by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
I've said it before (Gloomy is Good, Too) and I'll say it again. Authenticity is the key to returning readers. Being the true you creates trust.
You may not win over everyone by being you. But your goal is not to please everyone. If you think it is, you may need some serious rethinking time.
No matter how much it may seem that you have different thoughts than others, there will always be someone else who can relate. I am finding this out lately as I open up more on a personal level with certain friends.
Even if no one agrees with you, it is better to be authentic than to fake it just to save face. Readers like honesty and although they may not always agree with you, they'll respect you much more for being real than they will for being fake.
Photo Credit: Lyn Lomasi
I originally published this on Write W.A.V.E. Media.
by Lyn Lomasi, Write W.A.V.E. Media Staff
Comments from readers can make a person laugh, cry, or even stare off into confusion. Readers can do anything from asking genuine questions to trolling posts and leaving comments to get a purposeful rise out of the author or other readers. Should web writers answer reader comments? I've written on this topic before but it's been a while and is a good time for a refresher course, as well as some new information.
Is responding to your readers allowed?
Depending on where you are doing your web writing, responding to readers may not be allowed. If you are writing for a website or blog other than your own, be sure to know the terms and what is and isn't allowed. Some venues encourage commentary between authors and readers, while others prefer that only the readers do the commenting.
Is the comment genuine?
Before you lay your fingers on that keyboard to draft a response, consider whether the commentary left is genuine or not. Does the reader appear to be truly curious about the subject or does something seem off? Sometimes readers may leave comments meant to reel you in, so to speak. Consider the motive behind the comment before deciding about responding to it.
Is your response reactionary or truthful?
Are you just responding a certain way in a moment of frustration or passion or are you being completely truthful? Be genuine and true if you are going to respond to your readers. If you can't be truthful, there's no sense in engaging readers via the comment section. Sometimes what you want to say at first may not be totally in line with the way you truly feel after some thinking. Some comments don't really need a response and many times you'll find that your readers will come along and defend you if the comments seem to call for it. You won't have to say anything because they will do that for you. Of course, I am one who really doesn't care what people think of me, so I generally don't feel the need to be defensive anyway.
Is your response useful?
Don't waste your time typing up a response that isn't going to benefit your readership in some way. If your reader is asking about lizard care, there's no point in answering questions about your college degree, unless you graduated from some lizard specialty school and it's relevant to the questions at hand. A helpful comment section will include questions and information that adds to what is available within the article itself.
Is your response helpful or hurtful to your desired image?
Is the language and context you present in your commentary what you want to present to readers and potential clients? I personally am my true self no matter where I am. Therefore, I don't worry about this one too much. I know that I am not going to say anything that I wouldn't say in front of anyone, including business contacts. But if you know that you don't have the same awareness and control, be sure to examine what you are posting before hitting that comment button. Some people may find it helpful to type up potential comments in a document and read it aloud before posting.
At the end of the day, if you are truly comfortable with what you are posting and it is acceptable to the venue, readers do appreciate interacting with writers. Therefore, if done correctly according to your personal standards, this could actually boost your career.
Photo Credit: Lyn Lomasi
I originally published this elsewhere (no longer published there).
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
Try doing a Yahoo search on anything related to freelance writing jobs and you’ll pull up a multitude of opportunities, many of them scams. The simplest way to tell if one’s a scam is that it usually starts with “make easy money” just like any other scam. While it’s true that some aspects of a freelance writing career will become easy to an experienced writer over time, freelance writing as a whole is NOT an easy full time career path. But it’s worth it.
As a full time freelance writer, I used to spend countless sleepless nights thinking, researching, and typing out the results endlessly. Wait, “used to”? If I’m no longer a full time freelance writer, what do I know? The thing is, I spent years as a full time freelance writer and I slowed down, not because of the lack of money or interest, but because I wanted to help other freelance writers. That’s right. Now my full time job is helping others do what I did. But I still write almost full time as well. Therefore, I assure you, you can trust my experience.
