Friday, December 21, 2012
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Writers take all the aforementioned, churn it about, and release it into content in a voice of their own.
Each writer's content is unique because it flows from their unique brain, unique set of experiences and all the aforementioned. That is, unless they've been caught up in copying others.
Many writers get stuck in a temptation to copy. Then there are times they write from their heads onto a blank piece of paper only to find similar pieces online. Temptation to copy is always present. Feeling as though you've been copied is angering. These, however, are conditions of a writers' calling. Their calling includes risk especially when much of their writing is online for the world to see (or copy). Sometimes the coincidental similarities writers find are merely a product of current trends of the day to which they've been exposed. Many today do talk in a similar voice.
As a writer, don't deny your gift! Don't get caught up in all the would-bes or what-ifs. Use your gift. Use it in multiple ways. Use it in good times and in bad. Use it regardless of pay. Use it because you know it will make someone's life better and your own more joyous and complete.
Monday, November 26, 2012
- On another day I'd come across some material I thought might make a good topic. My writing is sold at Constant-Content.com so I choose topics I feel will sell to the audience that visits there. This topic stuck out (topic was fear), so I'd printed out ideas from a few websites and left them on my desk for a later. Often I'll create a word document and gather ideas and save them. Both methods are equally effective.
- Then I sat down not to copy from the printed material, but to have a conversation in my head about the topic. My thoughts would come out my fingertips (as I'm doing now). The material was merely supportive. I liked the tips it offered. When I got to a place in my conversation where I needed a practical tip or the next paragraph direction, I glanced at the paper. I adapted what I read to suit my article.
Sunday, November 11, 2012
Avoiding copying, plagiarizing breaking copyright laws, and so on, is hard, mostly because there are a lot of topics that we all tend to study and are knowledgeable about. Writing thoughts on the same topic isn't plagiarism, but writing almost word-for-work is.
Many of us sign up for the same blogs, read similar books, newspapers, magazine articles, etc. The information we learn sticks in our mind. We are a sharing generation and want to share what we have learned.
It can be hard not to copy when tackling a topic or offering tips you've read elsewhere that are so valuable you want to pass them on to your readers.
Let's say another article teaches me having a pet can ease lonely feelings. That isn't just someone's idea, it is a pretty proven fact. Also, forcing yourself to get out of the house to meet new people is also a good solution. If I include these fact in an article on relieving loneliness, does that make me a plagiarist? It's complicated.
TODAY'S COMMON TOPICS
When we "live" in similar circles, we tend to learn the same things, talk the same language, so to speak.
In my writing for a certain website, there are many requests for certain topics. Yes, I often rehash the same topics other writers have. Most of us share commonly known information. The question is, when does it become plagiarism?
Let's say, for instance, I've learned a few tips on building a platform, developing a social media network or pitching a small business. Some of the tools I might include in my article are the same tools many others are teaching clients in courses or writing about.
DID THEY STEAL THIS?
I've read many articles that I think I could have written. When another writes in a similar style to me, or shares similar information to what I have written on in the past, I begin to wonder if I've been copied. The truth is, there are many of us that think alike and that's what it is about in many cases.
Yes, I've been copyright violated. It makes me mad when I discover that. I've also sold articles on use licenses and that means the buyer can use my piece where he wants. I have to be careful not to incorrectly judge a piece--it may have been fairly paid for.
RESISTING CUT AND PASTE
It's so easy to cut and paste and spin an article around or to use another person's information in your own ebook. It is, however, unethical and, in some cases, illegal.
In order to make your writing genuine:
- If you cut and paste, make a note that it is verbatim from someone else. If you journal ideas, make a note in the column which write author, book and page # it came from. If you don't you may incorrectly think it's a piece you started writing, use it and get caught.
- Type from your heart. Don't just list facts. Think about why you're writing what you are and what you want your reader to learn from it. Then include only the most important points and make it sound like they came from you (even though you may not be writing in first person).
- Put your own spin on it. Try to pull something out that's different about the topic. Use different examples, look at it from another viewpoint, etc.
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
When starting to sell articles, your nose will get out of joint many times due to a variety of causes.
