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Who I Am

Welcome to I’m Maria. I'm Irish, but I left Ireland 23 years ago. I now live in Lucknow, India, with my masala family.  That means a family with a subcontinental and western mix.  When I'm in India, I miss Ireland. When I'm in Ireland, I miss India. I'm equally happy in both countries, so it's probably a good thing that I also love travelling.

What I Do
I'm an Internet content writer, passionate about writing and blogging. I've been published as a fiction writer, in print and digital media.  I had stories in Ireland's Own in Ireland and Woman's Era in India. I even have a Goodreads page, because of the two digital anthologies which have featured my short stories. I also ghostwrite Internet content. And I write reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, and Flipkart.

Would You Like To Work With Me?

You're welcome to read and subscribe (see link above) to my blog, which follows this post. If you click on the link in the top right corner, you'll find a list of my sites and pages. If you'd like to work with me, fill in the form below or send me an email at: maria(at)mariawriter(dot)com. I'm actively looking for work right now, so get in touch if you need a freelance writer/blogger.  

Why Freelancers Need Contracts

Freelancing Is The New Permanent Job

As the world evolves and changes daily with the many new innovations coming about, one thing is perfectly clear. For many of us, the ‘job for life’ is gone. I earned my bread as a secretary or ‘personal assistant’ in days gone by. With the advent of online work, secretarial jobs are outsourced nowadays to ‘virtual assistants’. Instead of being the ‘girl Friday’ who makes it all happen, your secretary is likely to be a businesswoman who is engaged to perform several tasks for you under contract. So the business person doesn’t have to take on a full-time employee and pay them a living wage or salary. They simply outsource tasks and pay accordingly. The Virtual Assistant (VA) is free to do the same work for other business people. She simply has to organise her time in order to accommodate tasks for various clients.

Learn How To Be A Good Self-Employee

So freelancing is the way to go, for writers, editors, secretaries and so many other types of work. It’s a good thing. You’re not tied to one source of income. You can set your rates. You can decide on your own holidays. But unless you’re organised and resourceful, you can get into a bit of trouble along the way. I know. I’ve learned the hard way.

The Biggest Lesson

The number one lesson I’ve learned? Never, ever work without a contract. Even if the person for whom you’re working is your best friend. Although working with your friends may sound ideal, business and pleasure do not mix. When it comes to the time of handing over money, that’s when you see how ‘friendly’ your friend really is.

My Personal Experience

I took up the task of editing some books for a writer who wanted to be Jane Austen. It was never going to happen, but I was doing my best to make it happen. She’d never set foot in England, and her Regency characters sounded like they watched American TV. This was not a writer who was writing for a quality audience. If you’re reading a Regency historical novel, you want an authentic trip back in time. Right? This writer’s readers obviously wanted the Regency rake to lay them down on the card table (having imbibed several bottles of claret) and have his wicked way with them. Preferably as soon as was decently (or rather indecently) possible. Every bump, grind and move described in torrid detail. Ugh. Yes, it was a bit revolting at times, I admit it. I should also mention that a mutual friend had brokered this deal. Because of the friendship, I’d kept my mouth shut, but the rate was, to be honest, the lowest possible. Half a cent per word. That really sucked. There was no way I could sacrifice higher paying copywriting assignments to prioritise editing these books, so I edited the books in my spare time.

Things Went Wrong

Things went bad when, having to honour my commitment to edit the fourth novel for this ditzy author, she decided she wanted it back super fast. A job that would take me about a month, doing it full-time, was to be returned in two weeks. I tried, I really did. But sadly, doing the job to my usual standards, I couldn’t honour that particular commitment as much as I’d wanted to do so. But I turned in the job as soon as I possibly could. And the ignorant woman threw it back in my face in the nastiest possible way, with the rudest message I’ve ever received by email. I’d worked like a slave over her manuscript and she treated me with contempt. I was obviously never going to get my payment for this job, having completed it to the last dot and comma.


