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!