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Technical Writing offshoring and job security

Technical writers: please share your experiences with me regarding offshoring and job security. I am considering technical writing as a career change and want to determine if it would be a good move to enter this field. Details inside. [more inside]
posted by glass.hourousha on Jun 10, 2014 - 6 answers

Nonfiction, Fiction, Poetry about people's lives

I'm looking for essays, books, poetry, nonfiction, or whatever else about normal people's everyday lives and pasts, humorous if possible. I'm looking for stuff in the vein of the New York Press's old columns (like the ones Ned Vizzini wrote) or like Books of Adam. Writing that is casual, but well written.
posted by holmesian on Jun 9, 2014 - 9 answers

Making original music

How do you know that the music you are making hasn't already been written? I have a decent level of proficiency with one instrument and recently branched out and have started learning the basics of a few others. I have never made original music and recently have started tooling around and playing my "own" songs on a combination of a few instruments. It seems unlikely that I am playing anything unique which leads me to wonder how does one know when they are? Thanks.
posted by mrdrummed on Jun 2, 2014 - 9 answers

Help me find ways to make more money

I am unable to work because of disability. I collect SSDI and while I get food stamps, I only get $17/month, which doesn't go very far. Since I went on SSDI in 2010, I've tried various ways to supplement my income, but I have yet to come up with anything reliable. Budgeting is not the problem; there simply isn't enough money. Plus, it would be nice to improve my quality of life even a little bit. [more inside]
posted by mermaidcafe on Jun 1, 2014 - 20 answers

Me write pretty one day

How do I craft beautiful sentences? [more inside]
posted by dinosaurprincess on Jun 1, 2014 - 15 answers

Making sense of the TCK/global nomad life

My personal history is something that has confounded me and still does. Please help me find some resources to help me make more sense of it. [more inside]
posted by wallawallasweet on May 30, 2014 - 6 answers

Online writing communities that tolerate taboo, obscene, sexual stuff?

I'm looking for an online writing community where I can post fiction and non-fiction (articles, musings), and where there is a "friending" (social network) mechanism and a critique/feedback mechanism. And, I'm hoping to meet a some additional criteria, including types of content. [more inside]
posted by zeek321 on May 28, 2014 - 6 answers

How do I cover my ass when writing a juicy memoir?

I am writing a memoir, in which living people, some of whom I am estranged from, will be portrayed. I will be changing any details which could lead to them being identified. I will be publishing it under a nom de plume. What else, to protect myself and them, legally and otherwise, do I need to know? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on May 27, 2014 - 10 answers

Survival tips sough: dissertation due/daily agony--how to make do?

My dissertation hand in deadline is within two months. I still have a sh*tload left to do, and I fear I'm sinking fast. I have well meaning friends and colleagues that offer support, but the stress is killing me because I can't trust my own instincts and I don't know how to ask for help. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on May 26, 2014 - 16 answers

It's on the tip of someone's tongue

Please help my husband and me find words or phrases (any language!) that describe the sensation of knowing how far you are from home. Not really alienation or nostalgia or being homesick-- just the understanding/realization of the distance. [more inside]
posted by jetlagaddict on May 25, 2014 - 14 answers

What is this quote about writing?

There was a quote I read once that said something like.... A good written work is where every sentence and every word must be there for it to be complete. Where there is no word that can be cut out and still salvage what is trying to be communicated- like no wasted words. .... It was a quote that said something along these lines. I can't remember it and I can't remember who said it either. I think a famous author said it, but not sure. Does anyone have any ideas?
posted by olivetree on May 23, 2014 - 11 answers

What do you call a block of consecutive paragraphs?

In writing, there are different units of measure. For example, the letter, the word, the sentence, and the paragraph. There are also sometimes blocks of paragraphs. In each block, there is a single line break between each (indented) paragraph. Between blocks there are multiple linebreaks so that there is some whitespace between the blocks. This seems to be one of the larger units of measure before a chapter. Does anyone know what the official name for a block of paragraphs is (if it even exists)?
posted by jtothes on May 21, 2014 - 8 answers

Long reads en français

Hi mefi, can anyone recommend sites/writers that post interesting longer articles in French? [more inside]
posted by ellieBOA on May 17, 2014 - 6 answers

Sustainable ink pen solution for a lefty

Can you please give me advice, or share recommendations, about non-disposable, easy writing pens for a left-handed writer? Not ballpoint, and need free-flowing ink. I have tried various gel, ball-point, fountain, and dip pens, and I prefer a sustainable solution. [more inside]
posted by cupcakeninja on May 16, 2014 - 22 answers

Using Dragon Dictate and other accessibility tools for writing/research

If you have figured out how to write research papers as a student with RSI (De Quervain's in this instance), please share tips, tools, or online resources that have helped you. [more inside]
posted by cotton dress sock on May 13, 2014 - 10 answers

WritingFilter: What is a good pricing for self-pub short stories?

