Where You Write/Work Matters

Since my office is now floor to ceiling storage I’ve been without my writing room/home office for months and consequently, my writing has suffered. This helped me realize that where you write matters immensely. Here are a few tips for creating a comfortable home office or writing nook.

THE HOME OFFICE

Whether you are a part-time or full-time write a novelist, or work at home mom you will need a professional and comfortable room to work in.

  • Choose a room with a computer or writing desk and a proper chair to support your back. Sitting in a couch will promote a slouch and this does take a toll on your back and attitude. You will be more prone to falling asleep when you are reclined.
  • A couch and foot stool is okay for taking breaks or getting inspired. However, never use it as your primary writing area.
  • Keep away from distracting things. Televisions are the root to procrastination. Instead, a small radio should be your substitute. Play tunes at a low and background noise level.
  • Have everything you need close by. Items like pen and paper, a dictionary etc. Instead of interrupting your work by looking for the items you may need they should be at arms length.
  • Adequate lighting and cooling. It makes absolutely no sense to have yourself locked in a dark room that is hot and uncomfortable. You will not enjoy being in your writing room for long periods of time.

Tip: Custom made shelving and desks can be very helpful in order to utilize as much space as possible. Make your home office comfortable. There is no need for it to be too posh and serious.

THE WRITING NOOK

Not everyone will have a home office or room to convert into an office. I find the idea of a writing nook very fascinating. You do not require much space. Just enough to include a desk and chair and possibly integrate shelving for books.

  • Transform a nook or empty space of your home into a writing nook.
  • You will need a desk and chair and possibly shelving or drawers to store your supplies.
  • Keep your writing nook away from distractions like televisions and children. For work at home moms find an area of your home with the least kid traffic. If you have young children install a baby gate to prevent them from running amok near your work space.
  • Accessorise your work nook with flowers, sculptures, a wall calendar, clock etc

Tip: a writing nook can be a closet (see picture above), an empty space near a window, a patio or balcony or even unused space on your kitchen counter.

Advertisements

Learned VS Learnt

Working on my novel the other night brought this question to mind. My upbringing in terms of spelling and grammar was slightly confusing. In prep school they used and taught from the A Beka curriculum which included spelling and grammar. The issue which I later learnt when entering High School is that Jamaica uses the British spelling and grammar rules while A Beka was a U.S publication. Needless to say the rest of my life has been riddled with “misspellings” and even now my readers may note that I use both in my writing. Unintentionally of course.

I typed learnt into a document and it came up mispelt. My word processor is set to the U.S Language since I write for many clients who follow the U.S spelling and grammar rules. I know that this alteration in spelling and grammar by these two countries has confused quite a few of us.  Well here is FWJ to save the day.

LEARNED vs LEARNT

First off, this issue is purely a difference in how two regions spell this word. Therefore, both words are correct. But this purely depends on your assignment or where you are from.

THE VERB

Both words are the past tense of the verb LEARN which means:

1. Gain or acquire knowledge of or skill in (something) by study, experience, or being taught.

2. Commit to memory.

LEARNED when ended with ‘ED’ is American English.

LEARNT when ended with a ‘T’ is British English

THE ADJECTIVE

Both learned and learnt are alternative spellings of the past tense and past participle of the verb learn.

Learnt is more common in British English, and learned in American English.

English (as in Queen’s English):
learned“: a present participle that performs the role of an adjective by qualifying a following noun.
learnt“: a past participle that performs the role of a adjective by qualifying a noun.

These words will be participles only if used along with a helping verb, also called an auxiliary verb like “to be” or “to have”. If used without an auxiliary verb, there is a possibility that the word “learnt” is actually a verb and not a participle. This depends entirely upon the sentence structure.

Both these words are derived from the infinitive of the verb “to learn”. While “learned” refers to a current state of acquired knowledge of the accusative noun, in this case the the noun following the word “learned”; the word “learnt” refers to a past incident that caused the accusative noun to become aware of something or gain some knowledge.

Examples:
Stephen Hawkins is a learned man.” [present participle: “learned”; auxiliary verb: “is” (to be)]
I have learnt a lot of thing by attending this class.” [past participle: “learnt”; auxiliary verb: “have” (to have)]
I learnt about it last night.” [verb: “learnt”; auxiliary verb: none, not required, because “learnt” is a verb in it’s own right]

If the sentence “I learnt about it last night.” sounds confusing as to why “learnt” is a verb, try rephrasing it as “I did learn about it last night.“. Although there is a subtle difference between the two sentences, they convey the same meaning. (source)

OTHER WORDS

There are a few other words which follow this rule when used in the past tense. If you know of any more feel free to add them in the comment box.

burned, burnt
dreamed, dreamt
kneeled, knelt
leaned, leant
leaped, leapt
spelled, spelt
spilled, spilt
spoiled, spoilt

 

-FWJ

Freelance Writing Jobs

I have went ahead and found a few Write For Us type jobs. Check out the links below by simply clicking on them. Also remember the FWJ has its own Project Board (link is in the menu top right) which aggregates jobs from other sites and puts them all in one location.

