Category Archives: writing for a living

Useful writing resources and newsletters

writing ticklistHere are 3 useful websites/newsletters/experts that I find useful and inspiring for my writing. I hope you find them useful too.

  1. Charlie at Urban Writers Retreats runs writing retreats to help you notch up some words in a environment with other writers with the added bonus of cake. I enjoy her well writing newsletters whic always have useful tips and cover relevant topics for writers. Catch up on her latest articles in the blog
  2. Jo Parfitt sends out her newsletter on the first of every month. I’ve included her because I always look forward to reading what she writes, and this month’s newsletter, all about ‘how to get that writing done‘ really resonated with me. Read the article on Jo’s site this month, and check out her workshop and publishing services too.
  3. Finally, I was recommended the Snowflake method of plotting this week. Read the article (which also leads into a fairly ignorable sales pitch!) as it had some useful ideas for breaking down plotting that I’m putting into practice right now.

Easy Grammar and Spelling Mistakes to Make

If you’re copywriting for your own business, there are some common pitfalls that I see time and time again. Read this article and you’ll be able to avoid them. Here are my top 10 mistakes to watch out for:

  1. Your / you’re: Use ‘your’ when showing ownership, as in ‘your blog’ and ‘you’re’ when you mean ‘you are’.
  2. It’s / its:  It’s is short for ‘it is’, while ‘its’ is a possessive pronoun. E.g. ‘It’s going to be a long day’ or ‘My blog has rather lost its way’.
  3. There / their: there is a place, ‘their’ is something belonging to them.
  4. Practice /practise: think of advice and advise: practice with a c is a noun, whereas practise with a s is a verb.
  5. Effect / affect: Effect is a noun – you can create an effect, while affect is a verb – someone affects someone  or something else.
  6. Complimentary / complementary : the former means something free, while the latter is something that fits well with something else.
  7. Loose / lose: loose is an adjective, a word that describes a noun’ my tooth is loose’, ‘there is a tiger on the loose’, and lose is a verb, ‘to lose your tooth’, ‘I always lose my tiger’.
  8.  i.e. / e.g. i.e. means ‘that is’, where as e.g. means for example.
  9. Could of, would of / could have, would have: Never write ‘could of’ – the correct English is could have. This applies for would, should, etc.
  10. A company is always singular e.g. ‘Dickens and Jones is opening a new branch’, rather than ‘Dickens and Jones are…’

Useful courses to help you make a living as a writer

commercial writingI just got sent details of a couple of courses that look like they would be good for anyone who wants to make a living as a writer.

Ideas Into Words

Saturday 9 February | 11am – 4.30pm | Jerwood Space, 171 Union Street, London, SE1 0LN | £60/£45 concessions

Sitting down to write isn’t always as easy as it sounds, but establishing discipline into that most creative of pursuits – writing – is almost as important as having good ideas in the first place. Here’s your chance to learn how to write when your brain is at its best; how to set deadlines that you’ll respect; and how to keep going when that initial burst of inspiration has long since disappeared. Over the course of the day you’ll have plenty of opportunities to try out your new skills and start getting those good ideas down on paper. A great workshop for anyone seeking perspective on their process, and suitable for writers of all forms. TO BOOK CLICK HERE.

Making a Living as a Writer

Tuesday 9 April | 1pm – 6pm (with a Writing Room available until 8pm) | Free Word Centre , 60 Farringdon Road, London, EC1R 3GA | £60 / £45 concessions

Shaun Levin and Gemma Seltzer help you to get creative in the ways you can generate income. This workshop is geared towards writers looking to increase their income from arts-based activities: residencies, workshops, exhibitions and more. By the end of the workshop, you will have a clearer idea of what kind of activities you can run and, more importantly, how to make them happen. Later in the day you will hear from writer Gemma Seltzer, who also works for Arts Council England (ACE), about what funding there is for writers in the present climate, and how to go about developing an idea that ACE may be interested in. And if by the end of the workshop you are feeling fired up and ready to go on a project idea, there will be the chance to join our Writers’ Room – a space that we have put aside for you to work quietly from 6pm until 8pm. CLICK HERE TO BOOK.