Some people think “Oh, I can write. My poems from high school are great. I should be a writer.” And if that’s you, writing might be a good career choice for you. But just keep in mind that writing for the web and writing a poem here and there are two entirely different things. Freelance writing as a full time career path will involve writing for a considerable amount of time most days. Decide which you REALLY want to do and do that.
Writing for the web as a full time freelance writer is hard work. Yes, work. Forget all those scammers out there telling you it’s easy. Yes, it’s easy for them at first because they’re copying and pasting the text that I (or another talented writer) put real time and heart into in order to create it. But it no longer becomes easy for them when we decide to pursue it legally.
Ah yes, there’s another thing about freelance writing. You’re not JUST a writer. You’re a writer, researcher, marketer, CEO, manager, self-appointed attorney, and many other things.
The first part – the actual writing – may come easy to you sometimes and maybe even most of the time. But there will be days when you may not be able to form a complete sentence no matter how many deadlines you’re facing or how much money is on the line. Even for writers who seem to just sprout creative words in an instant, writing all day every day can become difficult. And you WILL need to write very often (among other things) in order to make the most money at web writing.
I know what you’re thinking because it’s me as well. I definitely said it too. You’re saying “but I love writing. I already write all day long, nonstop. I can do this.” If so, then you probably can, just like me. However, keep in mind that even you will likely have days where you just can’t. Also keep in mind that everything you write, though it may come from your heart, is for someone else. And, while you are in charge of yourself, you do still have to actually work. Otherwise, what are you getting paid for?
Up until this point, I may have turned some people off already because it sounds like a big complaint. But heck no! I love what I do and wouldn’t trade it for the world. The thing is, if you’re going to be in the business, someone needs to tell you the real facts. Yes, I can spend more time with my kids (human and fur variety). Yes, I make a fairly decent income when I’m consistent with it. But it does take real work and effort and if you can’t commit to that, this is NOT the career for you because if you stop working, the money stops coming.
For me, the benefits of staying home with my kids, the satisfaction of knowing my words may help people, being able to finally start saving some money, and some of the other things directly related to being a freelance writer are worth the hard work. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.
Still want to be a freelance writer? If you said yes, I commend you. Feel free to reach out to me on my Facebook page for help getting started: facebook.com/LynLomasi
(No, I’m not going to charge you anything for advice, unlike those scammers out there looking for a quick buck. NEVER pay for work. You’re the one working. YOU should be the one getting paid.)
**Photo Credit/Copyright: Lyn Lomasi
I originally published this here on BUBBLEWS (no longer published there)
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
If you browsed my Facebook wall (or other social media sites I am a member of) and hadn't before (or were not made aware of what I do), you might quickly become confused. Why? I often share work written by my friends as well as what I create myself. This means some topics might conflict with my personal viewpoints and other things posted -- and that's okay. However, it is confusing to some people and I receive questions about it often.
Here's the deal. Freelance writers often get paid based on page views. Therefore, I frequently share to help them out once I have read a piece. Sometimes I agree with the points made in my friends' articles and sometimes I don't. I don't always share based on topic because I can disagree with a topic and still feel the article has value. Even if someone doesn't agree with me, they have a right to speak their mind as well. Unless it's harmful to others, opinion doesn't affect my choice to share the link to someone's work on various social networks.
My strategy for reading when my friends do the same is to click what I'm interested in and ignore the rest. It's silly to send a message to someone asking them not to post certain things. Yes, I have had that happen: (http://www.articlewriterforhire.com/1/post/2013/10/please-dont-tell-me-what-to-post-on-facebook.html). I realize I do share lots of stuff on social sites. Please ignore what you aren't interested in and only share what you are. After all, sharing should be organic, not forced.
What's your sharing strategy? Do you use opinion as one of the deciding factors in sharing content on social media?
