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Expanding your horizons as a freelance

January 28th, 2011

There’s nothing like seeing your work published, but you can utilise your writing in other ways.


Freelance writing is difficult, especially in travel, my speciality.  So, in 2009, I decided to concentrate on renewing my public speaking skills.  Another participant at the Swanwick Summer Writers School spoke glowingly about  Toastmasters International, so my partner and I joined Didsbury Speakers.

The Icebreaker, the first speech, at five to seven minutes, is a way of introducing yourself to the club members.  I wrote about 900 words, and tried to learn them by heart.  Big mistake!  My speech, although well received, came over as wooden and lecture-like.  I learnt that writing and delivering a speech, or a session, require opposing skills from writing a feature to be read.

In June, I judged York Writers’ article writing competition and delivered my  ‘Water, water, everywhere’ speech, selecting several of my published features, to illustrate my talk.  It was less stilted and more fluid and I delivered a potted version of this for my second Toastmasters’ speech.

With increasing confidence, I wrote and facilitated ‘Writing using your five senses’, a two part course at Swanwick, 2010.

Another confidence booster, and to be highly recommended, is attending sessions at Write out Loud, a nationwide circle of performance poets.  I debuted by performing two of my poems.

‘Retain your inner child’, my third Toastmasters’ speech, was the most fun.  I dressed as Looby Loo, and took Andy Pandy with me, to speak on the importance of remembering childhood.   I won a book of quotations, for the best costume.  I still wrote my speech, but condensed it to highlights on cue cards.  Much better!

Public speaking has opened up a new world of writing.  I’m booked to speak to Probus in February, and in March, I’m speaking to Ayr Writers and judging its article competition.

And forthcoming travel features this year?  Canada, Switzerland and a Celebrity Eclipse cruise.

If you’d like to book me to speak, please send your request to Diana.

Louise Cahill is an award-winning writer, course leader and public speaker, who attributes much of her success to The Writers Bureau and the Writers’ Summer School, Swanwick.

She’s freelanced for over twenty years and has had features published in an extensive range of over 65 publications.

Her speciality is travel writing and a burning ambition was to visit Antarctica until a bad experience on the Beagle Channel, Argentina!

PS Don’t forget you’ve only got until 31st January to enter the draw to win a publishing package from Indepenpress and a copy of our latest course – How to Promote your Book


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