Ever wasted hours doing article research for a query or assignment?
It happens, especially if you don’t know where to look.
If you’re not getting anywhere with your approach to article research (which probably starts with Google for almost everybody), ask an expert on how to find the information you need.
And just where are you going to find an expert on article research? At the library.
Libraries (all 119,487 of them in the United States, which means there’s probably a library near you) are packed with resources to help freelancers work smarter and faster.
And at every one, you’ll find a reference librarian who knows the ins and outs of article research better than you.
In a recent Freelance Writers Den podcast, we talked with Emily-Jane Dawson. She’s a reference librarian for the Multnomah County Library system in Portland, Ore. And she shared some of her best article research tips for freelancers.
Looking for information to beef up a query letter, pitch a prospect, or complete an assignment?
Check out these article research tips from a savvy reference librarian:
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If you want to improve your article writing skills, the Central Intelligence Agency probably isn’t your first place to look.
Yes. I’m talking about that CIA. The organization that feeds the President and senior officials information to keep us safe. I was an intelligence analyst for the CIA for 8 years, and spent most of my time writing for top policy makers.
Ever wonder what happens behind the scenes at the CIA?
It’s not exactly like living in a Jason Bourne movie. But there is a lot of information that requires article writing skills to keep people informed. Along the way, I uncovered article writing secrets at the CIA that helped me go from analyst to full-time freelancer.
It wasn’t easy. In this high pressure environment, I quickly learned to kill my purple prose, prioritize readability, and create impeccable work under pressure.
Want to improve your article writing skills, land better clients, and earn more?
Here are six secrets from inside the CIA to help you be a better freelance writer:
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If your niche is writing about family matters, parenting, and everything that goes along with having kiddos, magazines that pay writers are plentiful.
No doubt you’ve heard of some of the heavy hitters like Family Circle or Parenting. These national magazines can be great places to pitch and get paid well.
But they’re not the only magazines that pay writers in this niche.
The next time you’re at the library, grocery store, or even the doctor’s office, take look at the magazines available to read. Chances are pretty good you’ll find a local or regional pub on parenting or family life.
These magazines that pay writers can be a great way to tap into your niche and give readers the skinny on changing diapers, cooking for picky eaters, homework help, things to do, places to go, and everything else that goes along with family life, too.
If you’re looking for magazines that pay writers for stories about parenting and family matters, check out these pubs, and start pitching.
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Ever wonder if you can turn your side hustle as a freelancer into your full-time gig?
I know I did.
Maybe you’ve got a handful of clients, but you’re not earning enough to quit your day job.
You’re feeling good about the freelance work you’re doing, but you’re not sure how to move up and earn more.
Or maybe, you’ve been banging your head against the wall wondering how to turn your side hustle into the real deal.
For the last few years, freelance writing was entirely a side hustle for me. I fit in marketing and writing around being a mom and going to school.
But I finally reached that tipping point where I wanted more from freelancing like better clients and better pay.
So at the beginning of the year, I decided to go all-in, work smarter, do more marketing, and earn more from writing.
And in the first six months, I made $50K writing for magazines, newspapers, and digital publications. Here’s how I made it happen:
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If you’re looking for a way to make your writing life easier, I hear ya.
It’s not easy to grow a freelance writing career while homeschooling eight kids, but organization and efficiency make it possible.
I’m always on the lookout for time-saving tools and apps to improve my writing life.
I’ve downloaded and tried many apps or tools only to be disappointed. Sound familiar?
Some take way too long to figure out. If it’s not user-friendly or intuitive, I’m not sticking around. Other apps might be easy to use, but over-promise and under-deliver, and that’s always disappointing.
Ever wondered if an app or tool could actually help improve your writing life?
Let me save you some time.
After much trial and error, I’ve put together a list of 48 of the very best apps and tools to help you with just about every aspect of your writing life.
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Note: Are you part of the grammar police? Or do you despise well-meaning writers who can’t overlook an errant punctuation mark or typo? In this post, originally written by Linda Formichelli, she serves up four in-your-face reasons grammar police make terrible freelance writers. Enjoy! —Carol.
The other day I received this email in response to a marketing message I sent out to my subscription list:
Basic grammar forbids the use of double negatives, “…using the wrong
set of skills for the wrong job”. An authority on writing must master
the rules of writing before they can be taken seriously.
(I so wanted to let this guy know that “the wrong skills for the wrong job” is hardly a double negative, and that some of the greatest writers of all times used double negatives for emphasis — Shakespeare, anyone? But I took my own advice and hit Delete.)
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