Fun Stuff for Freelancers

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At some point, you’ll read more Facebook posts than you can take and the Wikipedia random button will run its course. Fortunately, there are plenty of other ways for writers to waste time. Before you resort to playing solitaire, I recommend checking out some of these sites.

So You Think You’re Fast?

Freelance article writers spend their days typing. We ought to be pretty good at it, right? Professional typists usually average speeds of 75 words per minute or more. I thought that, after all this time in front of a keyboard, surely I was average or above. The typing test at 10FastFingers.com proved me wrong.

Never Use a Thesaurus Again

Visuwords.com is one of the few places I could spend hours just double-clicking stuff. This website is a graphical dictionary that is powered by WordNet from Princeton University. Type a word into the search box and the software will bring up a web of related words. All of the words and connecting lines are color-coded so that you can immediately see their relationship to your original word. It doesn’t stop there – by double-clicking on any of the words in your web, you can bring up new sub-webs of more related words.

Borrow Books on Your E-Reader, Laptop, or Phone

Overdrive.com is my favorite way to take a break from writing. There are nearly 25,000 libraries from all over the United States registered at Overdrive, so as long as you have a library card, chances are that you can borrow ebooks for free. Another advantage is that, unlike many other ebook lending libraries, you don’t have to share your own ebooks in order to borrow.

Lending rules vary between public library systems – some only allow you to check out a couple of ebooks at a time, while others let you check out up to 10 books. Overdrive has a great selection, too. I’ve checked out popular books that I can never find at my brick-and-mortar library, including titles by George R.R. Martin and Gillian Flynn. Granted, you sometimes have to place a hold on in-demand titles. However, unlike the public library, your hold titles usually come available in a week or two.

Send and Receive Postcards

Would you like something more interesting than credit card offers in your mailbox? At Postcrossing.com, you can sign up to send and receive postcards from anonymous users all over the world.

After you sign up for the service – which is free – you can request an address and an ID number to write on your postcard. Once the recipient registers the receipt of your postcard, your name will go on a list for someone to send you a postcard. Interestingly, Postcrossing is kind of a big deal in some countries – the Czech Republic even made a Postcrossing.com postmark to honor the website.

When you spend all day online, it’s easy to become jaded and forget that the Internet is filled with possibilities. Don’t stop with my list of things to do – share some of your favorite online haunts!

Amber K enjoys writing about home improvement, gardening, and the great outdoors. When she’s not sitting in front of a computer, she can be found developing strategies to conquer the world — or at least her own little piece of it!

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