Freelance copywriting sucks

Word Tweak is a failed business where the sole trader has never recovered the costs associated with officially registering, purchasing the domain names, printing the cards, emailing the hack frauds or setting up the website. There have been some small wins here and there, but a lot of time has been squandered chasing leads and repeatedly asking legacy clients for overdue payment. So, fuck it. If you’re a freelance copywriter, just stop. Get a real job.

Was it all for naught? No. Through professional experience elsewhere and downright exploitation at the expense of this salty operator, there is a folio that is half-decent. At least the body of works, and the piffle to accompany it, was ok enough to open up more lucrative and sustainable full-time opportunities for an entrepreneur who was spinning words for virtual cents. So yeah, it padded out the good ol’ CV and helped this aspiring capitalist learn a thing or two about humanity.

Online marketing, the horror.

But that’s not the point. It should never be acceptable for a professional freelance copywriter to work for free when payment via legal tender was agreed upon in writing. Fast food chains won’t wait a year for you to pay for that litre of cola that you quaffed. Myki doesn’t give a shit if you fare evade because you forgot to top up (well, from what I’ve seen, V/Line conductors are weak on the matter) but you get the point, right? Engage a professional for a service and then pay them promptly. If the job was terrible or needs fixing, it gets resolved.

There are a few problems when dealing with copywriting contracts.

  1. Trust. This word tweaker should’ve encrypted files and done all sorts of Mr Robot shenanigans to ensure payment for services rendered. In almost every situation where payment for copywriting is pending, it’s because the contact has established trust and their tardiness was never anticipated. It is difficult to withhold copy when it is being submitted via .docx or text format. Fuck people.
  2. Priorities. Businesses focus on core business. It’s what businesses do. When a business engages a copywriting business to do business, its business is more important than your business. So don’t be surprised when you do all the work and then wait an eternity for a response. By the time the other business get back to you, they’ll probably back out or have a change in priorities that will call for a complete re-write, with the expectation that you can do it for free. Cheap bastards.
  3. Protection. No, this isn’t a contraception spiel. wait, maybe it is … You see, freelancers are often at the mercy of their customers. There’s endless negotiation and compromise because freelancers want happy, paying customers. Sadly, people will play every dirty trick to squeeze all the value out of your juicy noggin. This means that the copywriter often completes the job but the other party will attempt to get away with paying only a fraction or zilch. When you’re just a small-town writer, livin in a lonely world, you’ll take the midnight train goin anywhere.

TL;DR: People exploit people. Get your shit together. If you freelance, fuckin don’t.

Let this video ram it home for ya.



3D printed terrain with Wargaming STLs

Do you own a 3D printer or know someone who likes to churn out all kinds of plastic crack for tabletop wargaming? When you have access to a machine that can turn a digital design into a physical copy, that’s incredible. With the right equipment, you could make just about anything.

Two decades ago, I used to dig holes in the backyard and fill them with plaster for natural-looking scale hills and mounds. When we had a surplus of cardboard, polystyrene and foam board, me and my siblings would craft small buildings, forts and all sorts of tabletop wargaming terrain. While we had a lot of fun making crap out of crap and using those amateur models for Warhammer 40K and other indie games, the plaster mounds were brittle and crumbled while the little houses bowed at their bases and ended up in the bin. We needed better stuff.

3D printed terrain is the next best thing. Punters on a budget will no doubt scour Thingiverse for all the free STL files. Funny thing about free stuff, though, is that quality is often hit and miss – ok, more misses than hits.

So, what do you do? Learn how to design and splice your own bunkers and barricades? Well, you could. Nothin stopping you. Wouldn’t it be more convenient, though, for someone else to do it for you? Spend your time playing games rather than wasting hours printing something disappointing.


