Begin every article with the word "begin". This is quite the power move. It establishes that the article has begun, leaving no room for doubt. It's also a subtle way of telegraphing where a reader is in relation to the rest of the article.

Try not to use any letters that you made up. Unless you get really lucky, they won't be on your keyboard.

I heard that the phrase "cellar door" is the most pleasing combination of words in the English language. Why not take advantage of that? Work it in to your writing at every opportunity, with no respect for context. If it pleases everyone so dang much there's no drawback.

Use pull quotes often. They're a great shortcut for writers who aren't great at appealing page layouts, and they can make any group of words seem important.

Established writers are always warning newcomers not to work for free. I say do it. What the heck. Might as well set your expectations low right off the bat. Freelance gigs for even the most popular sites pay terribly, assuming you can pry checks from the hands of their perpetually forgetful payroll departments. There are only a few dozen staff positions in the field you're enthusiastic about. No matter how much talent you have, you are valueless and incredibly easy to replace. Ten thousand people are eager to get the job done for less money as long as the companies they cover give them free t-shirts once in a while. You're fucked. This is all fucked. There are more eyeballs on the internet than tv and film but when you weren't looking everyone decided that writers should be made to suffer until they go away by either getting a job in the industry they wanted to write about or by dying in a garbage fire. None of this makes any sense whatsoever. How could the world work like this?

Always remember to just have fun!

Whenever you have the chance, use a slightly larger font size than is necessary. This lets you write relatively short articles that appear substantial to readers at first glance. Since readers finish your articles before they get bored, they gain a sense of accomplishment to offset all the long form features they give up on. Everyone wins.

Cellar door. Cellar door. Cellar door. Cellar door.

When you pitch ideas to editors, remember the standard email structure:

1. Introductory "Hi" or "Hello" (which you agonize over choosing) followed by an exclamation mark (which you think about omitting but ultimately keep because a period seems entirely too formal).

2. A sentence that reads something like, "Here are a few pitches," even though the editor asked you to email them a few pitches and the title of the email is "A Few Pitches".

3. Your first pitch, which mostly fits the website but also leaves a lot of room for your weird writing style to shine. This idea is described in loving detail with an outline and several example passages.

4. A pitch that actually fits the website, with no room for your self-indulgent word solos. This idea is described in a single, almost hesitant sentence. There is no "I guess" at the end, but it is implied.

5. A sign-off that hovers awkwardly between professionalism and trying-too-hard friendliness. Something you will definitely regret, like, "I look forward to continuing to work with you. Hope all is well! Ha ha. Sorry my ideas are bad. Thanks for your time. Here's my name again." (Was that exclamation mark too much?)

– Dennis "Corin Tucker's Stalker" Farrell (@DennisFarrell)

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