“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Christy Birmingham

FITS Series Welcome Image

This week we are continuing with the F.I.T.S. (Freelancer In The Spotlight) Series on Wording Well, and the “Freelancer In The Spotlight” today is Christy Birmingham.

Did you pick up your free gift yet? Get it when you subscribe to my author newsletter.

Now please welcome Christy Birmingham to center stage. 😉

Take it away, Christy! 🙂

Christy Birmingham Photo

The Ups and Downs of the Freelance Writing Field

After working in a range of jobs from a chocolate factory line worker to manning the front desk of a bustling office, I decided to take the plunge into a freelance writing career. That was two-and-a-half years ago, and the journey has been one full of ups and downs.

I like to focus on the ‘ups’ but, of course, there have been a mix of good and bad experiences during the last few years. I hear ‘that is normal’ from other writers, although many people I know pursue their writing dreams outside of their day job or have a partner who contributes to the home income. As for me, it is ME alone who pays my bills, and I do so from writing online.

How and Why I Became a Freelance Writer

I took the path of freelance writing as my career because, after emerging from a long bout of depression and anxiety, I wanted to pursue my dream of being a writer. I had thought about it before but never taken the risk – and  do not get me wrong, it IS risky! I decided that if I didn’t try it, I would have regrets, and I had seen my share of those already in my life. So, even if I tried and didn’t succeed, well, at least I had made the effort. That said, I went for it, with hands to keyboard!

The start was tough, let me tell you. I had no clue what current writing rates were and often short-changed myself, accepting rates lower than Canada’s minimum wage just to be able to get work from clients. I worked every single day and often very long hours. I continued that way for about a year and tried to figure out what to specialize in for writing tasks and topics. I changed from focusing on social media tips to health tips to … well, now I do a lot of writing for a range of business websites, producing content for their websites and blogs. I also take days off now and then to recharge my batteries and keep writer burnout far away.

The Changes I Made After the First Year: Tips To Raising Rates

After a tough first year in the freelance writing industry, I took a step back and thought about why I was not able to get ahead financially or get more balance in my working hours. When I took that step back, I saw that I was getting excellent feedback on my writing projects from clients most of the time and was even starting to get referrals to new clients. With that in mind, I realized it would be wise to raise my rates, as my work quality spoke for itself. Read More

“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Tom Bentley

FITS Series Welcome Image

This week we are continuing with the F.I.T.S. (Freelancer In The Spotlight) Series on Wording Well, and the “Freelancer In The Spotlight” today is Tom Bentley.

Did you pick up your free gift yet? Get it when you subscribe to my author newsletter.

Take it away, Tom!

picture of Tom Bentley


Tom’s Early Years

When I was seven or eight years old, I’d walk to the nearby public library, and go into the section on dinosaurs. I would lie in the aisle for hours, surrounded by scattered stacks of books, driving through a landscape of imagination, fueled by words. At first, I was simply thrilled by the stories of the great beasts, but after a time, I began to realize that I was taken by the words themselves—Jurassic, Triceratops, Tyrannosaurus—and would say them softly aloud.

Many, many books later, it began to dawn on me that books were the conscious, choice-making work of authors. I started to fathom that a writer employed tools, framed a composition, shaped its architecture. Deeper yet, that writing had a voice, that it was animated by a current.

When I was twelve years old, I was swimming in the ocean when I was tugged out by a small rip current that took me, amidst slamming waves, against the supports of a public pier. I screamed for help at the people looking down at me; no one seemed to react. I was terrified that I would die, while enraged that no one cared. In my agitation, I didn’t know that someone had called a lifeguard, who quickly rescued me.

Months later, for a class assignment, I wrote an essay in which I described in detail my fear, fury and despair. My teacher later read the story aloud, saying it was a vivid slice of life. At the end of the year, the school handed out student awards, and I was given a little cloisonné pin that said “Best Writer.” I knew before then that writing had an unusual power over me, but the commendation told me that language, even my language, could hold sway over others as well.

