Ever feel like that your writing just isn't coming out quite perfect? You may feel like there's something missing. Do you feel like what you're saying doesn't sound right? That's okay. Sometimes, you simply have to take a step back and leave your writing aside for a while. It might only be for a few hours. Sometimes, it can be a day. If you have the time to do so, it could even be a week.
But if you feel like you're on to something, but you haven't quite figured out where you're going yet, it is actually okay to let your piece of writing sit. That way, you can come back to it with a fresh perspective. The idea should be to not rush a piece of writing if you don’t have to.
Why is Sitting on a Piece of Writing for a While Actually a Good Thing?
The most important part of writing is getting the ideas out. Once you get the ideas out, the hard work really begins. How do I actually turn this piece of writing into something that people can relate to and get some value out of it? Most important of all, you want it to be something to be happy with, especially if it’s going to be published somewhere.
Unfortunately, a large percentage of what we write finds its way into the recycle bin. Even the greatest writers struggle at one point or another. What's important to keep in mind is that not everything you write is going to be good, especially on the first draft. Don't ever feel like every word that you write has to see print, even if it's on a computer screen. If you feel bad about a piece of writing, taking time away from it is probably best so that you can detach yourself emotionally from it.
When Should I Set a Piece of Writing Aside?
Trust your instincts if you really think a writing piece has potential, even it's just not going anywhere right now. Save it and set it aside. Don't hit delete until you’ve given it a second chance. You may find later that you regret hitting delete on a piece that might have had some good ideas, but just needed better organization or more work.
Yes, sometimes a piece is destined to go nowhere, and that's okay. But if you're working on something like an assignment that you really absolutely have to do, then setting it aside for a while is actually the best way to go. In fact, you know how a lot of web writers purposely hold off completing assignments until the last minute? Sometimes, this is to help motivate the writing to get done, but for some writers procrastinating actually helps it get it done better.
Even if you’re a procrastinator, you actually still want to put something down. It may just be listing subheadings or questions that you need to answer in the article. Even sticking in keyword phrases and thoughts related to the writing work gives you a place to start if you really need to set it aside for a bit.
When Should You Just Get Writing Started to Work On Later?
The most important part of writing, or doing anything in general, is to get started. As long as you're able to put something down, you’re already getting somewhere. If you really get stuck, then leave it for a while. If you’re able to come back before it's due, you're probably okay. In fact, you're probably a lot better off than when you started.
But even if you put random thoughts down, why are you able to then write better. This is because your mind has actually been able to think through what you’ve written subconsciously.Never underestimate the power of the subconscious. Even though it does sound cliche to let ideas sit around in your mind for awhile, it really does help.
Some people may wonder why writers will rush to writing assignments and try to get something out right away. Doing this gains you momentum. Once you have that momentum, even if you stop and think about it for a while, you got it started. You're not always going to be able to produce your best writing work in one sitting. You shouldn't feel like you have to do that. If you do feel overwhelmed, it’s time to step back, and reconsider what you’re doing with your writing.
Is It Possible to Sit On My Writing for Too Long?
Contemplation and reflection is very important with writing. But it is possible to let writing sit too long. It’s important to get the ideas out of your head and let it sit for a bit if you have to. But, make sure you come back to it. Then, finish it or decide what else to do with it. If you find yourself taking writing work that you’re sitting on too long and it's due, it's perfectly okay to reach out for help. Writers do it all the time.
It’s important to find your place where you feel comfortable with writing. Sure, it's fine to put yourself out of your comfort zone once in awhile. This can help expand your skills and build discipline with your writing. But, don't ever feel like you have to get your writing done in one sitting if you really can't get it done.
Sure, you can try and write fifty articles in a day, but that’s rarely possible. If you feel fine trying to do a whole bunch in a day, then go ahead. Each of us has a different limit. But, once you reach your limit, don't push yourself past that limit. Otherwise, you're going to end up hating writing.
If you do find some writing is sitting too long and you can't finish it, you then have to make a decision. Don't feel obligated to finish, if it’s not vital that you do. You don't want to burn yourself out. Sometimes, you have to just let it go and move onto something else.
But, if a writing assignment is very important to get done, get help with it if you need to. Always give yourself a break before you feel like you have to finish something. Know when you need to let it go to someone else to be done in time. If you don't do these things, you're probably not going to be happy with your writing. Letting your writing sit for awhile is important to let yourself reflect and produce the best work you can. But you also need to get back to writing in a timely manner. Finding that balance is the key to being a successful writer.
If you’re a web writer, there are some things you’re probably doing that you just shouldn’t. Learn how to examine your web content to find the painful truths you can fix.
You need to write for search. This is where many people new to writing for the web often struggle. But it’s really not as hard as one might think. Start with one easy good SEO technique, such as LSI and build up from there. Stay away from blackhat methods, as these may appear to work at first but can be the downfall of your entire site or blog.
Many writers don’t write to their intended audience. Are you writing to yourself or to your targeted readers? Sometimes, that’s the same thing. But occasionally, it's really not. The good thing is you can fix that. Simply pay attention to comments, as well as where your readers are coming from.
Your content needs to be shareable. Read your content back to yourself. Is it something you would share if written by someone else? The title should make someone want to click and read it (but please avoid clickbait). The first paragraph should make them want to keep going. The rest should provoke them to reshare it when finished.
Proper grammar and spelling is a must. If you can’t spell correctly or use way too many commas, do you really think people are going to take you seriously? Study up on your grammar and spelling and use free tools like Grammar.ly to analyze your content before hitting publish. Your readers will thank you by not clicking away due to nonsense.
If you can’t word it right, your audience can’t read it right. This falls in line with grammar and spelling. If your posts are all over the place or are nonsensical, your readers can’t follow along and will just go away. Be sure you are saying what you mean so that people can actually read it and understand in the way intended. Otherwise, you’ll either get misinterpreted or skipped over very quickly.
Most web writers will get questioned about their price at least once, but usually quite often. Who doesn't like a bargain? But your writing's worth is dependent upon what you make it. Here's why.
Discounts Are Fine, To A Certain Point
It's fine to have sales or deals for new or regular clients. But you still should keep the worth of your writing in mind. The lower you are willing to go, the less valuable people will see your content as being. Give discounts, but don't go so low that it's not worth both your time, as well as the value the client will get from it.
The Proof Is In Your Work
Quality web writing is getting more difficult to find. More and more people are discovering they can put their words online. This is a good thing, as far as communication. But those looking up specific information need accuracy and quality. This is where you come in as a web writer and prove to your client that your work is worth top dollar. Sometimes it takes that client paying a low quality writer less and finding out the hard way that they should have continued coming to you. I’ve had clients return after doing this more than once. It’s like the old saying goes “You get what you pay for.” Some people charge less than they’re worth, but in many cases, quality writing will cost more because of the time and energy put into creating a quality piece.
Word Gets Around
Remember that business owners talk to each other often. This includes many topics, but who they hire for writing and other services essential to success is very common. If you charge one client a fee that is significantly less than you usually charge, other business owners will learn this and expect the same deal. The reason for the deal often doesn’t matter. Keep things consistent and accurate where your prices are concerned. You want the word to get around regarding your quality, instead of your low price.
