Thursday, April 29, 2010

Creating a Writing Portfolio

Organizing and showcasing your work is often underrated in the writing world. Many of us build our portfolios chronologically, instead of by theme. We have a long list with no real categorization to highlight the skills we’ve learned, places we’ve been and expertise we are able to share with others.

Personally, my own portfolio reminded me of a catch all or junk room. Perhaps you can relate. Maybe not. When I think about the time and effort I put into researching and presenting my articles to the world, I don’t want them to then be thrown into the abyss of cyberspace emptiness. I want the world to know that they’re timeless and valuable. I want them organized and easy to find so people can read them whenever they want.

Enter the stage of the world wide blogosphere. This is where I will take the time to present my writing to the world, the place where my work can be found by topic and subtopic, by those who are looking for useful information on a specific subject. These folks won’t wade through my mix/mash of a portfolio hoping to find what they are looking for. They will backspace and find a site that tells them directly, a site like Lots of Crochet Stitches by M. J. Joachim.

From now on, anything I write about crochet will be quickly categorized on its own special website so the people looking for it can find it easily. It takes a lot of time and effort to set up a system like this, and I’ve only just begun the process. Whether or not it works remains to be seen; logically it makes a little more sense than having one big portfolio with hundreds of articles in it though.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Finding Freelance Writing Jobs

As a writer, I spend massive amounts of time producing lots of content, especially in writing communities. Logically I know there must be an easier way. I realize that sites like Helium, EHow, Associated Content, Hub Pages, Squidoo etc. all profit from what I do. They’ve recruited me to help them make money. All I have to do is share my expertise with the world.

It’s not enough to write the articles, I have to let the right people know they are there. I have to join the conversation, read what the other experts have to say, participate in the forums, make lots of connections, and share my work with those who might be interested.

It is also important to consider how much I want to get paid for my work. Making a few dollars from page views in a writing community is okay, but I deserve to earn more for my writing. As a real content producer, I want to make big bucks for what I do, not just pennies for page views.
If you’re like me, you’ve spent time searching for freelance work on the internet. Some of those job boards are a nightmare, aren’t they? Wouldn’t it be great to find a job board that caters to the writer, giving you the opportunity to select the types of jobs you’d like to write about? is like that. You sign up, select your writing specialties, request they send assignments to your email, bid on the projects you like, and earn your paycheck without spending hours on the internet searching for writing jobs. Now that’s using your time wisely so you can focus on what you do best, writing!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Producing Quality Web Content

by M. J. Joachim
Updated 11/18/15

Quality web content is so much more than words on a page. Everything must be taken into consideration, including platforms, words, pictures, special effects, links, resources and anything related to, or affecting, what is being published.

Audience: Being in tune with your audience, who they are and what they expect to see you publish, makes all the difference when it comes to getting a positive response and more page views on your work. If your work is abstract, don’t suddenly hit them with a bunch of technical work. If your work is comical, try not to get too serious. Quality web content has a certain consistency to it, and once you’ve developed a following, you need to remain consistent with your audience.

Content: Content, whether it’s an article, artwork, video or other medium, should be relevant to your target audience and faithful fans. It’s okay to think outside the box sometimes, but that should never be your primary goal, as consistency is key to getting more activity and awareness on your work. Evergreen content is always good, because it rarely loses its application, and is almost always reliable and trustworthy. Content can be all of these things, using different perspectives and angles to make it more interesting. You can even create a little controversy to stir things up and get people thinking.

Links: Use with caution, because broken or bogus links will always cause a problem for you. Links should be used to enhance a piece, providing added resources and information. They can also be used to praise another author, providing the page or pages being linked to are anchored and will be reliable and sustained over time. It’s up to you to continue checking to make sure those same links don’t disappear, meaning you need to remove them when you update your work and keep your own pages running smoothly.