I was naturally devastated. All that work for nothing! I couldn’t stop crying for about 24 hours. Then I reached out to the friend who had brokered the deal, hoping to work something out. The ‘friend’ (now ex, naturally) made a lot of sympathetic noises about it and said she’d speak to ‘Georgette Whoever’ and get back to me.

Friend Turns Rogue

If I thought I was going to get some form of redress, I was very much mistaken. ‘Georgette Whoever’ had a catalogue of faults and failings of mine which she told my ex friend, using them as justification for her vindictive, mean and unreasonable behaviour. First of all, she hadn’t wanted full editing, she said. She’d only wanted proofreading. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw that message. I had edited three books for this author and now she decides she only wanted proofreading after all? She'd paid me for the first three books, dang it! I have never yet, in all my time freelancing, offered a proofreading service. I had taken her four manuscripts for editing and authentification as Regency novels. She hadn’t even bothered to get a proofreader to check the work after I’d returned it. Any author worth their salt knows that when the first round of edits is completed, a proofreader is required. The fact that she needed a proofreader was shown up as evidence of my so-called incompetence. After being the editor, I was now demoted to proofreader. I hadn’t even known. And this was after editing on the fourth book had completed. The so-called friend who had brokered the deal even had the nerve to demand that I offer a ‘heartfelt apology’ to Georgette Whoever for all the 'trouble' I'd put her through. It took me a couple of days to figure out the whole sorry mess. Who wouldn’t be confused? Like, I was the injured party who’d worked my tail off, to be thrown aside without payment and I owed the person who did this an apology? Please! Talk about twisting the truth around to make it fit your vision of things! It slowly dawned on me that I needed to dump this so-called friend. Not right away, but after some time.

Excuses, Excuses

‘Georgette Whoever’, pseudo-Regency writer, also had complaints about how late I’d returned her previous manuscripts. She was using this as an excuse not to pay me for my hard work on the last book I’d edited for her. Okay, she'd used another editor, but I'd still done the work. Like I said, she paid very low rates (half a cent per word) and I obviously had no reason refuse to take in other work while I was working on hers. When I heard this volume of excuses, I realised, sadly, that I’d totally lost this one. One of my friends checked out the published book for which my work had been rejected and another editor hired and found Georgette Whoever singing hymns of praise in the acknowledgments to her new editor/proofreader. But there’s one thing of which I’m certain. She’s paying Ms. Professional Proofreader much more for her proofreading than she paid me for my editing. Good luck to her. She won’t be able to pull the same stunt with that editor that she pulled with me. She’ll get back what she gave out one day.  The laws of karma are sure. I wish her the joy of her comeuppance. I won’t be there to see it, but it’s coming her way is all I know.

Legal Advice

I got a bit of legal advice and found out something which horrified me. As I had signed no contract, Georgette Whoever was under no obligation to pay me.  I’d taken this job on the advice of a friend, someone who was supposed to be mentoring me. What sort of mentor doesn’t teach a freelancer about contracts? I don’t think that question requires an answer.  I only know that I will never again work for anyone without a contract in place.

What Is A Freelance Contract & What Should It Contain?

A contract is an agreement between two parties, in this case the freelance worker and the client, in which the freelancer undertakes to do a certain type of work for a client within a specified time. The contract should state the work to be done and the time in which the work shall be done, as well as the rate which will be paid. There should be clear dates set out for the work to be returned. The client and the freelancer should be very clear about how long the work will take. In this case, it's imperative that the freelancer is paid a fair rate.

7 Reasons Why Freelancers Should Not Work Without Contracts

1.      As Carol Tice says in her blog Make A Living Writing, ‘when you don’t have a contract, you often get scewed’. She is 100% correct.
2.      As it says in the Hongkiat blog, 'a contract helps streamline your work around a schedule as well as all those clarified details of what was agreed between you (the provider) and the client from the beginning'.
3.      Everyone knows where they stand, so there are no doubts. If there are doubts, they can be cleared up before the contract is signed.
4.      The freelancer and the client should both have agreed to a fair payment for the work involved. No freelancer should ever agree to a job brokered by a third party when the freelancer didn’t even agree to a rate.
5.      If either party develops amnesia about any aspect of the agreement, it’s all there in black and white to jog their memory.
6.      It protects the freelancer from being abused.
7.      It also protects the client from being abused. It’s for the good of all parties. There are exploitative clients, but to be fair, there can be exploitative freelancers too.