Price According To Actual Value
The lower your price, the less value is likely to be given to your content. Remember that word gets around. So, whatever one business owner feels it’s worth may be what others are saying as well. In order to keep your value high, you need to keep your quality high and price your work accordingly and consistently. Obviously, there is some customizing involved in most web projects, based on topic matter, research, word count, and so on. But try to be as consistent as possible and consider the value of your time, as well as what the client will potentially get from said work.
Your work is worth what you make it worth. So, be sure to price it accordingly, limit the bargaining to a reasonable point, and show your clients what your worth via quality.
Many factors go into determining work and payments from business owners and other clients. These can differ depending on several things. While following this guide may not guarantee that you will receive more work with higher payments, you may see greater opportunities by adhering to the following suggestions. The key is not necessarily to increase every single payment, but to maximize the opportunities available, as well as maximize your long-term benefits from said work.
What types of content are eligible for payment?
All of it! Whether you are soliciting jokes, articles, blog posts, recipes, web page content, product descriptions, photography, or any other creation, it deserves payment if it’s quality material. The key is to submit to the most appropriate venue for best results.
Focus on a specific issue
When you have a tight focus on one topic, readers are more likely to be looking for your content. Think about the things you look for when searching the Web. For instance, instead of general tips on pet adoption, you may want something geared specifically toward the pet you are considering adopting. “Where to adopt a poodle in Denver” should perform better than “How to adopt a pet,” as an example. Write your articles on specific subjects that will be relevant and useful to readers looking for that topic.
Follow assignment details
If you are hired for an assignment, be sure you follow the exact instructions. That means if the instructions say something different from any advice herein, defer to the assignment. When editors and business owners see that you can follow all assignment details reliably, they may be more likely to offer you future opportunities. Remember that, while you should be creative, the content you’re creating is not for you. It’s for the person you are creating it for. Therefore, it should be the way they want it. It’s good to suggest corrections of facts that might be wrong or improvements that might help the client or their website. But again, if they do not agree, unless you are breaking the law or doing something you are strongly against, just do things the way the client wants.
Do your research
When you need to back up your content with facts, be sure these facts are from reliable sources. Also, make sure to cite those sources properly, according to submission guidelines and any additional assignment guidelines. Using multiple highly-trusted and relevant sources also helps to build credibility. Wherever possible, use sources from your client’s website, in addition to the others. This helps them build more relevant inbound linking.
Examine the intended website
If you are submitting to a new client, study the website you are interested in writing for. Think of topics that could work well there but are not yet covered. Having an idea of what could potentially align with a particular property can give you a greater chance at getting accepted. Being unique is key. That means that you don't want to submit something you already see covered on the property. Instead, try submitting something that works well alongside existing content, provides a new angle, or has not been covered at all but could appeal to that property's audience.
Consider the audience behind the topic
Are you writing about parenting? What stages? Think of the age of the kids you're writing about - and then think of what ages the parents are likely to be; they are your most likely audience, and you should cater your content to them. The tone and style used in your article should be something readers can identify with. For instance, if you are writing an article for kids, using complicated business terms is not going to keep them reading. Acceptances of paid submissions are more likely on content that shows attention to detail in this and other areas.
Personalize the experience
When you write an article or blog post, readers should see the real person behind the story (unless your client is not interested in first-person accounts). At the same time, you don't want to ramble about something that has nothing to do with the subject matter. Find that perfect level at which the article provides the information needed with relevant personalization where it fits in with the main point of the article. For instance, if I'm writing an article about picking the perfect daisies, instead of telling a long story about a time when I picked daisies, I would mention how I determine which daisies to pick. I would do that in a way that readers can tell I am knowledgeable and passionate. But it would also need to be something readers can benefit from to answer their questions. When you can use your own unique experience and style, readers can relate more easily. But at the same time, you don't want to say so much that they get bored and click away.
Focus on evergreen material
Focusing on evergreen material is one way to maximize your earnings, as most business owners can use long-lasting content. Evergreen content is that which will draw a reader's interest for long periods of time, such as unique ways to solve common parenting issues. Evergreen slants can also be applied to trending topics. Some editors may value those topics that have a longer shelf life. This is not to say that other content will not be valued, as articles with a shorter shelf life can be useful as well. They each have their own place and are both great ways to maximize your work in different ways. Getting the most out of paid opportunities often involves taking advantage of more than one way to earn.
Pay attention to spelling, grammar, and style
Category and vertical style guides are used for many assignments that offer pay. For the best chances at getting those assignments accepted, be sure to follow them closely. This also goes for any and all other instructions mentioned within the assignment details. Proofreading, even after using spelling and grammar checkers, has always been a lifesaver for me when writing for any venue. Yes, I am a great editor. But, I am also human, so it’s best to double and triple check. Read silently, out loud, and even have a writing buddy take a gander. Programs can miss little things, such as skipped words or typos that are actual words, but not words you intended to use.
Optimize your content for the Web
Studying The Yahoo! Style Guide is a great way to learn basic html, grammar, editing, formatting, and style as it all pertains to writing for the Web. Most content that is submitted to potential clients must be publish-ready. While some venues may have an editor, never rely on editors to fix poor writing. If your writing needs to be thoroughly edited, it is much better to study up so that your submissions are more likely to get acceptances than rejections. You can then submit at a later date when your skills allow you to submit content that is more in line with the platform's needs.
Good Web content displays certain qualities. Apart from being interesting, it must be easy for a wide audience to read. It also must be easily found by search engines. Keep your articles concise and informative in an easy-to-scan format. Web readers often look for something that answers their question quickly and accurately in an engaging manner. For more on writing for the web, again, The Yahoo Style Guide is an invaluable resource.
Maximizing payments on your content is about taking advantage of the many ways to earn. It's also about covering your bases all-around. A solid article is not just well written, but also speaks to the intended audience, giving them exactly the information they expected and needed in a clean, easy-to-scan format.
Are you looking for a way to speed up your writing productivity? Think you've tried everything in the book on working faster? Perhaps you've even considered the possibility of networking household devices together for this purpose. Does using multiple computers speed writing productivity? Perhaps my experience with this method will help you decide if it will work for you.
Why Should I Set up Multiple Computers?
Setting up two or more computers may help speed up productivity for some article writers. You might delegate all internet activities to one and all the writing to another. This can help save the time it takes to switch back and forth from web pages to writing documents. It may seem like a small amount of time. But if you write articles for a living, that time really adds up. Even if you are not doing any web research at the moment, you could still make use of multiple computers. Splitting writing documents between two or more computers might be easier than flipping back and forth between documents on just one computer.
How to Set Up Two or More Computers for Article Writing
When setting up multiple computers to increase article writing speed, there are several factors to consider. First, be sure the computers are in very close proximity to each other. The computers also need to be angled in a way that makes it easy to transition from one to the other. For instance, if one computer is facing toward you and one is facing the complete opposite direction, you will need to move your chair or computer every time. If you will need to move across the room to switch computers, this will not be convenient either. It may even waste time instead of saving it. You can even network the computers that share the same operating system to save you from transferring files by disk. If the computers do not have the ability to share a network, you can also use cloud storage, such as Google Drive or OneDrive. A USB flash drive is also a very fast option for sharing files back and forth.
