About DMS Guest Blogger

This blog post was written by a member of the DMS community.

Writing About Tech to a Beginner’s Perspective

matrixOne of the trickiest parts about writing tech articles is figuring out the best way to explain beginner-level tasks, for which we can’t assume the reader is familiar with proper terms and seemingly obvious steps. In trying to work around that problem, I’ve found that the best solution is often to approach the task from a completely different angle. Continue reading

Coping with Rejection as a Writer

ffI wanted to discuss that which we all (editors and writers alike) dread: a rejection. As a writer myself, I completely understand how disappointing and mojo-disrupting a rejection is. From the editor perspective, I can also tell you it’s not something anyone wants to do. But rejections happen sometimes, despite good efforts on the part of both the writer and the editor.

So, how do you get back in the saddle after a rejection? I certainly don’t have all the answers, of course, but will share a couple of thoughts that I hope might be helpful. Continue reading

Tech Steps Forward, One Step Back

1111After my grandfather passed away in 2006, my grandmother — who had very little computer knowledge — needed to learn for the first time how to send email, browse the Web and save the photos that friends and relatives regularly sent her way.

As the “tech guy” in the family, she naturally leaned on me for training. But she taught me something important, too, as I helped her find her way. Her experiences in trying to master Windows XP and a DSL modem and a finicky inkjet printer helped me understand that the best coaching comes not just in answering the present question, but in framing it such that it also covers the next, unasked, question. Continue reading

A Balanced Writing Portfolio

gfgfgfgOne of the most difficult problems for a freelance writer is to develop a level and flow of work that will provide a balanced, regular income. Spend months working on a book and wait for advances and royalties; write a magazine article in a couple of hours, then wait for payment on publication; work on website copy over a fortnight for a company, and sometimes wait months for them to settle the invoice … frustrating isn’t it?

There is a better way, and it comes from the world of financial investment: the “writer’s portfolio.” We’re not talking about a display book showing your magazine cuttings or book covers — this is an approach to getting more income from your writing and getting paid more regularly. Continue reading

How to Juggle Freelance Work and Parenting

futurefreelanceI didn’t always understand why my work priorities aren’t everyone’s priorities, especially when I managed nonprofit volunteers and needed them to meet their deadlines. Then I had a baby, and suddenly, I got it. Volunteers often had full-time jobs plus the best full-time volunteer opportunity of all: being a parent.

After leaving nonprofits and spending several years as a flower shop owner, I decided to stay home with my kids. That’s when I dived headfirst into freelancing. I thought it couldn’t be simpler than freelancing part-time while the kids played quietly.

Right. Continue reading

Featured Contributor: Jenny Green

contribSchool: Open University (UK)
Degree: MA Literature
Approved Sections: Gardening, Pets, Science

Because you’re so enamored by Science Fiction, can you tell us what your favorite book from that genre is? Arghhh… that’s a hard question. My most recent favorites have been Anne Leckie’s Ancillary Justice and Connie Willis’ Doomsday Book.bloggerbooks Continue reading

Rolling the Dice on Saving Time

photoshopbloggyBy: Aaron Parson

My entire life, I’ve had a preoccupation with doing things efficiently. Or perhaps more accurately, a preoccupation with making tasks seem more efficient regardless of actual effort. I remember one homework assignment I had back in a middle school math class – we were studying probabilities, and were tasked with rolling a pair of dice 20 times and recording their outcome. Had I chosen to just dig a board game out of the closet and roll the dice, I could have finished within minutes. Instead, I came up with a “more efficient” method for determining dice rolls in the blink of an eye: I spent about two hours programming a dice-rolling simulator in C++. Continue reading

Unleash Your Mental Magpie


By: James Holloway

When you’re a freelancer, unless you’re a specialist of some kind, you either develop a vast knowledge of seemingly-unconnected knowledge quickly or you don’t last. After all, there are a lot of well-informed people in the world, and there are a reasonable number of people who can write well. But being able to take a topic, hunt down references for it and explain it clearly in writing quickly enough to earn a living is a bit of an unusual combination. Everyone acquires this skill in a different way; personally, I learned it from archaeology. Continue reading

Test Your Boundaries by Crossing Borders

Marseilles,-FranceTravel writing and writing while traveling are two distinct entities. The former — travel writing — entertains us. Writing while traveling trains us. I did it.

I left my beloved U.S. about 10 years ago, with nothing save a backpack, a passport and too many shirts. I have ridden the topside of a donkey in Morocco, making my way up the Rif. I have sat on the roof of terminal three at Tegel airport in Berlin to get a free Wi-Fi connection. I won’t bore you with the discomfort of details, but I know the ropes of the globe. And they do not make a noose — if you write. My ropes tied, and comforted me, with freelancing. Continue reading

Burning Out: The Assassin of Productivity


By: Shea Laverty

Freelancers operate in a very different environment than most workers: Our income is directly influenced not only by the quality of our work and our passion for the job, but also by the direct amount of work we output. In a lot of ways, this is a pretty good set-up, since the more we work, the more we make. Drive and ambition have direct, tangible rewards that keep us pushing forward. It makes it easier to set clear, attainable goals, especially when you have consistent clients. Continue reading