improve your writing

Grammar Rules for Freelancers: An English Teacher’s Dirty Little Secret

The Dirty Little Secret About Grammar Rules

Do you ever feel conflicted about grammar rules?

I do. When I teach university English and when I write for freelance clients.

I’m torn between the need to follow all the grammar rules taught in school, and the need to break them. It’s like I’m living a double life.

On one hand, it feels like being a concert violinist, sitting stiffly in a black tuxedo on a black metal chair, violin wedged against a black bowtie, playing full concertos in the key of E minor. It’s lovely…

But I’d rather be down at the pub. Fiddling hornpipes, reels, and jigs. Stomping my foot. Jammin’ with mates on guitar. Mandolin. And whistle.

Expressive. Emotional. And free.

But if you’re always stuck on grammar rules that hold you back, you’ll never be that kind of freelance writer.

I may be a university English teacher, but if you want to be a better freelance writer, you need to know this dirty little secret about grammar rules:

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Try These 7 Smart Rewrite Tricks To Build Epic Writing Skills

Rewrite Tricks to Build Epic Writing Skills. Makealivingwriting.com

It’s been said that great writing isn’t about the writing — the magic is in the rewriting. None of us write a perfect first draft, so the buffing-and-polishing stage is where your piece goes from ‘yawn’ to fascinating. Over my 12 years as a staff writer, I learned some basic editing steps to take with my writing that reliably improve my work. Applying these to my articles over and over is really how I built my writing skills.

When you correct a writing error over and over in the rewrite phase, you get tired of having to make that effort, right? So you start incorporating the fix into your first draft. Soon, your work needs less rewriting. You get faster at knocking out your draft — and your hourly rate goes up.

Recently, one of my mastermind graduates asked to use her coaching time for a writing critique. Going over her draft with her reminded me of how many simple rewrite tricks I’ve picked up over the years.

It’s actually easy to spot and fix common writing errors in your own work, once you know how.

So, here’s a guide to seven ways to improve your writing with second-draft fixes:

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3 Keen Copywriting Tips to Create Better Content

3 Keen Copywriting Tips to Create Better Content. Makealivingwriting.com.

If I had a copywriting tips guide to follow when I landed my first job, it would have saved me a lot of suffering.

Mum, dad… please look away now.

I’m afraid that my expensive university education and a degree in English didn’t prepare me to write words that sell.

When I finished school in 2001, I was lucky enough to land a copywriting job at a huge media company. And to be perfectly honest, I thought that I’d find the job pretty straightforward.

But it wasn’t. Making the transition from writing academic papers to crafting commercial copy was really hard.

The truth: I used to be quite a horrible copywriter. And I don’t mind admitting it now.

I had to learn to write differently. I studied pro writers, copywriting tips, and the best ad copy. I tested and evaluated copywriting strategies to see what worked and what didn’t. I learned how to write words that sell.

And I’m keen on helping others make a living writing. These three copywriting tips will help you create better content:

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Freelance Writing Lessons From a Rude Editor: 7 Takeaways

Freelance writing lessons from a rude editor. Makealivingwriting.com

For a while, I had a large client that hired many writers. My contact was an editor who managed the freelance staff. He was an abrupt man who spared no feelings.

At the time, I had only worked directly with clients. I could meet their goals, but my writing lacked force. I over-wrote, dismissed structure, and indulged my narcissism with unnecessary wit. I wasn’t bad, but I had that collegiate write-everything-you-can-think-of mentality.

My first experience working with a professional editor was heart-wrenching. It was a trial by fire: get better to get paid. But those lessons stuck with me and made me a better writer.

Want to improve your writing?

Avoid making the same mistakes as I did, and check out the seven hardest lessons this editor taught me:

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Your 10 Favorite Posts of the Year About Freelance Writing & Blogging

As I start a new year with this blog, I always have one question on my mind — what do readers of  Make a Living Writing need to know most? One way I’m finding out is with my subscriber survey

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Why I Won’t Say Whether Your Writing Is Any Good

Have you wondered if your writing is good enough to earn a living from? Many writers have emailed me asking this question. They’d like my evaluation of whether they’ve got what it takes. They want to know what books they

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