Tips for Using Multiple Computers
Results may depend on the person. Some may get stressed at the thought of multiple computers. Others, like myself ,may naturally fall right into it. Signs that it may work for you include the ability to quickly navigate one computer between documents and websites, being a multitasker, and having the ability to work in changing situations. Signs it may not work for you include having little knowledge of operations on just one computer, getting stressed easily, and not being able to perform in varying situations or under pressure. Like anything else, it will only save time for the person who feels comfortable doing things this way.
*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
Because online article writers can sometimes earn their money based in part or in whole on views, promotion can come into play often. If you are a freelance writer and aren't earning much for your content, not enough marketing or the wrong kind of promotion could be part of it. Here are some easy promotional techniques for online article writers that can be implemented right away.
Sign Up for Twitter and Start Tweeting
If you write online and haven't been tweeting, you may be missing out on a fair amount of exposure. I recommend that all online article writers at least try Twitter. If done right, this easy promotional technique has the potential of putting your work in front of people you may not find elsewhere. The unique dynamics allow people you may or may not know to spread the word about your content quickly and easily. Online article writers should remember not to be a spammer that only posts links. Like any other social networking site, there should be some social involvement. If you sign up and don't like it, you can always cancel your account.
Utilize RSS Feeds
Utilizing RSS feeds is another easy promotional technique. Many content sites have an RSS enabled profile where the work of each writer is displayed. Submitting the RSS feed to RSS directories of the appropriate topic is another way online article writers can promote. The more ways that people have to find your work, the more likely you are to get noticed. You also can post RSS feeds of your content onto your blog or website so that your readers and fans can easily find more of your content.
Frequent readers are probably saying "Oh no, here she goes again with the SEO talk," but it is true. For online article writers, this easy promotional technique is a must. It may seem odd to refer to SEO as easy, but some aspects of it are and implementing it gets pretty simple once you get the hang of it. There also are some simple techniques that even beginners can use. If you don't know what SEO is or are still confused about it, pick up some books and learn more. You might even wish to take some classes. To get started, read Easy SEO Tips For Online Article Writers.
Blog About Your Articles
Your own personal or commercial blog is a great way to promote your work. Blog about the topics of your articles and link to them within your posts. This gives your blog readers something extra and can also lead to more views of your articles. Blogging can be a great way to get targeted readers to your content. Targeted readers may be more likely to stay longer, which could mean more views and more income. This form of promotion has that benefit and also the benefits of RSS and SEO capabilities. The RSS feed helps get your blog posts indexed with search engines. It also creates a way for readers to get instant updates of your posts. Implementing SEO into not only your online articles, but your blog posts is also a great promotional technique.
Start a Facebook Page
Facebook is another great way to promote your articles. Once you have signed up, you can even create a Facebook page specific to your online business. People can sign up to be a fan. If you use both Twitter and Facebook, the applications can be connected so that whatever you post on Twitter also posts to Facebook. This is a great way for busy people to post in two places at once. Just remember to actually interact with people. Otherwise, only posting article links can look like spamming. Also, be sure that your family and friends are aware you’ll be sharing your work. You don't want to overwhelm them all at once.
Some forums allow a signature line to be attached to each post a person makes. Where allowed and appropriate, this can be another effective method of promotion. Simply place the link to your work in your signature. Some forums may also allow you to share actual articles where appropriate. Always follow the rules. Posting where it isn't allowed is a promotional technique that can have opposite results than intended. If you become known as a spammer, your work may instead get ignored.
You may think you're updating your web writing resume often enough. However, in the freelance writing game, things work much differently than in a traditional 9-5 position. I know you're not updating your resume often enough and here's why you should change that. I speak from experience.
Web Writing Changes
When the game changes, your approach needs to change. That means your writing resume too. That's your main tool when seeking new gigs and opportunities. If you can't change with the business, what do you think that says to your potential clients and editors? Stop using the same stale techniques when the rules have clearly indicated a new approach.
Your Experience Grows
Hopefully, if you're a full time writer, you gain new experience all the time. That should be reflected somewhere in your resume. How do you expect to get new opportunities when you're selling yourself short by leaving off valuable experience? Each time you do a new project, there is a skill or other experience that can be added to your resume. You should also use different writing samples where possible. Otherwise, it looks like you're not in practice, which isn't the best way to present yourself if it's not true.
Resume Requirements Vary
Your resume should be updated and tailored to each individual client every time you inquire about a new gig or role. A resume that is more specific to the exact role or project is more likely to be considered than a standard one that could be used for multiple positions. Also, each project or role will have different requirements and goals. If your web writing resume is the same for every query you make, you could be missing out on certain opportunities that you may have gotten with a few simple changes.
When was the last time you updated your resume? Do you agree with me? Have more tips? Let me know by commenting below.
Whether you've gotten started in freelancing or have been doing it a while, it's important to network with others in your field. So, how do you know which social networking site is the best one for web writers -- and for you, personally? There are many out there and they aren't all the same.
Choose a Site for Networking With Other Web Writers
First, when choosing a social networking site, be sure it's one other writers frequent often. If you join a networking site based around parenting, you may find some other writers. But, you may not get the best results from it if other things about the site aren't geared toward writers. Also, there's no guarantee you'll find other writers there, just a possibility.
Instead, visit writing forums and find out where other writers are gathering. You may even find that networking within a content site you write for is sufficient. If not, find out where those writers network. The networking site you choose does not need to be solely about writing. But you should be able to find a good amount of other freelance writers interacting there.
Should Web Writers Use More Than One Networking Site?
Absolutely! Use as many as you can keep up with. That's part of creating your brand. It is so important for web writers to get their names out there. However, remember when I said "as many as you can keep up with?" Don't create so many online profiles that you cannot keep up with them.
That's counterproductive, as well as disrespectful to others in the network. The whole point of a social network is to...well, network. If you aren't doing that, you haven't found the right social network or you have joined so many you can't keep up with them all. I recommend first becoming active in one that you feel comfortable with and gradually adding others as you are comfortable doing so.
Why Web Writers Need Social Networking Sites
When writing online, it's important to keep in touch with new techniques and also to see what others are doing. Fellow writers can also be great connections for friendship as well as extra business. It helps to discuss various techniques and aspects of online writing often. This way you can test new things often and find out what works.
Different clients like different styles and techniques. So, it's to your benefit to be open about exploring the writing territory. Social networks are also great for promotion and for meeting potential clients. They can add a whole new dimension to your writing career that you may not find elsewhere. It’s very important to incorporate social media into your business plan.
What is the Best Social Networking Site for Web Writers?
The best networking site will vary depending on the individual. The main thing to think of when choosing sites is to find one you enjoy using. If you get frustrated each time you log in or you don't enjoy the features, it probably won't be beneficial. You should be enjoying yourself, even if you have signed up for business purposes. Take the above points into consideration and choose the site (or combination of sites) that best fits with your social and business habits. Web writers, like other professionals, thrive best in desirable and appropriate environments.
*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
It's no secret that Facebook is a great place to spread the word about your business. For freelance writers, part of that generally involves sharing links to our writing. But is there a right and wrong way to do this? As with any other type of promotion, there should be etiquette involved. To present your work in the best light, you should know the difference between promotion and spamming.
