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.
It has always proven to be the case that when my writing becomes too predictable, I simply cannot be at my best. Whenever I have a plan going into writing something, if it's more than a simple direction or idea leading me into it, what ends up coming out is a rambling unfocused mess. When I write, the more unpredictable the course of my work takes, the better it ends up being. In a way, I'm a fiction writer writing non-fiction. I always want to keep the reader guessing.
In a world in which answer-driven content has become the most sought after, I feel like a bit of a dinosaur. I want to lead people on and help them to answer questions they never thought to ask. It's not as if that sort of content doesn't work any more. Storytelling still works, of course. But I find myself greatly uninspired reading content that attempts the answer the same questions over and over again. You can find yourself at a point where taking a fresh perspective on something becomes immensely hard to do.
Sure, it can be risky to not have a plan. Most writers would find it ludicrous to not outline where you're going with a given piece. I've rambled on for hours and hours, pages and pages, many times before. Sometimes the words go nowhere good. But other times, I'll get three or four really good ideas that I can run with, and weave them together into a complete piece. I'm one of those writers who just needs to be let loose and edit it all down later. Sometimes I'm overwhelmed with the sheer volume I produce and it can be very tricky to pare it down into anything tangible - even to myself.
Lately, my writing has just been feeling too predictable. I have a topic and I just comment on it, basically. That just has become rather stale. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with being strictly informational and coming to a sometimes fairly obvious conclusion. That sort of writing just isn't for me. There needs to be a fresh take on whatever I am doing. Having a strict topic doesn't always work for me, and for whatever reason I stopped dancing around the edges trying to make new connections. I've found when the words don't come the reason is usually as simply defined as "uninspired." Sure, what may follow many times is a hot mess of nonsense, but it's better than to not have just written it at all.
Do you ever feel like your writing has become too predictable? It's okay to shake things up. Perhaps a bit of misdirection here and there isn't a bad thing at all. Being straight and to the point obviously has its place, and I'm not saying I can't write like that anymore. My comfort zone when it comes to writing seems to be in making the reader uncomfortably unsure of where I'm going. But there's that delicate balance of losing your reader in confusion and making them think through why you're going in the direction that you are. One of the beauties of written communication is that ten people can read exactly the same words and come to ten completely different conclusions. It's also one of the shortfalls and one of the major limitations. No human communication is perfect. Nor do I think it ever should be.
It's high time I stopped being predictable and just let the randomness of life's ebbs and flow dictate where I go when I write. As moods shift and opinions waver, it's possible to stay the course while still having a few twists and turns thrown into the journey.
Choosing your words is essential. As a writer that seems obvious. Then again, sometimes, I’ll be thinking about something and my lips will start moving or my fingers will just start typing. I often don’t give myself time to necessarily explain myself and I start rambling and go off on tangents. Sometimes, this is pretty dangerous stuff. At times, it just ends up amusing someone. Other times, I’ll say something that someone will take the wrong way and then I have to figure out later where I went wrong. It’s really just better to choose the right words in the first place…
This isn’t to say that it’s always possible to not be misinterpreted. It doesn’t mean readers won’t read things into your work that you didn’t intend. Such is the nature of any audience; it is often going to have members that you did not intend. Those misinterpretations can lead to a learning experience for both you and the reader, and it’s best to treat them as such, even if you are the only willing party to actually learn from the experience. But sometimes both parties can be the best for it.
What’s one of the best ways to limit misinterpretation? Don’t be the one always trying to give the answers. You should ask yourself: Should I be asking more questions? There is always so much more to learn. Better yet, it rarely hurts to find new ways to phrase and rephrase things. Perhaps there are ideas that I have not yet perfectly conveyed, that is, if any idea can be perfectly conveyed in any simple thing as a word or words.
As a writer, the best you can do is the best you can do at the moment that you write something. Every writer is going to write a stinker here and there, and simply not publish them. But even published works that gain a good audience are going to have their flaws. It distresses me when I see one of my works in print, even one that was well received by the intended audience, and I’m simply not happy with it how it is. If you’re not happy with a work, chances are you’ve learned something that you will want to address in the future.
Sometimes you have to be your own worst critic. So welcome the critics when they come. At times, the critics will simply have their own opinion through no fault of your phrasing or word choices. But before you publish anything, make sure that the piece is the best thing you can produce at the moment. Make sure your words are saying what you intend them to say in the best way you know how. You can always learn from the mistakes, but the better you do in the first place, the more your writing will be the better for it.
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
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
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
It's time to pay the bills but your freelance writing hasn't pulled in nearly what you need. Staring at the figures in black and white may make you cringe if you're a freelance writer who hasn't quite reached your ideal goal. Maybe you haven't even touched the surface. But don't give up hope. Perhaps you just need to change your strategy. If you have all the tools and talent, but still can't quite get there, try making your goals more attainable. It's easy to set goals and expectations too high or make the possible impossible by over analyzing. If you aren't meeting your goals in freelance writing, it's time do a complete overhaul of your strategy.