More and more, I came to see that the world of imagination is the biggest world there is, and that a writer can write to see the unexpected, to know the hidden, to do as Asimov suggested and “think through his fingers.” And that words can be so sensual you want to lick them.

Storytellers Everywhere

I saw evidence everywhere that people were storytellers. They have been storytellers for ages, whether the words were inscribed on resistant stone, delivered in a lilting voice or caught in an electronic dance. I knew I wanted to be a storyteller too. However, I was still striking the anvil of ideas with brute blows, yet to learn the deft stitchings and tight knots in narrative’s fabric. But I wasn’t discouraged enough not to write.

One of my favorite F. Scott Fitzgerald quotes goes, “My own happiness in the past often approached such an ecstasy that I could not share it even with the person dearest to me but had to walk it away in quiet streets and lanes with only fragments of it to distill into little lines in books.”

Tom’s Writing Background

I thought of those words when, 25 years ago, the San Francisco Chronicle accepted my article on my long correspondence with the Jack Daniel’s Distillery, publishing it in the beloved Sunday Punch section. I bought 10 copies, and sat on a bench in Golden Gate Park just staring at my byline, not even reading the article. Sitting on that bench, in my quiet ecstasy, I knew my little lines weren’t literature, not the stuff of Lear’s stormy fulminations, of Conrad’s lurid Congo, of Twain’s beckoning twang, but for me, word magic enough. That essay’s publication made me feel like I might be, was becoming, could be a writer.

Ten years later, receiving a beautiful glass plaque (and a tidy sum of money) for winning the National Steinbeck Center’s short story contest, I was sure I was a writer, but I wasn’t convinced that I would ever be a great writer. Now, I know I am a writer, and I can leave the “great” part for someone else to ponder. I know that my best writing is yet to come. Read More

“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter William Ballard

FITS Series Welcome Image

Today’s post marks the beginning of the F.I.T.S. (Freelancer In The Spotlight) Series on Wording Well, and the “Freelancer In The Spotlight” today is William Ballard.

Did you pick up your free gift yet? Get it when you subscribe to my author newsletter.

Now please welcome William to center stage. 😉

Take it away, William!

photo of William Ballard

My Story – The Birth of My Freelance Writing and Author Life 

My name is William Ballard, some of you may have heard of me, but many of you, I’m sure, have not. And rightfully so, because I have just recently began to have a breakthrough in this industry.

I am a freelance writer, copywriter, blogger, and author currently based out of Ontario Canada (originally from Dallas Texas). As long as I can remember, I have dreamed of being a self-employed writer and living the writer’s life, but just as for any dream or goal, knowing where to begin is one of the most difficult areas to deal with.

From as far back as I can remember I wanted to be a writer, however, what kind of writer was still left up in the air. I considered becoming a poet, and from time to time still write poetry. Then I considered being a fiction author and began going to work on my first fiction novel, but then another problem arose. I had no idea how to even develop a novel or fiction book. So, then I began searching for writers and authors that would mentor me. That was when I came across K.M. Weiland, who is the founder of Helping Writers Become Authors.

I joined her mailing list and begin absorbing as much information about crafting a novel from her as I could, and I am still learning from her to this day.

Moreover, it was during this season of learning, training, and being mentored that I came across the term freelance writer. So, I began doing research as to,  what a freelance writer was. In other words, what stuff does a freelance writer write? Well…needless to say, that was when I came across Carol Tice and the Freelance Writer’s Den, which I am sure many of you are familiar with.

I spent three valuable months as a member of the Den and absorbed extreme amounts of wisdom and insight from Carol. I remain a faithful subscriber to Carol’s newsletter and I am still absorbing invaluable wisdom from her.

Read More

Rules for Capitalizing Nouns #writingtips #infographic

Do you know what a “noun” is? Basically, a noun refers to any person, place, or thing.

There are rules for capitalizing nouns, too.

When is it appropriate to capitalize a noun?

I found a neat infographic for you to answer this question. I hope you like it!


Common Rules for Capital Letter Usage

 Source for Image

Did you learn anything about capitalizing nouns? I sure hope so!