Post more than just links. The number one mistake I see people making on Facebook is not having any engagement with people. They seem to just drop links and not converse with others. You don't have to be on there all day. But at least interact if you're going to drop links. Most likely, people are not going to click the links anyway if it's obvious that is the only reason you are there. If dropping links is all you're interested in, Facebook and other social networks are not the place for that. The whole point of Facebook is to socialize.
Do not tag people in link posts, unless the link is related to them. Facebook tagging etiquette is important. When you tag someone in a Facebook post, it appears on their profile, as well as in their news feed. It also appears in the news feeds of their friends. Absolutely do not tag people unless a post is related directly to them or they've asked you to. Tagging people in all of your links is considered spam and will get you a fast ticket off Facebook. It may also cost you some friends. Is tagging your link really worth losing friends and your Facebook account? When people tag me in their articles or other promotional links, it makes me not want to click the link or share it with others. I generally will remove the tag. In special circumstances, it may not bother me, such as if a friend is obviously having fun or just wants me to see a specific article. But habitual link taggers are spammers in my book and will not receive any clicks from me.
Use a fan page. If you know you are going to be writing often, the best thing you can do is set up a Facebook fan page. There are many reasons why. But one reason is to limit exposing family and friends to every single link to all of your work. Some may appreciate it. But not everyone does. By setting up a fan page, those who want to receive all your links can follow your fan page by 'liking' it. This doesn't mean you shouldn't post any links on your profile. But if you publish often, it's just common courtesy not to post all your links on your profile. Some may consider frequent linking to be spam.
Hide links from friends that aren't interested. Do you have friends who don't want to see every link? Create a custom list and hide your link posts from those people as you post them. To do this, simply select the lock button in the status comment section when you place a link there. Choose custom from the menu. Then, type the name of the list in the field where it asks who to hide the post from. Then, hit send. It sounds complicated. But it's actually very quick when you are doing it and it keeps your friends happy. I no longer do this, as most of my friends are writers and want to see all of my posts. However, it is very useful for people you want to keep on your list that don’t want to see those posts.
Don't post links on fan pages or in groups without permission and relevancy. When I log onto Facebook and check my personal fan page, the last thing I want to see is links to irrelevant websites. On the other hand, I love checking my niche Facebook pages and groups and seeing links posted in those places that are relevant to the topic. Be mindful of where you should promote your links and where you shouldn't. Not taking heed of this could cause a loss of readers instead of drawing new ones. Relevancy attracts readers while spam alienates them.
Writing, Financial, and Personal Goals Can Help Keep You Motivated
Are you having trouble staying motivated to write? Goal lists may be your answer. Keeping sight of various milestones helps some people see the bigger picture. Should you use goal lists to stay on task with freelancing?
Goal Lists May Help Freelancers Stay on Track
In freelancing, we are in charge of ourselves. No one can tell you what to do. In many ways, this can be a good thing. But for some, it can also lead to slacking off. Setting goals and writing them down in lists may help freelance writers stay on task.
Benefits of Using Goal Lists as Motivation
When using lists of goals as motivation, one benefit is always having that information available. If you keep it in your head, as opposed to writing it down, you may lose sight of some milestones. A physical goal list keeps everything front and center. On those days when you don;t feel compelled to d anything but slack off, take a look at the list of things you need to get done.
If there are bills that need to be paid and that next freelance project will pay them, that can get you moving real quick. Most freelance writers would rather pay the rent than live on the street and a goal list is a good reality check. As you accomplish each goal, you can check it off. Seeing such progress can lead to even more motivation.
What Type of Goal Lists Should I Use?
Make one or more goal lists for everything you need to accomplish as a freelance writer. Short term goal lists can include daily or weekly article (and other writing) projects. They may also include bills, items you promised the kids, home improvement projects that need funding, and more. Anything you need to accomplish in writing and anything you need to pay for can go on your goal lists. Long-term goal lists might include things you are working toward paying off, such as credit card debt, student loans, or a mortgage. Each time you make a payment, subtract it from the total.
Where is the Best Place to Keep My Goal Lists?
Goal lists should always be front and center. Stick them somewhere your eyes wander to all day. I like to tack my short term goals right on the computer, using a sticky note. When writing, I am looking at the computer all day. With the goals right there staring back at me, it's easier to keep my mind focused on them. I like to write long-term goals and on a magnetic dry-erase board on the refrigerator.
This is very beneficial if you have kids because everyone can see the goals. It teaches the kids financial responsibility and it gives them something to be excited about. This is especially true for goals pertaining to them. Freelance writers with families may wish to keep all or just some of their goals front and center, as I do.
What's on your goal list? Do you have other ways to stay on task? Share your thoughts and questions in the comment section.
Drawing and Keeping Interest as an Online Article Writer
If you expect to make money in online article writing, you need to develop an audience. First, you need to draw readers in via promotion, SEO, and the like. But once they are there, you need to figure out how to keep readers interested. Otherwise, they'll just click away and possibly never come back to read you or your articles. So, how do you keep web readers interested in your articles?
Be Unique for More Interest
If your articles sound like everyone else's, readers will think so too. You need a unique flavor and angle that no one else has covered. Being unique keeps people interested. Give them something different to read about. For instance, if you're writing about a medical condition, just a description of the condition is something that can be found anywhere. Add in your personal experience with it in a specific aspect, that will give the reader some extra information and entertainment.
Keep Readers Interested With Passion
If you don't care about what you're writing, that will most likely come right through. When you write, you need to show readers that you are passionate about conveying the facts or thoughts. It's possible to do this even in news or other topics that you research. Choose only subjects that interest you or subjects that you know about. Writing what you know or have an interest in helps the passion shine through in your writing.
Use Your Expertise to Draw Interest
Drawing even further on writing what you know, be an expert in your chosen topic each time. This doesn't mean you need to stick to one niche. It's alright to write on a variety of topics. But each writer should have certain topics that they write about often. Also, within each article, where possible be sure the reader understands your expertise. Make that clear in the first paragraph. For instance, begin a sentence with the phrase, "As an educator of 30 plus years" or some other experience indicator.
Be Yourself to Keep Readers Interested
Relax and just be yourself. You do not need to write like everyone else. Your own voice should come through your articles. This is possible whether you write in first, second, or third person. Of course, in third person, you can't say 'I' but the style in which you write can still be uniquely yours. When you just relax and be you, readers may take more interest because the writing won't feel so forced.
Pay Attention to Your Readers
When readers leave comments or send messages about your content, pay attention to what they say. When people blog about or otherwise mention your content, keep your ears open. Pay attention to the feedback and write related articles based on that. Sometimes, in addition to sharing experiences or thoughts about the article, people will ask questions. Answer those with another article and let them know via the comments or any other way you can contact them.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
When first starting to write for online venues, many writers are unaware they need to edit. Sometimes there is an editor, but oftentimes this is not true. Therefore, it is safest (and most of the time your responsibility) to self edit your articles before submission.
Writing for Content Sites
Most content sites require self-editing. Some do have editors on hand that may make changes. But for the most part, the work you submit should be ready for publication. Many content sites only have people who review your work to determine if it's fit to publish. They don't have time to edit your work, nor will they do so.
They'll just decline it and move on to the next piece. Also, on some of these sites there is the option to self-publish without review. Even though some may allow you to edit afterward, you should always edit before hitting that publish button. This avoids having readers (and potential clients) see those initial typos and errors.