- You will get rejections from proofreading editors, publishers, and clients. It will hurt. When hit with the rejection punch you may want to cry. You might want to walk away and give up. Of course, most writers are right brained artist types who are known to have a starving artist archetype, so it only makes sense to beat oneself up.
- When you gain a private request, you will spend time researching the topic, perhaps visiting the website or blog of the person you're writing for. You will eventually realize you are spending more time researching for the article than you will be paid for. Your nose skin starts to crinkle as you feel time ticking away.
- Once you write the mammoth 500 word piece, you'll try a variety of phrasing, include some researched topics only to delete them later. You'll move things around, read out loud, ask yourself if it makes sense, go have a shower, and a cold drink and come back to edit it again. You probably will even leave it a day and edit it again the next, after all, you want to perfect your craft. Then it dawns on you that hours upon hours have past and the client's quoted price will only clear $19.50. Something begins to stink and your nose is met with another powerful punch: You discover your client charges $39.50 per hour to her clients. Your client isn't even willing to pay what she herself would charge! By this time,you've written for 3 hours and still have to upload the piece, write a summary, add keywords, and so on. You do the math and realize you'll make $5.50 an hour if it sells.
- You hear back from the client that she wants something in it changed. She expresses disapproval of something you've poured your heart and personal time into. At this point, your nose really aches it is so badly out of joint. At this moment, you choose whether to agree and edit it further, to ask for more money to do so, or decide to withdraw it. It is your privilege. What would you do?
- You decline and the article remains unsold, but to add an over-the-top response, the person who owns the third party site which you have given a percentage of your earnings to for several years doesn't stick up for you. They don't just declare a non-sale and live with it, they threaten to not give you more work if you don't comply--as though they own you. That could be the final knock out. Or not. You can choose to dust yourself off and keep setting boundaries instead. Who needs to work for someone that doesn't appreciate them?
In a freelance relationship where no contract is signed or payment promised, you risk using your time for a maybe proposition. But just as a client has a right to decline your article, you have a right to pull it. You don't have to agree to anything that seeks to take advantage of you, your time and your skills.
This article cannot be copied. If you'd like to purchase this article, contact the blog owner. $45 use.
Thursday, October 25, 2012
I am getting better at writing.
I'm loving writing.
I'm not shy to say I write.
I'm not shy to say I write and sell articles.
I'm comfortable with my gift at last.
One day back in around 2004, I was looking for my next significant calling in life beyond being an Executive Assistant and then an at-home mom. I recall seeing a neighbour home during the day. I had never met her, but I began to imagine what I thought she did for a living. I can't explain why, but I imagined she was a writer. I didn't narrow down who she wrote for or where she got projects. I just imagined her life as a writer, if she indeed was one, must have been very fulfilling and high paying. I was actually jealous.
That was before I realized just how hard it is to get writing gigs and make sales. That was before I realized the publishing business was going into the dumper and writers were paid actually paid peanuts unless they were a major author. That was before I actually considered myself a writer. That was before I'd earned any money as a writer.
Well, as it turned out, this neighbour was not a writer. She'd been laid off from a job and was in between work as--guess what? An executive assistant!
What I find very funny is now I am that woman I imagined. I am a writer who gets to drink coffee at a comfy desk in a home office. I get to manage my workload and use my talent. I get to find clients and try to sell my work. I am a writer!
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Innovation changes the world. It happens when someone takes a creative idea and puts it into trial. As a writer you are free to try whatever your creative mind desires.
Is the outcome the measurement of whether or not you're a writer? If you're putting out writing, then you are a writer. If you have a piece to show, then you are a writer. If you show a piece publicly, you are even more a writer. If you sell a piece, you are truly a writer. If you write a piece someone else reads or sings, you are a very creative writer. If you write something that becomes a great and well-known hook, you're an acclaimed writer.
If the piece you put out is poorly written you are a writer who writes poorly. If the piece you put out is too odd and unique for some, you may be a writer before your time or a niche writer.
