Word of the Week: Extenuate



verb \ik-STEN-yuh-wayt\

: to lessen or to try to lessen the seriousness or extent of by making partial excuses : mitigate

: to lessen the strength or effect of


1. Don’t even try to extenuate their vandalism of the cemetery with the old refrain of “Boys will be boys.”

2. “At my university (as at others I’ve known), circumstances may extenuate plagiarism, but they never excuse it.” — From an article by Clifford Orwin in The Globe and Mail (Canada), June 15, 2011


“Extenuate” was borrowed into English in the 16th century from Latin “extenuatus,” the past participle of the verb “extenuare,” which was itself formed by combining “ex-” and the verb “tenuare,” meaning “to make thin.” In addition to the surviving senses, “extenuate” once meant “to make light of” and “to make thin or emaciated”; although those senses are now obsolete, the connection to “tenuare” can be traced somewhat more clearly through them. In addition, “extenuate” gave us the adjective “extenuatory,” meaning “tending to make less.”



5 Steps to Becoming a Successful Freelance Writer

Freelance writing is not often about just having the skills to write a great article or string a few sentences together with some complicated and smart sounding words. There are much skills involved in order to become successful and make good money doing what you love to do.


This is the most important skill freelance writers will need. All professionals in any field know how important organization is to becoming successful. In the world of freelancing its all about keeping track of clients, work hours and schedules. For those who work per hour, organization comes in very handy as this will outline for them what they need to charge to make a decent living. Those who track their expenses will never overspend or over-pay their taxes. When freelancers are disorganized this often leads to waste of time and money.


Your image is important. In order to get more work and more clients you will need to work on how you are percieved by others.It is important to establish yourself as a professional and take your brand very seriously. This gives clients confidence in you and that you will be able to produce high quality work on time. Networking is a great way to establish a professional image.


Money is the gold at the end of the rainbow when it comes to freelancing. While we are not leaving home to go to an office everyday, we do work, we just do it in the comfort of our own home. Our money isn’t guaranteed. We don’t have a set income and basically, our income is based on how much we work. While there are many writing opportunities out there that pay decent rates, in order to be successful freelance writers need to become more aggresive when dealing with their rates. When its time to collect money, it is time to be a collection agent. In short, you will need to stop writing for pennies and know your worth. Keep good records and acquire higher paying jobs.


I have many a times disregarded this simple rule and I’m sure many other freelancers have done so as well. The jist is to be consistent with work. Many freelancers dig in and work hard when the bills need to be paid then slow down or stop altogether when thier responsibilities won’t be coming again for another couple of weeks. Being consistent will allow you to work and not kill yourself in the process. Instead of slaving for a week to meet bills, working at a consistent pace for the month will allow you to pay your bills and have extra left over. While its okay to take a break for a day or two don’t let it run over so much so that you have to double time it to get back on track.


Being aware of whats happening in the freelance writing community is key to being successful in the business. There are many freelance writing communities which post job opportunities, workshops, training sessions and conferences which are beneficial for all writers out there. It is important to know where the best work is coming from, which companies to avoid, who’s making money where and where they aren’t and what rates are being charged in the industry. This can be easily done by staying in contact with other writers, commnities and blogs. Keep your ears and ears open at all times.


If you have more tips you would like to share with my readers, feel free to post them in the comment box.

How to Produce 100% Unique Content

unique content, unique smiley

As a freelance writer I often come across topics I am not so educated about. In situations like these I often look up source material and risk using this material too closely because of my lack of information on the topic. So, how do I produce 100% unique content on something I have never heard about? This is my method.


I spend just about a half hour sourcing relevant information about the topic I am to write about. I most commonly use articles written by others via EzineArticles and sometimes may use Wikipedia if it is something broad and general enough. EzineArticles normally brings up a vast amount of articles that have been written about the topic I wish to learn about.


Most writers may then copy and paste this into their own notepad window and begin to rewrite the content. Some may even change a couple of words in a sentence and submit it as their own. The right way to go about producing 100% unique content is to read the source information, and write an article based on the information read.

You need to look at the material, summarize it in your mind and then write something new from the information you have gleamed. (via Nurul Chowd Hury)


I find this to be a more efficient way of creating unique content. Instead of simply rewording and rewriting information already published, I am able to use the information acquired and write my own informational article. There are times when I use the reword/rewrite process. This may be the case when I’m too mentally exhausted to retain any information whatsoever. In these cases I may use already written articles, however, I try my best to only use these as a source and not follow the other writers format and train of thought completely.


Writing 100% unique content is especially important n the world of freelancing. It may seem difficult at first for some based on the fact that some topics are a bit challenging and you will need some type of source or reference. It is also not uncommon for the same thread of words to be used in your article as it has been in another, hence marking it as plagiarism. In cases like this, you may feel as if you put your own words into the piece but the fact is that there is another article somewhere on the vast world wide web with that same thread of words.