Write for Us @ bloggingtips.com: Click here for more information.

Write for Us @ problogdesign.com ($125 per post) : Click here for more information.

Write for Us @ sitepoint.com ($100 retainer and bonuses): Click here for more information.

Write for Us @ mentalfloss.com: Click here for more information.

Write for Us @ brainblogger.com: Click here for more information.

Write for Us @ makeusof.com ($50 plus bonuses): Click here for more information.

 

CloudCrowd Review: Legitimate Freelance Opportunity

(Warning this is a very  long and indepth post)

The most foremost thing on your mind right now is: Is CloudCrowd Legitimate? And my answer to that is: Yes. Read on for my full review of this freelance writing opportunity.

I popped into my professional email account the other day and I spotted a message sent from someone I didn’t recognize. I was about to click it to spam but thought against it. So I decided to read the message. It went like this,

Write Articles and Get Paid Daily

If you are looking for a legitimate article writing opportunity that pays daily (expect on the weekends), then visit the following link to sign up: http://www.cloudcrowd.com/. You must have a facebook account to sign up at this site (create a new facebook account if you don’t want to use the existing one).

It is not a sale pitch so I will keep it simple. Just sign up with your facebook account and get paid for the work you do daily in your paypal account. You are paid up to $8 for a 400word article, $18 for a 350word press release and $0.90 for a 35-45word product review. For working at CC, you need to pass credential tests, which are quite easy.

All you need to do now is to join the site by clicking the link above which will prompt you to log in to your facebook profile. After you have signed up, just send me an email and I will provide all the info about passing the tests (this is important). I make $40-50 per day writing for this site and you can also do so.
It is free to join, no costs to you ever (not even paypal fees).
My readers know how skeptical I am about near everything but I decided to click through. I am glad I did. Honestly, this is legitimate, although my ‘new’ friend above sounds like he’s selling sunscreen to the jersey shore girls. Read on for my review of CloudCrowd.

WHAT  IS CLOUDCROW

A writing/content mill. BUT! And this is a big one. They pay very well considering the rates of other mills.

HOW TO APPLY

CloudCrowd is a Facebook application. Which I found very odd and almost did not go through with. As most of us know some Facebook applications tease and trick us into adding them and then we end up friendless because we have been hacked and spammed. But I decided to go all in. What happens is when you click the link CloudCrowd you will be redirected to Facebook and like all applications it will ask you to Allow it to collect your information etc. Go ahead, it is legitimate. Insert the information it asks you for and you are in.

CREDENTIALS

To work at CloudCrowd you will need to pass tests. These tests are called Credentials. You will also have a Credibility number that starts at 40 and goes up. (You have both a rating and a number.) Here are some credential tests you can take: (I will add details to those I have done)

Writing and Editing

  • English Editor (edit a document of between 80-100 words into proper English)
  • German Editor
  • French Editor
  • General English Writer (write a document between 50-100 words on a given topic)
  • Resume Writer
  • Press Release Writer {Marketing Level}
  • Product Description Writer {Marketing Level}

Translation

  • English to Chinese
  • English to German
  • English to French
  • English to Spanish
  • Arabic to English

(They have other tests but as I am writing this post those sections are empty)

Alright, so here’s the rundown of how credentials work. Each assignment or project has a credential rating and a credibility number. For example: The project “Write a Business Article” will require you to have the credential rating of a General English Writer and the credibility number of 50. Everyone starts with a credibility number of 40. You are able to increase that number with your good work. Similarly, poor work decreases your credibility.

Credential tests can be approved or rejected.

If you fail the test, you will not be able to take that test again for one month. You may only take each credential test a maximum of four times.

PAY RATES

To the important part. They have an Available Work screen that showcases what is available, its credibility, credential and its price. (as well as if there’s a bonus involved). These rates can and may change over time. I also do not know the lengths of these articles.  (Prices are in $US)

  • Business Article : $33.00
  • Health Article: $6.75
  • Write Press Release: $14.75
  • Write Web Ads $0.85
  • Find Mistakes $1.50

And there is more. Remember each of these tasks or projects will have its own credential and credibility rating. There are exceptions like Write Web Ads. This only requires you pass the English Writer General test.