How high are your goals? It's good to set goals. But don't set them so high they are near impossible for you to reach. For instance, if the most you have ever written is 10 articles in a day, don;t commit yourself to writing 20 right away. Instead of saying "I am now going to write 20 articles every day," make your goal that of gradually increasing the amount of work you can handle. This makes the goal more attainable. You might even reach the initial number you had in mind. But you can do it with less stress and pressure.
Which numbers are you focusing on? When I first started out in freelance writing, I tried to figure out a workable income by making goals in terms of article numbers. While this can be logical if you make the same amount for every article, it makes no sense when it's variable. It can also get quite stressful for those who cannot produce a large number of articles every single day. In online writing, the amount made per article can vary significantly, depending on the venue, how pay is determined, and whether or not views will be calculated in the equation. To be sure my writing days are more productive, I had to change my daily goal strategy to make it more attainable.
Now instead of article numbers, I have a goal of how much money I should make in upfront payments each day. This keeps me on track and it also gives me some easy days with less articles to write when I have assignments that pay a little higher. Think about the way you make your freelance writing income and decide which numbers are the important ones to focus on. If what you are currently doing is something you consistently aren't reaching, think outside the box and adjust your focus.
Do your goals align with your schedule? It's easy to set a goal. But if that goal doesn't fit in anywhere it's going to be difficult to make it work. Determine goals not just by what you are able to do, but also by the time you have to get things done in. If you know that you have two free hours in the morning and four at night, break up your writing between those times. If you make goals that fit well with your schedule, they will be much more attainable.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
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
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
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
One page at a time - that's the only way to write. Actually, perhaps I should be far more specific: one word at a time. But since it is rather difficult to express complete thoughts in single words, we must use sentences. These will form paragraphs, which hopefully will form a coherent narrative that forms upon the page before us.
Yes, reader, I must involve you in this process. After all, writing is a very intimate, personal experience, and truly good writing should never just be for the self. Yet, some writers clearly do not involve the reader, and this is indeed a tragedy. But I do feel that the act of writing should not produce a sermon unless you are a bona fide preacher. No, it's all about connecting with your audience, your reader.
Some authors are obsessed with the idea of knowing who their target audience is. Now, I suppose in some cases - say in the case of writing a children's book - this is certainly an understandable tactic which you may take to construct your narrative. But I'm not convinced it's always a good one. I think, especially in children's writing, some authors take too many assumptions into account on the part of their reader.
The author's job should be to not bore you, and too many authors, in my humble opinion, bore so many readers. Okay, maybe you'll know this or that when you come to reading my piece and you'll feel like I should already know that you know these things. But there's a simple way around this. It's on me, the writer, to make sure if something is brought up that should be generally common knowledge that it is directly involved with what I'm getting at.
There's something to be had about giving you, the reader, a trail to follow. It's good to make your thought process somewhat intuitive through the writing. A lot of artists get really, really artsy. While there is nothing wrong with that, in theory, really a writer must work to draw the reader into the narrative. Even if you may be unfamiliar with all or most of the individual points, you must be able to find that there is clearly a thought process behind all of it. This is the challenge that all writers face.
So why should you care? I could ramble on forever about the half-million things (somewhat of an exaggeration) that go across my mind on a daily basis. It's actually rather incredible how many things actually are on one mind at any given time. The conscious and unconscious minds are so often not in sync. It's why sometimes we just get distracted and we don't really know how. Somehow, though, the act of writing actually can give one access to this sort of nether space between the conscious and unconscious.
When a writer really applies one's self to the task of constructing a narrative, things tend to appear on the page that seem a bit unfamiliar. At times, they seem out of place within the conscious realm. The human mind is really an incredible machine. There are so many things that it can process that often get shoved aside by the conscious mind. A lot of that is simply because of how cluttered "modern" daily life has become.
It's no secret that meditation techniques can help one write better. There is often just too much clutter in our heads to be able to construct anything incredibly interesting on a regular basis, even for dedicated writers. You can't force creativity. It just sort of has to happen.
I hate to reference a cliché. But my prefacing tidbit "one page at a time" is very much like "one day at a time" in that you have to take each challenge as they come. Even if you are not by profession a writer, you are in fact a writer in the sense that you are the scribe of your own life's story. You may say, wait a minute, how can I be the author of my own life story if so many things are out of my control? Now what I am getting at here is not trying to write yet another self-help book or tell you that there is some special secret to being this amazing writer. No, I am simply saying that many different aspects of life are not as disparate as they at first seem.