Writing for Private Clients
When writing for private clients, it's pretty much expected by most that your work is ready to use. When someone hires you to write content, they don't want sloppy work. They want something they can just pay for and use right away. That's why they chose to hire a professional. That's you.
By making sure you self-edit everything, you will keep clients happy. Happy clients often return to the same writer and may even recommend that person to friends and business partners. By not proofing and editing your work, you are potentially hurting your writing reputation and career.
Maintaining a Good Writing Reputation
Sure, typos are going to slip through sometimes. But, as a professional writer, you should always do your best work. Even when you know there is an editor, you should submit clean copy that can be published as is. This way, they may not need to correct as many errors. Yes, that means more work for you - in more ways than one.
It may initially be just a little more effort on your part. But in the long run, it can create more opportunity. Also, self-editing is a requirement in some situations, as mentioned above. Writers who are completely or mostly self-sufficient will likely earn more gigs and clients than those whose work requires more tweaking before publishing.
*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
Are you a writer looking for a wider audience? Have you tried Facebook? I'm not talking about accepting friend requests from multitudes of people - unless that's your thing. Try creating a Facebook fan page. This is a public place where followers can go to get your updates without you having to give out too much information. From personal experience, I believe all writers should have a Facebook fan page.
What is a Facebook Fan Page?
A Facebook fan page is a page on the Facebook site dedicated to a media professional, celebrity icon, or other business entity. Facebook has built-in options to choose from, including "Writer". For an example of what a fan page for a writer may look like, check out mine: Lyn Lomasi; Web Content Specialist & Writer's Advocate. The Facebook fan page looks and works similar to a profile page. However, there is no need to accept friend requests, as people can only "like" your fan page.
How Can I Get a Facebook Fan Page?
Anyone with a Facebook account can create a fan page for themselves or their business. It's free and easy to set up. Just like many features on a facebook profile, page features are labeled and fairly easy to figure out. On Facebook, when you are signed in, navigate to Facebook Pages. Once you get on that page, click "create page". You may be asked to allow the application or agree to some terms. Facebook gives the instructions after that point. If you still can't figure it out, find a techie writer friend like me to ask for help. Feel free to ask me on my fan page, in fact.
Why Do I Need a Facebook Fan Page?
There are many reasons that a Facebook fan page is a good idea for writers. Whether you write fiction, non-fiction, poetry, or prose, benefits apply. This is also true whether you are an online writer or produce content solely for print publication.
- - Cornering Promotion - Some don't like the idea of promoting their links to their Facebook friends. On the other hand, some friends don't like it either. A Facebook fan page can help you corner that promotion to a location for those who do want to view it. You may find that many of your friends will "like" your page to keep up with it.
- - Limiting Your Facebook Friend List - Do you like to keep your Facebook friend list low or limit it to just personal friends and family? By creating a Facebook fan page, you can do this more effectively. You don't have to turn away clients who want to interact, but you don't have to friend them either.
- - Creating an Online Presence - Many use Facebook fan pages as a means to help create an online presence. It's a public page. Therefore, it will most likely be crawled and indexed by search engines. If your Facebook profile is private, your promotion there is only limited to people you already know. You can reach a wider audience with a public fan page.
As you can see, there are many reasons why a writer should have a Facebook fan page. The networking and business opportunities alone are reason enough to jump in and try it out. It also can be quite fun interacting, just like on your Facebook profile. But be sure to keep your Facebook fan page fresh.
Don't have your Facebook fan page yet? Can you give me a good reason why? If not, go make one!
*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
If you freelance for a living, there may be days where you just don't feel like writing. On those days, it's hard to get into a rhythm and you may find those days turning into weeks and so on. It can be discouraging when you don't have the same inspiration you once had. But you can get it back by taking advantage of timing.
Don't feel like writing? Don't. This may seem counterproductive. But, try it. If your brain just does not want to write and you have no inspiration, sometimes you just can't force it to produce quality work. If you have a deadline, try taking a walk and then coming back to it. Otherwise, take the whole day off and just have fin. Don't think about writing. Sometimes your eyes and your brain just need something else to focus on besides words, thoughts, and the computer screen. Whatever you get out and do may actually get your brain working on things to write about.
Take advantage of inspiration. When the inspiration does take over, let it. Just keep writing. Unless you have something important to do, don't let those moments pass you by. As I write this, it's 3 a.m. and my brain is still in inspiration mode. I'm not saying you need to stay up that late if that's not feasible for you. I happen to be wide awake and I do write during the graveyard shift sometimes. So, it's no big deal for me. The point is to take advantage of those moments when your brain and fingers are being extra productive, whenever those moments occur for you.
Schedule writing when you'll actually be free to write. This can be a big issue for many freelance writers. Friends and family often don't think of what we do as a job. They think that because we do this at home, we can drop everything and go wherever they want at any time. If you just cannot get it through to your family and friends not to interrupt you at a certain time, try rescheduling your writing around that. I know that you should not have to accommodate them. But it might make things easier for you. Inspiration flows more easily without interruptions.
Take note of your most productive times of day. Whenever inspiration hits you, write down the time from beginning to end. Do this every time for a month. See if you can find a pattern and switch your writing schedule to write at that time on your work days. Some people write the best in the morning, some in the afternoon. Then others, like me, write the best very late at night on into the morning. Writing at your magical time will help boost your productivity and inspiration levels.
Take time off. I know this from personal experience. The weeks that I take one or more days off to have fun with the kids are more productive than those I take less time off. Why? When your body is tired, it also has an effect on your mood. Most freelance writers will agree that it's much easier to focus when you are in a good mood. For me, outdoor adventures and homeschool field trips with the kids will do the trick. As long as we are doing that every week, it keeps our family happy and it also keeps me ready to write.
*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
As a mentor among my online writing peers, I often get asked which route to go when it comes to freelancing. People want to know if they should take on private clients, write for content sites or contributor communities, or start their own niche sites. I have tried several different strategies. What's best for online article writers? I recently made the decision to slow down on certain work with private clients and dedicate myself mostly to my own venue, which also happens to be a contributor community. I am the happiest when mentoring peers and providing content for the Write W.A.V.E. Media network. I see the most income for the least amount of stress when I focus solely on projects that help others and make me happy, as far as writing goes. While this works for me, the best choice will vary for each person.
Know your work habits.
In any online writing, you need to be able to work independently. But if you are working for clients or content sites, you may need to pair that with teamwork. If you don't work well with others, you may want to go solo and write for your own blog or domain. But even then, you might still need to deal with people in one way or the other. If you like to be the only one to correct the work and will accept no changes to your material, you're better off writing for yourself. But keep in mind that even if you don't have to bend for editors, you still need to consider what your readers want.
Pay attention to your writing style.
What style and voice is present in your work? Can you change it up some to fit what clients want? If not, you may be better off either finding clients or content sites that align with your style or writing for your own venue. Check out contributor communities and content sites to see what the top writers are doing. Does it look like something you'd be interested in doing? If not, move on to the next or create your own venue that matches your style. When writing for private clients, I learned that analyzing their needs based on their audience and existing content helped me provide the best content for them. If you'd rather write freestyle without analyzing things, your own website may be the best option, providing you will still cater to the audience.
Consider your schedule.
