Desember 2008 Desember 2008

Jumat, 19 Desember 2008

Improve The Quality Of Your Writing In Less Than 60 Seconds

by: Jesse Dawson



Writing is not really an art. It is a craft – and you can learn a craft. Follow these four techniques to improve the quality of your writing, no matter what type of writing you do.

Writing Tip #1: After you run your spell checking software, go back and re-read your writing. Few people are good spellers, which is why so many of us rely on spell checking software. Unfortunately, spell checkers have their own flaws and sometimes flag silly errors. For example, the words "form" and "from" are both good, legitimate words. But if you wrote a business letter that said, "We took $200 form your checking account to cover the payment," most spell checkers won't catch that oversight. Yet this simple typo changed the meaning of the sentence. Spell checkers are a convenience; they are neither authoritative nor foolproof, so don’t rely on them. Always read through your writing at least once after you spell check -- and keep a dictionary handy.

Writing Tip #2: Use that famous "KISS" principle for your punctuation. You know the rule, don't you? "Keep It Simple, Stupid." Apply this rule to punctuation. If you don't know how or when to use a semicolon, then avoid semicolons; you'll only display ignorance if you get it wrong. In keeping with that KISS principle, limit your use of commas. Far too many people use far too many commas. Just because a sentence is long does not mean it needs a comma. Well-placed commas make reading easier. Commas thrown in simply to break up words are incorrect and distracting. Another important rule of punctuation is to avoid using exclamation marks, almost always. If your choice of words, sentence structure, and overall prose don't convey the sense of excitement you are seeking, then using an exclamation mark won't do it. If your writing conveys your sense of excitement, an exclamation point is, well, pointless.

Writing Tip #3: Make sure your writing is grammatically correct. You don't need the skills of an English teacher to use correct grammar. You simply need to learn the basics -- verbs and subjects agree in number, for example. That is, "he was" is correct; "they were" is correct. To say "they was" is incorrect. If you are not sure about using grammar, especially if English isn't your "first" language, go to some good reference sites for fundamental English grammar and usage. (If you are writing in another language, the same advice holds true for that language.) Invest in a good, basic grammar book or style manual. Check with any bookstore, online or offline, and you can find one.

4. When you finish some writing, put it aside for a couple of hours or days (if possible), then re-read it before you let go of it. Of course, if you're writing or dictating a business letter or other "time-sensitive" document, this may not be possible. If you set your article or story aside for a day, then re-read it, you may notice glaring errors or want to make significant changes. And you thought before you had finished. Many writers and teachers have commented that all true writing is done in the rewriting. Take that advice to heart and you will significantly improve your writing.

These four steps, rechecking your spelling, taking care with punctuation, watching for fundamental grammar errors, and rewriting, will improve your writing. They are proven tools used by every wordsmith.

Top 10 Freelance Writing Resources On The Internet

by: David Drake



RentACoder.com

If you are new to home based money making industry as a writer, RentACoder is probably a good place to start from because its procedures are quite straightforward. Signing up for this website is totally free but you will need to pay 15% of each project you win, as a service fee. Since the money is escrowed by your buyer before project inception, your payments are guaranteed if you do a quality service.

Scriptlance.com

There are many job postings at scriptlance, however; many of those projects never get rewarded. It is quite difficult for a beginner to start off at scriptlance because there is a lot of scamming going on in the bidding phase. However, if you are able to build a good reputation, you can be sure to have a lot of buyers awarding you projects on long term basis.

Guru.com

Guru is a professional freelance website which allows free membership as well as subscriptions known as Guru VENDOR. Although there are many job listings, many buyers choose to have Guru Vendors bid for their projects, so if you sign up with a basic account, you might not go too far with this website.

Elance.com

Elance too has two categories of membership; basic which is free of charge and professional which should be subscribed to. Upon sign up, you cannot bid on any project until you pass an evaluation test from the website. Elance too is a secured site as it facilitates payment escrow.

Craigslist.org

This is a biggest classified portal on the internet and so possibilities of finding work in here is endless. As a writer you could either search for freelance work or post an advertisement promoting your services, free of charge. The downside is that, according to website rules you cannot post too many ads as you will become suspended from the website.

Getacoder.com

This website operates quite similar to RentACoder with the exception of allowing free memberships as well as, premium memberships. Their commission per project is 10% of the project value plus a fixed charge of $5.00

The downfall however is that, if your account remains on zero balance for over 30 days, it will be frozen.

