The Pen is Mightier than the Sword!

Archive for July, 2014

A Writer Needs the Write/Right Tools, Right?

Of course, the answer is a resounding YES! So on that note, I started a fundraising campaign to get funds for a new laptop/PC, to replace my 6-year old “dinosaur”. It’s only been a week but I’m already close to my goal of $500. Just a few more dollars and I’ll reach the brass ring. If you want more info or want to donate, visit my “GoFundMe” campaign page at



Re-using Your Own Content

I had a situation recently re: re-using content I had written for a client as a freelance/contract writer. I had written and submitted an article for them as part of the contract. Never got any feedback from them as to whether they accepted/rejected it. Then they ended the contract for their own business reasons. About a month later, I decided to re-use the article for a content site. The client got wind of it and requested a refund for the time I’d billed them for writing/submitting the article for their contract. Long story short – it was my bad. At the time, I didn’t realize I was making such¬† grave error. After some research, I decided to refund their payment – mainly because I wanted to retain ownership of the rights to publish the content.

Lesson learned.


With the slow/imminent death of “content mills” like Yahoo Voices and Helium, I’m guessing it’s a matter of time before others follow like Triond, Ezine Articles, HubPages and other places where I’ve posted content since 2005 when I was just starting out. The effort to make sure I still have the original content has turned into a big project. Part of it has been that I also re-discovered several old blogs I’d written, back in the days when blogging was such a new/popular thing to do.

As I was working today to organize/download/retrieve my content from the various sites, I wondered – how do other writers like me keep up with their content? Do you have an offline copy/version of everything you’ve written/submitted? Do you keep/maintain a list/spreadsheet of every item and site where you’ve posted?

As a start, I’ve created a “catalog” in Word of all the sites I can think of where I’ve posted an article/blog since 2005. Suggestions are appreciated!

Write On,



Cool Tool – Time Zone Calculator

I’m just starting to communicate with a potential client in Singapore. I knew there was probably a significant time difference from my local Las Vegas/Pacific time but I wanted to get a better bead on what business hours/timeframe might be best for both of us, so that I could set it up on my laptop.

I found this really good tool to calculate the time difference for me, beyond “Singapore is x hours ahead of you”. I hate doing time-math if I don’t have to. And I was certain there was an app for it online somewhere. I didn’t have to search too far to find this site: Timezone Calculator

Free; No download required; easy to use. This is something that will come in handy for knowing when the client will likely be online, and the window that is most convenient for a virtual meeting via Skype, GoogleTalk, GoToMeeting, etc.

There are a lot of other tools, but this is the first one I found today that seemed to serve my need.

Death of Content Mills

For the second time in as many months, I’ve been notified that a site where I’d been posting article content since 2005 or so is shutting down. First it was; now it’s Yahoo Voices (formerly Associated Content). I think this is just the beginning of the death of the dinosaur/content mills. Who’s next – Triond, Ezines, Article Snatch, HubPages, Examiner? These are all places where I’d posted content.

As a freelance writer, I am acutely aware that the landscape of “writing for dollars” has changed dramatically in the past 10 or so years. When I started out posting content to these content mill sites, I was looking for exposure and validation of my ability to tell a good story. The payoff was usually only pennies-per-view. But I did earn a few actual dollars on 2-3 of the articles submitted. And I gained the confidence to pursue a “career” as a freelance writer. That landed me at Odesk in 2010 and other freelance job search sites where I got one long-term gig and several other short-term gigs. The long-term gig ended a few months ago and I’ve been searching for another one ever since. The details of how that is going are fodder for a separate post.

Regarding to the death of the content mills and my content on them, I’ve been scrambling to retrieve my articles and posts. I still have the original document for most of them. But it’s been almost 10 years since I created some of them. I think I can salvage/revise/update/re-purpose many of them. Ironically, I did just that for a recent posting on Yahoo Voices and they rewarded me with an upfront payment of $6.00. But now that site will be shutting down next month.

So I need to find another home for the several articles I’ve written/posted on these dinosaur sites. In the near term, it may be this WordPress blog.

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