Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Goals for 2016: Playing the Guitar and Chicago Citation Style

Pre-New Year fever is highly contagious and who said that it’s bad? It’s the time when you feel some sort of that childish excitement that is supposed to be forgotten. And it’s just amazing because you are gently “pushed” by this infantilism to make something crazy and funny that eventually becomes the best memories in your life.

That’s why I’ve decided to create a list of goals for 2016 exactly at this state of pre-New Year fever to make it bright and interesting. Let’s see what I’ve got here:

1)       Continue Writing Every Day

As you remember, my 30 day writing challenge resulted into a habit of creating a piece of text every day. And I don’t want to give it up.

2)      Get the Hang of the Chicago Citation Style

My career is my all, so, I can’t set goals without omitting my professional skills and their improvement.

3)      Stay in Touch with My Friends

My close ones play an important role in my life. That’s why I mustn’t lose sight of them in any case, and you shouldn’t too.

4)      Learn to Play the Guitar

I’ll tell you a little secret: I have a list of songs that I listen to and imagine myself playing the guitar and singing them. So, I better start learning how to do it cause the list doesn’t become any smaller.

5)      Start Learning Italian and Go to Venice

After reading Dan Brown’s “Inferno” I can’t live without seeing this beautiful city. French say “see Paris and then you can die”. I am almost positive they’ve mixed it up with Venice.

6)      Knit a Sweater

Well, this year I’ve made two scarfs for my husband and mother. But next year I must move forward and knit a whole sweater! I’m already excited.

I’m not an adherent of long lists with 100 points of to-do tasks because I’ve tried them and they don’t work with me. If I set myself a goal, it must be 100% reachable and all of the above said plans are possible to complete (I only doubt the Venice thing, but I’m 80% sure that’ll work out).

So, these are my goals for 2016. And what are yours?

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Stay Away from These Words in Academic Writing

Academic writing is a separate sphere that has its rules and peculiarities. The style is very plain and clear, so, any vagueness must be avoided. There are words that should be dodged if you want to look professional enough for your clients. And that’s what I’m going to talk about.

There is no place in academic writing for words like:

-          I/My

There mustn’t be anything personal in a paper you are writing. Your main goal is not to express your opinion (unless the requirement clearly states it) but to prove some point with solid facts or numbers.

-          Thing

Frankly speaking, it’s my junk word that I sometimes use too much. I always try to keep it in check but when editing, I always delete one or two astray “things”. I even have a small note as you can see. Hope it’ll help.

-          Kind of

It’s one more junk word (fortunately not mine) that appears very often in not really appropriate places. You can replace it with more academic equivalents like “within the parameters of” or “in the category of”.

-          Of course

This word doesn’t show you from the best side. When you are to write a paper, you obviously need to research because you don’t know everything. But the use of this word presupposes that you’ve taken the topic and covered it in 30 min. You and I know that it’s not true. So, avoid it.

-          And so on

Your much better options are to enumerate everything till the end or to use “etc.” This is the word that characterizes informal language but not the academic style that is expected of you.

This list is not full. There are loads of restrictions in terms of academic style but I’m not going to mention them all. These words are highlighted because they are taken from my own experience and mistakes. Of course, I use them: that’s why I have this blog, to blow off the steam so to say. So, dear writers: watch your writing and run your blogs; they really help tame the urge to use junk words.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

If the Client Doesn’t Give You the Task, Ask for It Yourself

Clients can be very different and the communication we have with them is very important. Sometimes, when we fail to find the common ground it’s usual for us to blame the customer. However, it’s often our own fault because we don’t ask enough questions to clear up the situation or make other mistakes that prevent us from understanding each other. Here is what I’ll tell you: there are 3 golden rules that you must repeat like mantra every time before you go to sleep:

1.     Always Ask Questions

This is your spaceship that will get you to the Moon and back. If you see that the client haven’t included a clear task or haven’t mentioned some details, it’s your green light that means you need to ask. Moreover, even when it seems that everything is stated, ask questions to clarify whether you’ve got the task right. Remember that it’s vital for your freelance academic writing career.