Gofreelance.com

This is a very professional website with a lot of professional and highly paid writing jobs on the offering. However, you will need to subscribe as a member to work. But the good news is that you can apply for a trial period of 7 days by paying only $2.95 thereby, you can have a taste of what you are getting in to before investing money on membership.

Essaywriters.net

If you are a professional writer, essaywriters.net is your perfect opportunity. Signing up for their service is easy however; you will only be able to take up projects once your application is accepted by the website within two weeks.

Getafreelancer.com

You will find quite a lot of writing related freelance opportunities at getafreelancer. Membership is free and here’s how it works. Getafreelancer allow new users to make only 15 bids per month. For each month a writer remains a member at the website, 1 point is added. So if your membership is 1 year old, you will get the chance to bid on 27 (15 + 12) projects per month.

Freelancewriting.com

This is a supermarket of freelance writing jobs. What this website does is to obtain feeds from top freelance websites and display all relevant jobs. So if you don’t have time to spare on several websites, this will be your ideal shopping place.

3 Keys to Better Online Copywriting

by: Daegan Smith


So you want to be a better online copywriter, huh? You may be good at writing –getting straight A’s for research reports and that sort of thing. But online copywriting is different sort of animal. And as good as you may be at your game. This one has a few rules of its own.

When you copywrite for the internet. You are basically doing two things. You are doing marketing and writing good articles.

If you neglect either, you will put across the impression that you are on a marketing campaign that has a few screws loose. The marketing aspect will gauge whether you can attract attention. It will ascertain if you can connect with the reader and get his or her attention.

The writing aspect will prove if you can get the message across clearly and creatively. If your writing is not polished, the reader will get the impression that you are not a professional at what you are doing. And this is a bad thing to start with.

To avoid this you must keep in mind a few keys to online copywriting success. These keys will help you get a firmer grasp on the interplay between writing and marketing so you can better you copywriting powers.

1. Be Creative

Don’t look for rules when doing your copywriting. Rules are good because they help set a standard for which all of your work will adhere to. Unfortunately, rules can sometimes dampen one’s creative spirit.

In today’s fast-paced information world, he who remains dormant loses out. To keep up with the times you must be constantly on the look out for fresh and exciting ways to get your customer’s attention. This could be a new concept of writing or a creative way to push an advertisement.

The internet makes a lot of new things possible. We are only beginning to scrape the tip of the iceberg with the possibilities the internet brings to the online marketer, and the online copywriter.

For example, some would use startling trivia to get the readers attention. Or blurt out something so preposterous, it would shock the life out of readers – which of course will lead to a logical conclusion that drives interest to the product or service the copywriter is pitching.

However, you must be careful that your creativity will not come across as annoying or misleading. This will drive people away instead of attracting them.

For example, some copywriters would create ads that present a seemingly irresistible offer. The reader, interested by the ad would read on further, only to find out that the first offer was just a ruse to get attention. This would seriously annoy the reader and dash any hope that he or she would develop any further interest in your product.

2. Attention, Attention, Attention

If you ad cannot attract attention, it is a failure. Your ad should be one that when placed among other ads, it would stand out.

Remember that you are not the only one who tries to get ads across to internet users. There will always be competition waiting in the wings. Never be complacent and settle for so-so advertisements. They will only get lost in the rubble of ads that litter the internet.

How do you make the ad stand-out? First of all, you cannot make the ads stand-out for all people. You must remember that you are targeting a specific portion of the population. If your products are pipes, you are trying to speak directly to those who are in need of pipes.

You will have to make an ad that stands out to them. Get their attention! Say something loud, but honest! Make them an offer they cannot refuse. But always make an offer you can come through with.

3. Focus on Benefits, Not the Features

People are not concerned with the features, believe it or not. They want a general statement of how your product or service will benefit them. Don’t go around saying, “Look at my deluxe, 200-horsepower, chrome-plated, vacuum cleaner. It can suck up marbles, dust, and other stuff.” This does not attract people.

Say instead, “Clean any carpet, no matter how dirty it may be!” This leaves out the details but goes ahead to address the direct need of the user. If your product features details that you are sure will sweep the reader off his feet. You may present if after addressing his primary need.

Don’t Forget These Keys

These are merely guidelines that outline the basic tenets of online copywriting. With your talent, you can be sure that you can aid the evolution of the online copywriter. Keep these keys in mind and you can be sure your online copywriting skills will dramatically improve.

7 Ways To Get Paid To Write Online

by: David Drake



More and more people tend to earn at home nowadays. However, the catch is that stay-at-home jobs don’t work with many fields. If you are a good writer, then you are among the lucky lot and we are about to discover how it is so.