I have a couple of short stories out there on the market right now. They're between 4000-6000 words each. I've really been struggling with how to price these, and I have found no good advice on Google. How should I proceed? Writer flurries inside. [more inside]
posted by Queen of Robots on May 12, 2014 - 5 answers

How to write Australian dialog

Short of being in Australia*, I'm writing a story that takes part in Sydney, Australia. Are there any online resources, etc. that could give me an idea who to write dialog that an Australian citizen would speak (certain phrases, slang, etc). *(Warning to Australia, I'll be visiting next year)
posted by acquiredtarget on May 6, 2014 - 21 answers

10 min editor pitch...?

So, my (unpublished, agent-less) writer wife has one of those opportunities to sit down with a pro editor and agent for 10 minutes, each, at a convention.... what in the world do we do with an editor for 10 minutes? Wife is on the second/third draft of a completed manuscript. [more inside]
posted by Jacen on May 6, 2014 - 8 answers

Playlist Filter: Help me find some fight music?

I'm writing a sci-fi novel and I've come to an extended battle scene. Music without lyrics is a MAJOR plus (lyrics can distract me and slow down the writing... but music is good for blocking out noise from outside my study.) Any suggestions? Guitar-oriented hard rock music and VNV Nation-style modern sounds would really help! [more inside]
posted by scaryblackdeath on May 5, 2014 - 13 answers

Where are all the Zine-sters?

I've been working on a few different zines myself, but I'd love to find more zine community online. What are some of the best sites, communities, blogs, Tumblrs, Twitter accounts, for getting into zine communities? [more inside]
posted by forkisbetter on May 2, 2014 - 7 answers

Publishing Long-form Writing

I've had an idea for a long-form essay with some original research and reporting kicking around in my head for a while. I've done some background research, and I haven't found any similar treatments of the topic anywhere else in either academia or in the popular press. I already have three different groups that I could interview and conduct field research with about the topic, and I also have a pretty strong theoretical and historical base to frame the writing. I'm used to academic publishing, but would be interested in writing this as a non-academic long-form essay. At the very least I'd be publishing this on my own webspace, but was curious about what the process would be like to try and sell it to an online venue? Is it better to write the thing first, or are there places which I could propose the article to beforehand? Is it even realistic to think that I could sell an article without being a previously published author in the mainstream press?
posted by codacorolla on May 2, 2014 - 8 answers

Ideas for earning money to complement creative/freelance projects?

Any ideas to help myself continue to be a wandering freelancer while increasing my income and expanding job opportunities? [more inside]
posted by bearette on May 1, 2014 - 8 answers

Internet community where I can get feedback on my prose and storytelling

I am about 15,000 words into my first novel, and I'm finding it difficult to get feedback from my old English major friends. I'd like to know how the pace, grammar, syntax, etc. of my story strike various experienced readers, but I certainly don't want to put my manuscript online in an unsecured environment. Any thoughts? BTW, I live in the Maine woods; no, there are no local meet-ups. I really wish there were.
posted by jwhite1979 on Apr 28, 2014 - 15 answers

I have an encyclopedia, not a story: what to do?

Authors Of AskMe, has this happened to you? During my self-imposed creative hiatus over the last year or so I conducted a lot of research into what would be my dream project. A project I could be passionate about, the kind of book I'd really want to exist. So I made a list of every thing, character, concept, idea, sudden kind of twist I'd like. I have three notebooks of this stuff. I cross-indexed it and included all my references. I have an astounding about of detail on what I want to put in and touch on but no actual story. I keep staring at it, like it's a list of SCP entries, and I can't think of a damn thing for anyone to do with these collected items, places, motifs, themes, and people. It's frustrating cause I can come up with quick pulp narratives on the fly for stuff I'm not working as hard on but every attempt to break and outline a rising action for these people results in rapid breathing and complete brain fume-lock. I keep asking "What does the main character want?" and coming up with nothing. Is this common? Is there a resource for this? Can I pay someone to go through these ideas and find something that other people might want to read? [more inside]
posted by The Whelk on Apr 23, 2014 - 39 answers