Marketing: Social media platforms and posts differ greatly from each other, so when you market your work, assuming you’re not publishing it directly on social media, you need to tailor it according to the marketing platforms you use, so your efforts to get more publicity for your work are maximized, and not harmed by your efforts. Twitter keeps it short and sweet. Facebook introduces it. Pinterest uses photos, Google+ encourages conversation etc. It’s important to know how to present your work in social media settings, giving it that added quality boost to increase its likelihood of being noticed and shared.

Pictures, Artwork and Photos: If you’re enhancing a literary piece, by adding pictures to your work, it’s important to make sure they draw attention to your words, as opposed to becoming the focal point of your project. If pictures or artwork are the focus of your piece, it’s necessary to use words effectively, so they don’t detract from the artwork being displayed. How to posts and manuals benefit greatly from using pictures. The words need to be clear and concise, working together with the photos (or videos), without distracting from the demonstration presented in the visual element of the published work.

Platforms: Publishing pages on a blog is much different from publishing them in a book. All blog posts do not automatically transfer to book platforms, and vice versa. You must tailor your work to the prescribed platform. Educate yourself about the platform you are using, and know everything it has to offer. Be clear about its limitations too, so you can make adjustments in your publication accordingly. Using this same train of thought, still photos and pictures are completely different from interactive videos and apps. Choosing the appropriate platform for publication of your work is essential, if you want to attract the most visitors, develop the largest fan base and be considered a credible publisher in your desired field.

Resources: You can never use too many, but you need to qualify the ones you use. It’s easy enough to become inundated with information about a topic. Your goal is to use the best and most current information possible. University sites and research centers are a good place to start. Go to the source, if you’re publishing about a person, place or thing, and do your own research. Then back it up with reliable information you’ve found in solid resources that make sense. If you can’t back up your own research, btw, you’ve got a bit of a problem, and may need to postpone your intended publication date, until you sort out and determine the most accurate information to publish.

Special Effects: Videos, interactive and high energy pieces need to be contained within your given platform, so they work correctly. Use the tools available within your platform to include them in your work. This goes back to knowing platform limitations, because if your platform doesn’t handle your special effects well, it could create big problems for your audience, and possibly even damage your reputation as a publisher.

Self publishing is not an easy business to be involved in, and it’s highly unlikely many of us will get rich off the work we provide to the public. If you’re like me, you’re in this field for the love of it, not to scavenge for pennies that may or may not be there on any given day, and certainly not to be flattered by everyone who spends a moment or two looking at your work. Producing quality web work is as much about you, as it is about the people who view your publications. 
There’s a sense of honor and dignity associated with it, a personal pride that should rightly go into your work, showcasing it with maximum satisfaction, because you know you put your best foot forward, and your publications meet high standards worthy of being received with praise and appreciation. If this was about the possible pennies, everyone would be doing it, but this is about you, your talents and skills, what you have to offer and how you present yourself to the world. So do it with a smile, do it with flare and do it because you are an amazing person, capable of turning heads and getting people to take a second look at everything you have to offer.

With gracious appreciation to my audience, I wish you the best in all your publishing adventures.

M. J.

©2015 All Rights Reserved

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Developing a Focal Point in Writing

So, how’s that working for you? It’s not? Well, what are you going to do about it? These are the questions we need to ask ourselves on a regular basis. What were our goals when we started? How did we adapt them to detours along the way? What changes need to take place that will allow us to keep pursuing our dreams?

I’m mixing things up a little bit these days, taking a good hard look at the effort I put forth and weighing it against the product I produce. Time is valuable and I don’t have enough of it to waste on things that don’t really matter to me.

I love doing research, but I can’t learn about everything in the world, and I certainly can’t write effectively about so many different things. As a writer, I need to prioritize topics. More importantly, I need to have genuine interest in the things I write about. Once I do that, I can search for the venue that will expose my work to the world.

My tip for you today is to minimize outside distractions, attractions and temptations in your writing. Take time to focus on what really matters in your work, and be the writer you want to be, without selling yourself short by getting caught up in the rat race of projects, deadlines and publicity. Let your writing speak for itself and you won’t need to worry about any of those things anyway.