by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
Sometimes as web writers we come across things we don't like in our research. While some might tell you to walk away from it, I'm not going to. Immerse yourself in the ickiness. Seriously. It's good for you and humanity. I promise.
I don't like bad things. Isn't "negativity" bad for me? Well, yes and no. While it may not be a good thing to dwell on something you can't change, it's not a good thing to ignore what you perceive as "bad". Why not? Ignoring the ickiness only makes it worse. If something bothers you, instead of ignoring it, immerse yourself in it and find out how you can change it.
Why should I get that close to the ick? Nothing will change if it's ignored and not studied. You can't take action on something you know nothing about. As a writer, you have the power to reach a wider audience than most and actually get something done. So immerse yourself in it. Figure it out if it really bothers you that much. If it's bad enough to make you want to ignore it, that's a sign that something about it needs to change. When something creates that powerful of a response, it may be a sign that you're the one who can change it. The only way to change something is to know about it and then take action. You can't do that without getting up close and personal.
Why me? Why should I be the one to get a dose of ickiness? Why not? If you're the one who feels bad about something, you're the perfect candidate to fix it. The bad feeling you get is likely telling you what's wrong with the bigger picture. This means you may have the solution others are seeking. What if no one else has thought of the same thing and it could help you, as well as them? And again, you are a web writer. This means you have an audience that might be able to listen. You have the power to spread the word about these things and do it in a way that people understand. Remember, "the pen is mightier than the sword".
It was just a stupid story or piece of research, right? Again, no matter what it is that you are perceiving as "bad", if it was enough to bother you, maybe it's not "just" a story. Maybe it's more than that. I'm a big believer in the fact that everything happens for a reason. I also happen to believe that if your brain is telling you something (some call it intuition), you should listen. Those feelings you have, such as anger or frustration, are exactly what you need in order to get motivated to solve a problem. Use that energy to do good, instead of ignoring it.
When people walk away from ickiness, it remains icky. While it may be hard to focus on the "bad" things in life, it takes focus, discussion, and/or research to solve those things. If everyone keeps ignoring what they perceive as bad or wrong, it never goes away. In fact, it will likely get worse. That's like ignoring a leaky toilet and hoping the leak will solve itself. Of course it won't. It's going to get worse and worse and turn into an even bigger issue until you fix it or call a plumber.
Immerse yourself in the ickiness. It's good for you -- and for humanity as a whole.
by Lyn Lomasi, Write W.A.V.E. Media Staff
Comments from readers can make a person laugh, cry, or even stare off into confusion. Readers can do anything from asking genuine questions to trolling posts and leaving comments to get a purposeful rise out of the author or other readers. Should web writers answer reader comments? I've written on this topic before but it's been a while and is a good time for a refresher course, as well as some new information.
Is responding to your readers allowed?
Depending on where you are doing your web writing, responding to readers may not be allowed. If you are writing for a website or blog other than your own, be sure to know the terms and what is and isn't allowed. Some venues encourage commentary between authors and readers, while others prefer that only the readers do the commenting.
Is the comment genuine?
Before you lay your fingers on that keyboard to draft a response, consider whether the commentary left is genuine or not. Does the reader appear to be truly curious about the subject or does something seem off? Sometimes readers may leave comments meant to reel you in, so to speak. Consider the motive behind the comment before deciding about responding to it.
Is your response reactionary or truthful?
Are you just responding a certain way in a moment of frustration or passion or are you being completely truthful? Be genuine and true if you are going to respond to your readers. If you can't be truthful, there's no sense in engaging readers via the comment section. Sometimes what you want to say at first may not be totally in line with the way you truly feel after some thinking. Some comments don't really need a response and many times you'll find that your readers will come along and defend you if the comments seem to call for it. You won't have to say anything because they will do that for you. Of course, I am one who really doesn't care what people think of me, so I generally don't feel the need to be defensive anyway.
Is your response useful?
Don't waste your time typing up a response that isn't going to benefit your readership in some way. If your reader is asking about lizard care, there's no point in answering questions about your college degree, unless you graduated from some lizard specialty school and it's relevant to the questions at hand. A helpful comment section will include questions and information that adds to what is available within the article itself.
Is your response helpful or hurtful to your desired image?
Is the language and context you present in your commentary what you want to present to readers and potential clients? I personally am my true self no matter where I am. Therefore, I don't worry about this one too much. I know that I am not going to say anything that I wouldn't say in front of anyone, including business contacts. But if you know that you don't have the same awareness and control, be sure to examine what you are posting before hitting that comment button. Some people may find it helpful to type up potential comments in a document and read it aloud before posting.
At the end of the day, if you are truly comfortable with what you are posting and it is acceptable to the venue, readers do appreciate interacting with writers. Therefore, if done correctly according to your personal standards, this could actually boost your career.
Photo Credit: Lyn Lomasi
I originally published this elsewhere (no longer published there).
You spend hours on a submission perfecting every little detail when along comes an editor to mess with your masterpiece. If you're going to make it as a writer, you will have to work with editors. A necessary part of the publishing process involves dealing with editors.
Learn to compromise. Editors can and often do change things. That's what they're there for. They catch the little mistakes we make (and we all make mistakes). They also may make changes that are better for structure, your audience, the web, and more. Though you may not always agree with their changes, you will have to deal with many of them. Depending on the publication, you may be able to form a compromise with the editor.
Let it go. That may be easier said than done in many cases. As writers, we see our writings as our little babies, if you will. We work hard on it and it means so much to us. Altering it can feel like someone is trying to change us. After all, it does have our names on it. But at some point, we have to learn to let it go. If the work never bypasses an editor, it may never get out in front of the audience. Try not to get too attached and let the work go once its complete.