Source: Spread the Word, a great site for developing writers in London.

Sunday Night Round Up

We’ve been enjoying a fabulous weekend with beautiful weather. It is Dh and my 12th wedding anniversary too so we had a lovely lunch out with the kids – all good.
Now, I’m just catching up with a little work, planning for the week ahead and trying to work a little in advance to make some time for networking events for Business Mum Week and The Mumpreneur Conference which I’ll be attending in Birmingham on the 3rd of October. I’m mildly terrified about the conference purely because I’ll be driving up on my own (well, with Kit too) and I hate long drives … since we were driven into about 10 years ago. The drive will take around 5 hours.

Anyway, apart from that, this week I’m writing about gifts and traditions for one of the blogs I work on, plus personal finance and money saving for another. I’ve done a good update for Family Friendly Working which should see me past the conference – I schedule features well in advance and have mumpreneurs booked in for the profile slots right up until the end of October.

I’ve done the first chapter for the book on Down’s Syndrome. It is not totally complete and I suspect I’ll need to revise it as I work on the following chapters but it is good to make a start. I aim to do two chapters next month and two in November which shouldn’t be too much pressure.

Writing that up all feels quite under control. The things I can’t control are the volume of sales for the Mumpreneur Guide. The special offer ends on Wednesday, and if there is another big sales day this could push aside all my plans for a week of writing.

I’m also due to do some work on the business. I’m meeting a business adviser next Wednesday, need to do the end of month invoices and have a couple of stray invoices to chase up plus missing parcels to claim from the post office. Such excitement! Let’s hope the weather stays good so I can get all this done in the sun.

September Update – What I’m Working On

At the moment I’m just embracing the challenges of being back after maternity leave.

I’ve launched The Mumpreneur Guide with plenty of online noise which has resulted in great sales – now the challenge is to keep that up! I’m taking part in three different events over Business Mum Week which should help.

Alongside that, I’m

  • providing blogging services to a couple of new clients
  • picking up some feature writing on learning disability for longstanding client SeeAbility
  • working on exciting new book idea for Family Friendly Working
  • about to start on a book about Down’s Syndrome for Need2Know books
  • meeting Everywoman to talk about the workshop I;m running at their conference in November
  • talking to Which? about future health policy work

I’ve got an appointment with a business adviser coming up too as I work on my medium-long term plan – there’s lots to do right now.

Quick Tips for Freelancers: Pitfalls to Avoid

I’ve been working for myself for a number of years now, and there are a few things that I am glad I knew from the start, while others I have learnt along the way.

  • Register as self employed within 3months of starting – contact the Inland Revenue to do this.
  • Start records from day one. Note down each expense and every bit of income. It is FAR easier to update a little each day or week than to create accounts from a pile of receipts. You’ll save yourself money on bookkeeping or accounting fees too.
  • Make a database of customer and client contacts. A good database of contacts makes it easy to work efficiently, will save you time, and can even get you more work.
  • Know when to delegate. Everyone has weak areas and it can pay dividends to get help. There are lots of other freelance specialists who offer affordable services.
  • Set some working hours. It is up to you whether you work best in the early morning or late at night, or have to fit work round the kids. Whatever you do, though, make sure you have some time off and shut the laptop.

Antonia Chitty is author of Family Friendly Working(, A guide to Promoting Your Business ( and a number of other parenting and health books. She has a book on earning a living from writing, The Commercial Writing Guide coming out in July 2009. You can find out more about her own freelance writing career at and her PR business at

Quick Tips for Freelancers: Dealing with Emergencies and Domestic Crises

One of the great upsides of freelancing is that you can drop everything if you need. Sick children, neighbours who have locked themselves out – everyone will think that you can drop what you are doing and help. Trouble is, you then end up working into the small hours to catch up. It can be hard to set aside time for holidays too, when a break from work equals no income. With practice you will work out a way to be around for the family without letting your work slip too far: after all, that is one of the benefits of freelancing.

Antonia Chitty is author of Family Friendly Working (, A guide to Promoting Your Business ( and a number of parenting and health books. She has a book on earning a living from writing, The Commercial Writing Guide coming out in July 2009. You can find out more about her own freelance writing career at and her PR business at