You may think, life is non-fiction and fiction is a way to escape that often grinding daily existence. Well, to be fair, there is a very startling similarity between fiction and non-fiction. Fiction is often compelling because of how colorful the settings and characters can be. But in non-fiction, that can also be true. You may say you like fiction because what you're reading you may be convinced couldn't really happen.
Truth is, anything is possible. Nothing is truly impossible, only astronomically improbable. So when you hear "nothing is impossible" it's not false, but it's only a half-truth. No fiction is totally made up. Fiction is, at the very least, a half-truth. We integrate plenty of fiction into our own lives. Say you're telling someone a "real-life" story and you don't have your facts straight. It's not completely true, so guess what? It's fiction.
So am I saying that life is just a world of half-truths with more fiction than fact? No, but in my daily life, it sometimes certainly seems that way. Many people I see function in such a way. We live in a world full of so many possible avenues of escapism. As soon as we step outside of what is considered "serious" there is a lot of grey area that you can play with. This is the writer's playground.
There are cold hard facts of life that need to be accounted for, yes. But what if we play around a bit and pretend that these cold hard facts were instead fiction? How do you rearrange things in such a way to make them more interesting? It's all about making your reader look at things from a different perspective. From a certain perspective, all of our lives are just a fiction that we create in our own minds. Perspective is the key word here.
If you're ever stuck, remember perspective. Don't take everyone's perspective into account. Yes, ask yourself if the reader will care. But at the same time, you have to make your reader care. If your reader doesn't care, then what's the point in writing it?
Keep perspective in mind. Twist things just a little bit to make it more interesting, without losing sight of the heart of the matter. You may find out some things you wouldn't have otherwise. And so won’t your readers.
“If the writing is honest it cannot be separated from the man who wrote it.” – Tennessee Williams
Here’s a fun little topic to tackle: what makes for honest writing? I try to be as honest as possible when I set to compose anything. It’s just not always easy, especially in trying to sound original. I think sometimes being brutally honest actually stifles creativity.
The God-honest truth isn’t always the best thing to put straight into print. There’s letting things off your chest, and then there’s saying too much. It’s not always easy to put things as succinctly as you may want to.
Your goal may not to be delicate or succinct at all. It’s still often difficult to say what you mean to say without somehow saying something you didn't. It’s too easy to read between the lines and try to find double meanings to certain words or phrases.
Sometimes in the editing process, you second guess yourself. You may expound on something that you probably shouldn’t have bothered spending too much time on. It’s what makes writing such a frustrating craft.
The idea of being so honest in writing that it becomes inseparable from the author who penned it is I suppose a sort of ultimate goal for all writers. The trick is to be honest, but not absolutely exhaustive in that honesty. You give away a little at a time, and that’s what can make writing so therapeutic.
For those minds as busy and often overloaded as mine, it’s a sort of necessity to be just a little honest with a thing or two. You can dress it up a bit and make it less threatening; it doesn’t make it any less true, really. But having a few secrets has to be healthy, right?
Writers seem to have more reason to be mysterious than most. The more mysteries the author has, the more material to be used in the craft. At least, that’s how I like to look at it.
"Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers." – Isaac Asimov
Have you ever found yourself not sure what to write for your blog? There may be days when you sit by yourself and brainstorm a few things that you’ll probably write about later. Likely you won't use everything that you wrote, but you may find something that you were thinking about could make a useful blog post.
But more often than not, it’s likely that you find yourself uninspired by your notes. Other times, you won’t have any notes to go off of at all for blog ideas. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to make sure that you always have something to write about.
Consider this simple exercise. Towards the end of your day, jot down some of the challenges you faced during the day. Then, tell how you succeeded (or didn’t succeed) in solving them. You'd be surprised how little solutions can make for a short, but sweet post that your audience would find interesting.
Showing dedication to the little things is pretty important to people. It makes you more human to those that read your blog. You want people to be delighted by what they read, and be able to connect to these “little things” sorts of posts. Over time, the little things add up. Before you know it, you have a vibrant and interesting blog. Just three or four little successes can go a long way.
What about the challenges you haven’t solved? Are you still working towards solutions? It's fine to let people know what you're working on to better improve yourself and whatever it is you do. Looking natural is paramount to good blogging practice. In any case, be as positive as you can even when you’ve been dealing with bad days. Keep a bright outlook on things and your blog readers will thank you for it.
You may also want to write down any missteps you took during the day. Now, it would seem that missteps are not the best sort of thing to write about, since on a blog you typically want to be as positive and helpful as possible. But there is a way to spin such mistakes, especially if you find a solution to prevent such a mistake from happening again. You may want to write about what you do to prevent those sorts of mistakes in the future. Be sure not to draw attention to the failure, but instead the solution.