The Thesaurus is your best friend. I even have one embedded into my task bar on my computer making it easier for me to find alternative words.


The most important step is to check your work and ensure it is 100% unique. There are many plagiarism checkers online, including the most popular and widely used Copyscape. There are also some free plagiarism checkers which I have come across online and will list them here for my readers. Each have their own limitations (free always comes with a catch)

(Please share your method of producing 100% unique content below in the comments)

Word of the Week: Harangue

I’ve decided to begin posting a word each week. I am constantly trying to broaden my vocabulary so much so that I even attempted to read the entire dictionary, learning 5 new words a day. That quickly dwindled along with my interest. Many writers tend to use the same set of words over and over again. Although we may have a vast vocabulary there are a few words, terms and phrases that are on the forefront of our minds. We may not realize it but after writing 10 articles on massage therapy the other day, I realized pretty quick how much my vocabulary needed work.



noun \hə-ˈraŋ\

: a speech addressed to a public assembly
: a ranting speech or writing


  1. He delivered a long harangue about the evils of popular culture.
  2. <launched into a long harangue about poor customer service without realizing that I wasn’t even an employee!>


Middle French arenge, from Old Italian aringa, from aringare to speak in public, from aringo public assembly, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German hringring

First Known Use: circa 1533

Related Words

diatribe, tirade, jeremiad, philippic, rant
(source: Merriam-Webster)

The Drawbacks of Freelancing

After coming across a quote online, I chose to share it with others:

Author and poet Ernest William Hornung (1866–1921) used the term in “The Gift of the Emperor” to describe his woeful state as a freelancer in those days, “I warmed to my woes. It was no easy matter to keep your end up as a raw freelance of letters; for my part, I was afraid I wrote neither well enough nor ill enough for success.” (source: Wikipedia)

Comment below and tell me what you feel are the major drawbacks of freelancing.

Payoneer Review: Global Payments Made Easy

payoneer logo

I came across Payoneer after realising that PayPal was adamant at making it difficult for me to make physical contact with the money I earned while working freelance. I do not blame PayPal for restricting withdrawal methods for smaller countries but it does make it very hard for persons like me. I believe I learnt of Payoneer while looking for virtual credit cards online and instead came across a much better option. When I saw that Payoneer offers a payment option to global clients I had to sign up. Thus far, I have found it increasingly helpful and I really don;t know what I did before I had it.


Payoneer is a simple and powerful online payment distribution solution.

And that is pretty much it. What Payoneer does is distribute Debit Mastercards to payees all across the globe like me, where they are able to receive payments for work they have done. They have been in business since 2005 and have since enabled thousands of businesses to offer their workers, employees, suppliers and partners with compensation.


payoneer mastercardAs aforementioned, once you sign up with a company that offers payouts via Payoneer you will receive a physical prepaid (debit) MasterCard. It is mailed by the company once you sign up and arrives pretty fast. The Card itself is issued by Choice Bank LTD located in Belize City:

Payoneer is headquartered in New York City and employs over 100 experienced financial and technology professionals. We are a registered MasterCard Merchant Service Provider (MSP), and partner with Choice Bank Limited or First Covenant Bank to deliver our services. Privately held, our funding partners include Greylock Partners, Carmel Ventures, and Crossbar Capital.

I have had a Payoneer card for some months now, it works. I can use it as either a credit card or debit card whenever swiped. I have used it to withdraw money from ATMs, store purchases and online shopping.


There are quite a few companies that offer Payoneer as a payment solution: (here is a full list)

eCommerce Platforms

Freelancer Market

Direct Sales


You cannot apply for this Mastercard directly from the Payoneer website. You can, however, sign up with a company/partner that offers this payment option and then request a card (I signed up at Reviewme). Websites like the ones posted above offer Payoneer payouts. Once you sign up, the card is mailed to you. All you have to do is then activate the card and make it your payment option. Once you are paid by one of the companies above, money will appear on your card and can be used virtually anywhere.


Card activation – U.S. $5.00 Per card One time – when card is first loaded
Card activation – outside U.S. $10.00 Per card One time – when card is first loaded
Card activation – outside US – Listed Countries $24.95 Per card One time – when card is first loaded (Angola, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Pakistan, Saint tome and principle, Turkmenistan)
Loading Payments $2.00 Per load Each time card is loaded
Monthly card account maintenance $1.00 5+ trx/month From available card balance each month
Monthly card account maintenance $3.00 1-4 trx/month From available card balance each month
ATM Cash Withdrawals or Transactions
ATM withdrawal – U.S. $1.35 Per Trx When withdrawal is requested
ATM withdrawal – outside U.S. $2.75 * Per Trx When withdrawal is requested
Declined ATM withdrawal $1.00 Per Trx When withdrawal request is declined
Purchase Transaction Free * Per Trx When card is used for purchases


  • Card to card transfers
  • Load money to card options
  • Transaction history
  • Cannot be overdrawn
  • No bank account or credit check required

Visit the website to find out more.