Category Archives: Disabled Writers

Make a Living Writing Website Content for Companies

Tired of commuting? Don’t like that 9-5 schedule? Wondering if you can make it on your own? If you’re a writer, have you considered writing website content for companies? Here are some things to consider on whether you can make it a go on your own.

Make connections. To get started, you need a network. You can network at your own job, with previous employers, at industry events, alma mater activities, and even in line at your favorite coffee shop. Getting that first, resume-building client can happen anywhere. Be ready by having a stack of business cards on hand and writing examples to share. If you haven’t had your work published yet, get started. With sites like WordPress and Blogger, you can create your own web presence and develop your own writing style without a paid job. After you’ve developed your business and created a cache of clients, you’ll need to keep making connections—this time with other writers because before you know it, you’ll be too busy to do all the work on your own.

Get your back office in order. Sure, you can work from the local coffee shop, perhaps even the one where you met your new client. But make sure you are organized with your work projects, whether it’s through paper files or online. If you’re a contractor, you’ll be working with contracts. Some clients will sign your contracts, others will make you sign theirs. Get a standard contract in order, look into your state’s tax requirements for freelance work, and be ready to answer these questions when you get the call, because companies will ask. Hire an attorney to create a contract template for you. Learn what is and is not a business expense and what you can write off each year on your taxes. Having your ducks in a row in advance makes tax preparation season that much easier.

Be deadline driven. When working on your own, you have to meet your clients’ deadlines. The second you don’t, they’ll find someone else who will. It sounds cutthroat, but it’s just the way work gets done. If the deadline is too tight or you’re overwhelmed with other work projects, be upfront and honest. Ask if you can push the deadline back a few days or see if there is another writer who can handle that project, then let them know when your load lightens up and you’re available again.

 Add some sparkle. You don’t have to throw around pixie dust, but your work does have to stand out from all the rest. Depending on the project, add a creative twist to your writing, show your wit, and constantly remind your clients why they hire you.

 Understand search engine optimization. You don’t have to be an expert at it, you just have to know it exists and how it affects your client. Get input from them on what keywords they need and how frequently they need to appear in your copy. Understand that those keywords change frequently, so you’ll have to ask that question again and again.

Know your client. Yes, keep your sparkle, and yes, know the SEO rules, but you also have to know what your client wants. Maybe one day you’ll be highlighting a client success story on how they set up an international tax agreement, and the next day you’ll author a feature story on the company’s pro bono program. You’ll have to adapt your voice and style to meet the client’s needs.

Ready to try it? Good luck!

~Joanne

Read These Posts, Too:

What Should Web Writers Know about Content Creation in 2014?

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Niche Blogs with Quality Content

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Filed under Disabled Writers, Web Writers, Women Writers, Writing Careers

Overcoming the Beautiful Little Fool

By My Web Writers

“I hope she’ll be a fool — that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.”  ― F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Image courtesy of CNN and Queen Elizabeth Hospital

Fitzgerald’s line has been turning in my mind like a sweaty, little penny.  After all these years, does truth remain in what Daisy said about her daughter in the Great Gatsby?

No.  Of course not, the entrepreneur in me would say.

But then, I read a post by Jane Copland entitled, Women As Entertainment in the SEO Industry and was bothered enough to start a conversation with her on Twitter.  Jane is a speaker, but has had her share of remarks from men who think it’s perfectly okay to be aggressively forward and inappropriate with an attractive, young woman.   Her post was written in 2011.  She says her personal experiences are better today, however, she actually had a guy on a conference floor yell at her for her stances.

A few days after my conversation with Jane, I saw a news story about two men who were recently fired from their jobs for making sexually inappropriate comments at a tech conference.  What seemed unusual was that the woman who called them out by tweeting their pictures to alert conference officials was fired, too.  Wanting to know more I read Courtney Stanton’s post, A Woman Walks Into a Tech Conference, which highlights a slew of recent, inappropriate gender-related incidents.  Stanton reviewed what happened and linked to Adria Richard’s conference story.  While it appears that Richard might have crossed the line with how she reported the incident, placing her as the focus of the problem is off-base. Look it over and read the eye-opening comments below the articles.

And so Fitzgerald remains relevant.  But, he doesn’t have to be.

I’m pulling out a soap box for a moment.  Please listen up.

If you’re a woman- especially feeling alone in a sector like tech, stand strong for yourself and other women.

