Friday, July 31, 2009

How to Maintain Writing Quality

It’s been a crazy week. I have so many writing projects that I want to do, but only so many hours in a day to work on them. I’m not suffering from the dreaded writer’s block, but instead the inundation of too many ideas with an overabundance of material on them. What’s a writer to do?

It helps to work in small increments. Instead of trying to tackle everything at once, I’ve spent a few minutes jotting down notes so I won’t forget what I want to say. Then I look at anything facing deadlines and prioritize my work accordingly. I review my goals pertaining to content production, and modify them if possible.

By taking these steps, I can regain my focus and manage my time more effectively. When I focus better, the quality of my work shouldn’t suffer. It’s great to be able to produce a lot of work. However, I believe it is better to produce less work of highest quality, than more work that is only mediocre.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Let People Know When You Link Them

Here’s a little bit of advice you might not have thought about, but it’s worth considering. When you link to others in your articles, let them know about it. Send them a happy email so they can see what you wrote about them. This way more people and organizations will become familiar with your work. If they like it, you never know what could happen…links back to the article you wrote, writing assignments, perhaps a job offer…

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Challenging Yourself as a Writer

Have you ever challenged yourself to write as much as possible in one day? I’ve done this a few times now, and I can honestly say it is invigorating to realize how much you can accomplish! Each time I do it, my quantity increases. Ah, but what about quality, you ask.

I will tell you that I am much more prone to typos when I’m wildly producing quantity. And my eyes certainly don’t proofread as well. Toward the end of the day, I begin to gloss over many of the words, so I end up reading my articles out loud. Adding the voice helps, but I will admit that fatigue is harder to overcome.

Still, I like to do this from time to time. It gives me strength as I try to beat my latest record. It gives me resolve as I force myself to keep going, and it gives me hope because even though I’m tired, the words still seem to flow.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Publisher Guidelines

I’ve been researching publishers online. There are a lot of them, and they all have interesting websites that draw me in, hoping to entice me with their offerings. But I wasn’t there for that. I was there to find submission guidelines.

Publisher submission guidelines are varied in many different ways, dependent upon their niche or marketplace. But they all seem to have one thing in common. You must read them carefully, follow them exactly, and present your manuscript professionally. Now that’s one tip worth applying to just about everything you do in life, isn’t it? May you all have lots of success with your writing adventures today!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Making Dreams Come True

As a writer, you must test your abilities frequently. You can never be satisfied or complacent with your gift. The world is alive, and it’s waiting for you to tell its story. While you may feel more comfortable writing articles, what’s to stop you from writing a screenplay, documentary, or children’s book?

Nothing, my friend! And that is the point! If you can dream it, you can write it, and if you can write it, your story must be shared! Go now…dream of the most unthinkable project, and let the world look at things differently through your eyes!

Monday, July 20, 2009

How to Write Research

As a writer, I observe everything. I hear every word in a conversation, even ones that are purposely omitted. Gestures, tones, and stances don’t get by me, as I study every detail of things around me, subconsciously taking note for things I must share with the world through my work.

Research is not merely retelling facts. It is discovering what needs to be learned, and sharing it with those who need or want to know. Research is alive and happening right now, even as I type this post. Every sound and object can be thoroughly studied, and a story revealed about details waiting to be discovered.

Oh sure, it’s much easier to regurgitate facts, but only if you want to create an FAQ sheet. True written research reveals life and how it operates. It notices every detail, carefully documenting not only what happened, but the significance behind it. The heart of research is learning to touch the soul of the world, and become one with it, attempting to understand every lesson it reveals.

The task of the writer is to teach the lessons research reveals. He must never bore people with the tedious facts about his subject. Instead he is required to tell a story that connects and unites his reader with the topic at hand.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Test Your Writing Skills

Writing is one of those things you need to do consistently. The more you write, the better you will get at it. You need to hone your skills in different ways too. Writing articles for Helium is a lot different than writing a blog. Research articles are not the same as articles written from personal interviews.

This weekend I’d like you to spend some time writing a review. You will need to observe your topic, as opposed to researching it. Reviews are very personal, and they can and should include your opinions. When you are completely finished with your review, take the same topic from a different angle, and research it before writing about it, but do not let your personal bias creep into your researched article. This is quite a challenge, but you will be a better writer if you succeed. Good luck!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Free Writing Resources

I get a lot of emails trying to sell me programs on how to promote my writing. The most recent offer says that I can sign up for a free 21 day trial for only $1.00. That sounds pretty good, right? Sure it does, until I take stock of my own resources.

As a writer, I know how to do research. I know where to look for information, and who to interview to get the answers I need. If I want to promote my writing, there are several valuable resources available to me, and they don’t costs anything.

1. The Internet: When doing research on your topic, dig deep, and find out everything there is to know.

2. The Library: Check our materials on things related to your topic, as well as those that are topic specific. You never know what you might discover.

3. People: Meet them on blogs, call them on the phone, and talk to them in person. Many people know much more than we give them credit for, so ask the questions, and see where individual answers lead you.

I suppose I could sign up for a special marketing program to learn all those trade secrets, especially if it’s only a dollar to join. What happens when my 21 day trial period is up? How easy will it be to close my account? How much will I end up spending in the process? And why would I want to pay any amount for something, when I can get the same exact thing for free, just by doing my research?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Getting More Page Views on Your Writing

Here’s a quick exercise for you that is sure to improve page views on your internet writing.

1. Pick 3 topics you know very little about.
2. Start searching for them on the internet.
3. Write down the words you use to find out information.
4. Use those words to generate traffic to your articles.

You may be the writer and expert on a subject, but someone else needs access to what you wrote. That person isn’t looking for fancy words. He’s using everyday language to find out what he needs to know.

If he’s on a budget and plans to go out on Friday night, he wants cheap entertainment, not inexpensive attractions. If he’s looking for foods that won’t irritate his Celiac disease, he’ll be searching for wheat free products, not allergy specific diets.

If you want more page views, you need to make your work more accessible to the general population by speaking the same language they do so they can find your work.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Keeping Content Interesting

Sometimes I get so caught up in the act of writing that it becomes a real chore. I become very busy putting words down, forgetting that there is much more to it than that. Diligently I research, rushing my facts to paper, without thinking about how and what I should be saying.

In the race to get one more article finished, my work is sloppy, unfinished, and far from my best. It’s not that I don’t know my topic, or that I don’t care about the subject matter. Hurried work reflects my priorities, and clearly dilutes my message.

Take your time and seriously think about what you want to write, for as long as possible – maybe even a few days or weeks. Jot down notes to keep ideas fresh in your memory; then compose your article, after it has become a part of you, and not a mere regurgitation of the facts.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

How Readers Browse the Web

What bothers you when you browse the web? When you are doing research for articles, take a moment to write down why you hit the back button on some of the pages as soon as you reach them. Ask yourself these questions:

1. Are they difficult to navigate?

2. Do they have too many words?

3. Is it easy to find the answers you are looking for?

Do the same thing with pages that keep your attention.

1. Why are you willing to land on a particular page?

2. Was it easy to find that page with your specific search?

3. Did that page make your work easier to do?

Your readers are a lot like you when they search the web. Keep this in mind when you are drafting your articles, blogs, and websites. You can make your content reader friendly by exploring how you browse the internet, and treating your audience like you want to be treated.