Free Blogging Course
I'm evaluating a multi-media course on blogging from the folks at Simpleology. For a while, they're letting you snag it for free if you post about it on your blog.
- The best blogging techniques.
- How to get traffic to your blog.
- How to turn your blog into money.
I'll let you know what I think once I've had a chance to check it out. Meanwhile, go grab yours while it's still free.
Just a tease
This is some of what you'll find in 7 Secrets to Writing Killer Articles
I hope you have a productive and prosperous New Year!
All my best to you!
Are You Interested in Print Publication? Listen UP!
I you want to write for print publication and not for the Web, you need to get a start in the business, and that’s not easy folks!
Most of us think that fiction writing is where it’s at. I did, too, until I realized that the market was flooded with fiction writers. Editors don’t need more fiction. They pick only the best of the best and usually, fiction from writers who already have a name in the business.
What’s a writer to do?
Consider writing nonfiction. Oh, I know… it seems horribly boring. But trust me, it’s not! If you like to learn, writing nonfiction could open worlds for you that you never thought you’d want to enter. I know that’s how it happened for me. I mean, did you ever hanker for learning the secret ingredient in yak butter tea? (Hint: It's yak dung.)
I was lucky to have fiction published right away, well, after FOUR years of trying. But a short story in Guide
magazine is what started it all for me. That $75 check was so precious to me that I had to run right over to my mom's house to show her that I could make a living with writing. Har.
Six months later, I was still waiting to sell something else.
Feeling rather discouraged one day, I picked up a free women's newspaper and while perusing, found an ad that the paper wanted writers. I had only one piece published, but I thought, What the heck? I sent a meager resume with my one published clip, plus a piece I had written for a writing class on Gold Rush Women
(which you can still see online today). It was the only piece of nonfiction I had.
No one was more surprised than me when the editor called and asked me to write an article. That started my fascination with nonfiction. I've written about everything from education to medicine, to computers and the Internet, and a lot of stuff online, like member guides, blogs, doorway pages, autoresponder series and such. I learn so much!
But I also realized that nonfiction is MUCH easier to sell. Why is that important? Because if you are serious about a writing career, you need clips of published work. You need a resume. The easiest way to get one is by doing some nonfiction writing first. Then, when you have a name, even if only one or two published pieces, editors tend to take you more seriously because other editors bought your work before. You're then a proven commodity.
And we're talking print publishing here. I'm sorry to say that most of the writing you do online will be discounted by print editors. Unless you write for some of the premiere magazines, they won't take into consideration that you have 50 articles or stories at a place like iSnare.
If you can't imagine what to write for articles, think about your hobbies. What interests you is liable to interest others, too.
Niche Market Articles
I'm sorry I'm not terribly active here, but of late, I'm editing three of Tellman Knudson's blogs
. I've just been very busy. :-0 But I haven't forgotten you! I'm very interested in learning more about you and what you like to write, what questions you have, etc.
This morning, I had a questons
from one of your list mates, asking about writing an article on visual art.
These are a lot of fun. I once reviewed the International Art Show at the Carnegie
, and the article was one of the most fun articles I've ever written.
If you're not an artist or an art afficionado
and you know what you like, but not much about art, you need to do some studying. Read as many art reviews as you can. Notice the form.
There's usually a blurb about the artwork, in general. Then, you'll need some biographical information about the artist for one paragraph.
And you'll need to know what other visual arts writers have written about the piece of art. Then, form your own opinion based on what you've learned.
And here's how I'd structure:
- Come up with a punchy title.
- General information about the piece of art and where it's being shown.
- A little about the artwork.
- A little about the artist.
- Some of the information you've gathered. Is the piece well received or panned?
- Your own observations
- Closing paragraph
This is my opinion, how I would write an art piece. But, remember, I don't generally write art pieces. So, study the genre. Then, write a great article in that form!
Editors like to see creativity, but they also respect form. To begin, please editors. When you're established, you can get away with more. When you're trying to be published, it's best to dot the i's
and cross the t's
Please email me with your questions or post them in the comments section here. I'm ready, willing, and more than able to help. :-)
Labels: articles, learn to write, learn to write articles, write, writing
More Ideas on Ideas
Writers are always wondering where the next idea will come from, and I know some of you are because you told me so.
But... I'm lucky. I never
have that problem, to be honest. If anything, I can't get to them all.
Here are some tips that may help you keep your idea file full:
- When you're reading a book, use a 4 X 6 index card for your bookmark and always have a pen or pencil close by. When an idea pops into your head, write it down. If you see anything that will help your writing, write that down, too. Notice punctuation, if that's your sore point. Write down little tips to help you remember how it goes.
- Read the newspapers. If you see anything about kids, you may have something to write a story about, but even if you see an adult situation that could be turned into a story for kids, jot that onto one of your 4 X 6 "idea" cards, too. Here's an example:
Recent Excite.com, headlines read:
"Credit Card Offers Stacking Up at Homes of the Newly Bankrupt"
Maybe the story can be about how people come to realize that filing bankruptcy doesn't mean that their entire life will be upside down. Or maybe it will. Can you see the potential?