People want to see you succeed, but be sure to admit how you’ve overcome certain challenges. Human beings enjoy success stories. It's easy to be inspired by reading about others overcoming difficulties and challenges.
If you're ever stuck for a blog topic, just brainstorm and let the ideas come naturally. Just let the events of the day unfold in your mind and recount the little victories of the day. You might be surprised with what you find. That way, when you have a dull, uninteresting day, you have a post to inspire both yourself and everyone who happens to read your blog.
So many times I have begun writing on a project and asked myself: why should anyone care about this? A lot of the time, I'll have an idea, then not really care for it myself. I don't discard it. I make a note of it and move on, because I never know where exactly I could find a purpose for that idea. Recently, I've been finding that I need to take more profound steps in my writing. I need to write about things that seem to be often avoided. People care if you bring something up that they don't expect, and sometimes such unexpectedness is met with lots of fear and negativity. But that cannot be a detractor in what a writer decides to write.
There is nothing wrong with writing reviews, or reflective journals, or informational articles. There's nothing wrong with writing light humor or a little piece of flash fiction. There's nothing wrong with writing an adventure novel that exists purely to thrill a reader. As long as each of those pieces of writings fulfill their specific purpose and not just some broad sense of having written something.
However, there is a bit of a paradox here, since it is important for a writer to write even when he or she is not finding a purpose for the words being written. But when publishing something, make sure people will have a reason to care about what you've written. Don't just publish something because it sounds good. I've been guilty of that myself. Publish something that actually will add something to the lives of those reading it. Otherwise, you're just spinning your wheels.
Feel like you might be confounding readers with your writing? I know I've had times when my writing even confounds myself. The entire point of writing, of course, is to convey an idea in as clear and concise a form as possible, is it not?
Sometimes, I infuse my writing with a lot more emotion at times than at others. Other times I will even let my sarcasm take over, which can rub some readers the wrong way. At other times, I seem to leave people confounded. Perhaps, it's sometimes by design, but not always.
Sure, it might be okay to leave people a little confused for the benefit of making readers have to figure something out for themselves. But sometimes I just write something because it sounds good. Then, I just publish it. Then, it seems that I somehow expect people figure it out for themselves.
Making people think, I believe, is the core of writing in the first place. But confounding others with your writing probably isn't a sound strategy. Then again, simply stating the facts and stating opinions, however educated, does not seem to be enough to me sometimes. There's obviously plenty written out there about infusing personality and "spice" into writing. But I think the most important thing to do in writing is to expand one's horizons.
This process is two-fold. First, it is through the act of writing and expressing an idea in a written, tangible form. Then, it is through the act of reading, identifying and analyzing, then coming to conclusions afterwards. If it leaves you with more questions than answers that may not be a bad thing.
So confounding a reader may actually be a good thing, sometimes. It really depends on the topic. By having to think about something in more depth you'll remember it better. Then, those ideas will have impact beyond the words on the printed page. Still, be sure it's a topic worth that level of reader commitment. Someone might be looking for a quick answer that could reasonably have one. Then, there's no point in dragging it out.
But there are times that connecting with the reader on a deeper level can be worth it. I've written before about whether web writers should produce more questions or answers. In that piece, I came to the conclusion that articles that engage the reader in a conversation of thought are strictly better than "free information." While it may not be as simple to digest, it's overall better for the reader. Other readers offered up the opinion that writing that really engages your mind is most rewarding. It's especially good when readers can connect with pieces emotionally. Those pieces tend to perform the best over the long term.
People talk about trying to make emotional connections through writing all the time. But this is actually incredibly hard to do when it comes to certain subjects. Writing through personal experience is the only way I've ever been able to do it, I think. It's good to go into a piece in mind that others will need to take something away from it. You have to make it worth their time to read.
Confounding readers may sound like a bad idea. But it some cases it may not be. If you feel the need to write something, and aren't sure why you wrote it, write it anyway. Chances are someone else will get what you were saying. That's the whole point of writing after all, to share your ideas. You may not even fully understand them yet.
Here's a question I've been asked a ton of times: "Why can't you write a novel?" For someone whose dream as a four-year-old was to be a novelist - and a mapmaker, and a pharmacist, and a starship captain - this would be a legitimate question as I have not yet produced a novel. My obvious inability to properly compose a novel is a topic I've pondered many times. In fact, I've written a lot of drafts of pieces trying to answer that very question, but I was never happy with what i wrote on the subject. So yes, this is yet another attempt to try and answer that question, but this time, I actually have the answer.
