About Me

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Weston Super Mare, Somerset, United Kingdom
Hello and welcome to my blog. My name is Robin Whitlock. I am a freelance journalist with a special interest in environmental issues and renewable energy. I have numerous published articles to my credit and write regularly for a number of renewable energy websites. I am also a writer for Renewable Energy Magazine and a sub-editor for Renewable Energy Focus. I am currently based in Bristol, UK. Besides renewable energy and green issues I have a wide variety of other interests which includes World War 2, mythology and folklore, gardening, railways and lots more besides. You can also reach me on either of my two email addresses, which are: robinwhitlock66@hotmail.com and robinwhitlock1966@gmail.com Thanks!

Hire Me!!

Hire Me!! - Freelance Journalist specializing in environmental issues and renewable energy
Writer for Renewable Energy Magazine
Sub-editor for Renewable Energy Focus
Contributor to Holmes Digital Media websites (Solar Guide, Renewables Guide, Boiler Guide, Builder Guide)
Contributor to Cleversolar blog and Find Energy Savings
Published in numerous national magazines
See below for writing samples

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Ancient Origins Magazine

I have a new client, a publication called Ancient Origins magazine based in the US. Here is my article for them on the Incas: http://bit.ly/1AvRhuV

Friday, 22 May 2015

Freelancing is a hard slog

There's no doubt about it, freelance writing is a hard job. As a British freelancer, I am often guilty perhaps of thinking that my American colleagues have got it better, but judging by this article in The  Huffington Post, that almost certainly isn't the case.

So, to summarise the main points here:

Freelance writing means freedom - you're not restricted to just one employer basically...

The digital revolution has changed the landscape of freelance writing dramatically
"At some news organizations, staff cuts have led to larger freelance budgets in order to maintain the same steady flow of content each day. And with new digital startups launching every year, there has perhaps never been a greater number of outlets for writers’ work to find a home."

There is also a sense among some freelancers that the quality of these opportunities has become diluted in 2015
"Publications pay less per article, outlets expect faster turnarounds and clickbait listicles get approved far more often than substantive features." “I do feel like there are more jobs, although there are a ton that really don’t pay well,” says Sarah Jaffe, a freelance labor journalist and a fellow at the Nation Institute. “There are still websites popping up every couple of months and they want you to write a 1,000-word article for 50 bucks. You can’t make a living writing a 1,000-word article for 50 bucks. The math doesn’t add up. The amount of time it takes out of your life doesn’t add up.”

As a freelancer your ideas have to be better than the staffers
“That’s sort of the justification for the freelance budget. A freelance page is more [expensive] than a non-freelance page in your publication, or even on your website, so you have to justify it. You can’t just be throwing it around.”

Editors at top publications insist that they continue to rely heavily on outside writers whenever possible
"Consistent work exists, it would seem, as long as freelancers are able to offer a steady stream of unique and compelling story ideas editors are unable to find in-house."

The demand for good, incisive pitches often outweighs the supply

There’s a growing need for solid writers who can explore locations and cultural pockets staffers can’t always reach.

Writers get out of freelancing what they put into it - it takes persistence to make a living
"For years, Morgan tried unsuccessfully to break into the New Yorker, the legacy publication that, in some ways, still exists as a status symbol for writers around the world. In December, after knocking and knocking, the gate finally swung open for him."

Source (and full article): Huff Post Media

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Can ideas be copyrighted?

In a word, no. The classic case demonstrating this is the well-known Baigent, Leigh & Lincoln case of 2006 which was completely rejected by the court.

The reason why I am mentioning this is that there are some people out there who will consider someone else writing on the same subject as they are as 'stepping on their turf'. I have just had exactly this experience, probably not helped, I admit, by my use of the word 'collaboration' when actually I wished to cite, that is to say, reference his work. This prompted the accusation that I was essentially asking him to 'hand over' over the products of his hard work, something that had certainly never entered my mind at all and something I would never dream of doing. I am not, and never will be, in the business of, essentially, 'stealing other people's work', but I am very keen to reference and promote projects in order to help publicise them. First of all, its newsworthy stuff, and secondly its always good to do other people a favour by celebrating interesting and worthy projects. Isn't that what journalists do? Or am I missing something here?

One flaw in my personality that I will admit to is a bit of a fiery temper. I thus engaged in a lengthy email argument when actually I should have just thrown his reply in the 'spam' folder, completely ignored him and just got on with writing the article using alternative sources that I had already identified anyway.

The moral of this story is that there are people out there who, for some reason, believe they alone have the exclusive right to research, investigate and write about a particular topic. It's the writers equivalent of a farmer shouting at walkers to 'get orf my land'. They will react to such incursions on their territory by launching an attack.

The best reaction, which admittedly is hard to do if you have a bit of a fiery temper like mine, is to just ignore and get on with it anyway. Providing you are not plagiarising other people's work, you have every right to write about whatever subject you wish to.

And if they have a problem with that it is just tough basically.