A writer is not someone that takes writing courses, journalism classes, or is a member of a writers' guild, that is, not unless they are completing pieces and sharing them. Just being part of a writing club does not make you a writer. That is why I laugh when I see advertisements that require an applicant have a degree in journalism. The question is, have they written anything since school?
Write and complete pieces. Put your writing out there. Proudly say you are a writer.
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Read the small print. Sometimes a publisher retains the rights to your material. Some will only pay you a small royalty. Some will restrict where and how you can sell.
Do you want to make $0.10 or $1,000?
If you merely want a coffeetable book, or one to hand out for free at a special event, and you don't care about earning money and retaining full rights then it matters less.
If you want to earn from your book, though, you will want a few things included:
- Good editing. Don't believe publishing houses that tell you your book doesn't need editing. Another set of eyes is always helpful.
- A realistic deal that helps you profit from sales.
- A good marketing plan.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
As I wrote an article for a client wanting real estate articles for his publication, it dawned on me how easily we can skim over agreement and order. I know there's probably a more official name for it, but I'm not an official type of writer, so forget it.
Here's an example of what I mean. Look at this:
Rent or Buy Housing: What is Better for You? (title)
Rent or own, there are reasons for both... (improper)
Rent or buy, there are reasons for both...(proper, notice it reflects the wording in the title. Of course buy means the same thing as own, it just is better to use the same wording.)
Now in this blog post, I could have said, "it's easy how we can skim over our order and agreement.." but notice that would have the words "agreement" and "order" in reverse order. Get it?
Friday, August 24, 2012
When it comes to being a writer, the first person that needs to be convinced is often the writer herself. If she is to fulfill her life call as a writer, though, she must resist the urge to view it as merely a dream. There are bigger reasons she loves to write. There is a world to bless.
WHAT MAKES A WRITER A SUCCESS?
Successful writers include both those whose unpaid writing stirs, guides or blesses others as well as those who earn pay for their writing. A writer needs to be convinced that she had been given the gift of writing for reasons beyond herself.
If you're to fulfill your life calling and love to write, then write. Then publish it online. Try to sell it. Publish in print. Get it out there for eyes to see.
Friday, August 3, 2012
Don't let grammar and mispellings stop you from writing. I have sent in many articles only to have my editors use the harsh words "rejected" due to errors. I'm regularly surprised at errors I make and rules I never knew.
Here's the thing about writers that makes errors okay. Writers are like meat grinding machines. That's right, I said meat grinding machines. I'm picturing the kind of little hand-powered tool my mother used to use to mince either ham or Spam with pickles to make the most delightful little crustless sandwiches for a church function.
Writers do more than put out writing. They take something--anything common in life--like ham or Spam--and somehow are able to make it into something more, something new, something spicy. Writers can make a story or life lesson out of just about anything. It's how their grinding tool--or rather noggin works.
If you're like me, your noggin is churning all the time, and that is what makes you a writer! And for that you are forgiven of errors!
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Today, most online articles are written in a conversational tone, which is a giant leap from the "reporting" or "speech giving" tone of yesterday.
Even a conversational tone can vary. You may chose to "converse" tongue-in-cheek, you may choose to use slang, you may choose to use sarcasm, you may use assertive or powerful words.
Practice a variety of styles and see what works for you.
If you're trying to brand yourself, you will want to stay with one style.
Saturday, May 26, 2012
It is imperative content writers learn to write quick and snappy paragraphs. Most readers today are scanners. The quicker they can absorb information, the quicker they can move on.
For this reason, many conventional writing rules are broken. Today's writing requires more paragraph breaks so that paragraphs are short and easily readable. No long explanations are needed. Getting to the point quickly is key.
ONLINE CONTENT WRITING TIPS
The most popular ways to write successful content include:
- Short snappy sentences.
- Numbered lists.
- Bolded headings.
- Modern terminology.
- Editing out unnecessary wording and explanations.
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Finding Constant-Content was really a miracle in the making for a writer like me. It was even an answer to prayer! One day I did some Google searching for places to sell articles. I'd been registered with Elance as a writer for some time by then, but wasn't getting work. During my search, I discovered a few places other places to try and one was Constant-Content.
