Blog

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”

Feature Writing

September 2017 Writing News

 

Sunbeams in Hobart Tasmania

This September marked four years since our arrival in Tasmania.

I wrote a post for my DorkyMum blog about some of my thoughts and feelings about that celebration, which also falls around the time of our tenth wedding anniversary. Along with the lighter days and warmer spring weather, there have been lots of reasons to celebrate!

Work-wise September was one of those months that felt very busy with lots of little tasks. I wrote a good few posts for my own website, including recommendations for the best places to read personal essays, a list of useful resources for Australian writers and a lighthearted piece about my obsession with reading. Continue reading “September 2017 Writing News”

Feature Writing

20 Places to Read Great Personal Essays

Ruth Dawkins 20 Places to Read Great Personal Essays

There has been a lot of discussion in writing circles recently about the fate of the personal essay. I say recently, but in fact this is a debate that has been going on for a long time. Virgina Woolf, always ahead of her time, was grumbling about personal essays as long ago as 1905.

Anyway, back in May, Jia Tolentino wrote a piece in the New Yorker arguing that The Personal-Essay Boom is Over (and then, ironically enough, sold a collection of her personal essays to Random House). It spawned many thoughtful and interesting responses, including this feminist defence of the form by New School Professor Susan Shapiro, this wonderful piece about parenting essays by Lauren Apfel at Motherwell, and this piece by Kath Kenny in The Conversation.

If you’ve grown up online, as I have, you will likely have read hundreds, if not thousands of personal essays. It’s true that many of them – the poorly written, exploitative clickbait articles that were the focus of Laura Bennet’s excellent Slate piece back in 2015 – should never have been published.

But it’s also true that a well written personal essay can be a truly beautiful thing. I have a folder on my desktop of saved pieces that I return to again and again: astonishing, illuminating essays about what it means to find your home, to be a mother, to love and laugh and live. Continue reading “20 Places to Read Great Personal Essays”

Copywriting, Feature Writing

5 Useful Websites for Australian Writers

5 Useful Website for Australian Writers by Ruth Dawkins

When I moved to Tasmania from the UK just over four years ago, I had plenty of experience as a writer, but zero experience as a writer in Australia.

One of the brilliant things about being a freelance writer is the flexibility – I can switch on my computer anywhere in the world and submit my work to an editor in the same town or an editor on a different continent. It really doesn’t matter.

But I do think that when you’re working to establish yourself in a new place it’s important to get a sense for the publishing landscape – the accepted etiquette of pitching and writing, the existing relationships in and across the media, the range of pay rates, and any unfamiliar jargon.  Continue reading “5 Useful Websites for Australian Writers”

Reading

What I’m Reading

collage of books from Ruth Dawkins instagram

When I’m not writing, my other favourite thing to do is read.

It always has been. I’ve written before – for sites like Writers Bloc and also on my own blog – about my love of books and libraries.

Until recently I was a bit of a book hoarder. I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of books I’d read, even when I hadn’t enjoyed them very much. For someone who spent a few years as a reviewer and built up a huge collection, and then married someone who was also a big reader, it was a bit of a problem.  Continue reading “What I’m Reading”

Copywriting, Feature Writing, Social Media

Where I Write

Desk belonging to writer Ruth Dawkins

I’ve done more writing – paid, unpaid, copywriting, feature writing, essays, even the occasional poem – since moving to Tasmania than I’ve ever done before. And this is where I do it. My lovely desk.

Computer, cup of tea, several notepads and a complicated system of colour coded post-it notes. What more could a writer need? Continue reading “Where I Write”

Uncategorized

August 2017 Writing News

Hobart Tasmania

August! Where did it go?!

This was my third month back in the world of freelance writing, and it was slightly quieter than July, but in a good way. I’ve had enough projects on the go that I haven’t felt any anxiety, but I’ve also had time and space to work on the admin side of things: business cards, tax returns, invoice templates and the like.

I’ve also added a few more testimonials to this site – many thanks to those colleagues and clients who have taken the time to write such kind words.  Continue reading “August 2017 Writing News”

Feature Writing

The Lifted Brow: More than MOFO

The Lifted Brow logo

I’m really pleased to have my first piece published with The Lifted Brow online this week. It’s a guide to some of the fantastic activity that is taking place in Tasmania’s vibrant, innovative arts scene. If you’d like to read it, head over to TLB.

More than MOFO: A Tour Guide to Tasmania’s Thriving Regional Art Centres.