2.     Say “No” When It’s Necessary

The global problem of any freelancer is that they are afraid of saying “No” to their clients due to the fear of losing them. But, in fact, when you take up loads of assignments or plunge into something you are unable to complete, it is much worse than just turning down an offer. If you have promised to fulfill the task but haven’t delivered the result, you lose a client, your reputation and several future clients too. Think about that carefully.

3.     Meet the Deadlines

The last but not the least, as people like to say. If you provide high quality writing but fail to deliver it within the set deadline, the client will ignore it once or twice but then he or she will find the person who will do the work on time. Believe me, there is nothing better than the job done by a professional sent exactly when it’s needed.

These are the rules that you have to learn and follow. Some of you may think or say that they are very basic but people who look for such kind of articles with a hope to solve their problems with clients clearly have troubles with these rules. So, before trying to use some techniques or ask yourself whether you’ve done something wrong, make sure everything is ok with these three corner stones.

Good luck to you!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Most Confusing Words for Me

Well, my 30 day challenge is finished and I’m back with my freelance academic writing tips. I want to say that my already rooted (don’t know how deeply yet) habit of writing every day is still with me and I’m not going to quit it.
Today’s post is written rather for my sake but I hope that it will help many of you because it’s a common problem for the English language. And it doesn’t matter whether you are a native or non-native speaker.

So, the most confusing words according Lily Wilson:

1.       Proceed vs Precede

I’ve started with the most problematic ones. No matter how many times I look them up in the dictionary, I’ll mix them when writing. So, “to proceed” means “to continue”; to go on while “to precede” is to come or happen before something. Pretty simple … for now, when I see these definitions on the screen.

2.       Discreet vs Discrete

I love English but such kind of words I sometimes want to call “the most awful” not “the most confusing”. “Discreet” stands for modest and “discrete” for “separate” or “clear-cut”. They just don’t stick to these definitions in my head no matter how I train them.

3.       Site vs Sight

Well, these ones are easier. I confuse them rarely but from time to time my hand can flinch and type not the right word. “Sight” implies “a view of something”;  “site” denotes “a place”. But, still, “sightseeing” often makes me give it a second thought because it associates with visiting places.

4.       Alternately vs Alternatively

Sometimes I mix up these words. It seldom happens but the fact that it does makes me feel insecure. “Alternately” means “in turns” while “alternatively” stand for “as another option”. Talking about other confusing words, I remember the difference due to the different pronunciation. But these two sound quite similar and I think that is the reason I have problems with them.

All in all, these are the most bugging words for me when I want to apply them in my writing. I always have some kind of consult-a-dictionary indicator which pops up in my mind every time I see these words.  So, dear friends, when you doubt something, it’s 100% better to check it up than to correct the mistake someone else has pointed at.
Stay cool!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Report #7: Academic Writing and Eddie Murphy

Well, this is my last report. When something good ends people tend to feel sad. But I don’t. I feel happy because to be this way I don’t need a challenge anymore. It showed how it is right to enjoy your job.

So, let’s explore how I spent my last 5 days of 30 day writing challenge!

Day #26: Write about an area in your life that you’d like to improve.

I wrote about self-development because I can never manage to combine everything at once and it irritates me much. That’s why I am trying to prioritize and so far it has been well.

Day #27: Conversely, write about something that’s kicking ass right now.

What can I write about  apart from academic writing?

Day #28: Post 5 things that make you laugh-out-loud.

These things are hilarious!

Day #29: What are the difficult things in academic writing that you want to overcome?

I want to overcome many barriers and difficulties. Despite the fact that academic writing is rocking now my life, it doesn’t mean that I mastered it. I need to learn so much more …

Day #30: Your highs and lows for the month.

The most interesting thing is that I couldn’t make up any lows J

Well, that’s it. 30 day writing challenge has ended but my lifetime writing challenge has only begun.

If you are interested how this 30 day writing challenge influenced my life, wait for the article for EssayLancers. They were very excited to publish an article on their blog about my feelings about such a great think. So, coming soon … 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Report #6: Lessons I’ve Learned the Hard Way and Academic Writing

Day #21: What three lessons do you want new freelance academic writers learn from you?

