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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.

Beautiful Pens are Just the Beginning: Fascinating Gifts for Writers (gifts for writers) Buying gifts is a difficult project in many cases. Sometimes a person seems to already have everything. They may not enjoy the typical gift ideas that come to your mind. To buy the perfect gift, it is essential to actually know a person. A basic understanding of likes and dislikes will help, but passions will guide you to a really great gift. If you cannot come to a conclusion for what to buy for a friend, you can also consult other sources for gift ideas. Following are some ideas for buying gifts for writers. Writers are passionate people. They are passionate about words and about truth. They are also passionate about their subject matter. Is there a writer in your life? By using these guidelines, along with your knowledge about that person, you can come up with an ideal gift that they will treasure. Under Twenty Dollars As suggested by the title, a beautiful pen is almost always an inexpensive and appropriate gift for a writer. Most writers spend much of their time jotting down thoughts and ideas. As they meander through their day, an idea may strike at any time. Give them a quality instrument to facilitate great thoughts. You can also include a personalized pad of paper to hold on to the brainstorms. Another great gift for a writer is a magazine subscription. A good writer needs to keep up with the type of writing that is being published. Sometimes they need a little bit of light reading to keep their creative juices flowing. Choose the magazine based on some interest that you and your friend share. Under One Hundred Dollars If you want to spend a little bit more on gifts for writers, you can start taking your gift buying to a little bit different level. For less than one hundred dollars your options open up. Books are great gifts for writers. You can buy new books in the writer?s area of interest or expertise. He will probably always be ready to expand his own knowledge base. You can also buy reference books. Style manuals are very helpful when a writer has strict guidelines to follow. Your writing friend probably already has a pretty good dictionary, but you can buy them the best one. Thesauruses and literary guides are also interesting gifts to receive. Moving away from words for a bit, a writer would also love to receive an artifact that has to do with their main subject matter. If he is a history buff, try to find an authentic coin from the particular piece of history he finds most fascinating. Under Five Hundred Dollars At the next level of gift buying, your options start expanding into more elaborate forms of previous gifts. Very old and rare books may fall into this price range. Very old or particularly good quality antiques will also be fairly expensive. Gifts for writers also often fall into the category of electronics. Good printers make the writing all that more impressive looking on the page. Software and other hardware for the computer is also a worthwhile gift for a writer that spends most of his day sitting at his computer. A nice digital camera is also a fantastic gift for a writer that wants to remember situations exactly in order to adequately describe them later. Won?t Cost you A Dime Some of the best gifts for writers won?t cost you anything. Many of the more expensive gifts are extremely practical, but the free ones can be that also. The nature of a writing career leads writers to spend a lot of time alone. A good gift is just some company. Take your friend out for dinner with a group of mutual friends. He?ll appreciate the time away from the desk. If he?s been trying to get an interview with someone, you can put the leg work in for him and schedule it. All that will cost you is some time and effort. Not all gifts have to cost money. Good luck finding the perfect one for the writer in your life.