Photo Credit/Copyright: Lyn Lomasi
I originally published this on BUBBLEWS (no longer published there)
by Lyn Lomasi, Write W.A.V.E. Media Staff
You're making the usual Facebook rounds and noticed you've been tagged in several posts. Excitedly, you click on each notification one by one only to find out that none of the posts have anything to do with you and a few are what you'd consider spam. This is a common problem as more people are using Facebook. It doesn't mean your friends are out to get you. Most likely, they are just having fun and may not realize they could be annoying you with their posts. Maybe you're the one annoying people and you don't even realize it.
Don't tag people every time you write an article. Yes, your friends may enjoy your work. If so, they are probably subscribed to you. If they haven't read it (or have but are not subscribed), it's not good form to tag them in your article posts, unless they ask you to. Asking is not the same thing as not getting a negative response when you tag them. They may simply be attempting politeness by not asking you to stop. Tolerating something is not the same thing as being in agreement with it.
Don't tag people in all your status updates. Yes, I know there are people you want to inform about your breakfast and plans for the day. However, doing this every day can become repetitive and annoying to some people. Status tagging should only be done when your update is actually relevant to the person you are tagging. For instance, if I tag Jane every time I update my status, Jane might be upset with me and will maybe remove me as a friend. But if I tag Jane to let her know I'm on my way to the restaurant we are meeting at for lunch, she'll be thrilled to hear that.
Don't tag people in pictures they are not involved in. This is one of my biggest peeves on Facebook. If someone is not in a photo or otherwise involved with it, why would they want to be tagged? Friends can see what's posted in your news feed and on your wall (unless you have blocked access). So there really is no need to tag everyone on your list each time you upload a picture. Even if you're gorgeous, this is still bad form. Tagging someone in a photo they are in or photographed is fine, as is tagging a company and/or its employees in a photo that involves that company. However, tagging all of those people in a photo of you with your latest outfit is not.
Don't tag people in advertisements. Now, this one is a very huge pet peeve of mine. People often tag me in ads for their books or other products. It's fine if I have given someone permission -- as part of a social media package (those cost money and involve more than that) or out of friendship. But if someone hasn't given you permission to advertise on their wall, it's bad netiquette to tag them in your ads. Even if you don't consider something an ad, if you're mentioning your product, you shouldn't tag people who haven't given the okay.
Don't tag people who remove your tags. If someone is removing tags every time you post them, there's a good chance they don't want to be tagged. Sometimes people remove them to keep certain pictures or posts out of their feed or photo features and may not actually be offended by the tag. But in most instances, if you keep seeing tags for a certain person disappear, don't tag that person again unless you have permission and something is directly related to them.
It takes time to see what posts you've been tagged in. It also takes time to remove unwanted tags. Be courteous of your friends and keep the tagging relevant.
**Photo Credit: Lyn Lomasi
**I originally published a version of this on Write W.A.V.E. Media
Empower Your Peers
(c) Lyn Lomasi
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
Are you competing too much with your peers? Trying to keep up with their writing success so you can match or exceed it? If so, you're doing it wrong. Completely. Why are you in competition with your writing peers when you can empower them instead?
But Lyn, if I empower my peers, they'll beat me at my own game, won't they? I know that's what you're going to ask because it's been asked of me countless times.
I've been in web writing a long time. There is no competition. I repeat, we are not here to compete with each other. Be unique. Be you. Be true. Be helpful. But don't be a poor sport. The most successful web writers work together as a team to help each other succeed. Trust me, there is plenty of work for us all and then some. There is no shortage of content needs and each writer has their own style and topic strengths.
Empower your writing peers by teaching them what you know, as well as encouraging them when you can tell they need a push. What's in it for me, you say? If you're actually asking this question, you just don't get it. It's not about credit or paybacks. It's about working together to empower each other and build something awesome, be it a large venue or a small blog where a few of you contribute.
What if someone helps you and can't help them? Once again, this isn't about paybacks. It's about working as a team. If you want to be of service, pay it forward to another writer who could use the kind of help you offer.
have you empowered a fellow writer today? If not, get on it!
by Lyn Lomasi, Write W.A.V.E. Media Staff
Why would online article writers need a website if many article submission sites allow a professional profile? This is a question I get asked often when I mention the idea. Learn some of the many reasons all freelance web writers need a website of their own.
