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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.

Free Fun Game Favorites on the Net The World Wide Web has become a repository of free entertainment. You can find everything from funny clips to interactive games. Where can you go for the best games on the Web? Here are some of the top sites for online gaming that is fast, free and fun. Ready to Play? Check Out These Great Websites Are you ready for the best in online gaming? There are many top gaming sites that can get you gaming and having a blast in no time. One of the top gaming sites is the MSN Gaming Zone. This site has over 100 free and fun games. They also offer free trials of the hottest games. This is where you can find some of the web's best gamers. Another popular site is Heat.net. You can bring the heat on this hot gaming website, featuring over 115 online multiplayer game downloads. This site is home to such popular games as Diablo and Warcraft II. In order to play most of the games on this website, you will need to download the software. Ready to get the hottest shortcuts? If so, you will want to head for GoCheat.com. Even the most honest soul needs to get their fill of cheat codes. As all true gamers know, cheat codes can provide you with a fun and easy way to maneuver around a game. You can save your game and jump ahead with the right cheat code. For those of you that don't care for complicated or violent games, head on over to Pogo.com to get your own dose of gaming fun. Pogo.com features classic board games and casino games, including bingo, poker and other classic games. Make Your Computer Your Own Movie Theater Do you have a couple of hours to kick back in front of the computer? Do you love movies and are interested in cutting edge film? If so, you will enjoy the entertainment that you can find on the World Wide Web. One of the most popular sites for short films is Atom Films. You can watch an original short (or long film) right on your computer. Atom Films is well known for showcasing innovative short films. Atom Films even featured the winner of the 2000 Academy Award for best live action short film. You can even find short works by famous stars, such as George Clooney and Jennifer Aniston. The Sync is another great site for video entertainment. The Sync offers more edgy film shorts than other online short video websites. Who Doesn't Enjoy a Good Puzzle? Work Out Your Brain at these Websites If crossword puzzles are your thing, you will surely appreciate, the selection of games put forth by yahoo games. This site contains a host of fun, classic puzzlers. Yahoo game gives you a shot at a daily puzzle. Another great place to check out if you are a puzzle fan is the Puzzle Depot. The Puzzle Depot has a neat pattern-matching tool that can help you in a crunch. Choose from a range of difficulty levels from your crossword puzzles. For a Bit of High Culture on the Web If you feel like treating yourself to a bit of high culture on the Web, take an art break with artmusuem.net. This neat website gives you a 3D experience tour of many of the finest museums in the world. This is much easier than buying a ticket and flying over to Paris. This website offers you the full experience of some of the world's greatest museums, including audio narrative, and a neat zoom-in function that gets you within a nose of some of the world's greatest masterpieces.