I can't write a novel because I simply cannot write a novel. I can't do outlines, as I never have, and never will. Of course, there are novelists out there who have never outlined, either. There are novelists out there that basically just write forever, then let their trusted beta readers and editors do the rest of the work. But in my case, I simply change directions in plot too often and character development often meanders and stalls. It's not even a lack of focus. I just lose interest in what I'm writing if I spend too much time on it. That's right. I simply cannot hold focus for fifty thousand plus words. I can't even hold focus for ten thousand words, never mind anymore than that. Is it a weakness? Perhaps, it is. Or perhaps, I'm simply not a novelist.
I'm not saying that I will never, ever write a novel. But it is fair to say that my dream of being a novelist is indefinitely on hold. Truth is, I'm not even good at short stories. Flash fiction is perhaps the only creative future that I have outside of poetry - and poems are definitely a specialty of mine. The thing is, I can't combine my poetry with my stories. I've tried that, and it was a disaster. So basically, my future as a creative writer appears to be relegated to simply flash fiction pieces and poetry. I'm finally feeling content with that.
However, that being said, the truth is that writing a novel takes a ton of energy. For whatever reason, I do not ever want to expend that level of energy on one particular project ever. I feel that my energy needs to be divided more efficiently across a wider breadth of subjects. My brain is always hitting on many different things, so why should I force it to do simply one thing? Yes, I have a tendency to hyper-focus, but this hyper-focus when it comes to trying to write a novel is actually very, very bad. If I have to figure out where to take a story next, it is NOT going to follow the original path. It's going to go bonkers.
The interesting thing is if you give me someone else's story that already exists, I'm actually pretty good at identifying shortcomings and fleshing things out. So it's not that I can't tell a story. It's that the stories I try to tell are evolving so constantly in my mind that everything I write up to a point becomes obsolete. And that is so monumentally frustrating that I cannot begin to tell you how much worthless text I will have to eventually go through and pare down into flash fiction pieces. So, at least, I have a plan of what to do with all my failed stories.
So yes, it is very likely that I will in fact put out a book someday. It will be a collection of short flash fiction stories. Some will share characters. Many won't. But a novel will have to be a collaboration with someone else, because I simply do not have the capacity on my own to keep everything going in one direction or follow any logical plot structure. My brain simply does not operate in that way because real life is not that way. I am far too spontaneous to be forced into any sort of literary conventions. So perhaps one day I'll write a novel that is extremely disorganized and completely wacko. Not saying there isn't anything already out there like that, but since I doubt it will sell, I may as well just post my insane creative scribblings at will.
Have you ever considered writing a novel? Good luck. I think I'll just stick to the greatest hits from my Crazy Idea Bin. That should be good enough for me.
The blank page is like a canvas, they say. Actually, a blank page is more like a desert. It can be the most dreaded thing known to humanity. This is why whenever you try to always start with SOMETHING. some sort of opening theme like in a TV show, or a prompt, or something. Always have something to start with. Because just when you think you can't fill a page, you probably will.
How is this? Start with today's date, then just list some things that are on your mind. If your inspiration can't be sparked by something that you just wrote, list some of your favorite things, and see if you have anything to write about them. By this point, you've probably already filled a page and come up with writing ideas for about a week. Considering this sort of brainstorming is how I practiced writing on a daily basis for years, I can say from personal experience that it works.
However, I don't really participate in brainstorming sessions anymore, nor do I use many prompts. Why is this? It's because sometimes it's okay to just let ideas come to you as they will. Unless you desperately need to fill a need for some assignment, not filling a page is not some crime. Just jot down things in a notebook or some organization program like Evernote or a memo pad app of some sort. That way when you're starved for ideas later, you still have them. Then you'll fill many pages just from that single note.
Still, I've found more often that not, as long as you go into any writing with a purpose, you will fill that page. It works similarly with art. In photography, just point at whatever and shoot. In drawing or painting, just doodle for a bit and work from that. You'd be surprised in these supposedly dark moments of lacking inspiration that you'll find the beginnings of some of your best creative work ever.
Words will come to me whether or not I want them to. It is what I do with them that matters, to give them a meaning and a purpose. Then it is up to whomever reads them to decide if they are worthy. Words are just thought fragments, loosely translated into a common tongue never quite perfect. Limits to vocabulary hinder true perfect expression, but with care and practice, one can succeed in mostly getting a point across. At times, it is only with great difficulty, and often never on the first attempt.
Then, two similar but disparate ideas intermingle, distracting from the original thought. Confusion sets in, creative chaos ensues, and frustration builds. Then writing blocks emerge seemingly for no reason. Fear of losing that writer's touch begins to swell. The words must then be forced out, as thoughts are still there, but stubbornly refuse to be translated. Perhaps, those thoughts are not yet worthy of being shared. Or perhaps, there is a lack of the skill necessary to share them properly and precisely? Such awkward moments cannot be avoided when you constantly deal in words. Sentences and phrases never seem quite perfect, but then it is decided that they are good enough for now. They can be altered later.