Did the almighty Dice Gods hear our pleas for better 3D prints? A new Australian online store has popped up and it’s full of quality STL files for 3D printed terrain. Wargaming STLs aims to release new models every week, and currently has an impressive catalogue that includes barrels, vehicles, ruins as well as some awesome set pieces like the crashed aeroplane and the highway road kit. These premium and unique designs are better than anything I can mould from the dirt outside and look superior to the average STL files that you can pluck from the interwebs.


Join the Wargaming STLs Facebook page today. Subscribe to the mailing list for exclusive coupon codes and new release details.

What kind of 3D printed terrain would you like to see?

Prince’s Gambit by Onyx Path Publishing

Do you enjoy social deduction card games like Werewolf or The Resistance? You know, those fast-paced party icebreakers where you and your guests gather around a table and then accuse each other of being the bad guy? There’s generally a lot of shouting and laughing in this entertaining milieu of paranoia, seriousness and absurdity.

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It only seems natural that this genre of social card games would embrace the likes of the RPG World of Darkness setting Vampire: The Masquerade.

Onyx Path Publishing are promoting a new Kickstarter campaign to crowdfund the publication of Prince’s Gambit. Check it out. There’s a gameplay demo and lots of information to sink your teeth into.

The night is young as you step into the VIP room of the hottest nightclub in town. You’re one of the leaders of the city’s vampire clans, and you’ve been summoned to meet with the Prince, along with your Machiavellian peers.

As each Primogen enters, the candles flicker as you stare into their eyes. The politics of the undead are always deadly, but there’s a heightened danger tonight. Because you know that at least one of the vampires staring back at you is a traitor, a member of the nefarious Sabbat.

The Prince demands that you work together on a series of intrigues. It’s a risk, but you’re already part of the deadly game. You have to see the Prince’s gambit through to the bitter end.

Proofreading Tips

Are you in the habit of checking your work emails before you click send? If you don’t, you probably should. It could negatively affect your business.

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Simple typos like ‘teh’ can look unprofessional, especially when you are corresponding with a client or other third party. Ideally, you want to present yourself as a professional and should communicate as such. People are judgemental bastards. People suck.

Of course, there are situations when you can relax and bend the grammatical rules. Consider your relationship and rapport with the recipient. When in doubt, ask a colleague to review your message.

The following proofreading tips are appropriate for anything from EDMs and manuscripts to speeches and newsletters.

Read from the End to the Start

How do you read backwards? Ah, no. When you proofread a document you are most likely very familiar with it because you wrote it. By the time you scour the page for errors you are probably skipping over the words and missing obvious mistakes.

To alleviate this terrible affliction, we recommend that you ask our Copywriting Commander for treatment. The cure comes in the form of reading the last sentence and then backtracking one sentence at a time until you find yourself back at the beginning of the article.

Rather than go with the flow, this method forces you to take the time think about each sentence in isolation.

Perform an Oral Presentation

Get your head out of the gutters. At Word Tweak, we leave the dirty talk for our short fiction and poetry. While self editing a thing, read it out loud. If you trip over the words, consider the poor reader. Are there pacing issues? Too many long-winded sentence stuctures? Too many short bursts that look like a Morse code decryption?

Refine your message, yo.

Use Browser Extensions and Other Tools to Cheat

Some people just need a spell checker for assurance. Did I spell ‘onomatopoeia’ correctly? What about ‘Mussolini’ or ‘squirrel’? Hitting up Google can be time consuming and disruptive so why not install Grammarly or an alternative web app? If you care about AU spelling then Grammarly will probably aggravate you (if you’re a passionate Australian wordsmith like me).

Print It; Read It; Change It; Send It

Do you hate the environment? Fuck the trees, man. Print that shit. Print everything. your eyes are probably not liking the whole gotta-read-everything-on-the-computer-screen thing anyway. Wow, that escalated quickly.

Scribble on paper and mark up your changes.

Kill Redundant Phrases

The best communications are short and sweet. I often see ‘in order to’ when ‘to’ would suffice. yes, there are exceptions, especially when looking at creative writing (but we’ll discuss voice another time).

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