Returning to writing and painting after a long depression

I am a writer (poetry, fiction, essays) and painter (mostly abstract art done in acrylics). I am normally quite prolific, but I have been dealing with a ferocious depression for months now and pretty much stopped creating altogether. However, I am feeling hopeful that the end of the yuckiness is in sight, and I'd like to get back to work. Yesterday I went to a cafe to write and sent out some submissions but really didn't know where to begin with writing. I made a list of potential projects, but none of them really grabbed me, and I didn't either feel any great ideas or the patience to sit with them until I got an idea. A similar thing happened when I was thinking about painting. So, does anybody have any tips for getting back into creative work after a long time away with something as crippling as depression can be?
posted by mermaidcafe on Apr 20, 2014 - 10 answers

Speech recognition software recs for sprawly writing on a Mac

Typing is killing me and I have to write a bunch of papers over the next couple of weeks. I have a 2012 MBP (not yet on Mavericks) and could spend ~ $100-150 on some kind of voice-to-text software. Looking for something with a minimal learning curve that will let me work fast. And, whatever else is required to quickly & painlessly navigate multiple documents. Any recommendations? [more inside]
posted by cotton dress sock on Apr 18, 2014 - 5 answers

How important is emotional literacy to academic success?

Most of the academic textbooks I've read have had a drawn-out presentation style based on psychological observations as part of an effort to project a particular voice. [more inside]
posted by Musashi Daryl on Apr 18, 2014 - 3 answers

come on baby write by fire

What device is to writing what the Kindle is for reading? Assume a Kindle is, for purposes of this question, electronic, single-purpose, efficiently designed, portable, small and stylish -- and not a tablet like an iPad or Nexus. The method of document storage does not matter.
posted by michaelh on Apr 17, 2014 - 9 answers

Where can I find charitable organizations that need volunteer editors?

I'd like to donate some of my time to a charitable organization. The skill I have to offer is copywriting and editing. I can, obviously, do this remotely so the organization could be located anywhere in the world. What's the best way to locate organizations that might be interested in free writing and editing? Is this even a thing?
posted by ladybird on Apr 17, 2014 - 8 answers

Blog-Magazines For Cool Colorful Punk Babes

Lately I've been really into the blog Ribbon Around A Bomb, who writes about female-fronted 70s post-punk, Twin Peaks, feminist art, and leather jackets. I also love The Pulp Zine, which is full of teen dreams and high school small town angst, an obsession with Burger Records, 90s nostalgia, black lipstick and pink hair. I'm looking for more blogs that cover punk, garage rock, femme fun, DIY, weirdo fashion, nostalgia, queerness, creativity, feminism, art, and worship of countercultural idols. Basically, I'm a fully-grown scummy punk boyfemme who wants the experience of flipping through a teen magazine tailored to my interests. What other sites would I love? [more inside]
posted by Juliet Banana on Apr 16, 2014 - 2 answers

Writing + Community + Speaking = Job Bliss

What are some jobs/careers/gigs that involve writing, some kind of direct interaction in a community space (such as a public library, media lab, shelter, etc.), and teaching/public speaking? Substituting counseling for teaching/public speaking is okay, but something verbal and interpersonal for #3 [more inside]
posted by elephantsvanish on Apr 9, 2014 - 7 answers

Cool, modern, trustworthy site to sell articles from

I want to sell what I write as a 'packaged' article or essay. Best spots to do this? [more inside]
posted by zenpop on Apr 4, 2014 - 11 answers

I want to move my career in a different direction.

I graduated with an M.A. in English and through luck, contracting, and family connections, came to work in nuclear power. My administrative role has changed to field work. I prefer office work, especially writing reports etc. My area in nuclear is very specialized, and due to downsizing in the industry, I feel a real need to get familiar with my prospects for other jobs and diversify my skills. However, I have no idea how to begin, research being one of my weak points. Long explanation + details inside. [more inside]
posted by glass.hourousha on Apr 3, 2014 - 7 answers

What Are Some Lethal But Surmountable Diseases?

I'm trying to write a fictional character background that involves someone overcoming a generally fatal disease in childhood, and leading to a full recovery. The character must grow up to be physically fit and able to engage in a very physical job, but I'm imagining endless visits to the hospital in childhood & nobody expecting him to live long. I have a few reasons to avoid cancer as a story choice. What are other possibilities?
posted by scaryblackdeath on Mar 27, 2014 - 36 answers

Words On Film

I want to read more essays on individual films, along the lines of Tim Kreider's "Introducing Sociology" (on Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut.) [more inside]
posted by griphus on Mar 24, 2014 - 9 answers

Help me find some U.S. elementary school study aids from the mid '80s.

Tryin' to track down a portfolio of English reading/writing laminated bifold four page workbooks. [more inside]
posted by coolxcool=rad on Mar 20, 2014 - 6 answers

Technical writing... by robots?