Usually freelance writing work is available through various resources through freelance exchange websites such as rentacoder.com, scriptlance.com etc. There are also a number of sites for classified advertisements where these work can be easily found; e.g. craigslist.com. If you search through such sites, you will understand that you have many options.

? Blog writing and reviewing is one popular option open to writers. Many freelance exchange websites have openings for this kind of projects with an increasing trend. The task at hand could either be to write on a given topic which will become a blog or to make comments on already written blogs with a back link to the buyer’s account, so as to increase search engine rankings to a particular site.

? Writing for SEO is another popular method. Many website owners are interested in getting a high rank in SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) as it will be advantageous for increasing web traffic and their sales. Therefore, website owners will provide writers with sets of keywords to be included in the article. The writer should be skilled enough to meaningfully use these contents without harming the flow and the originality of the article.

? Writing Newsletters is another method. Various institutes now outsource their newsletter writing through many websites. The writer is given specific topics to be written in standard or specific newsletter formats. This work can be considered relatively easy due to the nature of the work. In most cases, you will be given a newsletter template where your job will be to fill in the content according to the given format.

? Writing auto-responders is an ideal job for creative freelance writers. It is usually a very simple task requiring high creativity. Your task as a freelance writer in here is to come up with attractive auto responders with plenty of creative thought.

? Content writing for websites is a highly paid job because it is the writing that turns visitors in to buyers. So if you are a writer with high language skills and if you have a very good creative mind, this job is for you.

? Ghost writers are those who get paid the most. Whenever you are expected to become a ghost writer, it has to do something with publishing the content be it an e-book, research paper or a single article. As a ghost writer, you are expected to come up with the general outline of your project. Once everything is discussed, the writer will start on the project.

? However, if you want to retain your copyrights and take credit for what you do, you still have the choice to do that with websites such as associatedcontent.com. It’s a place where you can simply publish your article and get paid for the number of page hits you receive. In other words, the more popular your articles become more money you will earn!

Rabu, 10 Desember 2008

ESL and TEFL: Teaching English Grammar to Children through Games


by: Shelley Vernon


One of the questions ESL and TEFL teachers are asking on forums the world over is: how can you teach grammar through games?

If you don’t want your class to glaze over with dictation, writing exercises and “Jimmy, would you please read paragraph 1,” then take heart! You’ll find you can teach everything you want with games, and the children remember it better to boot.

Here is a disarmingly simple game, which can be used for many purposes. Please note this particular game is for small groups of up to 20 children or so, and you need floor space. If you have more than 20 children, or no floor space then please see the bottom of the article for games suited to your needs.

The players stand round in a circle with one player standing in the middle. Each player has a picture of an item, or a word flash card, except for the player in the middle. Call out two of the picture card items or words. The two players holding these cards have to change places without the person in the middle grabbing one of their spots. If the person in the middle manages to slip into the spot in the circle then the one left standing goes in the middle. The new person in the middle hands their flash card to the child taking their place in the circle.

If someone is stuck in the middle for two turns say, "All Change!” When the players hear this they must all change places, which gives the person in the middle a very good chance of joining the circle. Once everyone has had one go ask your class to pass their picture to the right, and take the one handed to them from the left. You can give them another go with the new picture.

Notice that only 2 children move at any one time (aside from when you say “All Change), which makes it easy to keep control.

How could you use this game in your language teaching? Firstly, you can use it to reinforce new vocabulary, secondly, for revision, thirdly to help spelling by playing the game with word flashcards instead of pictures, and fourthly, to practise a grammatical structure.

Let us say you want to teach the conditional tense and you start with “I would like”. Hand out pictures of food that your pupils already know. Call out “I would like bananas and pie”. The pupil with the bananas tries to change places with the pupil holding the pie without the person in the middle taking one of the spots in the circle. Continue until everyone has had a go, repeating the target structure each time. With a class that learns quickly you can also introduce the rest of the declension (he and she would like, etc.). You are now ready to proceed to a speaking game where your pupils use the target structure, as they will have heard it repeatedly by now. You can follow the speaking game up with a writing game, and hey presto your children can understand, say, read and write the new target structure.

Now what better way is there to teach grammar than that? You are teaching grammar by absorption and repetition, which is the way we learn our native tongue, and for children it is by far the best way to go.

You can sign up free for games and ideas for all class sizes, from private lessons to large classes on http://www.teachingenglishgames.com

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