less susceptible to depression. It is a benefit not just to your body but also to your mind.

Hobbies are great. They get you away from work and allow you to do something that you enjoy doing. Granted a lot of people can make money from what they do for a hobby. Some people draw, take photographs, or write all of which can translate into an easy way to make a living. However, a true hobby has to be something that you do not just because it is a good way to make a little extra cash. It should be something you enjoy doing or it’s not a real hobby.

Look around and see what is out there. You might not know what you want to do, that’s why you should try things out. Is there something you’ve always wanted to learn? If so do some research, find out what it entails and try it out. For example, you love the look of beadwork but you know little about it. Get some books, go online and learn more. Buy a few beads, a weaver, and some thread and try it out. If you really enjoy doing it then you can expand your horizons and delve into the hobby more. The same can be said for any hobby that you may consider undertaking. The point is to find something that you can see yourself doing when you need a break from the hustle and bustle of life.

Why Learning Piano Is Beneficial

Why Learning Piano Is BeneficialMy neighbor was saying the other day as to how difficult his son found learning piano. He said that piano is certainly one of the most difficult instruments to learn. Being a piano enthusiast I didn’t agree with this opinion. It is considered as a straightforward instrument that teaches you all that is to know about basic music notes in a very effective manner. The visually pleasing array of white and black from the lowest to the highest tone speaks for itself the beauty and functionality of the instrument.

While I know that perfecting the play requires long hours of practice, it still remains my favorite. All great composers in music have piano as their key instrument. While it is easy to play initially, mastering it needs lots of practice and patience.

To play rhythmically and with perfect melody and harmony, you need to use your hands separately and at the same time. Using both hands is not a skill that is achieved easily. I know of only one other music instrument that is on par with piano on the complication scale.  But in case of drums, the player need not worry on the melody or harmony. A violin, guitar or bass deals with only one rhythm at a time. So in piano you need daily practice to maintain dexterity of fingers.

While the initial grades involve only easy notes that use one finger only at a time, when you need to have melody and harmony simultaneously in the higher grades, the playing becomes difficult. Playing harmonies is necessary

Beginners have an easier time, usually playing melodies of the one-finger-at-a-time variety. Playing the melody at the same time as the harmony, though, is harder. Irrespective of the purpose of playing the piano, it is vital to learn the skill of playing harmonies. This alone gives the music an expert and alluring touch and makes it stand out from the rest.

Though learning piano may seem difficult, it also has various health benefits. I’ve been playing piano from my school days and love playing it. Recently I got a digital piano, which is certainly a big and effective improvement on the acoustic piano.

Not only is playing piano a challenging task, it also comes with immense health benefits like:

  • Improves self esteem
  • Enhances self-discipline
  • Is a great medium for expressing your thoughts and emotions.
  • Improves your learning ability at school
  • Makes you take intelligent decisions and act smarter
  • Provides you with leisure and skills that stay for your lifetime

The most important benefit that makes piano the best ever instrument is its role in improving split concentration. I’d experienced this when I was young and learnt to play my first Chopin piece. This required using each hand in a separate manner with the placement differing in them albeit with precise coordination. This coordination skill is instrumental in developing the split concentration ability, which is not achieved that easily otherwise.

Since the new era of digital pianos have caused a great stir among the players, click for digital piano reviews here, it is easier and technical now than ever before, enabling easy mastering of the notes as you go to an advanced level.

A Brief Outlook On Field Archery

A Brief Outlook On Field ArcheryWhile I was practicing target shooting at the archery range, a fellow shooter approached me and starting talking about how he had become addicted to the sport. He wanted to know more about the field archery form, which is gaining popularity now. While field archery is similar to target archery, it involves practicing the archery in a wooden setting. The outdoor atmosphere adds to the allure, making it quite sought after sport in Europe and America.

Archery is basically an ancient skill that involves practicing or getting skilled at propelling arrows using a bow. In ancient times, archery has been used in combat and hunting, but now it is mostly used as a recreational activity or as competitive sport. Other than the target and field archery types there is the para archery, which is practiced by athletes who have some form of disability.

In field archery it is easy to train, if you’re good at target archery as the technique is the same except for the background or setting. The same equipment like compound, longbow, crossbow and recurve bow is used here.

Field archery is of two major categories namely unmarked or marked types. In the marked type, you have fixed distances marked as targets, while in the unmarked type the shooting is done at no particular fixed distance. The distance shot at can range from 5 meters to 60 meters depending on the equipment and range category the archer is shooting from.

Field archery is identical to golf as you can walk from target to target around a fixed course. The challenging part of field archery is shooting at downhill or uphill distances or across slopes. The different natural light conditions also make the archery interesting.

Target faces are set at fixed distances in field archery regardless of the particular round or level you are shooting from. The faces are set at 20 cm with 12 faces and three being high and four set across. The next level is at 40 cm with 4 faces, two on top and two across bottom, while the next two at 60 cm and at 80 cm are placed as single faces.

Archery is mostly popular because the variety of shooting styles you get here.  The endless variations in equipment and the different targets and courses make the sport an interesting and challenging one. I use great recurve bow for my shooting.  Whatever be the variations used, the intent or purpose is to hit at the specific target you aim on. Unless you get this right, the sport will fail to grab your attention and you’ll soon lose interest. Practice will help you improve your technique and aim in a great way.

While a rifle gun for instance makes it easy to aim, for archery you need strength and skilled coordination to hit your target successfully.  This is why archery has a wide range of equipment you can choose from. The bows, stabilizer and sights improve the mechanical advantage so a fair competition is ensured always.