Well, there are many pitfalls in academic writing and it’s not such an easy occupation as it seems to be. So, three lessons I want newbies to learn from me are:
1.       Never think that you know enough about this or that topic.
2.       Always review the structure and peculiarities of the paper you are going to write.
3.       Don’t think you can’t write something; just start and the work will pour out of you.

Day #22: Put your music on shuffle and post the first 10 songs.

Love these tasks the most because my music is always with me!
1.       Disclosure – Magnets (feat. Lorde)
2.       Brika – Expectations (Artiq Remix)
3.       Lido – Lost feat. Muri (Stwo Remix)
4.       Cosmo's Midnight – Snare (feat. Wild Eyed Boy)
5.       Whilk and Misky – So Good To Me
6.       Calvin Harris – Blame (feat. John Newman)
7.       Ben Howard – I Forget Where We Were (Boehm Remix)
8.       James Morrison feat. Nelly Furtado – Broken Strings
9.       Gareth Emery – Concrete Angel feat. Christina Novelli
10.   Tapecut – drops ( The XX - Together remix )

Day #23: A letter to someone, anyone.

I wrote a letter to my old friend Nat Cleary. We’ve been friends for almost 10 years and I appreciate this friendship much. This is the kind of bonding that lasts a lifetime. We have an agreement. As we meet very rarely because of different circumstances, we send each other books that we have read and that we suppose to be worth reading. It’s very interesting because our tastes in books are not the same. Yet we always have what to talk about.

Day #24: Write about the lesson you’ve learned the hard way.

I think there are many lessons that I’ve learned the hard way but the most vivid in my memory is the one when I understood that I’m too naïve.  That’s what I wrote about . But after reading this it came to me that I haven’t stopped being naïve. Because I like being that way.

Day #25: Think of any academic word that you like and write something inspired by it.

“Significant”. I classify this word as academic as it can be used in various situations and render the exact meaning you need. But it also can be applied to my life because I have too many things that I care about and it inspires me to live.

That was my second to the last report and I hope you enjoyed it. Because I did.

Wait till my last one and you’ll find out what effects such kind of challenges have on writer’s consciousness.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Report #5: Facts about Myself and Academic Writing

I can’t believe that I’ve passed 20 days of my 30 day writing challenge. I officially announce that I’m proud of myself. I thought I would quit it after 10 days. But you know, regular reporting in front of public makes you more responsible. Besides, there wasn’t a day I wanted to stop. Are there life-time writing challenges?

Day #17: Post about your Zodiac sign, and whether or not it fits you.

I’ve posted but I really don’t know. I used to be suspicious about this Horoscope thing but the more I read, the more I find some similar description that fit my personality characteristics. So, I’m really lost here.

Day #18: Write 30 facts about yourself.

I appeared that most of the facts deal with films, books and music. My constant companions in life J

Day #19: List the most difficult things for you in academic writing.

Although I love my job, I can’ say that it is easy. Vice versa, it’s pretty complicated. But when I overcome some difficulties connected with my job, I become even happier than I am. So, it’s worth it.

Day #20: Take any referencing and change it according MLA, APA and Chicago style.

Ugh … Can’t say that it is the most pleasant stage of my challenge, but I need to do this. This is the weak spot I need to beat.

Sugarman, Joseph. Advertising Secrets of the Written Word. Las Vegas: DelStar, 1998. Print.

Sugarman, J. (1998). Advertising secrets of the written word. Las Vegas: DelStar.

Sugarman, Joseph. “Advertising Secrets of the Written Word”. Las Vegas: DelStar (1998).

Done. 10 more days and I'll tell you how 30 day writing challenge makes my life better.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Report #4: Harry Potter and Academic Writing

Here is me and my 4th report about #30DayWritingChallenge. Can’t believe that I’m half way down the road. I feel good and that’s the most important thing.

Day #11: Something you always think “What if …” about.

I tried to imagine how the things would be going if I wasn’t a writer. I tried to imagine myself being a teacher and it wasn’t bad. Maybe I will even try it in real life J That’s where this challenge leads me to. Amazing, isn’t it?

Day #12: Write about the things you’ve acquired since you started freelance academic writing.

