Saturday, 13 March 2010

Left at Gretna

Hi, I hope you like the photograph above, it was taken in Threave gardens in South West Scotland. Doesn't it look green when compared with what we've got in our gardens at the moment. Still spring is in the air, I can smell it. There will be more about Scotland later but first I will start this post with a bit of advice about making money from writing.

In my last post I said I'd tell you about real ways that writers can make money. I am assuming of course that you have a reasonable understanding of English grammar and you are able to spell, otherwise writing isn't going to work for you.

One of the best ways for a freelance writer to make money is by writing press releases for small businesses in your local area. The money is much better than you can expect for writing articles and it isn't that difficult to do. Before we go any further I think it would be helpful if I explained what a press release is and why it's a money spinner.

I'm sure you are all familiar with your local papers, especially the freebies that come through you door once a week. If you analyse their content, you will find that it can be divided into two types. There are the adverts that businesses have paid to be included and then there is the rest, which is made up of news features.

Everybody understands how the advertising works. Businesses and individuals pay to have their ads put in the paper and the more space it takes up the more they pay.

However, when it comes to the news articles that take up the rest of the space in the paper, a lot of people get it wrong. They assume that every newspaper has a team of reporters who are zooming all over the locality finding great news stories for the editor. Sorry to burst anybody's bubble but this isn't how it works.

A large percentage of the news stories that go into every newspaper are in fact press releases. They have been written by or commissioned by businesses and organisations to gain publicity for their products or services. Yes they look like normal news items and so they should, they have been written that way not to fool the editor but to make the reader think that the feature is part of the editorial and not an advertisement.

Think about it like this. Editors need to fill the space in their newspaper but cannot afford to pay for a big team of reporters to gather news features, especially as most of them are giving their papers away. So to fill space editors welcome well written press releases that pass themselves off as news features.

So the good news is you can get paid to write press releases and I will explain more about them in my next writing post. Press releases are also covered in more detail in my freelance writing book which is due for publication in April 2101. More details can be found on my website along with details and a free sample download of my first book which was released at the end of 2009.
Click here to go to my website.
By the way I've added another short story to those already on my website please take a look and let me have your comments. It is called "Just The Ticket" although some might say its just too mushy, I'll let you decide.

Perhaps I'm getting old but one of the great pleasures in my life is getting off a motorway. And if I can get off at Gretna and turn left it is even better. I am starting my tour of Scotland at Gretna Green and will be taking you on a clockwise journey around some of the places I've seen on my holidays in this fantastic country.

Once I'm off the motorway I don't linger in Gretna I leave the pleasures of that small town to elopers and those who are visiting the big outlet shopping village. Buying clothes with designer labels seems to me to be a waste of time and I didn't make a 200 mile journey to go shopping.

I love Scotland but their tourist industry doesn't do it any favours, the last thing I go to Scotland for is tartan and pipers. Still it takes all sorts and I suppose some people expect to find plastic Lochness monsters and tins of Dundee cake in every shop.

I remember the first time I visited Scotland and that journey from Gretna down the arrow straight A75 towards Dumfries. The land was flat at first as we motored along the estuary but it soon changed into lovely rolling hills.

We stayed for the week in a small cottage that we'd rented in the village of Mouswald, and very nice it was too. It was handy for Dumfries and the many attractions that surround it. We had a lovely walk around the wildlife and wetlands reserve at Caerlaverock. We also visited Threave gardens which were splendid, in fact the whole of the South West of Scotland is a gardener's paradise.

We were spoilt for choice with so many interesting places to visit and I'll share some more of my memories with you in my next post.

I'll leave you with a photo of Maclellan's castle in Kircudbright.

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