Friday, July 31, 2009
It helps to work in small increments. Instead of trying to tackle everything at once, I’ve spent a few minutes jotting down notes so I won’t forget what I want to say. Then I look at anything facing deadlines and prioritize my work accordingly. I review my goals pertaining to content production, and modify them if possible.
By taking these steps, I can regain my focus and manage my time more effectively. When I focus better, the quality of my work shouldn’t suffer. It’s great to be able to produce a lot of work. However, I believe it is better to produce less work of highest quality, than more work that is only mediocre.
Monday, July 27, 2009
Here’s a little bit of advice you might not have thought about, but it’s worth considering. When you link to others in your articles, let them know about it. Send them a happy email so they can see what you wrote about them. This way more people and organizations will become familiar with your work. If they like it, you never know what could happen…links back to the article you wrote, writing assignments, perhaps a job offer…
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Have you ever challenged yourself to write as much as possible in one day? I’ve done this a few times now, and I can honestly say it is invigorating to realize how much you can accomplish! Each time I do it, my quantity increases. Ah, but what about quality, you ask.
I will tell you that I am much more prone to typos when I’m wildly producing quantity. And my eyes certainly don’t proofread as well. Toward the end of the day, I begin to gloss over many of the words, so I end up reading my articles out loud. Adding the voice helps, but I will admit that fatigue is harder to overcome.
Still, I like to do this from time to time. It gives me strength as I try to beat my latest record. It gives me resolve as I force myself to keep going, and it gives me hope because even though I’m tired, the words still seem to flow.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Publisher submission guidelines are varied in many different ways, dependent upon their niche or marketplace. But they all seem to have one thing in common. You must read them carefully, follow them exactly, and present your manuscript professionally. Now that’s one tip worth applying to just about everything you do in life, isn’t it? May you all have lots of success with your writing adventures today!
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Nothing, my friend! And that is the point! If you can dream it, you can write it, and if you can write it, your story must be shared! Go now…dream of the most unthinkable project, and let the world look at things differently through your eyes!
Monday, July 20, 2009
Research is not merely retelling facts. It is discovering what needs to be learned, and sharing it with those who need or want to know. Research is alive and happening right now, even as I type this post. Every sound and object can be thoroughly studied, and a story revealed about details waiting to be discovered.
Oh sure, it’s much easier to regurgitate facts, but only if you want to create an FAQ sheet. True written research reveals life and how it operates. It notices every detail, carefully documenting not only what happened, but the significance behind it. The heart of research is learning to touch the soul of the world, and become one with it, attempting to understand every lesson it reveals.
The task of the writer is to teach the lessons research reveals. He must never bore people with the tedious facts about his subject. Instead he is required to tell a story that connects and unites his reader with the topic at hand.
Friday, July 17, 2009
This weekend I’d like you to spend some time writing a review. You will need to observe your topic, as opposed to researching it. Reviews are very personal, and they can and should include your opinions. When you are completely finished with your review, take the same topic from a different angle, and research it before writing about it, but do not let your personal bias creep into your researched article. This is quite a challenge, but you will be a better writer if you succeed. Good luck!
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Editing, or in Helium’s case ~ leap frogging, can seem like a lot of work. However, when you take the time to reflect on your work with a critical eye, you will always find room for improvement.
The other day I was looking at an article I wrote way back when I first started on Helium. I wanted to use it as a blog post on one of my other blogs, so I started making adjustments. By the time I got done, I realized that I had a much better article. I posted my blog, and then promptly leaped my old article.
Guess what? It now ranks within the top 5, after having been rated something like #88 of 120 with the original. Take a moment to critically look at one of your older articles that isn’t doing very well. Prepare it to be used for a different purpose, and make the necessary improvements. When you are finished, see if you don’t want to leap your original article. I’m betting you will, and that your rating will improve for your efforts.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
I get a lot of emails trying to sell me programs on how to promote my writing. The most recent offer says that I can sign up for a free 21 day trial for only $1.00. That sounds pretty good, right? Sure it does, until I take stock of my own resources.
As a writer, I know how to do research. I know where to look for information, and who to interview to get the answers I need. If I want to promote my writing, there are several valuable resources available to me, and they don’t costs anything.
1. The Internet: When doing research on your topic, dig deep, and find out everything there is to know.
2. The Library: Check our materials on things related to your topic, as well as those that are topic specific. You never know what you might discover.
3. People: Meet them on blogs, call them on the phone, and talk to them in person. Many people know much more than we give them credit for, so ask the questions, and see where individual answers lead you.
I suppose I could sign up for a special marketing program to learn all those trade secrets, especially if it’s only a dollar to join. What happens when my 21 day trial period is up? How easy will it be to close my account? How much will I end up spending in the process? And why would I want to pay any amount for something, when I can get the same exact thing for free, just by doing my research?
Monday, July 13, 2009
1. Pick 3 topics you know very little about.
2. Start searching for them on the internet.
3. Write down the words you use to find out information.
4. Use those words to generate traffic to your articles.
You may be the writer and expert on a subject, but someone else needs access to what you wrote. That person isn’t looking for fancy words. He’s using everyday language to find out what he needs to know.
If he’s on a budget and plans to go out on Friday night, he wants cheap entertainment, not inexpensive attractions. If he’s looking for foods that won’t irritate his Celiac disease, he’ll be searching for wheat free products, not allergy specific diets.
If you want more page views, you need to make your work more accessible to the general population by speaking the same language they do so they can find your work.
Friday, July 10, 2009
In the race to get one more article finished, my work is sloppy, unfinished, and far from my best. It’s not that I don’t know my topic, or that I don’t care about the subject matter. Hurried work reflects my priorities, and clearly dilutes my message.
Take your time and seriously think about what you want to write, for as long as possible – maybe even a few days or weeks. Jot down notes to keep ideas fresh in your memory; then compose your article, after it has become a part of you, and not a mere regurgitation of the facts.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
What bothers you when you browse the web? When you are doing research for articles, take a moment to write down why you hit the back button on some of the pages as soon as you reach them. Ask yourself these questions:
1. Are they difficult to navigate?
2. Do they have too many words?
3. Is it easy to find the answers you are looking for?
Do the same thing with pages that keep your attention.
1. Why are you willing to land on a particular page?
2. Was it easy to find that page with your specific search?
3. Did that page make your work easier to do?
Your readers are a lot like you when they search the web. Keep this in mind when you are drafting your articles, blogs, and websites. You can make your content reader friendly by exploring how you browse the internet, and treating your audience like you want to be treated.