When applying for online writing jobs and gigs, reference links and/or a resume are often required. This will be much simpler for those with a website. Some may create an area where a client can download their resume by requesting the link. Others may post links to samples. Yet others may do both or handle it another way. Online article writers need a website in order to reference their work all in one place.
Professionalism is key, even though you don't see your clients face-to-face when writing online. A freelance writer's website is like a virtual resume, meeting place, and office at the same time. This is where you can let your clientele know you are professional by including all of the right things. A bio, samples, and a contact page are just a few. Read "8 Musts on a Freelance Writer's Website" for more details on those and other must-include items for professionalism.
Even if a client finds your work elsewhere, they may want to know more than they can find in a limited bio attached to your profile on a content site. This is where your website comes in handy. Many content sites allow article writers to place a link to their website in their profile or bio. Also, be sure to link to it from any blogs or other profiles you have. Giving clients (both potential and current) a place to find more information about you as a person and as a writer is very beneficial to them as well as to your writing career.
If you have any big writing projects, off days, exciting news, etc it can be posted to your website. Of course you don't want to announce information that is too personal, but a web writer's website can serve as a great way to spread the word. Doing this has many benefits. Some include letting clients see that you are accomplishing things, engaging with your audience, and also depending on the announcement it might bring in more readers or clientele.
Depending on how much bandwidth your site allows, this can be a great place to store certain files. Of course you still need a hard copy backup, but storing them in a secure, hidden location on your website can help you keep everything related to your online article writing all in one spot. This also can free up space on your computer if you'd rather not have the files there. Just be sure, as mentioned above to keep a hard copy if you go this route.
You spend hours on a submission perfecting every little detail when along comes an editor to mess with your masterpiece. If you're going to make it as a writer, you will have to work with editors. A necessary part of the publishing process involves dealing with editors.
Learn to compromise. Editors can and often do change things. That's what they're there for. They catch the little mistakes we make (and we all make mistakes). They also may make edits that are better for structure, your audience, the web, and more. Though you may not always agree with them, you will have to deal with many editors. Learn to compromise on what your final piece will look like.
Let it go. That may be easier said than done in many cases. Writers often see our works as our little babies, if you will. We work hard on what we produce and it means so much to us. Altering it can feel like someone is trying to change us. After all, it does often have our names on it and we made it. But at some point, we have to learn to let it go. If the work never bypasses an editor, it may never get out in front of the intended audience. Try not to get too attached and learn to just let the work go once its complete.
What's the change? Instead of becoming to attached to the way the piece is written, focus on the message. If the edits do not take away the message, don't be so hard on the editor. It's perfectly fine to address the editor if you feel that the changes are unsatisfactory or take away from the message. But if the change is nothing that takes away the message, why waste all that energy getting upset? Write another article.
Report the editor. This is only for extreme cases. As a writer, you will need to learn to deal with the fact that your writing will be changed by editors if you want it published with major companies. If the editor really is making changes that are unreasonable (and not just changes you don't like - changes that affect the quality of the work significantly), that's when you report the editor. I advise not taking this route unless necessary because a writer and editor need to be able to work together peacefully. But obviously, if there is an injustice it should be reported.
Switch venues. If you just cannot deal with a particular editor, write somewhere else. Ultimately, you should be happy with your writing (or any) career. If that's not happening, you haven't found the right venue/s to write for yet. Realize you should not be switching venues every time you don't like what an editor does. But if there is a true problem, remember that you can move on.
Write for yourself. If you truly cannot deal with anyone at all messing with your own work, only write for yourself. When someone is paying you to produce work, it should be what they want, hence part of the reason for the editors. If you create your own venue, such as your own website or blog, you make the rules. Even if you go this route, it can still be a wise move to have an editor (or at least a writing buddy) that is willing to be a second pair of eyes. But you'll have the most freedom when writing for yourself.