You can do it.

Don’t let the remarks of the random knucklehead diminish the respect due to good and decent men.  The majority do what’s right or want to do what’s right. But, if something happens that’s illegal or against your company’s policy, call authorities.

Have the courage to look the guy who’s offended you in the eye and say, “I think you’re wrong here” and then seek the grace within yourself to forgive – if not for his sake then for yours.

If you’re a young man who hasn’t been taught that sexual, juvenile, or degrading jokes, comments, and gestures don’t belong in the work place or at conferences then as a piece of advice, from a Mom raising boys – stop.

Really.  You need to stop.

Find a male counselor or mentor to help you process the issues and your feelings.  You’re probably a good guy who’s lost his way, but the encouraging news is that you can change!

Channel your smart and witty thoughts into developing code, creating business solutions, and figuring out how to harness the intellectual and social talents of your female counterparts.  Then, you’ll be a hero.

Sometimes mistakes are made – on both sides.  Read Men vs. Women in the Workplace for a few insights into working with differences.

By the time you get a little older your perspective begins to change and you grow weary of gender tension.  You have a few kids and you realize how beautiful and precious your girls and your boys are and how you wouldn’t want someone hurting either.

I can only imagine how Malala Yousufzai’s mother and father felt when their little girl was shot in the head by the Taliban for writing blog posts about how girls in Pakistan should be educated.

Her $3 million book deal was just signed to educate the world about the importance of being educated.  Malala is not a beautiful, little fool.

Neither are you.

~Jean

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Filed under Conferences, Disabled Writers, Leadership, Women Writers, Writing Careers

Six Devices and Tools for Writers with Disabilities

By My Web Writers

Even before the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the landscape was changing for writers with disabilities. Innovations were being developed to assist writers to continue to make valuable contributions in the workplace and society through tools and adaptations. The need for such equipment has never been more valuable than today as veterans attempt to re-enter the workforce after serving in conflicts all over the world. Regardless of the writer’s impairment, a vast number of tools and devices exist that can help. Here are six such examples:

Voice Recognition Softwareaskjan.org asserts that individuals with certain physical and motor disabilities are often unable to use standard computer keyboards and could benefit dramatically from voice recognition software.  There are numerous programs available such as Dragon Naturally Speaking software that “…enables users to fill out forms, create and edit documents, reports, spreadsheets, and e-mail-all by voice”. Versions exist for PC and Apple computers.

One-Handed Keyboard Software – As the name implies, this type of software re-configures the standard layout of the keyboard and maximizes it specifically for one-handed use by making the keys functional for multiple letters and characters.

On-screen Keyboards or Keyboard Emulators – This type of device displays a keyboard on the computer screen that individuals can use to type with using various alternative input devices or AID. These allow manipulation using a user’s individual body parts which can include the person’s head, eyes, feet, even their mouth. There are also various switches similar to that used by renowned physicist and author Stephen Hawking which are sensitive enough to control an entire keyboard by continually pressing a button with something as small as a check muscle.

Word Completion/Prediction Software – These types of program benefit individuals with various repetitive motion conditions like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or certain neurological conditions like Neuropathy by suggesting a list of potential words that continually changes as the user types. This allows tasks to be completed using fewer keystrokes. This software is already commonly seen in many devices including smartphones.

Screen Reading Software – As the name implies, this type of software program enables the computer to analyze on-screen text and “read” it aloud using an artificial voice generated by a speech synthesizer. These programs may be installed on any computer and are especially helpful for users with visual impairments.

Low Vision Enhancement Products – Certain types of these portable devices are oftentimes placed over ordinary glasses to provide various levels of magnification and aid in glare reduction. Products of this type can also serve as electronic magnification readers for text. While not intended to restore normal vision, low vision enhancement products enable the user to process more text with greater speed, accuracy, and clarity.

Regardless of the cause, individuals with disabilities continue make important contributions that are changing attitudes in both the workplace and society.  These six items and many others are currently available to help writers put their visions into words.

Editor’s note:  According to the U.S. Department of Labor, people with disabilities make of 20.7% of United States labor force.  Most including this list of authors, have learned to adapt with the help of the tools Jim mentions.  If you’re a disabled writer, we encourage you to keep sharing your gifts with the world!

~Jim

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Filed under Disabled Writers, Writing Careers