Freelance journalist and teacher
Great writing makes an impact. It keeps readers reading and communicates information efficiently and with style.
As a professional writer and journalist, I know how to improve your written communication. I can help you create text to say exactly what you mean, increasing your audience engagement.
I’m Dara Colwell. I work as a journalist, editor, consultant, and teach professional writing at the University of Groningen.
For two decades, I have been helping people tell stories, making what’s important to them interesting to their audience. We all have knowledge worth sharing, and my job as a writer is to make sure your website is read and valued by readers. And then there’s Google…
As a writer, I am creative, flexible and confident—I have written about almost everything, always curious to learn more. My talent is finding a different angle or take on a subject, and shaping dull, boring text into tightly-written copy that’s appropriate for your audience.
Copywriting, editing and proofreading work, plus cleaning up translated text (for non-native English speakers)
I make sure your writing is accurate, intelligent, well-structured, and strikes the right tone to appeal to your audience.
Writing magazine articles and profiles
I have written for a wide range of publications (in print, radio, and online); I am a people person with the gift for highlighting what’s human.
Teaching professional writing skills
If you want to learn how to write persuasively, taking your audience into consideration, I can help.
(new or based on what's there)
I learned to be curious and observant early in life and I have put these talents to good use by seeing what others don’t, be that details or perspectives. Understanding issues and people in depth is what drives me professionally and in life, and my goal in writing (whatever form it takes) is to make people think.
As a journalist, I enjoy writing about:
The environment because it’s my first love and nature is my church.
Relationships because they are moving and dramatic; everyone has a unique perspective and story to tell.
Culture because the world is incredibly diverse, like what's “normal?!"
Practicing a simple lifestyle makes people happier while using fewer resources.
"To write well, express yourself like the common people, but think like a wise man"
Because writing helps us figure out what we think, the art of writing involves actively reworking and finessing elements until it the whole thing glides together as smoothly as pistachio-infused gelato.
I teach students studying Media Studies at the University of Groningen how to approach professional writing. They learn that writing well isn’t simply a matter of fixing mistakes. It’s about daring to be creative and persevere, as good writing is far too complex to get it right in your first draft.
I also teach writing for professionals who want to write persuasively and professionally. For those with a creative bent, I teach journalistic skills such as how to deepen, strengthen and include their observations in writing.
I give customised lessons to business professionals who want to learn how to communicate more effectively in English, particularly when it's their second language. Workshops cover grammar, standard business expressions and vocabulary, intercultural awareness, writing and presentations.
I have worked with a wide range of customers in education, research, finance, government and journalism. I also wrote blogs about learning English, such as Dutchisms and Adverbs (for Language Partners.)
I grew up in Los Angeles, spent my twenties studying and working in the UK, and later graduated from UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. I cut my writing teeth as an investigative reporter at Metro San Jose, where I wrote about the environment, politics, and entertainment. I also wrote about fashion and the lack of it in Silicon Valley, at the time a burgeoning hub for badly-dressed entrepreneurs.
I eventually moved to Brooklyn, where I worked as a freelance writer. In Brooklyn, I enjoyed walking along the same streets my grandfather had as a young man (I even borrowed his shoes), and discovering New York City. It was my greatest teacher in learning how to tackle writing, meet diversity head on and approach life. There, I wrote reviews for books, software, trailed wannabe shamans, and got personal about relationships.
I later moved to Amsterdam and fell in love with all the stereotypical things Americans do here: cycling, affordable healthcare, and its Rembrandtesque skies. I am thrilled to live in a city where my ceiling rafters are older than the US Constitution, and which has welcomed diversity for centuries. I now write about things like corporate wellness, and change management.
Dara has been a true asset to our company. She understood the tone of our message and was able to translate this and write 'to the point’ content that sticks. I am very happy with the clear deadlines she set and the work delivered on time.
I would recommend her to anyone in need of someone who can write, translate and pro-actively think about the tone of voice needed to spread the message.
Michiel Kaemingk - Tension Tamers Massage Studio - Amsterdam