The words will come, and they must. So I just let them come. I'll figure out what to do with them later. Then, it's up to you to do with them what you will. I am only a delivery boy. It's your choice what to make of these words I bring you. I hope they do you some good. Hopefully they won't befuddle you too much, and if they do, maybe they'll make you write something, too. If I inspire any positive action, or any action at all, then the words have done their part, I've done my job, and the world goes on.
And then I get writer's block again. Sigh.
The words will come.
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.
Why does it seem like writers aren’t taken more seriously? It really bugs me how it seems that writing has become such a poorly compensated skill. What bothers me even more is that it is considered one of the most important skills in any business today. Proper and clear communication is extremely important for any human being. Highly skilled writers are some of the greatest assets any business can have.
So why do writers have so much trouble finding steady work nowadays? People always need writers - ghostwriters, especially. Why is it that so many of we freelance writers and content marketers have to often resort to receiving pennies on the dollar for what we’re really worth? At times, I've been lucky and had some clients recently that truly appreciate my skills and abilities. But so many places don’t. I truly can’t comprehend this.
I've learned that it might be so easy for me to write articles, but for a lot of other people, it really isn't. So what takes me half an hour could take someone else hours, and perhaps they won't get anywhere near the same end result. I love it when I learn that a piece of content I wrote touches someone, or convinces someone to buy something from myself or one of my clients. A little time and effort goes a long way.
I know I was put on this earth to help people. Writing has always been that singular skill that I have long excelled at. Fortunately, I was smart enough to pursue it with due diligence. Some of us need more pushing than others. I always wanted to be a writer, from a very young age. The great deal of encouragement I had always helped. Eventually, writing became a reflex for me. As it turns out, as I’ve met more and more writers, it seems that this writing reflex is a common thing for us writers. Regardless of what it is we write about, we all share this compulsion that we just have to write.
Fortunately, I do see some light at the end of the tunnel. Many businesses are realizing that they need to hire more skilled writers to write content. Up until now, it’s been about writing for the search engines and hiring “marketing experts” that know how to game the system. It should be about just hiring writers that know how to write for people. It shows when you have dedicated writers that actually are writing for the audience and not for gaining traction on Google, Bing, et al. The new paradigm shift that content marketing is taking means that there are more writers needed than ever. There's a huge amount of hyper-niche content needing to be created. It makes those without degrees, like myself and many other writers, a lot more valuable. We’re more than happy to crowd-source. We just expect to be fairly compensated. This simply hasn’t been happening as it should.
Do writers need to unionize to make this happen? Actually, there is a National Writers Union here in the United States. What we definitely need to do is not give into writing 1000-word articles for only worth $5. That level of content written well can be worth hundreds of dollars in what they will end up netting in the long run. Well-written and engaging content is proven to work on a regular basis. You can’t just post any old content and hope people will interact with it and share it. More of the world is waking up to that fact.
In fact, studies have shown that writers outside of a given field can end up with better results writing content for businesses. This is because they offer a fresh perspective that those in the field may never have considered. Some of the best content comes from guest bloggers. Writers always love a challenge. If you pay us decently enough, you may be amazed with what you’ll find. We’ll be writing anyway, so give us a shot!
Writing isn’t easy. It takes a lot of hard work, dedication, and practice. It also takes a lot of passion to always be looking to improve on the art. As writers, we must constantly expand our knowledge so we can infuse everything we write with all that we’ve learned. We writers need to find a way to set the market straight and prove to people that our skills are grossly under-compensated. We don’t just sit around all day typing away for pennies because it’s fun. We do it because we love to create. Honestly, I’d love to create for a fair living. We want to work. Just give us the chance.
I believe that it’s inherent in every human being who practices enough at the skill of writing to become a great writer. Every person has thoughts that need to be expressed. Intelligent discourse is the only way in which the human race can truly survive, and therefore it is good that our society stresses the importance of writing skills to such a great degree. But I think that this dedication to teaching writing skills is often conducted in the wrong way.
Schools seem to try to teach a singular method, one pre-packaged way to write for everyone. I’ve always been a believer that each individual needs to develop their own way of writing on their own. When you try to force everyone into a formulaic routine method, you strangle creativity. That is one reason why I suffered early on in junior high and high school: they stressed the importance of writing a five-paragraph essay and were very unforgiving in straying from their guidelines. The five-paragraph method can be an excellent tool for outlining a paper. But to force students to write a five-paragraph essay on every assignment that they do is bordering on criminal. Perhaps it is the case that some believe that the five-paragraph form is the only way for some people to learn how to write. I do not believe this is so. It never was years ago, so why dumb it all down now?