I just can’t stop talking about how freelance academic writing is great, don’t I? But what can I do if it’s really that wonderful? That’s right, I can do nothing. That’s why I just tell everybody about it.

Day #13: What are you excited about?

I wanted to compare my excitement from the childhood and the feeling I experience now. I guess I still feel excited about many things and I’m very happy about it.

Day #14: Post your favorite movies that you never get tired to watch.

There are so many things that I can consider my favorite that it’s very difficult to choose. Am I the only one with such a dilemma?

Day #15: Bullet-point your whole day.

Seems like a normal day when I have organized it on the paper. Have to do it more often J

Day #16: Something that you miss.

I wrote about my efforts not to miss anything. I think that I’m doing pretty well with it because the point is in self-programming. If you make yourself miss, you will miss. The same thing is with happiness.

That’s it. I feel very balanced with this writing challenge. It opens some new possibilities within me and I don’t see any obstacles to use them.

What about you? Do you want to try it?

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Report #3: Adele and Academic Writing

So, here I am with the 3rd report, still eager to tell you what I have been doing and how everything has been going. I don’t want to rush the things but I just can’t miss the chance to say that this challenge is changing me and my attitude to my work. We’ll see what comes next. I’m very excited. Very.

Here is my portion of writing.

Day #6: Five snacks that get you concentrated on the assignment.

Well, I like talking about snacks.

·         Roasted peanuts;
·         Vanilla yogurt;
·         Carrot sticks;
·         Gummy lollies;
·         Banana chips.

Few months ago I would add cookies and candies here, but now I try to brace myself up and avoid these evil snacks and you know why.

Day #7: List 10 songs that you’re loving right now.
1.       Adele – Hello
2.       Glass Animals – Love Lockdown
3.       James Brown – This Is a Man’s World
4.       Flyte – Eloise
5.       Pharrell Williams – Freedom
6.       Hozier – Foreigner’s God
7.       Prince George – Upswing
8.       Khai – Do You Go Up
9.       Oh Wonder – Landslide
10.   The Weeknd – I Can’t Feel My Face

Day #8: Share something you struggle with.

I wrote an essay on my fears because I struggle with them every day as any other human being. They are connected with my career and it’s difficult to talk about them. But I feel much better having written it on the paper. Advise you to do the same.

Day #9: Post some motivational quotes that inspire your academic writing.

Day #10: Write about something that really matters to you.

How I spend my life with my family is the thing that matters me a lot. That’s what I have written about.

Next report in 5 days J

To be continued … 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Report #2: Stephen King & Academic Writing

I am very glad that I’ve taken this 30 day writing challenge. Believe it or not I think about it all the time and it makes me feel so happy. It’s one of the best decisions that I’ve made.
I chose to write in a notebook. I don’t really know why, maybe because it feels more personal. So, here we go. My 2nd report.

Day #2: Write an essay “The reason I chose academic writing”.

I don’t know how many words I wrote (this is paper notebook) but it rushed out of me without stops. I wrote for thirty minutes and it covered six sheets from both sides. I really admit that academic writing plays a very important role in my life not only because of the benefits I listed in my previous report. But because it changed my life, my routine and me. I write, work and learn. Isn’t that just amazing?

Day #3: Find the paper that you consider your best and justify your choice.

Well, I dug deep to find this one. My favorite type of academic writing is essay and papers of this type take up almost all of my storage space. Of course, I don’t have all texts I wrote (after all, I’ve been 16 years in academic writing business) but I certainly can choose among available. It’s an essay on “How Reading Influences Life”. I think you already understand why I chose this text. Because I wrote it with so much passion as a true book lover and bookworm that I could barely give it away. I will read it to my children when they grow up because there are my thoughts on why everybody on this planet should read every day. And I’m sure they’ll understand it.

Day #4: Write about someone who inspires you.

I even didn’t need to think. Of course, I wrote about Stephen King because this is the writer I respect and admire. I read his books and constantly find topics for essays because he always touches upon serious sociological issues and that’s incredible. Who knew that it’s possible to combine Stephen King and academic writing?

Day #5: List 5 places that you consider the most comfortable and workable for academic writing.