I saw a somewhat blogspammy news article the other day (regrettably, I cannot remember where, and google is failing me) which listed the top ten or twenty professions that would be eliminated by automation in the next twenty years. Among them were ones I would expect: telemarketing, retail sales, etc. Nothing surprising there. And then they threw technical writing into the mix. My question is, how could software automate technical writing? [more inside]
posted by deathpanels on Mar 17, 2014 - 12 answers

Freelance writers: Should I be charging more for my work?

I'm 25 and have been in the freelance scene for about a year. I saw Igyre's question and how she was unhappy with making $25/hour. That's about what I'm making now. I'm looking for perspective and what I need to do to start charging more. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Mar 12, 2014 - 9 answers

Help me design a (possibly steampunk) spaceship

I am writing a short story in which an unmanned spaceship crashes in a field, and I've gotten stuck when it comes to visualizing/describing the spaceship. I like the idea of a steampunk craft, though it will have lights. In case you are wondering, the overall tone I am going for is magic with a hint of sadness. Got any ideas for what it looks like on the outside or inside? What might my characters find when they explore?
posted by mermaidcafe on Mar 12, 2014 - 10 answers

have no seafaring experience, what to read in order to write about it?

Please help me understand seaworthiness so I can write about it. [more inside]
posted by wallawallasweet on Mar 11, 2014 - 22 answers

Writing but not growing

How can you make sure that as a writer you're getting better? [more inside]
posted by litleozy on Mar 10, 2014 - 14 answers

Suggestions for a subtitle for my workbook?

I have a title for a self-help workbook I'm writing, but I'm having a lot of trouble thinking of a good subtitle... [more inside]
posted by DMelanogaster on Mar 9, 2014 - 12 answers

Where to get feedback on a French play?

My friend is a French expat living in the USA and is almost finished writing a play--in French. She is looking for some feedback on her work from people who are decent speakers of French and know enough about writing for theater, or fiction in general, but it's been surprisingly difficult to find such people. Do you have any ideas for helping her find such people? [more inside]
posted by ropeladder on Mar 2, 2014 - 4 answers

Can you help me figure out how to revise my novel after rejection?

I wrote a novel (hooray!). I got an agent (hooray!) The book went out to lots of great publishers (hooray!) who all rejected it (tears, sobbing, and gnashing of teeth). And now I'm flailing. Can you help me get my head straight and figure out a plan? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Mar 2, 2014 - 18 answers

Anhedonia and creativity

I am a writer and visual artist, mostly a writer. I have been through a grueling bout with severe depression. Now the agonizing emotional pain is lessened, but I have been blank, apathetic, and anhedonic for a couple weeks. I started on Zoloft a couple days ago and also had my lithium increased, and I also recently started a prescription dose of vitamin D because my levels were low. I'm throwing all those things plus therapy, exercise,omega 3's, and light therapy at the problem, but there is little help right now. My big question has to do with the fact that I am seemingly unable to be creative right now. I try to write and nothing comes out,or it comes out awkward and flat. I've tried writing about the flatness,but even that trick doesn't work. The visual side hasn't fared much better. Does anyone have suggestions for how I can keep my creative side alive while I wait for all the treatments to help?
posted by mermaidcafe on Mar 1, 2014 - 12 answers

Writing for computer games?

I'm a fiction writing and I've always wanted to be involved in the storytelling aspect of a computer game. Can I make this happen without a career change or having to take on technical or design stuff? If so, how? [more inside]
posted by Calicatt on Mar 1, 2014 - 6 answers

Well-written math

Which mathematicians write exceptionally well or exceptionally clearly? (Individual books or articles would also be acceptable.) [more inside]
posted by hoyland on Feb 28, 2014 - 19 answers

What are some examples of completely unique writing systems?

I'm fascinated by writing systems. I've seen this wiki page about different types of systems in real and fictional languages. As I understand it, there are generally three kinds of systems: logographic, where symbols represent entire concepts or words; syllabaries, where symbols represent syllabic sounds; and segmental, where symbols represent phonemes or small units of sound. Is there any other way to write? I'm having a hard time coming up with how it would even work, but I'm sure some clever author somewhere has tried. Is there another way to write a language other than the above?
posted by RobotNinja on Feb 27, 2014 - 14 answers

YANAmazon, but…

I stumbled across an older book, and I'd love to find others like it. Help? [more inside]
posted by xenization on Feb 27, 2014 - 8 answers

Erudition as a service?

I've started writing more (blog posts), and several times this has happened: I use the Mac's search function to look up a word in the dictionary, for inspiration, and instead I notice a PDF search result from my folder full of (sadly illegal) PDF books, and end up on a totally wonderful track. Is there a more comprehensive, perhaps legal, way to do this? [more inside]
posted by mbrock on Feb 26, 2014 - 6 answers

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