(Update: after writing this post I took a couple screenshots which are at the end of the article which will best help you to understand this site)

HOW DO THEY PAY

Paypal. Your one and only option. I have been trying to stay away from Paypal work since my money gets stuck in there due to a lack of withdrawal options but the higher pay rates of CloudCrowd made me ignore that. THEY PAY EVERY DAY! No matter if its a cent or $100 bucks. I had 21 cents my first day and I was appalled to see a Paypal message saying I was paid 21 cents a couple hours later! Wow! They do not pay on weekends. But they have paid me without fail every week day. I mean, every…. week….. day.

USER INTERFACE

I like the user interface of CloudCrowd. It is easy to find what you are looking for. You have your Home tab which outlines the money you’ve made, what is owed to you and what you’ve made for the month. It shows you all your submitted work and their statuses, whether approved or rejected. There is the Available Work tab and within that you can take Tests. Very quick, very useable. There is also a side tab that shows you your Earnings, Messages, History, Details etc.

WRITER SUPPORT

I love CloudCrowd and its writer community. With the help of GetSatisfaction, CloudCrowd has a vast community of writers on one forum. You can ask questions and get answers, talk to fellow writers, complain, make suggestions. The whole nine yards. I love it. I love the communication.

REVIEWS AND APPEALS

The reviewers are made up of people like you and me. In fact, you are actually able to take up review work from the assignment/work board. This means that the work you submit is actually viewed and reviewed by other writers. And you will be able to review other people’s work (as long as you have the correct credentials and credibility rating).

The appeals process works like this. If you do not agree with a rejection you can appeal it. You state why, you press submit and some editor or someone of a higher rank reviews the rejection. However, you can only appeal one article at a time AND you have to wait 30 days before you can appeal another article. This is their response to this quite constricting rule.

While we appreciate that you may have several tasks you’d like to appeal at once, we’re carefully limiting appeals to allow everyone an opportunity to have their most pressing appeals addressed quickly.  In the meantime, the best revenge on an unfair review is to do a bunch of new tasks, get great evaluations on them, and watch your Credibility score rise.

MY EXPERIENCE

The day I joined I went ahead and did the General Writer Test ( I have probably renamed this test about 5 times now but its the same thing). It took a little more than 2 weeks to get approved. Not much for speed. However, there were some cheap tasks on the board that only required 40 credibility which I had. They were approved within seconds. So it’s safe to assume tests will take a while. But I was actually able to do some low pay work until my credential test came back.

Let me warn everyone, CloudCrowd is no joke. They seek out top notch writers and they are not afraid to weed out the bad ones. Be consistent, submit only thoroughly proofread work. If you do not follow their explicit instructions they will not fear letting you go. My credibility rating had a bad crunch just the other day. Trust me, even the simplest of tasks can be rejected for the simplest mistake. And remember your rating goes up and down. If it goes down far enough they may cut you. There is one plus side to this however, CloudCrowd forces you to be a better writer. There are many content mills out there where I have submitted subpar work knowing full well they have editors to take care of it. Well, not at CloudCrowd, they require you do your best work each and every time. The better you work, the more “points” you receive and the more larger paying jobs are at your disposal.

CONCLUSION

Try out CloudCrowd, come back and let me know what you think by positing in the comments section below. If you have any job opportunities you would like to share go ahead. If I left something out, comment as well.

I know this has been a long and tedious post but I really want to outline every aspect of writing opportunities to my readers. There are many times when I have googled website reviews and gotten a couple of sentencces and some generic opinion. I want to know the down and dirty. The things writers want to know and I want to know details. Yes, I know they tell you to be concise and all but concise is not me.

-FWJ

 

UPDATE Sep. 14.11: after working at CloudCrowd and trying to improve my credibility I have long since decided keep them at arms length (or maybe more of a continent away). Why? Well I mentioned it before but only briefly. Their review system. The work you submit is reviewed by writers like you and me. You can also choose to do reviews as well. The problem is, a lot of my articles were rejected unfairly and mainly because reviewers had not read the updated article guidelines. Hence, I was rejected for reasons that had been debunked. The appeals system also does not work for writers because it only offers one appeal at a time. And if one of your appeals have been rejected you have to wait 30 days to send another. Suffice to say, CloudCrowd has its kinks and because of them my rating has plummetted. Mostly for unfair judgements on the part of the reviewer. Sometimes because I missed a capital or a period. And I am not kidding, one missed capital letter is grounds for a rejection. This I find very tasking especially coming from writing jobs that have editors. Anyways. That is my update. Enjoy.

Available Work Screenshot

Credential / Test Page