1.       My reading nook. It’s the best place when I have to write about something light.
2.       My kitchen. I have a very comfortable chair and table there.
3.       Park. Mostly because of the sunlight and fresh air.
4.       Café. Sometimes a little bit of bustling is all I need to get started.
5.       Beach. Though I rarely get the chance to enjoy it, I use every opportunity I have.

That’s my report for now. I have to say that I enjoyed these 5 day much. And you?

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Report #1: How I Start My 30 Day Writing Challenge

Ok, guys. It's November, 1 and I start my #30DayWritingChallenge. It's nice to begin your day with writing as always and I feel fresh and full of will and strength. You know, when you realize that you do such cool things the sun shines brighter, I swear! You have such an elevated feeling that you can do anything and impossible is nothing.

So, getting down to business.

Day #1: List 7 things that you like about freelance academic writing.

Well, that's pretty easy :)

1. I can take up any topic I want to write on.
2. I organize my time and work load myself.
3. I've got the most useful skill ever: researching.
4. I constantly get to know tons of new things.
5. My speech has become more sophisticated and it's improving every day.
6. I have become flexible in terms of different types of writing.
7. Communication with different clients boosts socializing skills a lot.

Here they are: 7 things I like about freelance academic writing. I can certainly name more because this type of work is the best.

My next report is scheduled on November, 5 and it will surely be bigger, so, get ready to read my stories.

To be continued ...

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Bored? Here Is a 30 Day Writing Challenge to Get You Stirred Up!

Dear friends!

Probably it’s just fall time that causes some mood swings and occasional unwillingness to work. Lots of my friends tell me every day that they are bored because they don’t have anything interesting happening right now or they feel drained of strength and can’t finish anything they’ve started. Don’t know about you, but I just can’t stand this feeling when you don’t know what is wrong but can’t get yourself to do things. It means that it’s time to take action! And from now on I declare a 30 day writing challenge!

I think that’s a great opportunity to shake up when you don’t feel like doing anything. It has various perks that will boost your productivity:

  •              you improve your skills by writing something every day;
  •              you send away your fall moodiness;
  •              you form a useful habit that you will surely benefit from.

Doesn’t it sound great? I bet it does. So, I will certainly accept this challenge and we’ll see the results after a month. I will do reports every 5 days to show my daily writing (and to control myself a little bit too). My 30 day writing challenge starts on November 1 and ends on November 30, 2015. I am very excited and encourage you to do the same. I’ve heard a lot of writers’ warm feedback on such kind of challenges and want to have some of my own.

So, who’s in with me?

Monday, October 26, 2015

Tips on Storing Work on Cloud

We all know by now that Cloud is not just a fancy name for uploading files to a server. It goes much further and provides a lot of flexibility especially for us, freelance academic writers. I experienced it myself once when my laptop passed away and took all of my work with him. It was disastrous for me so I decided to look for new solutions and I found them.

OneDrive and Google Drive offer 15GB free of charge, with 10GB from Box a little behind and Dropbox in the end, giving away only 2GB. Dropbox, however, can be upgraded to 16GB with special actions such as referrals. A growing stash of photos and videos will soon need more. In this case you may consider OneDrive and Dropbox 10$ per month for 1TB paid plans or 7$/1TB per month for Google Drive. But I would rather store photos and videos on external hard drive cause, you know, I’m not ready to pay for space in the Internet yet.

App of choice depends on which features are important for you, as some of them are able to greatly enhance your work. In Google Drive, for example, you can edit your documents right in the Cloud with built in-office suit and shared access for multiple users.
As far as special features go, OneDrive organizes the files by type and has an auto-upload feature for photos. It comes built-in with Windows 8 and 8.1.

Dropbox is one of two apps that support Blackberry (the other being Box) and the only one that works with Kindle Fire. It comes with auto-upload for photos as well. Box has an endless list of sharing and privacy features, including comments and notifications.

I strongly recommend storing your work on cloud because freelancing supposes that your tasks can catch up you anywhere. You can access your unfinished essay or research paper at your friend’s place, while traveling or visiting your parents. That’s very comfortable and much safer than relying on your laptop. Remember my case; you don’t want to feel that way as I did.
So, stay calm and back up your files.                

P.S. What cloud storage service do you use?