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freelance life, Social Media

15 creative women doing great things online

Ruth Dawkins writer suggests 15 creative women to follow online

One of the things I’ve really appreciated over the last year of freelancing is discovering what a supportive community of creative women there is out there. In addition to all the Facebook groups and websites for writers, some of which I mentioned in an earlier post on this blog, there are some wonderful individuals who regularly share their knowledge and experience online to help others.

If I’m having a difficult day in the (home!) office, it’s an absolute gift to know there are several people I can send a quick message to who will understand whatever mini crisis I’m going through. And, if I’m struggling for inspiration, there’s an absolute multitude of newsletters, websites and social media feeds that I know will always give me a boost.

To celebrate that spirit of sharing, I thought I’d collate some of my favourites here for you: creative women doing great things online. Continue reading “15 creative women doing great things online”

Copywriting, Feature Writing, freelance life

Freelance Life: One Year On

Ruth Dawkins blog post: Freelance Life One Year On

It’s a year exactly since I launched this website and this phase of my writing career.

Although freelancing has its challenges, barely a day goes past when I don’t take a moment to consider what a privilege it is being paid to put words on a page. I may not be an award-winning novelist or playwright, but 15-year-old me is still pinching herself and feeling very lucky indeed.

The last few months have been my busiest yet. Continue reading “Freelance Life: One Year On”

Reading

10 Books that Changed my Life

Collage of life-changing books

There’s a great meme doing the rounds on Facebook at the moment, where people share their 10 life-changing books. I’ve loved seeing the diverse range of books my friends have included in their lists – you all have great taste!

My friends and fellow writers Penni Russon and Becky Goddard-Hill both tagged me to take part, and while I haven’t shared mine on Facebook (frankly I didn’t think even my immediate family would have the patience for a post from me 10 days in a row), I did share them over on my bookish Instagram account (@ruthreadsbooks).  I posted my last book this morning, and then thought it might be worth collating them into a blog post.

I would love to know your own choices – feel free to leave me a comment below!

1. The World’s Wife by Carol Ann Duffy. In my final year of high school, I had a fantastic English teacher who introduced our tiny class of six to Carol Ann Duffy. We read Anne Hathaway from this collection, which is still one of my favourite poems. The World’s Wife was my first, gentle introduction to feminism and the moment when I realised how many stories have another side to them – so often a woman’s perspective – that is never told. It took a good few years more before I started to intentionally change my reading habits to include more women writers, but I’m still grateful for the ‘ah-ha’ moment this book prompted in my late teens. Continue reading “10 Books that Changed my Life”

Reading

My Top 10 Books of 2018… so far

Top 10 Books of 2018 So Far Ruth Dawkins

My husband and I were lying in bed reading the other night and I could feel him giving me a sideways glance.

“Is that another new one?” he asked.

“Yes,” I said. “Why?”

He made a face at me.

“You read so much. It’s like… it’s like an OBSESSION.”

I can’t understand is why that’s supposed to be a bad thing, can you?!

I read much in the same way that I eat: quickly, and with great delight. But I’m much more choosy about my reading material than I used to be. Whereas I used to wander into a bookstore and choose whatever was included the 3 for 2 offer, now I only let myself buy things from a carefully curated wishlist. Life’s too short for bad books.

So far in 2018 I’ve read 28 books: 18 fiction and 10 non-fiction; 21 by women, 4 by men and 3 anthologies that were a mixture of both. Two of the books were slightly disappointing – not because they were bad, but because they weren’t what I was expecting – but the others have all been fabulous. I thought I would recommend some of my favourites here.
Continue reading “My Top 10 Books of 2018… so far”

Copywriting, Feature Writing, freelance life

Mothers Always Write

Mothers Always Write front page image

A very quick blog update from me to share a piece that I’ve had published this week.

Mothers Always Write is one of my favourite sites to visit for beautiful poetry and non-fiction about parenting. I did an essay writing bootcamp with them a few years back which was hugely valuable in terms of the resources they provided for background reading and the one-on-one feedback on a piece of work from one of their editors. It was very reasonably priced too – I’d highly recommend it if they run another in future.

Continue reading “Mothers Always Write”

Copywriting, freelance life

2018: A New Freelance Year Begins

happy new year 2018

Happy New Year!

I know, I know… I’m almost seven weeks late to the party. But since moving to Tasmania, I’ve had to recalibrate my internal calendar.

Back in the UK, January was the time for getting stuck back into work after the excesses of Christmas. It was always a little tough to find any enthusiasm for ambitious plans and new projects when it was still cold, dark and wintery outside.

Here in Australia though, January is all about the joys of the summer holidays – swimming, sunshine and ice cream – with work dropping much lower down the priority list. Continue reading “2018: A New Freelance Year Begins”

freelance life

Boredom Box Ideas for Work at Home Parents

150+ Boredom Box Ideas by Ruth Dawkins

When people ask what the best and worst thing is about having only one child, I never have any problems answering the question. The best is that I’m able to give my son lots of attention and we have an absolute ton of fun together. The worst is that there are times when I’m his only playmate and honestly, I just don’t want to start that second game of Monopoly, or that third game of Police Chase.

Boredom in kids can be a really good thing because it can spark their imagination. One of my favourite ever guest posts over on my parenting blog DorkyMum was from my friend Chris Mosler, who normally blogs as Thinly Spread, writing about why letting your children experience boredom is so valuable.

But that statement comes with caveats. Unlike Chris’s children, my son doesn’t have siblings to keep an eye on him. In contrast with my upbringing on a tiny island, we now live in a city with a lot of busy roads nearby, and not many friends within walking distance. He is only eight, and I don’t feel comfortable yet just kicking him out of the house in the morning and welcoming him back for dinner.

The flexibility of freelance life means that I feel very lucky having so much time to spend with my son, and I intentionally keep school holidays very quiet on the work front. Even so, the thought of seven long weeks of holiday stretching ahead of us is a daunting one, and I know that I will need the occasional hour to myself to catch up on emails.

With that in mind, I’m doing something new this year and creating a boredom box. It’s nothing fancy: just a decorated shoebox containing a couple of notepads, stationery and craft supplies, and two jars full of suggestions for activities. Continue reading “Boredom Box Ideas for Work at Home Parents”

Copywriting, Feature Writing

6 Tips for Editing Your Own Writing

Ruth Dawkins: 6 Tips for Editing Your Own Writing

One of the biggest differences I’ve found as I’ve started to expand my writing life to include copywriting as well as features is that as a copywriter you need to be your own editor.

Obviously if you want to make a living from writing you always need to submit your most polished work. Regardless of whether you’re sending it to an editor that you have a longstanding relationship with or a brand new corporate client, you don’t want it to come back covered in red pen.

But while an editor will have a lot of experience helping writers shape their work, copywriting clients often don’t – they’re hiring you to get the words right – so you need to develop the ability to cast an editor’s keen eye over your own work.

There are a few tricks and tips that I use to help with this, and I’m sharing them with you below. Continue reading “6 Tips for Editing Your Own Writing”

Copywriting, Feature Writing, Reading

12 Great Books about Writing

Ruth Dawkins Copywriter Recommends 12 Best Books about writing

If you’ve read previous posts on this blog, or if you follow me online, you’ll know that my two favourite things in the world are reading and writing. So, what do you get when you combine those two interests?

Books about writing!

I thought I’d compile a list of my favourite books about writing so if you’re ever looking for inspiration, or advice on how to hone your craft, you’ll have some options to choose from. Continue reading “12 Great Books about Writing”