What makes someone a great writer is not simply in how beautifully they craft a sentence – although that is a great skill to master. Perhaps, the verb master is the most important word that I can stress to budding writers. Do not concern yourself with being perfect, or you will only drive yourself crazy. Nothing in this world can ever be perfect, but theoretically, you can be close to perfecting your craft with substantial practice. It’s the drive for discovering the truth that makes a great scholar, and it’s the obligation of great writers to share their own angles with the rest of the world. We can each approach reality from various angles, which is what makes each human being’s perspective unique.
The fact that reality is different for everyone is an inescapable conclusion. However, we’ve come to a point in our society where it seems that people simply cannot agree to disagree, and instead force themselves into join camps of opinion. We must learn to take our varying perspectives on reality and reach a consensus on what the truth really is. So then, what is truth? Answering that question should be the goal of every writer. Do not simply regurgitate facts and ideas that you read in a textbook or read somewhere online – even from a reputable source. Criticize everything that you see, hear, and read, and you will find that though you may not consider yourself a great writer in terms of “talent,” you will find that the talent to share knowledge and ideas to the world is not simply a gift given to those extraordinarily proficient in vocabulary and composition. Critical thinking and writing teamed together, as well as great practice and effort, will help you find that perhaps there is a great writer living inside of you that you never knew was there!
Developing a clear and consistent voice in writing is something that requires plenty of practice. My own writing voice is substantially different from my speaking voice. This is true for many people, except of course for those that dictate their writing using some voice recognition software. Honestly, I would rather type than vocalize my writing, because I can work a keyboard far more quickly than I can talk.
My brain often moves far more quickly than my mouth. Some people that know me may be surprised, with how often that I talk, that I often can’t keep up with what I’m thinking. Because of that, sometimes ideas come out very awkwardly through speech. This is why I prefer so much to write. Even when instant messaging, I can be far more articulate and able to express things a lot more succinctly than with speech. This is due to the fact that my words can flow more quickly than they could ever come out of my mouth. But trust me, finding this voice in writing took me quite a while. All of the many instant messenger sessions and notebook scribblings I’ve had over the years have a lot to do with why I write so well now.
When I was in high school, students were often forced to write their essays in the dreaded five-paragraph format. Of course, being the passive-aggressive rebel I’ve long been, I often neglected to write that way. Because of this, I was graded poorly on many assignments. I was just going to let my words flow without any regard for the restrictions they were forcing on us. These restrictions seemed ridiculous to me. I had been developing my writing abilities for several years up until that point. Still, I have to admit I was a fairly poor writer in junior high, because I still hadn't yet found my voice. By the time I got to around my sophomore year in high school, however, it was clear that I had developed a specific style. No one could make me deviate from it. I'm glad I stayed the course, because while my voice is far more refined now, it's the same voice I started writing with back then! So, my rebellious nature when it came to developing my own writing style allowed me to bring you the work you get to enjoy today.
Of course, the lesson here is that all it takes to develop a voice is practice. Don’t let anyone try to force any arbitrary rules on you, besides conventions of grammar and spelling - which are good rules, of course. It's really as simple as just writing as much as you can and about as many topics as you can. Build your vocabulary and simply exercise your writing abilities at least once a day. You’re going to struggle at times. A lot of what you write may not look too great to you later on, but you need the exercise. You'll find that after enough practice, eventually you'll actually start to find yourself writing very naturally. Even without having some innate talent for it in the beginning, anyone can write given the proper practice and devotion to the craft. Once you develop that voice in your writing, you can write about anything, anytime, anywhere!
Outside of public speaking, writing is the best way to do it. Of course, the greatest public speeches were written first, too. Be a rebel. Make your voice heard. Everyone has a voice. Don’t ever let anyone else tell you otherwise.
It’s a well-documented phenomenon that one often writes in a much different style than in which he or she speaks. I know for a fact that this is most certainly the case with me. I am a far better writer than speaker and not only in public speaking. I’ve had the tendency to misspeak on many occasions in ways that simply do not happen in my writing. I’m far better composed in writing than I am in speech. When I’m speaking on a topic that I am well versed in and knowledgeable about, though, I can at least sound reasonably intelligent.
In speaking, I have a way of stating the incredibly obvious without even consciously realizing it. Again, this does not happen in writing, unless some sort of sarcasm or “tongue-in-cheek” humor is intended. These differences between my own writing and my own speech patterns could make a very fascinating and in-depth study into the functioning of my own mind. Not being a social scientist, however, I’m not sure just how accurate my observations will be. To be honest, I’m far more curious about how others perceive the differences between their writing and speaking styles in contrast to how others perceive the differences. That would make for quite an interesting discussion.
On that note, how different do you feel your writing styles and speaking styles vary? Do others ever comment on those differences? Or do you feel that your writing and speaking are actually much the same?