I tried writing for Constant-Content and had three articles accepted right away. They have a tough editing process where every article submitted is carefully scrutinized, so you can imagine how I felt getting those three articles pushed through so quickly. I then sold my first article within the same month of starting to write and submit to them. How energizing!
Writing articles is time consuming and it often makes sense for website owners to purchase the rights to use pre-written articles as they wish. Some of these buyers spell out the details of what they need. Others scroll through the extensive collection already written and still available.
Articles generally sell between $20 and $60.
Monday, April 30, 2012
Friday, April 27, 2012
This is very true.
If you're like many writers, your writing is your baby. Slicing it up and chopping sections out can feel brutal. Y
I've had sentences I've been very attached to, but in reading them back, while they may sound nice, they don't make simple sense.
It's hard to dispose of flowery sentences we thought were brilliant. But if they don't add to the product they are only fluff.
Editing must be done. So what can you do to help calm the pain?
- You can save the edited parts on a separate document. If you ever want to re-insert them or use them again, you will have them available.
- Realize that cutting your article or book down may mean you actually can multiply your product. That is, a lengthy article may be able to be split into two or more. You can earn money on two articles instead of one. The edited pages of your book may become part of your sequel.
Don't resist editing! Just do it!
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Saturday, April 14, 2012
It is hard to make an income doing freelance writing. A lot of work is done on spec.
Definition (from www.investorwords.com)
On another note, with all the new dictionaries springing up I found this one which I can see meets a niche of its own. Should be very useful: http://www.investorwords.com
Friday, April 6, 2012
Read. When you read, watch what other publishers have done with punctuation. There are so many rules around, but today, many are changing the rules. Many are leaving commas out, for instance.
Read to develop your style. Read to develop your vocabulary. The Urban Dictionary may be a valuable resource to use. Don't depend on Microsoft Word's grammar checker. It is often incorrect and often isn't up-to-date with new words.
Read to stay current so you can write current.
Read online articles, magazine articles, books, blogs.
Practice writing summaries of what you've read. Learn the art of highlighting and re-writing--putting things into your words.
Monday, February 20, 2012
Another tip is to use "we" loosely. Apparently, once you personalize your piece, you turn a few readers away.
Generalizing for a wide audience is best.
Using "you" is good.
It is also best if you don't use the term "one", such as in this sentence:
- When going to the hair stylist, one might decide to bring his own shampoo.
- When going to the hair stylist a person may want to bring his own shampoo.
- When going to the hair stylist people may choose to bring their own shampoo.
Change the sentence around even more:
- You may want to bring your own shampoo when you go to the hair stylist.
- When you go to the hair stylist, you may want to bring your own shampoo.
- Clients may want to bring their own shampoo when they go to their hair stylist.
Now, the problem with the sentence above that used "person" also required the term "his" or "her". (If you say a person, it is never "their".)
You can, however, use "their" or "they" in a similar way as "you", if used correctly. Example: Whenever you visit the veterinarian, always thank him; he studied hard to get where he is. OR When you visit veterinarians, always thank them; they studied hard to get where they are.
Friday, February 17, 2012
Ask your clients to send you their document in MSWord as an email attachment. Then use the "track changes" feature in MSWord to make changes. Return both a marked-up copy to show the suggested changes, and a final copy by return email. Rarely is a hard copy needed.
Ask for payment by cash, cheque, or PayPal. If you can live on a trust system, you can send them their document or part of prior to payment being mailed or delivered. People will want to have their work in hand before they release money.
Saturday, January 28, 2012
Things are changing rapidly in the publishing business. It used to be a person would write a book--perhaps based on her established platform--and then her agent would frantically look for an audience to sell to. Another way to write is to know what a niche is looking for and to write specifically to them, for them. The difference in writing is one is writer-centric the other is reader-centric.
Since we live in a day where personal value, take-away and "what's in it for me" attitudes prevail, giving your readers what they're looking for is important. Otherwise all you're doing is spouting, pontificating, reporting or commenting on something they may or may not care about.
I usually write non-fiction. In non-fiction, especially articles for web content, we need to write concisely. That means, we don'...