Bottom line: Editors are a part of the writing and publishing business and writers need to be able to adapt to that fact. Work with (not against) your editor, unless you have a legitimate claim against them.
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Readers and fellow writers often ask me why I enjoy helping so many people? Am I worried about creating competition for myself? Why do I just freely give advice and inform others of what I do to succeed in writing? Am I creating competition by helping others succeed?
If I were creating competition, I am not afraid to play the game and I'd play it fair. However, I don't believe I am. Why? There is a vast sea of opportunities, gigs, jobs, and contracts in the writing world. It's not humanly possible for me to have every writing task to myself, nor would I desire to.
Aside from that, I am wise enough to know that every assignment is not for me. I don't know everything there is to know. Each writer has their own style. Why take on a project I know I can't do when there could be someone else better suited to it and who may need it more than I do? Instead, I could refer a good writer and move on to something better suited to me.
I have always believed in helping others, no matter the situation. Whether in my career or in every day life, if I see someone who needs help, I'm going to provide it if I have the means. If you knew a secret that could change the whole world for the better, would you keep it to yourself? Of course not - at least, I hope not.
No, writing advice is probably not going to change the world. However, if I can offer some guidance that can help change someone's perspective or career for the better, you can bet I'm going to tell them. One small piece of advice or word of encouragement could be all that is standing in the way of someone living their dream. How do I know this? People have given me that kind of hope and assistance. Were it not for fellow writers pushing me and offering me advice, who knows where I'd be today. I am simply doing the same.
So, am I creating competition by helping others succeed? Does it really matter?
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Even the best of writers make errors. From typos to grammatical mistakes to run-on sentences, mistakes in writing are common. In internet writing, many writers are editing their own content. This works well most of the time, but we all have our off days. Even a star editor can make a mistake in their own writing. So, how can you solve that? One way is to get a writing buddy.
What is a Writing Buddy?
A writing buddy is another writer whom you trust with your work. This writer also must entrust their work to you. Writing buddies give their final proofread copies to each other to be sure the work is of good quality.
What exactly do writing buddies do?
Writing buddies read over each other's final drafts and make correction suggestions if needed. If both writers also are good editors, there may not be many corrections, but it always is good to have more than one set of eyes looking over a project. It's a great way to ensure quality work is produced as often as possible.
Why Should I Get a Writing Buddy if I Never Make Mistakes?
Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone. No one is perfect. I'm sure that anyone combing this very post will find at least one (if not more than one) suggestion to make. There always is more than one way to look at writing. Also, like I stated, nobody is perfectly accurate all the time. I have gone over pieces of work several times, thinking they were up to par. Then, after they've been published of course, I've found grammatical errors or typos. Having a writing buddy can minimize the chance of inaccuracies.
How Do I Find a Writing Buddy?
If you're a writer, chances are you know at least one other writer. If not, you really should start networking. Having other friends who write can be extremely beneficial in more ways than just the one listed here. I recommend choosing your closest writing friend for this particular project. Be sure that you and this person can fully trust that neither will misuse the other's work in any way. I won't give legal advice on this because I am not a lawyer. Only you can decide how you should handle the legalities. But, I will say that it can be extremely helpful to have a fellow writer give an opinion on work before it is turned in to the client.
How Many Pieces Should My Writing Buddy Check?
All of them, if possible. However, if you are like me, then that may not be possible. I write way to many articles in a day to fairly have a buddy check them all. You and your buddy should decide on a fair number that is feasible for you both. Once you get a balanced writing, reading, and editing routine down, you may be able to add to that number.
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Lyn Lomasi is founder and owner of the Brand Shamans Content Community. Services include ordained soul therapy and healing ministry, business success coaching, business success services, handcrafted healing jewelry, ethereal and anointing oils, altar and spiritual supplies and services, handcrafted healing beauty products, and more!
Lyn is your brand healing, soul healing, marketing & content superhero to the rescue! While rescuing civilians from boring business practices and energy vampires, this awesomely crazy family conquers evil and creates change.
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