Helpful Hints for Finding Free Stuff Online The World Wide Web is awash in wonderful freebies. The problem is finding them, and sorting out the real freebies from those that will cost you in the long run. Fortunately for those of us that resist the notion of not finding cool freebies, there are many tips that can help you filter out the bad results as quickly as possible. Why is it So Hard to Find True Freebies on the World Wide Web? Why is it so hard to find true freebies on the Web, and what can you do to improve your search results? Finding freebies is harder than ever. First, try searching for freebies by typing in the word 'free' into any search engine, and chances are that you will receive a lot of filler pages that do not contain any useful information, much less any true freebies. Many websites use the word 'free' in order to draw in the web traffic, but will not actually offer you any freebies. Another problem with web freebies is that they are often not as free as you would like. In many cases, you will not be allowed to access your freebies of choice until you to watch advertisements or put up with obtrusive pop-up and banner ads. Sometimes you may also be forced to subscribe to an email newsletter that results in your inbox becoming flooded with unwanted messages. Here are some tips that can help you find the real freebies. Check Out Forums Known for Their Freebies There are many well-established online forums where you can find the latest freebies. One of these websites is SlickDeals, which has established itself as a place to find authentic freebies. Check out the freebie forum to find free samples from a wide range of products and services. You will be amazed by how many free things you can find by checking these forums regularly. Share and exchange your own favorite freebies with other forum contributors and users. Check Out the Hot Deals and Coupons to Be Found Online Another favorite site for web freebie-hunters is Hot Coupon World. This site is home to a very active forum that provides users with freebie offers in a variety of different areas and topics. Check out the many different folders to find hot coupons and freebie offers. Share and read the member secrets on how to get the best free stuff. There is even a fun Adopt a Newbie program that allows you to do just that?bring more freebie hunters into the fold. The more freebie hunters, the more chances of someone finding something worth holding on to. Does Your Free Cup Runneth Over? If you want to discover the best in online freebies, A Full Cup is not a bad place to start looking. This is yet another very popular freebie website that provides its members with the greatest in freebie deals and offers. This is a great place to peruse for the latest and the greatest in new freebie offers. The Message Board Hot Spot for Web Freebies Another freebie hot spot on the web is known as Teri's Message Board. This well-regarded web forum is family-oriented. If it is your first visit to this vibrant website, check out the Hot Deals, Rebates and Samples folders. Chances are, you will find more than one great freebie deal on this very active website. A Great Place to Gather for Long-Standing Freebies Looking for a well-established freebie website that offers the best in freebies in a well-organized manner? If so, check out the FreeSite.com. This website have been around for many years and it shows: it is well organized, with a large selection of web freebies.

Achieving a Better Family and Work Balance Makes for Better Job Performance Are you constantly working after hours and weekends at the office? Are beginning to forget what your family even looks like? Many people find themselves in this predicament. Work seems to get more and more demanding with every passing day, and to stay on top of your game at work, you feel like you need to put in long hours. The flipside to this is that of course when you are at the office, you are away from home ? away from family dinners, play time and your kids? sporting events or school plays. You may feel like your hands are tied ? that no matter how much you want to be more involved with your family life, you have to keep working as hard as ever to make sure your family is provided for in the long run. The truth is, however, that you may be doing yourself a disservice on both fronts. Studies have shown time and again that well rested workers with well balanced lives are more productive in the time they do spend working. In the end, the best way to be a stand out worker at the office is to be fully involved and present in your family live. But wait, you say, ?I?m working practically around the clock now, and everything still isn?t getting done.? However, maybe the problem isn?t that you aren?t working hard enough. Maybe the problem instead is that you aren?t working smart enough. Think about the way you spend you working day. Are you taking on more responsibility than you need to, instead of delegating tasks to others? Are you spending a lot of time chatting in the break room when you run for a cup of coffee? Are you procrastinating so that big projects require you to work all-nighters instead of spreading out the work? Keep a journal of all of your activities at work for a few days. You might be surprised to see how you are really spending your time and in what areas you could make improvements. Simply staying on task and delegating effectively could get you home in time for dinner. When you have done everything you can to make your work habits as productive as possible, it is time to turn to other ways to balance your work life and your family life. Rule number one is the hardest one for most people to follow you ? draw clear lines of distinction between work time and family time. Family time isn?t really family time if you are constantly on your cell phone making and receiving work calls or if you are on your laptop for the entire family vacation. When you?re working ? work. When you?re with your family ? concentrate on them. The time you spend actually taking a breather from work will recharge your batteries and make you a better worker when work time rolls around again. Next, you have to evaluate your priorities. Maybe working around the clock will help you make partner faster, but at what cost? Decide if seeing your daughter?s soccer game every week is more important to you than moving up the corporate ladder quickly, and make adjustments in your schedule appropriately. There is no right or wrong answer, but deciding where you priorities lie will make scheduling easier for you. With your priorities in mind, see what work options are available to you to help you meet them. If you want more time with the kids, see if your office offers flex time or part time hours to help you meet your family commitments. Last but not least, don?t feel guilty about taking time with your family. Not only is this time important to your family, you can rest assured that the time out from the office stress will make you more productive when you return to work.