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To Enter or Not to Enter Writing Contests (writing contests) If you are a freelance writer, it is because you love to write. Why not put those abilities to use and enter a writing contest? You have nothing to loose and a lot to gain. You can find writing contests by simply searching the Internet. Writing groups and message boards may also have listing for these contests. No matter what you writing genre maybe poetry, fiction, non fiction, there is a contest out there for you. Read about them and choose which ones are right for you. It is not necessarily about winning or loosing but about the experience and knowledge that you gain to get there. Whether you win or not there are still valuable things that can be learned or gained by entering into contests. Entering writing contests will help you hone the skills that you have. Try something new, you may choose to write in a niche that you normally wouldn?t. You get constructive criticism from someone new. Someone that doesn?t have to worry about hurting your feelings and that is unbiased can be a wonderful asset to your career. The feedback you receive can be invaluable to you. It will get your name out there and give you a place to showcase your work. Depending on how good your story, if you make it to the next round your writings could be in front of editors and agents. This feedback and criticism is even more important than the first. Do not your eggs all in one basket. Enter a couple contests to get multiple feedback sources. Not every editor or agent is going to agree. By entering multiple contests and find common points about your writing that need perfecting you will be able to concentrate on a general consensus about your abilities. There are some downsides to entering writing contests, too. Chances are that a simple contest is not going to launch your career into star status. Do your research just as if you were going to write an article about contests. For many contests you give up your rights to your entry whether it wins or not. You need to decide whether or not you are willing to give up all rights to your story. If you win it is not a big deal, but if you loose your giving your work away. Are you willing to do this? Research the contest. You can search the Internet for reports or opinions on contests run by the company. You can find valuable information on if the contest is legitimate, if entering has had any effect of previous entrant?s careers, and if it is really worth it in the long run. The bigger and well-established companies will give credibility to your work if you win. But the bigger and more well know the companies are will also bring in tougher competition with well know authors. Some companies offer contests as a disguise. Yes they will give away prizes and declare winners but their main goal with the contest is advertising. It can be in the form of offering you to buy obscure book featuring your contest submission. Sometimes it is an editing company that offers a discount for its services or a company that will offer you discounts on writing classes. A writing contest is just a possible stepping stone. Whether it helps you or not is the unknown, but it definitely won?t hurt you. It may help you reach the next level of your career. You and only you will be able to make the decision on whether or not writing contests are a good move for your career.

Assistance on Filling Out those Online Forms for the Free Stuff So, you?ve found a great freebie online, or a free trial of some service you have been wondering about, but the form you have to fill out has left you scratching your head. Sometimes the paperwork involved in getting some free stuff can seem a bit like applying for a mortgage or filling out your life insurance policy, and in fact, many people decide the freebie isn?t worth it after all when they?re facing down an intimidating form to fill out. The good news is that you don?t have to miss out on the free stuff just because the form leaves you a little perplexed. This guide will walk you through filling out these online applications, even if this is your first trip around the Internet. Once you get the hang of things, you?ll be filling out these forms in no time at all. First things first: once you have the form open on the screen in front of you, you have to move your mouse so that the cursor sits in the very first empty space on the form, and then click the mouse once. Some forms will automatically place your cursor there when you open them, but if you are not sure, moving the mouse there and clicking won?t hurt anything at all. All you have to do now is start typing, filling in the information they ask for in that field. Filling out the form the entire form is merely a repetition of this process. Of course, you have to be able to move between the fields easily so you can fill in the rest of the form. On some online forms, the cursor will move automatically when you have finished filling in a field, which makes life easy on you, but others do not. To manually move between fields, all you have to do is either hit the ?tab? key on your keyboard or use your mouse to move the cursor to the next field, just like you did to start typing in the first field. Hitting ?enter? may seem like a natural thing to do, and while it can work on some forms, other forms will submit themselves when you hit enter, meaning you will have submitted a blank form. It is best to stick to ?tab? or your mouse to be on the safe side. This technique should allow you to navigate a freebie form fairly easily. There are a few other things you may see on a form that you have to know how to handle. You may be asked to ?check? a box or indicate in a little circle (called a radio button) that you accept the company?s privacy policy or some other thing. To do this, all you have to do is move your cursor over the box or circle and click ? the check or the dot will then appear. This can also be handy when forms ask for a billing address and a shipping address - if they are the same, you can tick a box stating so and avoid having to type the same thing twice. If a form has several pages, be careful to save your changes for every page as you move along. Usually there will be a button to click at the bottom of the page that allows you to save the work you have done. Especially long forms usually have some kind of side navigation that lets you skip around from section to section instead of moving through the form systematically ? this can be helpful if you need to find some info for one section, but want to take care of all of the other work first. Most forms are reasonably user friendly and contain info to walk you through the process. If you get stuck, look for a help icon on the page ? this info should clear up any questions you may have.