What's the change? Instead of becoming to attached to the way the piece is written, focus on the message. If the edits do not take away the message, don't be so hard on the editor. It's perfectly fine to address the editor if you feel that the changes are unsatisfactory or take away from the message. But if the change is nothing that takes away the message, why waste all that energy getting upset? Write another article.
Report the editor. This is only for extreme cases. I say that because as a writer, you will need to learn to deal with the fact that your writing will be changed by editors if you want it published with major companies. If the editor really is making changes that are unreasonable (and not just changes you don't like - changes that affect the quality of the work significantly), that's when you report the editor. I advise not taking this route unless necessary because a writer and editor need to be able to work together peacefully. But obviously, if there is an injustice it should be reported.
Switch venues. If you just cannot deal with a particular editor, write somewhere else. Ultimately, you should be happy with your writing (or any) career. If that's not happening, you haven't found the right venue/s to write for yet. Realize you should not be switching venues every time you don't like what an editor does. But if there is a true problem, remember that you can move on.
Write for yourself. If you truly cannot deal with anyone at all messing with your own work, only wrote for yourself. When someone is paying you to produce work, it should be what they want, hence part of the reason for the editors. If you create your own venue, such as your own website or blog, you make the rules. Even if you go this route it can still be a wise move to have an editor or at least a writing buddy that is willing to be a second pair of eyes. But you'll have the most freedom when writing for yourself.
Bottom line: Editors are a part of the writing and publishing business and writers need to be able to adapt to that fact. Work with (not against) your editor, unless you have a legitimate claim against them.
Readers and fellow writers often ask me why I enjoy helping so many people? Am I worried about creating competition for myself? Why do I just freely give advice and inform others of what I do to succeed in writing? Am I creating competition by helping others succeed?
If I were creating competition, I am not afraid to play the game and I'd play it fair. However, I don't believe I am. Why? There is a vast sea of opportunities, gigs, jobs, and contracts in the writing world. It's not humanly possible for me to have every writing task to myself, nor would I desire to.
Aside from that, I am wise enough to know that every assignment is not for me. I don't know everything there is to know. Also, each writer has their own style. Why take on a project I know I can't do when there could be someone else better suited to it and who may need it more than I do? Instead, I could refer a good writer and move on to something better suited to me.
I have always believed in helping others, no matter the situation. Whether in my career or in every day life, if I see someone who needs help, I'm going to provide it if I have the means. If you knew a secret that could change the whole world for the better, would you keep it to yourself? Of course not - at least, I hope not.
No, writing advice is probably not going to change the world. However, if I can offer some guidance that can help change someone's perspective or career for the better, you can bet I'm going to tell them. One small piece of advice or word of encouragement could be all that is standing in the way of someone living their dream. How do I know this? People have given me that kind of hope and assistance. Were it not for fellow writers pushing me and offering me advice, who knows where I'd be today?
So, am I creating competition by helping others succeed? Does it really matter?
Even the best of writers make errors. From typos to grammatical mistakes to run-on sentences, mistakes in writing are common. In internet writing, many writers are editing their own content. This works well most of the time, but we all have our off days. Even a star editor can make a mistake in their own writing. So, how can you solve that? One way is to get a writing buddy.
What is a Writing Buddy?
A writing buddy is another writer whom you trust with your work. This writer also must entrust their work to you. Writing buddies give their final proofread copies to each other to be sure the work is of good quality.
What exactly do writing buddies do?
Writing buddies read over each other's final drafts and make correction suggestions if needed. If both writers also are good editors, there may not be many corrections, but it always is good to have more than one set of eyes looking over a project. It's a great way to ensure quality work is produced as often as possible.
Why Should I Get a Writing Buddy if I Never Make Mistakes?
Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone. No one is perfect. I'm sure that anyone combing this very post will find at least one (if not more than one) suggestion to make. There always is more than one way to look at writing. Also, like I stated, nobody is perfectly accurate all the time. I have gone over pieces of work several times, thinking they were up to par. Then, after they've been published of course, I've found grammatical errors or typos. Having a writing buddy can minimize the chance of inaccuracies.
How Do I Find a Writing Buddy?
If you're a writer, chances are you know at least one other writer. If not, you really should start networking. Having other friends who write can be extremely beneficial in more ways than just the one listed here. I recommend choosing your closest writing friend for this particular project. Be sure that you and this person can fully trust that neither will misuse the other's work in any way. I won't give legal advice on this because I am not a lawyer. Only you can decide how you should handle the legalities. But, I will say that it can be extremely helpful to have a fellow writer give an opinion on work before it is turned in to the client.
How Many Pieces Should My Writing Buddy Check?
All of them, if possible. However, if you are like me, then that may not be possible. I write way to many articles in a day to fairly have a buddy check them all. You and your buddy should decide on a fair number that is feasible for you both. Once you get a balanced writing, reading, and editing routine down, you may be able to add to that number.
Lyn Lomasi & Richard Rowell are life & business partners. Owners of the Write W.A.V.E. Media network, they are your content superheroes to the rescue! Running their network, tackling deadlines single handedly, and coaching fellow writers & entrepreneurs to be thought leaders is their top priority. While rescuing civilians from boring content and marketing, they conquer the world, living the RV life and making Crafts For A Purpose with their awesomely crazy family while recounting The Nova Skye Story, along with Kymani’s Travels. They also strive to one day cuddle with lions and giraffes. Until then, they’ll settle for furry rescue kitties and doggies.
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