Managing time and deadlines will be of more importance when writing for content sites and private clients. You'll need some sort of schedule when writing for yourself. But it will likely be more flexible that way. Some private clients may prefer to speak with you about projects during certain hours. Usually it will be normal business hours. If you cannot commit to that or are unavailable during the day, content sites, contributor communities, and your own domains may be the better option. Most contributor communities do not require you to be available during specific times. There can be deadlines if you claim certain assignments, but it is up to you at what time you write the material.
Think about your goals.
Are you looking to get your byline featured across multiple sites? Would you rather keep your name to its own venue? Do you not want your name out there at all? What are your revenue goals? Writing for private clients can sometimes involve a great deal of ghostwriting, which means your byline will not be featured with the content. Content sites generally feature your byline with the content. Some also offer opportunities to be featured on high quality web properties. It could take more time to build up a reputation on your own venue. But if that is what you prefer, the hard work can pay off, if done right.
The best fit for you is the closest to covering your main desires.
Consider all of the above, as well as any other factors that are important to you. Then, decide which option most fits that mold. You could be like me and choose a combination of two methods, choose just one, or go for something else together. Regardless of which choice you make, be sure it is one that aligns with your individual goals and dreams for the future. Remember that not everyone will have the same needs. Just because one plan works for your friends does not mean it will do the same for you. Align your writing career with your unique plans for the best results.
*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
Have you ever clicked to read an article but clicked back away because of the way it looked? The info may have been good. But the organization likely scared you away. That’s how your readers may feel too if your formatting is ugly. Ugly formatting scares readers away.
Split up sections. Have you ever tried to read a post that consists of what looks like one giant paragraph? Don’t do that to your readers. This a very classic and common example of ugly formatting. Find a way to split up your thoughts into sections. This way readers can easily find and understand all of your points.
Use bold headings. Bold headings are one way to avoid ugly formatting. It helps to split up thoughts in an organized way. You can put these headings above each paragraph or as sentences, like I’ve done here. Either way, it helps make things look neat so that readers can easily scan over what you have to say.
Use bulleted points. Bulleted points can organize an otherwise out-of-control paragraph or section. Try this trick to avoid having ]ugly formatting. If your thoughts seem all over the place, this is a simple way to pull it together. Separate thoughts that go together into sections and use bullets to illustrate the points.
Avoid run-on sentences and unnecessary statements. Extra information that doesn’t need to be there can add to ugly formatting. If your content is all over the place with thoughts, it will be all over the place with organization. Make statements clear, concise, complete, and relevant. Cut down on anything that doesn’t need to be there to make your point.
Be consistent. If you’re going to use bulleted points or bold headings, keep your sections as consistent as possible. Organization gives a better reading experience. It’s okay to have one section that uses bullets when another doesn’t. But be sure it’s done in a neat fashion. For instance, sections with a bolded heading should be about the same size and number of words each.
Tips From a Workaholic Supermom
Creating a writing schedule that works is all about making something you can stick to. Is your writing schedule working for you? Or do you wish you could get more done? Just want to try something different? Try prioritizing in various areas and losing extra commitments.
Figure Out How Much Time You Need for Work
If you have a goal of 10 articles per day, figure out how long it will take you to write them. Be sure you will have at least that much time to work with. If you prefer, the time can be spread out throughout the day as long as it fits in somewhere. If you don't have any idea how much time it takes you to work, you may not reach your writing goals. Scheduling the proper amount of time can help gauge writing productivity.
Determine if You Need Set Hours
Some people do not need set hours. For instance, if you are generally at home all day, setting particular hours may not appeal to you. Doing a little work here and there may be a better option. Yet others will need an exact time. This may be due to personal preferences. It can also be a way to let family and friends know you take your writing seriously and do not wish to be interrupted.
Schedule and Prioritize Other Tasks
Instead of, or in addition to, scheduling the writing, try scheduling other tasks. This way, you know exactly how much time you have left to work with. If it's not enough, cut out things that are less important. Create your task schedule in order of importance.
Don't Commit to Things You Cannot Do
I know firsthand how difficult this can be. But do not take assignments you cannot do. Also, do not take a larger number of assignments than is possible in the allotted time. I'm well-known for writing large number of articles at once. Some writers can do this and some cannot. Also, just because you have in the past does not mean you can work this way all the time. Know your happy medium between having enough work to pay bills and having so much work you can't sleep. Take it from one who knows.
Make Sure You Have Breaks
If you don't make room for breaks, your schedule will ultimately fail. Everyone needs rest. Yes, I do have to remind myself this as well. An effective writing schedule will include adequate rest time so that the writer is energized when it's work time.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
If you are in a bind and need to get large amounts of articles done quickly, what do you do? Perhaps this is a common thing for you and perhaps it is not. There are various things a writer can do when large numbers of articles need to be written quickly.
Sort by topic, rather than client. If some of your article topics are similar, write those sequentially or at the same time. Save them to separate folders for each client so you don't lose track. But you can do articles for various clients all at once. This is especially helpful if their deadlines are the same or close.
Do all your research first. Research your topics before writing. This makes it easier to just sit down and write. You get bonus points if you took notes in your article document during research. Medical info and other extensive topics can require a good amount of research for accuracy. Bullet point what you discover under subheadings. Then, when you write the article, you only need to turn those points into sentences.
Group by article type. If you have several list-type articles to do, it can help to do those first. Those may be easier than other formats. Articles with bullet or numbered points can go quickly as well. You also may wish to group them according to word count. When large numbers of articles are due quickly, it's a better strategy to get all the easiest ones out of the way first. This way, if you do fall behind your goal, it happens with less articles.
Write intros and subheadings first. Go through all your article files ahead of time and write all the intro paragraphs and subheadings. This way, you can run through and fill them in faster. If you already have the subheadings labeled, you pretty much know the points you need to make. You then only need to figure out how you're going to say it. This speeds productivity trick. I've written an article with this type of pre-outline in less than 3 minutes.
Write what you know. If the topics are up to you, avoid too much extra research and just write about what you already know. When writing topics you have firsthand knowledge of, it's easy to just spout off info quickly. This is extremely beneficial if you're also a fast typist. It may take a touch longer if you aren't, but it should still help considerably, compared to articles that require extensive research.
*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
As a mentor of my writing peers, I am often asked to discern the difference between a blog post and an article. When submitting work to clients and content sites, how do you know if your writeup should have gone to your blog instead? Blogs can certainly be professional and articles can definitely be conversational. However, even though you can publish an article on your blog, it's not very wise to submit something that should have been a blog as an article. In some cases, it may even hurt your career. So what's the difference?
What is a blog post?
A blog post is written text on any subject or event and can be fact or fiction. Poetry can even be used as blog posts. There is generally no word count limit for a blog posts, unless specified by the blog owner. Some people use blogs to tell others about daily events in their own lives or in certain industries, sports, or causes. Others may use blogs as a form of self-expression. For instance, someone going through an illness may update the blog on their progress or their feelings throughout their journey. Another person might blog about their children or their favorite sports team. Personal blogs are often (but not always) based more on opinions then they are on facts. Business or professional blogs may read more like articles.
What is an article?