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, Write W.A.V.E. Media Staff
Writing articles online has quickly become a popular way to earn money. This is in part due to the loss of income from layoffs and other job loss. However, many find out the hard way that the ability to maximize earning potential in online writing actually takes some thought. Online article writing is indeed a legitimate way to make money. Anyone can earn a few dollars at it here and there, but to turn it into a business, you'll first need to discover things that will help maximize the earning potential of each article.
Spelling, Grammar, and Proper English
Accurate spelling, grammar, and English can maximize your earning potential on every article you write. Potential clients look at writing for those strengths. If you spell and write so poorly that even spell check and grammar check can't save you, it's time to get back to the basics. That's right. You're going to have to study. Can't afford classes? Grab a book and teach yourself. Find free online resources. Study with a friend. Practice, practice, practice! Every good writer starts somewhere - the sooner you learn the basic skills, the better.
If no one can find your article, no matter how good it is, no one is going to read it either. Take the time to learn to SEO skills, including LSI. SEO will greatly maximize your earning potential in online article writing. Many online writers get paid for their content per page view either solely or in addition to other payments. This is why it is so important to learn SEO to draw traffic to articles. This is one method that is always changing and doing the wrong thing could give you the opposite results you intended. So be sure your knowledge stays up-to-date.
Focused Headline and Topic
Readers need a clear picture. They need to know from the start what your article is about. Focus your headline directly on the topic at hand, not just part of it. The headline (or title) "Maximize Earning Potential in Online Article Writing" tells me this article offers advice on how to earn more money with articles written for the web. If the title instead was "Pay Attention to Grammar, Titles, and More" that could refer to a book, a lesson at school, or any number of things. It does not tell me it's about article writing on the internet or how I can earn more money. When writing headlines for articles, maximize the earning potential by fully focusing on the topic at hand.
Focusing on the topic, as well as the SEO in the abstract is one more great way to maximize earning potential in online writing. Just as the headline needs focus, so does the abstract (or first few sentences). This is what search engines show with your article link. Therefore, it should clearly represent the complete focus of the article. Take out all the fluff and just get straight to the point.
Focus and Readability
Web readers want to find their info fast. That's why they search for it online - instant gratification. This means that content needs to not only be discoverable, but straight to the point and in simple language. If a reader can't understand the language and focus right away, they likely won't read the rest of the article.
Online article writers also can maximize earning potential by using clean formatting. There is no exact format o recommend because it will be different depending on the venue. However, if your article looks like one long paragraph, readers may stray away. Generally you need to break up articles into sections. Subtitles can also be used if desired. Whatever formatting you choose, be consistent throughout the article for the best readability results.
In line with the SEO skills mentioned above, promotion is another great way to draw readership. To be the most effective, they should go hand-in-hand. Article writers can maximize earning potential with promotion in many different ways. Post links in forums (where permitted), on your blog, in other articles, on social networks, and more. If you have a website, share your work there as well. There should also be a way for readers to subscribe through both RSS and email. If you have an RSS feed of your articles, it can be submitted to online article directories. There are many, many ways to be promote. The main thing to remember with promotion is to be consistent and to do it only where allowed and by the rules. You don't want to be known as a spammer. The goal instead is to be a source of interesting and informative content.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
I've said it before and I'll tell you again. Helping others is an important part of being a web writer. Not only can you use your words to do good in the world. But you can also use them to help other writers get where you are.
But I just started. How can I help? No matter where you are in your web writing career, you've done something or learned something that can benefit someone else. Maybe you discovered a new venue others may not know about. Perhaps you learned of a resource that might help. Maybe you struggled in life and you can help someone else with a similar struggle.
Won't helping others hinder my success? No, no, and NO!! There is plenty to do for everyone. We each have our own unique goals and talents. We also each have our own styles and areas of expertise. For more insight, I discussed this aspect at greater length in the post: "Am I Creating Competition by Helping Others Succeed?"
But I don't have time to help others. What? Sure you do! You can help others while doing your normal work. Help can occur within the posts you might already make daily. Also, think of some of the moments you might waste in the day, such as time on meaningless forums or Facebook posts. Instead, use that time on forums and Facebook posts that might help others. You don't have to ditch all of your fun. But it's not that hard to find some time to help others.
Why should I help other people? Why not? It's simply a good thing to do. For me, this is always my favorite part of what I do. But there are other benefits as well, if that's not enough. Oftentimes, those who help others have the most success. They usually find something people need and help them achieve it or maybe they are just so nice and helpful that people are attracted to them or their business. It also may help you build important business connections. There are various reasons helpful people succeed. Therefore, if the joy of helping someone isn't enough, at least think of the possible financial rewards.
Have you helped someone today? What are some of the ways you help people?
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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