When you only have a few hundred words, every word counts.

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A few months ago, I decided to stretch my writing skills and try something new. I could write a short story several pages long. But could I write a story in 200 words or less?

Every few months, I try to work on a certain aspect of my writing. Sometimes I practice writing in complex poetry forms. Sometimes I write only using dialogue, or I do the opposite and don’t use any dialogue at all. Working on one skill at a time helps me focus on what I need to improve.

Lately, I decided to work on being more concise…


How to strategically fake it as a beginning freelance writer

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There are some jobs where you don’t need any experience. You show up, get trained, and get to work.

Freelance writing is not one of those jobs. Your clients want solid proof that you can do your job…and do it well.

Which is fine, totally fine, unless you are just starting out as a freelance writer. No clients, no testimonials, no portfolio, no nothing. Sure, maybe you took a course. You probably did some research and got into some online writing communities. So you have some idea of what you are doing.

But you don’t have any proof. …


Blursday: “When you are not sure what day of the week it is.”

HipDict on Instagram

You know when we say something and are thinking something completely different?

But it’s too much effort to explain what we are actually thinking and so the words come out something like “Oh, okay.” Meaning:


Take it from the guy who made a fortune selling rocks.

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In 1975, Gary Dahl made millions of dollars by selling…rocks. They weren’t colorful or striped like the rocks in gift stores. They were too small to be used for building anything useful. They were just small oval rocks, yet he sold them for $3.95 a piece.

His product was literally worthless. So how in the world did he end up making such a huge profit?

Some people think Dahl’s idea was genius, but that’s not what fueled his success. As far as products go, the idea was actually pretty dumb.

In Dahl’s case, it wasn’t the product that made him…


CODEX

A new image-generating neural network might someday replace stock photos.

Source

Imagine if, instead of spending half an hour searching for a stock photo, you could simply type a description of the photo you want. Then a neural network reads your description and generates a bunch of image options for you to choose from.

Wouldn’t that be great? Instant customized images? It may seem far-fetched, but it’s not. It’s right on our doorstep.

An alternative to stock photos?

I know next to nothing about AI, data science, neural networks, or anything like that.

But I definitely got interested when I started reading about a neural network created by OpenAI that can generate images based on a…


Rethinking the quality vs. quantity dilemma

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Remember the Ents from The Lord of the Rings? I tend to agree with Treebeard.

“You must understand, young Hobbit, it takes a long time to say anything in Old Entish. And we never say anything unless it is worth taking a long time to say.”

What if that became your mantra? What if we substituted the word “write” for “say”? What if we only wrote things that were worth taking a long time to write?

Most of us have faced the quality vs. quantity dilemma before. Naturally, we know that quality tops quantity. But it is hard to live…


The poem that describes my background

Photo of the Redwood Forest

During one writing class I took, the teacher challenged us to write a “Where I Am From” poem.

At the beginning I was a little skeptical, because she gave us a template to write the poem, based off of Where I’m From by George Ella Lyon. I thought, “Who writes poetry off of a template?”

But after doing the exercise, I changed my mind. It was an eye-opening experience taking a deep look into my identity. I think everyone should have a “Where I’m From” poem.

The Template

The “Where I’m From” template has become pretty popular with writing teachers. It’s structured…


Make your poetry both concrete and abstract…at the same time

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My experience writing poetry is tied up in my battle against abstractness. I was never the greatest at creating imagery. I picked words that were way too general.

Yet, I tried to adhere to the “show, not tell” maxim. So I didn’t exactly explain much either.

As a result, my poetry lacked concreteness. My writing was too abstract. It is a common mistake for beginning poets, or writers in other genres as well.

I tried to eliminate the abstractness from my poetry, but that was like sucking the life out of the words. It was so boring! All I had…


It’s called a Harper’s Index, but with a few twists

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Inspiration can come from the strangest places. Surprisingly, I found that sometimes the best writing inspiration comes through a list of numbers.

For me, that’s saying a lot. I’m not a numbers person. In school, I thought math was the most boring subject. And then I learned how a few statistics could give me the writing inspiration I was looking for, and I had to change my opinion about numbers.

Starting in 1984, Harper’s Magazine began publishing lists of random statistics. Named after the magazine, each list is called a Harper’s Index.

Cassandra Sigmon

Freelance content writer, social media marketer, and fiction author. Also (mostly) immune to caffeine and criticism, I simply love to write.

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