An article is a text writeup that is generally non-fiction. Although some styles can be fiction, such as a satire piece. Usually if an article is meant to be satire, it will be specified. People generally read articles as a trusted source of information. They also expect to find enough details to answer what the title implies. News stories are one form of article. How-to guides are another. In both cases, the information should be clear, to the point, and appropriately detailed. Articles are generally longer than blog posts, but not always. An article should be an appropriate length to get the point across without too much or too little information.
Can an article be a blog post and vice versa?
Some professional blogs read more like news articles. This is fine and even respected. However, blog posts should not be substituted for articles in most cases. For instance, your blog post about your terrible breakfast does not belong on an informational site. However, if you would like to give your blog a more professional feel, by all means, post articles instead of treating it like a personal journal.
What about personal experience articles?
Personal experience can bring a unique angle to an article - provided that's what the client wants. However, personal experience does not mean you have to dish on the latest family drama to get the point across. If you must do that, at least leave it to your blog. In an article, it's only necessary to share enough of the experience to get the point across. Share what adds to the informational aspect of the article. But don't share as much as you might tell your best friend.
Discerning whether to use your writeup as an article or blog post.
When making the decision whether to post your writing to your blog or to sell or publish it as an article, there are several things to consider. Does the article provide the reader with useful and unique information? Would you want to read it as a solution to an issue or a source of information? Is it factual without unnecessary rambling? While your blog readers may want to hear every minute detail, the average web reader would rather skip to the point. If people want a blog post, they visit a blog. But if they want facts, instructions, or info, they look for an article.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network.
Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
Web writing can be like other forms of writing. But it also can be quite different. There are many things to learn if you want to succeed in this business. As an experienced online writer, I've learned a great deal about what works and what doesn't. Here are 10 things I feel every web writer should know.
People will talk negatively about you. Whether it's your neighbor, your significant other, or even one of your peers. Someone will have something to say. In order to succeed in online freelance writing, you need to grow a thick skin. Keep doing what you do best and prove your critics wrong. Rather than defending yourself with more hate speech, fight back through your work. Let it speak for itself.
Success in web writing takes work. Just because you can form a sentence does not mean you will instantly earn millions. Just like any other career - that's right, "career" - you need to put in effort to be successful. Some people will earn their way to the top faster, but regardless of speed, they all have to work in order to see results. The more you put into it, the more you get out if it. Taking shortcuts might seem to work at first, but it could all blow up in your face when you least expect it.
Online writing is not for everyone. Love to write? Good. Have talent? Good. That's part of the equation. But it's far from the entire puzzle. In order to make money, online writers need to be able to write just about every day. If it takes you weeks to get through one school paper, don't expect to immediately succeed in web writing. Some components are very similar. Can you produce quality journalism in a short time-frame? Do you enjoy the act? Then, you might be ready.
There's more to web writing than just writing. In online writing there is not always going to be an editor to look over and correct your work. Many times you will need to edit your own work. You also may need to promote yourself, be social with readers and fellow writers, and much more. Success in online writing comes from being flexible and having a variety of talents that complement each other.
Success comes from being unique. If you see another successful web writer, it's a good idea to study their techniques. However, it's bad idea to try to mimic their entire style. Why? They most likely succeeded because of being unique. If you are mimicking their style, you could be seen as a copycat, which will get you nowhere. Instead, follow their techniques and advice. Develop and apply your own style. Otherwise, the online world will chew you up and spit you out.
Learn while you earn. There is no one person who knows every single thing about online writing. Successful web writers learn something new daily. Study often and apply the knowledge, both in the beginning and throughout your career. You can never know too much. Things are always changing and evolving, especially in online writing.
Online writing is not the same thing as print writing. While both industries require quality, that definition varies for each. Web readers like to look up a topic and read something in simple terms to quickly answer their issue or interest. It takes great skill to simplify writing for easy scanning. This does not mean you need to sound uneducated. But it does mean you need to make your text easy on the eyes and easy to find. Think of the phrases you use when you search for similar things online. Obviously, you are more likely to search "homeschool tips" than "advisement for home educators". Your content should read the way you would search combined with what makes it easier for people to read.
You're obligated to your client, not the other way around. When working with others, especially long-time clients, it may be easy to feel like they owe you certain things. But the truth is, the client hired you. Their only obligation to you is proper payment for your dedication and hard work. Hopefully, they will also be respectful. But don't ask your client for extra privileges. Your client is not obligated to please you. If they want to give you something extra, that's perfectly fine. But, don't expect it and certainly don't ask for it.
You are a trusted source of information. Do your research. When people read articles that contain the information they need, they expect them to be accurate. If you can't do the proper research, don't take the assignment. If you continually provide accurate and detailed info, your readers will respect you more. On the other hand, if you do not, you can completely damage your online writing career.
Web writing is a career. While some may enjoy this as a hobby, it can indeed be a career and many people, like me, do this for a living. If you want to succeed, treat it like the career that it is. Not doing so can lead to failure very quickly. Be sure to also make it clear to family and friends that this is your career.
You're in the midst of a writeup and everything's going great. You just got an amazing quote from the perfect source. But suddenly, you've forgotten the rules surrounding that. Does the period go after the quotation? Or does it belong within? That depends on your sentence. In my years of experience in web writing, this has been a popular question. This tutorial combines my experience along with the time I've spent studying the Yahoo! Style Guide. The following is meant to help readers solve that and other mysteries surrounding punctuation and quotations.
Example of correct placement of a period when quoting a source:
--Tina Baker stated that "fries are better than chips when accompanied by hamburgers".
Because the noted quote was the end of a sentence containing it, the period belongs outside the quote. Had the quote been by itself, the period would have gone inside the quote.Example of correct placement of a period when the quote is a stand-alone sentence.
--Yesterday I spoke with Dr. Allen. His comments: "Looks like we're going to have to do surgery. This a rare occurrence."
Since this quote contains complete stand-alone sentences, the punctuation belongs inside the quotes.
Proper Punctuation When Quoting Exact Text
If there is a string of text that must be typed in an exact way, the punctuation belongs outside the quotation. For instance, if you want to put emphasis on a phrase, you would put any following punctuation after the quote. Some get confused on this because it may not look right to see a period after quotations. However, this is the correct way to construct such a sentence.
Examples of correct placement of punctuation when using exact text:
--To submit that assignment, click on the button labeled "submit".
--To check your daily views, first click on the "content" tab.
When In Doubt With Exact Text, Try Boldface Instead
If you are confused about the exact text and where to put the punctuation, consider using a boldface font instead. If you put emphasis on the text with bold characters, that avoids the need to use quotes.
Examples of using boldface to avoid quotations:
--To submit that assignment, click on the button labeled submit.
--To check your daily views, first click on the content tab.
Exclamation Points and Questions Marks Used With Quotes
When using question marks and exclamation points with quotations, unless that punctuation is a part of the statement being quoted, it belongs outside the quote. If a person exclaims something and you quote that, the exclamation point belongs inside the quotation. But if your sentence including the quote was an exclamation, it belongs outside.
Examples of correct placement of exclamation and question marks in quotes:
--Tommy said he "ran 150 miles today"!
--When Amy saw that yummy taste concoction, she exclaimed "It's all mine!"
--I ran into Brook today and she asked "How do you find the time to write so often?"
--Do you enjoy those sweet pickles - you know, the ones called "bread and butter"?