There's a saying in the Irish language which, when translated, means 'Bought sense is the best sense'. In business, you have to recover quickly from the knocks and then move on, wishing everyone in your life as well as possible. I have no regrets about what has happened. I'm glad I learned what I did. To my erstwhile client and friend, I would simply say 'as a woman sows, so shall she reap'.

Evolving Trends Of The Internet

The Evolving Trend of Internet Revolution

Just over two decades ago, who could have imagined how life would have turned around in 2017? Who’d have thought that today, it would be possible to send emails around the globe in an instant? Or that it would be possible for a businessman in London to call a meeting of several associates – one in Hong Kong, one in Sydney and one in New York? And that each one could speak to another as clearly as if they were all in the same room? Did we ever imagine that it would be possible for friends living on opposite sides of the planet to speak every day at minimal cost? And that people who’ve never met could befriend each other?

Internet History – Facts Versus Fantasy

The World Wide Web as we know it was born on the 6th August 1991. It’s difficult to remember how things were before.  As a kid, I imagined how the future would be. I’d visions of being woken in the morning by robots bringing tea and eating meals composed of vitamin pills. I imagined communicating with the boss at work through a television screen. This vision probably seemed fantastic back then, but it looks silly now. Why use a robot to bring your tea? They’re building vehicles on factory assembly lines. And eating food substitute pills? We might take the odd supplement sometimes, but we still eat real food. With ingredients from quinoa to tofu available, our diets can be exciting. Talking to the boss on a television screen isn’t unusual. That’s a Skype call. He’s probably client rather than boss, though. There are more freelancers since the Internet. We have communication tools like email and payment tools like PayPal. In the eighties, writer Alvin Toffler, in ‘The Third Wave’ predicted the ‘electronic cottage’, where someone would live and work in one place, communicating with colleagues through a computer.  
Evolving Trends Of The Internet

The Explosion Of Social Media

Facebook was founded in 2004 by Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg and some roommates. It was limited to fellow Harvard students. It’s a worlwide platform now, with over a billion active users per month. Sign up giving your name, photo, email address and a few basic details and you’re good to go. Then reach out to other users. Though many countries and regions have their local versions, the original social network is the most popular. In Facebook, you can write something for the world to see (or just your friends). You can also have one-to-one chatting and group chatting. There are private groups for discussion and hobbies.  Readers groups might read a book together and discuss its merits and aspects.You can have a page to promote your club or business, showing activities and photos. Twitter is a platform where you can release micro posts (140 characters) recommending products or services or even a good book or article to read. Another tool is Pinterest. You can share articles on any topic and it’s a mine of information. Instagram is a photo sharing network, very popular with teenagers and others. There’s Snapchat, a video-call platform, where people video chat and embellish their images. There’s WhatsApp, where people connect through their telephone numbers, chatting one-to-one or in groups.

Blogging – Online Diaries

For  people wishing to be published,  blogging is a dream come true. Get a free blogsite on or and work away. Readers cn comment on posts. Having lots of comments is a matter of pride. Many bloggers visit other bloggers and commented on their posts to get return comments. There’s almost no limit to what a blogger can publish. Articles, short stories, even novels. Blogsites were often plain, unattractive pages, with basic design, featuring unrelieved pieces of text. But now, blogging has gone professional. A good blog makes money. A well-written, well-presented blog can be a nice side hustle for its owner. Some blogs  make a full-time income. Mexico-based,  USA-born Jon Morrow, author of Smartblogger , can prove this. Harsh Agarwal from India, earns a good living from his blog, ShoutMeLoud. But these guys spend time and money to make their blogs professional, with quality content. A good blog is really an online magazine with valuable, helpful content.