Family Entertainment ? How to Get a Free Ticket for your Child Free tickets are not something that can be found very often, but every once in a while there is a company that offers a free ticket for your child. How about a free ticket to the circus? Almost all children love the circus and there will be that point in time when a child sees the circus come to town and wants nothing more than to go to one of the shows. Honestly, circus visits can break the monthly budget that was planned so carefully, not taking in account such activities. Well, the circus actually offers a free ticket to children of all ages, as long as that ticket has been requested within baby?s first year. On his or her own web page, the circus offers the ticket to anybody that signs up for it. As babies grow, many new things come along, baby will learn to crawl, baby will get the first teeth and at some point baby will be big enough to visit the circus. The First Circus program is for parents and their newborn up to twelve months that are living in the Unites States. All the parents have to do is to visit the circus own homepage and sign up for the program, to receive a free ticket voucher and a special personalized baby certificate. The certificate is printable online and the ticket voucher will be sent to the parent?s home address. The voucher can be exchanged for a free ticket to any of the participating circus performances, anytime, anywhere. The voucher does not have an expiration date. Unfortunately for parents that did not know about the program and whose children are older than twelve months there is only the possibility to receive a commemorative certificate and no free ticket. Therefore it is important for all parents to find out about this wonderful program that will help their child to their first circus experience without breaking the parent?s bank account. On the other hand, the circus visit is free for children under the age of two as long as they sit on an adults lap. By the way, if a child was adopted after the age of twelve months there is still a chance for a free ticket as long as the parent requests it as per direction on web page within the twelve months after adoption. In general the circus will only give a way one free voucher per family per year, but they will make exceptions for parents of multiples. Parents of multiples will have to check out the circus page and follow the directions given there. Since it is not possible to order more than one free voucher besides the few exceptions, every duplicate order that is done by parents after signing up for the first time will delay the original order for the free voucher. It might be also important to know that this free ticket is a very good deal, since children?s tickets have the same price as adult tickets for circus performances. Sometimes, in bigger cities there are special offers from bigger supermarket chains or other places, where a discount on tickets is given, but in general the circus itself does not offer any other discounts. Any parent should take advantage of this First Circus program, since it is not often that companies do give away tickets for free. Circus also has never lost its magical and still pulls the crowds and makes children gasp in astonishment or laugh out loud when seeing the circus clowns. How often do children nowadays have a chance to see elephants stand on their back feet, artists balancing on ropes or swinging and flying through the air and funny clowns fall over their own feet?

News is News All Over the World (writing newspaper articles) Writing newspaper articles is a fun and interesting line of work. Newspapers exist in big cities, small towns, within corporations and on college campuses. Newspapers are printed for special interest groups as well as for world and national news. There are free newspapers and papers that appear for sale on newsstands every day. With such a large variety of newspaper types printed, there are myriads of possible opportunities for writing newspaper articles. There are some basic rules to writing articles for any newspaper and there are also some specific aspects to know about each type. Writing Newspaper Articles In general, to write a newspaper article there are a few rules that apply across the board. First, the news has to be relevant. Because newspapers make up a genre of writing that is constantly refreshing itself, there is no room for common knowledge or historical pieces. The exception is if those kinds of writing serve to connect to a current issue or event. People who read newspapers want to know what?s happening now. For that reason, writing newspaper articles often involves relatively high pressure to get the latest news written each and every day. There are some low-pressure possibilities in writing newspaper articles though. The Infrequent Print Several newspapers are only printed weekly or even monthly. In small towns that must get their papers printed off-site, it is not feasible to create a paper each and every day. That means that there?s a week, every week, to get the news in and written. Another example of low pressure writing for newspapers is working for a free publication. Free newspapers are often geared to a special interest group. Since that group is not paying for its paper, they may only receive the interesting tidbits once a month. Writing for these kinds of newspapers becomes focused on creativity and niche writing because the current events will have already reached the audience through more frequent publications. The Daily News from Top to Bottom The most reliable and frequent publications are those of big, national newspapers. The staffs are very large and are able to print very clean copies of very full newspapers. By clean, that means without errors. Smaller papers are also printed daily, but they seem almost insignificant except to the people of the local community. They receive national news second hand and run very small staffs. Interestingly enough, none of these daily papers are really about the news. Of course that is where most of the effort lies and that is the reason that people buy the papers, but it is not the root of a newspaper. Writing newspaper articles is a job heavily dependent on the advertising industry. A newspaper will only be as large as there are ads to pay for it. Newspapers do not make their money at the newsstand. They pay the bills and the employees with money from advertisers. On Campus News Working for a university paper will not be representative in the area of newspaper advertising. While some businesses do pay for ads in university papers, the funding comes from the school. If for some reason there were no advertisers one day, the paper would still go out. University publications are much more focused on the development of the students than making a successful business. Most campus papers are free and are created by students. School is a great place to get started in writing newspaper articles. The environment is challenging, but nurturing at the same time. The deadlines and standards still exist, but the writer gets great encouragement and training through the work. After working for a college paper, it will be much easier to get a job with newspapers of the cities and towns. Writing newspaper articles can be a great job. There are so many opportunities to get into writing that it is hard to pass them up. Some jobs may be very difficult to get, but others will be steps towards increasing writing success.