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
My writing peers often ask me how I get so much done in a day. How do I keep track of everything? What scheduling system do I use? How do I plan my articles? The truth is that I write more articles in a day by eliminating these unnecessary steps. Here's how and why.
Fancy schedules take up time better spent writing. Some of my work is assigned and some I submit at will. Assigned topics are already right in front of me in the account of the site who assigned them. Why should I waste more time by printing that info out or filing it elsewhere? I can just look it up right there in my account. It takes about the same amount of time to open a file on the computer as it does to log into my account at this site. By eliminating the step of writing up and saving this information, I can write more articles.
Over-analysis of a project wastes time spent on the final product. When I first started writing articles for a living, I spent way too much time analyzing how I would write each item. Instead of plotting and planning, just do it. When I know I have a project that needs to get done, I just get it done. Of course I still need to make sure the work is up to par. But I can do that in my proofreading, editing, and fact-checking. I look over what the client wants, do any research that needs to be done, study their website if necessary, and then just write. Even if my initial writeup is not in the requested style after my first draft, it's easy to rearrange and edit as necessary. Once the writing part is done, the rest is easier to do. Leaving more time in the day to get other writing projects completed.
Write first. Edit later. One mistake I used to make is to edit too much while writing. Sure, go back and fix a typo or two. But don't waste too much time proofing before you're even done with the work. I find that if I just let the writing flow and edit when it's finished, the work gets done much faster. The more articles I can write, the more money I make. Therefore, I let the writing flow when it's flowing and I save the edits for later. As mentioned above, what's written first can be easily changed or edited. It's easier to edit something down than it is to keep writing and rewriting.
Only make outlines when necessary. I have a particular style that I write most of my articles in, unless the client asks for something else. Other than copy/pasting that style template into each document, I don't outline much for most of my articles. Sometimes I'll fill in the title and subheads ahead of time. This is especially true if I know I want to make certain points or if there is extensive research involved. Otherwise, I find that if I just jump right into the writing instead of outlining everything, I get more articles done in less time.
Write what you know. This is my number one time-saver tip. Unless the client is requesting a researched piece, writing what you know eliminates the time of looking things up. For instance, I am an expert parenting writer. Unless I am looking for proof of facts, I use my own life experiences to write pieces readers can relate to. This helps me write more articles and it also helps me connect with my audience. When my firsthand experience needs to be backed up with expert advice, I have specific trusted sources on my bookmarks toolbar for my most common topics. This way, I can just click a button, search, and find what I need.
When you spend more time writing than planning and analyzing, it's easier to get more articles written in a day. I challenge all my writer friends to try this out and see for yourself how many more articles you can write in a day when you don't sweat the small stuff and just dive into the work. For me, this method means less stress, more productivity, and a decent return.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
Are you pressed for time, but need to write a large number of articles? Try writing them all at once. I know you may be thinking "How in the world can I write multiple articles at the same time". It's definitely possible. This is how I write much of the time. But certain strategies will help to get it done efficiently and quickly. Since I am a workaholic momtrepreneur, I am constantly pressed for time and striving to write as much as I can in the quickest way possible. Both my children and my writing dominate my life, but I like things that way. Perhaps my experience will help you succeed at writing more articles at once as well.
Use All Your Writing Documents at Once
If you plan on writing ten articles, open and save your document for each one. Keep them all open during your writing process. You can flip back and forth as needed. If I am particularly into a certain topic, I might keep writing that one.
But for the most part, I will go back and forth to keep the process interesting. I determine when to move to another article by various factors. Being stuck on thoughts is a good time to move to the next article. Also sometimes an idea will come up for one of the other articles. That's another indicator to switch topics.
Make Outlines (or Templates) for All the Articles
Before getting started, consider making outlines or templates for each of the articles. This way, it's easier to determine what you need to fill in. That alone can speed up the writing. Example templates or outlines might include the title, subtitle, a space for intro text, and subheadings.
I sometimes change my subheadings after or during writing the article. But they are good for remembering what points you want to make in each section. When you don't need to think of the points during writing, it's easier to focus on the topic at hand. Doing the subheadings ahead of time also helps ensure you make all the points you wanted to.
Use Multiple Computers
Yes, I realize this gives away my workaholic status. But for those with capabilities, it really does help speed up the writing process. If your computers are networked together, it's even faster, but a flash drive can do the trick if they aren't. I often use my laptop and a mini notebook computer at the same time. When I had desktop computers, I would utilize those as well. I've used at most 4 computers at once, but two is my usual number when using this strategy.
Position the computers very close to one another so that switching back and forth is very simple. One computer can be open with articles and research for one client, another can contain the work for another, and so on. Or you can split up big projects for one client onto more than one computer. If the computers are portable, try doing this in a fun setting, such as the backyard or park.
Bulk Similar Topics
Writing similar topics at the same time can help increase productivity. For instance, if you are writing about a particular parenting method, you may write five articles. Each could describe how to apply that method to certain groups or situations. If you are writing about homemade household products, you might have an article on the benefits, another on the best materials, another on how to make it, and so on.
When you are writing an article and have ideas that branch off your main idea, use those as separate articles. Don't try to put too much information into one. It's better for readability and you'll also get more articles from doing this. In most cases, more articles equals more money.
Don't Stress - Just Write Instead
Yes, I know this one may be hard. If you are writing multiple articles, you may either have a goal or be on deadline. But stressing yourself out can reduce productivity. Stay calm and focused. Instead of thinking about your articles in numbers, just write them. Remember why you got into this in the first place.
You likely love to write or have some other good reason for choosing this as a career. Have fun and focus on that original inspiration instead of the fact that you have a large number of articles to write. Just write.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
One method of writer promotion is to maintain a Facebook fan page. But in order to take full advantage of having a Facebook fan page, you need to keep it updated. A freshly updated Facebook fan page keeps people coming back for more. This should be done in a variety of ways to attract more people and keep them interested.
Update your status often and keep it varied. Keeping your status on your Facebook fan page fresh keeps people interested. Let your fans know what you are doing at the moment. Post milestones, pitfalls, and goals. You can also post things that don't have to do with writing, but aren't so personal that they turn people away. Don't post the same thing all the time. For instance, we all know you are writing if you're a writer. Don't post "I'm writing" every single day. Post it sometimes, but not every time you write.
Share links to your work. If someone is following your writer fan page, they want to see your writing. Post it. Whenever you have a free second, share links to various things you have published on the web. This can be anything from blog posts to news articles to book links. Whatever you write, share it with your Facebook fans. That's what they want. You can also throw in work from fellow writers occasionally to mix it up and help them out.
Offer writing advice. Post random writing tips on your writer fan page. Although some of your followers may be random people that like your work, other writers might also follow you for inspiration. Let them know how you got there and possibly help them too with some tips when you can. Writing tips may even look good to potential clients.
Share news related to the writing field. Since writers often follow other writers, share news relevant to the field. It helps keeps you as well as your fans and fellow writers in the know. Plus, it can be interesting to share something other than your own work. Staying up to date can help you improve your writing. It's always good to learn something new and share it with others.
Auto-share blog posts and other article RSS feeds. Auto-sharing your work via RSS is an easy way to keep readers up to date, while still being able to focus on producing fresh content. The auto-posts will alert people to new posts and you can focus on your writing and on other updates.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
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.
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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