Web Hosting - Unix vs Windows-Based Hosting, Which Is Better? An operating system functions largely out of sight, or at least is supposed to. It doesn't matter to non-geeks how a file gets stored, or how memory is used, or how simultaneous processes share the limited resources available on a computer. These are among the basic functions of any operating system. Yet, you can find very passionate supporters - who offer very detailed lists of pros and cons - for every operating system. Why? Because, though the low-level functions of an operating system do their work out of sight, there are many other features that rise to visibility. Sometimes, they do so when they're not supposed to. Weighing the pros and cons objectively could consume a book. But to select a web host operating system, a manageable level of considerations apply. They can be weighed even by those who don't know a processor queue from a pool cue. Learning Curves For most web site owners, administering the site/server is just overhead. It's not something they take pleasure in doing and they have plenty of other things to worry about. Many wouldn't know how and have no interest in learning (rightly so, given their priorities). Consequently, ease of administration is paramount for such people. Whether a Unix-based site (usually Linux these days) is easier to administer than Windows depends on your current skill set and the type of tools and level of access the web hosting company provides. But in general Linux is more difficult to install and maintain than Windows and the learning curve is steeper. FTP and Control Panels Often, you don't have to care. For many, the operating system is fairly transparent. FTP file transfers to get a new web page up to a Windows server are very much like they are to a Linux-based site. The user/administrator simply doesn't see what's behind the curtain. Many companies provide other utilities that completely mask any awareness of the operating system underneath. When that's the case, the web site owner has no reason to care, until or unless they need or want to go 'inside the black box'. Performance Performance issues can be relevant in selecting which operating system host type to choose. But for the most part, that aspect is outside the web site owner's control. Overall performance can be good or bad on either system, depending on many factors that the publisher will rarely see. The issue is a wash, as far as tipping the scales is concerned. What is more likely to be seen by a web site owner, at some point in their (and their site's) development is the database product that can be used to store information. Databases Microsoft SQL Server is relatively simple to use, yet extremely powerful and can deliver great performance. But it doesn't run on Linux. At least, not without special software to emulate Windows, which usually kills performance. On the other hand, with a bit of time invested, MySQL isn't significantly more difficult to learn than MS SQL Server and there are many free installations. Cost may well outweigh other considerations for most on this issue. Programming Languages Last, but not least, there are differences in programming languages that can be (or at least typically are) used on Windows vs Unix. If you have programmers who are skilled in Visual Basic, ASP and other Microsoft technologies, then a Windows-based host will be your preferred choice. For Perl and PHP programmers, Linux is the more common platform of choice. No single factor can push you to one versus the other operating system. And, in the long run, it isn't the primary consideration, unless you just enjoy playing with operating systems.

The Makings of a Magazine: Do They Include You? (writing magazine articles) Magazines are everywhere. They are published on nearly every subject you can imagine, in duplicate and triplicate and more. All that a start-up magazine needs is a niche and an audience. While there may be hundreds of cooking magazines out there, a new one could come up if it should cover cooking for your pets. In fact, there may already be such a magazine in existence. The niche is cooking for pets. The audience is those people who want the healthiest foods for their pets and are willing to put the time and effort into making it for them. If you are interested in writing magazine articles, you?ll be sure to find one that is perfectly suited to your interests and abilities as a writer. Because there are so many magazines, it won?t be difficult to find one that you will enjoy becoming a part of. What You Should Know Magazines survive on advertising. The advertisers pay because the content is good enough that readers will invest in the glossy covers again and again. The best way to find a healthy magazine is to look through the racks for thick publications. They will only be full of content if they are full of advertisements. The big magazines can afford to pay their writers more, but they can also afford to pay only the best writers. Even though there is quite a lot of space to fill with content, you may have a hard time getting published in major magazines at first. Smaller magazines do not have quite the readership and so they also do not have quite the advertisement content. The space will be limited and the pay will be lower, but these magazines will be more open to new writing talent nonetheless. The More You Know, the Better When it comes to a writing career, the more you know the better off you will be. It is not hard to figure out that you will have the best chances for publication if you can write on a variety of topics. You should not limit yourself to a small area of expertise. Work to become an expert in every topic you come across. There is no possible way of course to be an expert in every area of human knowledge, but it will help you in writing magazine articles to learn every new piece of information that you can. For example, if you were to send a query to a health and fitness magazine about writing a short piece about general mountain biking tips they may accept it. They may also then request additional information about the pros and cons of using a road bike on mountain trails. If you only know about mountain bikes, you?ll be stuck. If you have worked on broadening your horizons though, you?ll be able to produce the work that the magazine editor requires. Getting On Staff Querying magazines is a way to get published, but if you need a more stable job, you may be interested in getting on staff with a magazine. Writing magazine articles is a talent. If you can consistently bring an editor what he is looking for, you might have a chance. To improve your chances, in addition to writing effectively, it will help to have some significant education behind you. If you are serious about making it to the masthead of your favorite magazine, it?s time to go to school. A degree will help your credibility as a writer and will help you open doors into the magazine publication world. Writing magazine articles takes a special kind of writer. You have to have a feel for what people are interested in reading about. The magazine content will help you understand how to write for a particular magazine and audience. You can also improve your chances of writing accepted articles by improving your knowledge base. Don?t be picky about what you?re willing to learn and you could go very far in the writing business.