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Career Help, Writer Tip

Common Writing Mistakes Every Writer Should Watch For

Writing mistakes can quickly ruin even the best-researched and well-written pieces. New writers may feel intimidated by all the grammatical, story flow and other rules whether written or unwritten.

To forge ahead, understand that a handful of key tips can help avoid writing mistakes consistently. Don’t repeat the same mistakes over and over; and in the process strengthen your writing work potential.

Know Contractions

First, know how contractions operate. They just combine two words, as in “you” and “are” into “you’re.” When in doubt about it’s vs. its, or your or you’re, try this. Insert the option with the apostrophe, then say it aloud as the two words it’s supposed to represent. For instance, if you wrote “It’s you’re game,” say it without the contraction. “It’s you are game” indicates to use “your” instead.

You vs. you’re, its vs. it’s, and they’re-their are among the most common grammatical problems with writing. Often the option without the apostrophe, such as their, your and whose, describe possession of something: like your game in the example above. But saying it aloud is an easy trick.

Straightforward Grammatical Rules

Simple grammatical mistakes can convince readers that an article is sloppy or untrustworthy. Get comfortable that when choosing between “who” and “that,” go with who if it refers to a person. Joe is a driver who rarely speeds. Picking “then” or “that”? Remember than helps compare things. You’re better than that.

Some little writing rules are straightforward. Never use “alot” – a lot refers to a huge number of something, and allot means to assign or share. “Alot” is nothing.

Beyond Spelling and Grammar

Beyond grammatical and spelling errors in writing, important things to avoid are sentences that are too long or have too many commas. Good, easy-to-read text is best in bite-sized pieces. Keep sentences short. If you run across a long sentence divided by a comma, consider making it two sentences.

Same with too many commas in a sentence; it can break a reader’s train of thought and possibly confuse. Again, consider breaking the sentence into separate thoughts, or use a semicolon instead. To delete a comma, try “but,” “and,” “if,” “since” or “although” instead.

Eliminate Clutter and Plan Ahead

A writing mistake to avoid is clutter. If something seems to interfere with the flow of text or a reader’s ability to digest content, eliminate or replace it. Examples can include too many quotation marks around words; the above-mentioned overuse of commas; and too many pronouns.

Finally, a big writing mistake to avoid is disorganization. Either start from an outline or rough sketch of points you want to make and in what order, or in the end broadly review a draft from the perspective of organization. Does A lead to B which leads to C? Think of paragraphs as acts in a play.

Help guide the audience along with transitional words or sentences between acts, or with formatting options like subheadings or bullet points.

Career Help, Writer Tip

Simple Tips to Keep Freelance Clients Happy

No two freelance clients are alike. Any freelance writing veteran can tell you keeping clients happy can depend on a number of factors, including a company’s size, the industry, or personalities involved. Still, there are a few tips for keeping freelance clients at peace that seem to apply to most of them.

Deliver on Time

Always meet given deadlines seems simple. Make it a habit by properly planning ahead, and this super-simple tip pays dividends on a broad scale. Remember, time is money in business, so lost time equals lost money.

Know Their Wants

It can seem easy to get a topic and keywords and go off to the races to deliver. Not so fast: first you should truly ascertain what the business does, and what it wants. Knowing the end goal should help in producing the content, whether its more leads, more sales or just more attention. Acquaint yourself with all the client information you can to truly know the audience and purpose of the content.

Provide Quality

It seems a no-brainer, but learn to be consistent in weaving in search engine optimization best practices into colorful and engaging content, and you limit opportunities for complaints. Think how your client’s audience might type phrases into search engines, and lace that into paragraphs.

Compete Well

Along the lines of No. 3, go the extra mile to ensure your content uses top-quality, credible sources, and information from high-traffic websites to solidly back up your writing. Properly research topics, validate your work and compare well with the many other freelance writers out there.


Never hesitate to ask clients questions if you have them, and try early on to establish an easy and comfortable line of communication. It doesn’t have to be lengthy conversations, either. Send one-line progress reports, ask a question well before deadline, or just post-submission feedback to keep communication lines robust.

Finally, try to go above and beyond what is asked. Spend extra time to consider what clients may need or want next. Simply suggesting new topics can do wonders toward making freelance clients happy. And nurturing satisfied clients keeps jobs coming and helps bring even more work.

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