It's hard to keep up with global trends
Virtual Silliness

When you sign up for Facebook, you can give your name as Donald Trump. The name and the photograph you supply will be accepted. People probably know it’s a fake account, but they’ll have no way of proving it. People will interact with you and some of them may even think you’re the President of the United States. There are thousands of fake accounts on Facebook. Men and women regularly fall in love with someone they think is 25 and devastatingly good-looking and by the time they’ve committed money to the relationship, the person has absconded with the booty. Have you heard of the father of five who left his wife and kids for a beautiful woman in Australia? He went to meet his beloved and discovered she was older than him, with an obesity problem and several teeth missing.

Digital Footprints

When we visit a website, we leave digital footprints. Ever checked out shoe styles online and then wondered why shoe ads keep following you around? Ever heard about the professor who was teaching a class in medical college?. He Googled a particular term when his computer screen was visible to the class. Embarrassingly, links to what might be called x-rated sites appeared in his Google SERPS. This user regularly Googled hot content in his downtime. His preference was publicly displayed and how shaming is that? Sometimes, people are stalked online. If stalkers see your profile picture and you accept their friend request, they can give you trouble. Stalking is a crime and it’s no less dangerous in the cyber world.  Cyber crime is growing, with various online scams happening in different parts of the globe. Many banks won’t give account numbers out by email for fear of hacking.

Some Thoughts On The Future

  1. Social media tools are business tools. LinkedIn, a network for
    Social Media must be handled carefully
    business and professional people, is an appreciated business resource. Many freelancers find it invaluable.   A‘one-size-fits-all’ platform like Facebook won’t dominate forever. Users may keep a profile there to interact with business pages and join groups. But smaller networks will grow in the future. Ning Communities once allowed users to set up their own social media networks free. Users enjoyed the small networks, to keep track of their scattered friends or family members. However, when Ning announced they’d be charging in future, many users left. The time may come when users, longing for the positive aspects of social media but dreading the security risks, may agree to pay something to join a smaller, safer community. There could be social media networks for many different types of communities.  
  2. The behemoth search engines may lose dominance.  Pinterest, a search engine disguised as a social media tool, is a hub for blogging information. This tool has helped many bloggers establish their presence, attracting leads which often convert to paying customers. Trivago is a search engine for finding hotels globally. Also, because of Google tracking, security conscious netizens have started browsing incognito and using track-free search engines, such as DuckDuckGo. Ultimately, search engines may diversify according to users’ requirements.
  3.  With increased security risks and cyber crime, cyber policing will take an increasingly prominent role. The existence of an internet underworld, off the police radar and a haven for crime and deviants of all kinds will ensure that the cyber police will be kept busy.
  4.  Internet education is required. Not just how to use social media tools or do html coding. There’s a need for education in how to stay safe online and keep one’s image positive. Bernadette John, the former Digital Professionalism Lead for Kings’ College, London, spent years teaching medical students how not to ruin their futures by misusing  social media pages. She guided the students to use social media to highlight their brand value. Photographs of drunken medical students, hula dancing on the beach, could have a detrimental effect on the same students' job prospects. There have been situations where excellent students couldn’t even get interviews just because they had the same name as another student on the same campus with a bad reputation. Mrs. John’s article on how to be on social media and remain employable should be compulsory reading for anyone learning the ropes of social media management. Youngsters can be indiscreet, without even realising. Mrs. John advises untagging from all unsuitable photos and leaving groups where potentially embarrassing views are expressed. All good sense. Who wants their future spoiled over a bit of youthful silliness?
  5. Apparently, the Internet of Things is almost upon us. We shall be unknowingly surrounded by objects which pick up our data such as our brand preferences. This information will be conveyed  to a distant intelligence gathering service and used for God knows what. What an invasion of privacy! I can feel a rebellion brewing. I can foresee a lot of people going 'off the grid' in protest. Who knows where that will lead?
Internet devices are evolving

Future Internet Technology

Initially, computers were required for internet access. Now, smartphones can do the job. Meanwhile, the tablet evolved, a type of smartphone/laptop combination. Even more sophisticated is the smartwatch. This is basically a wearable computer, even running mobile apps. There are endless possibilities for the evolution of internet devices. It will be interesting to see what manifestations appear in the future.