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The Ins and Outs of Free Writing Contests
(free writing contests)
Free writing contests are available by the thousands. They are virtually a dime a dozen on the Internet. No matter what your niche is in the writing community there is a free writing contests out there for you. How do you know which ones to enter and which ones are legitimate? That?s simple. You do what you do best-- research.
While providing the story for the free writing contest will probably be the easy part, researching the thousands of available contests will be a daunting task. If this is un-chartered water for you, you have the start at the beginning. Finding what free writing contests are available. Grab a notebook or start a word document and list the contests that are available. Beside each contest name you will want to put what kind of writing they are looking for and when it needs to be done by. By doing this first you will be able to eliminate any that do not coincide with your writing niche or with your schedule.
Now the free writing contest research begins. Finding out if a contest is worthwhile and legitimate is comparable to running a background check on a person. First check the contest website. Do they have all contact information available? Do they tell you what company is hosting the contest? If they are not, you will have likely found warning number one that it is a scam. So scratch those off your list or at least move them to the bottom until you can find out more information on them. Start asking around to colleagues and writers groups. Search the writing forums and the Internet scam sites. The Better Business Bureau is also a good place to look.
Once you narrowed the free writing contests down to the legitimate ones, read the contest rules and regulations. Some contests require you signing over all rights to a story even if you don?t win. Are you willing to do this? Giving up rights to you writing is a lot easier to do when you are getting something in return. After you enter there is no going back, so make sure this is what you want to do.
The final thing you need to look for is if the contest is just a cover up to get you to buy services or products. This does not necessarily mean they are a scam or don?t actually award winners. It simply means that they will try to entice you to use their critiquing services or offer you a book at a reduced fee that your work will be published in. Being published sounds like a great deal but is it a book that carries prestige that people are going to see?
Many authors think that writing contests will launch their career into a successful endeavor. This is not the case, especially for free writing contests. Even winning the grand prize of a smaller known contest is not going to affect your literary journey. Even though they may not springboard your career, there are good reasons to join writing contests. You will get unbiased opinions and valuable feedback from the judges. If you make it into the higher rounds, editors could also see your writing.
Ultimately whether you enter a free writing contest the choice is yours. Just ask you self if the time spent writing and researching the piece you choose to enter is worth writing for free in most cases. The critique and feedback may be the most worthwhile thing you receive from the contest. But then again the judges opinions are a dime a dozen just like the contests.
What Career Coaching Can Do to Help Land a Better Job A career coach is something many people have heard of but few actually understand what they do. Career coaching has become more popular in recent years, and they are actually used by many people who already are employed to help them stay on the right track in their career. If you are looking for a job, however, and especially if your job search is proving difficult and painful, a career coach might be just what you need to get your search on track. Career coaches get a lot of flack by trade. Some people laugh them off as the latest in the line of self help gurus that people spend a lot of money to see, often with mixed results. To some people, career coaches are up there with psychoanalysts and personal trainers ? accessories of the rich but not very relevant to your every day kind of person. This assessment of career coaches might not be entirely fair, however. Career coaches can, and have, helped tons of people get on the right track in their job searches and have helped even more people not only find a job, but find a career that they love. So, just what can a career coach do for you? If you are job hunting within a certain industry, a career coach can help you narrow down your choices while simultaneously making sure you are putting your best foot forward when you go out there on the hunt. Sometimes, especially if you have been in a field for a long time, the skills you are highlighting on your resume are stale or the language you use to talk about your work history is outdated. In addition, a career coach can help you make sure that when you go into a job interview you can present yourself as on top of the latest developments in the field and as a person who could jump right into the job without needing a lot of training or guidance. The same goes for someone who is trying to get a job in a new field. A career coach will give you pointers about that field and the companies in the field as well as giving you general advice about the typical culture of that business ? what kind of lingo is used, where the industry is centered, who the big players are, and even how to dress for your interview so that you look the part. Career coaches can also make sure your resume is in order and showing off your skills in the best light possible. This help a career coach provides when you know what kind of job you are looking for is all well and good, but they can do even more when you know you need a job, but you just don?t know what you want to do. If you have been frustrated in your career goals in the past, a career coach will work with you to decide exactly what kind of job you really want to have. They can help you figure out which industries are best suited to your interests, your skills and your personality. If you want to start your own business, they can walk you through the process from start to finish. A good career coach could be the key to finding the career of your dreams instead of just one more job. Last but not least, a career coach can let you know what you are doing wrong in your career. Do you have a problem with your interpersonal working relationships, or are you bad at delegating so you always end up doing all of the work? A career coach will work with your to set these problems right. When you need a better job, a career coach can clear the path for job improvement.
Freebie Etiquette (Yes, There is Such a Thing!) When you are on the hunt for free stuff, it can be easy to be so blinded by the offers that your manners go flying out the window completely. You may also just not realize that when it comes to taking advantage of freebies there is a general code of conduct that it pays to follow. While you are racking up the free stuff, keep these common courtesy rules in mind so that you are doing your part to keep the hunt for freebies fun and enjoyable. Freebie etiquette rule number one is to remember that there is a face behind every freebie, no matter how distant it may seem. Since so many freebies come from websites and you don?t actually have interaction with a human being while you are getting them, it can be very easy to forget that someone (or very likely, a lot of someones) worked hard to bring you that website and that free deal. If you have a problem with a website or a form while trying to get some free stuff, deal with it as respectfully as you would if you had to approach a customer service rep in person. Leaving foul-mouthed posts on a message board or unloading a barrage of outrage on a customer reply form isn?t the way forward. Someone ? a real person ? will have to help you, and you?ll get a lot further by treating them with respect. Respect is also the name of the game when it comes to rules attached for freebie offers. There are often restrictions in place for taking advantage of free offers, such as the age you have to be to cash in on the offer or how many offers per household can be taken. Sure, there are plenty of ways to get around these rules and ?trick? a company into giving you an offer for which you are not really eligible. However, when you try to simply bleed out as many free offers as you can, you?re only making it hard on companies to be able to keep bringing these offers to you. If this freebie isn?t for you, take a back seat and make room for the folks who can take advantage of it. Your time will come. Related to this last rule is the idea of not being too greedy when gobbling up the free stuff. Just because something is free doesn?t mean you should use a ?smash and grab? approach and go for as much as you can get of anything you can get. Remember that there are a lot of other people out there who like to get in on the freebies, too, and think about how you would feel if you lost out on something you really wanted because someone came along and took them all. Don?t take more than your share of any free offer, and don?t take things you don?t want or need just because they?re free. Everyone loses when you do that. Last but not least, if you have an opportunity to say thanks for a freebie, grab it. Of course, this can be hard to do when the free offers you are taking advantage of are found on the Internet, but there are still ways. Look for the customer comment field in the request forms you fill out to get your free stuff and leave a quick thank you there. You can also write a thank you on message boards and chat rooms that are associated with the freebie websites. The good will generated by your gratitude will only help convince companies that freebie offers are useful tools for reeling in the customers.