Here's another headline:
"Four U.S. Troops Killed in Iraq Violence"
A story where your protagonist learns what death is and how to deal with the loss of a relative or best friend might be something you can work up.
And this has enormous potential:
"XBOX 360 GAMES: the Good, Bad and the Ugly"
Use your imagination!
- If you're a parent, you probably take your kids to play in the park or even to McDonald's or Chuck E. Cheese's to play. Take a notebook with you. Jot down ideas, and trust me, you will get some ideas there.
There are many ways to come up with stories idea. Actually, they're all around you. Be observant, take notes, and have fun!
Hope this helps. If you haven't bought 7 Secrets to Writing Killer Articles
just yet, it's still available at the new price. It keeps going up folks! I said only 1,000 would be sold and we're close. Each 100 copies costs a little more. Don't wait! You could have bought this at $7.99. Now, It's $39.99! Be smart. Lock in that price today at http://ovweb.net/7Secrets
Short and Sweet
I just wanted to tell you that my first Short has been published at Amazon.com
. It's a profile of Mohandas K. Gandhi,
and I decided to publish that one first for a couple of reasons.
First, it's fresh in my mind, so I wrote what I knew. But I'm also hoping that if people like the Short
they'll buy the book, where they can find much more great information.
But not all my Shorts will be on such heavy topics. I did send one in yesterday about Gloria Steinem
for the same reasons as above, but they take about 60 days to publish. So... keep your eyes out.
Here's the link to Gandhi: http:ovweb.net/gandhi7
Or, check out my other books here: http://ovweb.net/pmbooks7
OK, but let's get onto your writing lesson for this session.
Many of you asked in the survey how to come up with ideas.
Hmm... Here's the truth: Ideas are ALL around you!
What did you eat for breakfast? Perhaps a new product? Write a review of it.
Did you read the newspaper? What story popped out at you? Can you write a story about it?
I did that for an educational publisher once. I read a story about a kid who saved another boy who had fallen through ice on a pond. I just dramatized it and voila! I was paid for a story that I took from the newspaper. Of course, I didn't plagiarize a bit of it; I just used the idea to create characters and then a story of my own.
Have you read a book lately? How about a review?
If you're an online marketer, there are stories everywhere! Just surf awhile and you'll see them. What's a traffic exchange? Explain it. How do you optimize a page for search engines? If you know, write that. (It's a hot topic right now, and something I'm learning and working on with Tellman Knudson
.) You'll have a winner!
What kind of pet do you have? If it's a pure breed, what can you write about it? If not, so what? Write a story that involved your cat
When you get the advice to "Write what you know," it means to write about stuff that interests you or that you're good at. It doesn't mean to write your life.
Here's an exercise for you: Go into a magazine and read it cover to cover. Which story interested you the most? Can you focus it? By that, I mean, can you come up with a different angle about the same story? Write
I heard a news report this morning that a study was done that proved that men are smarter than women.
Pshaw! Of course, I'd say that, being a woman and all. :-) But if you are a woman, wouldn't it be fascinating to dig up facts and studies to prove that scientist wrong? If you're a man, you could do a great humor piece. Though I'm cautious in advising this, you can get away with a lot, if you can be funny. However, it's very hard to do.
So, there you have it. O-b-s-e-r-v-e
And you'll find stories every single day.
So much to write about; so little time.
Well, I've been waiting patiently for survey results to come in so that I could share them with you. Thanks so much to those of you who participated. It will help me to get to the heart of your writing concerns. You know I can ramble on about things at any given point, but I'd rather help you with what you'd like to know, instead of going over things you're already familiar with. Plus, I may take these questions and write another book for you.
Listen, the survey is still open. So, if you'd like to contribute, here's the link:http://ovweb.net/survey
Here's what I've learned so far:
- 80% of you write for the web
- Only 33% have trouble coming up with ideas, but you often don't know how to focus them
- Half of you are interested in writing nonfiction and half are interested in writing fiction and nonfiction
- 100% of the people polled want to know how to make articles SEO friendly.
- You prefer .pdf ebooks, rather than .exe types.
Here are some of your problems:
- Keeping it short and simple
- Writing technical and educational material in an interesting way
- And just about all of you want to know how to get the time to do it and the will to sit down and start
And from that, I have a story.
When I first began to write, my daughter was an infant. Yet, I had been reading to her from the day of her birth, just about. I realized that the books were pretty simple and I thought, I can do that. Ha! I started writing but quickly realized that I didn't have a clue about how to start, how to format a manuscript, what the most important part of any story is, and on and on.
In essence, I learned that I needed to learn
to write, if I intended to ever be published in the print media world.
So, here's what I did.
I used one hour a day for writing--gathering source materials (and trust me, you need them even for fiction), making outlines, creating characters, and all the things a writer needs to do mechanically
, in addition to writing. I did that only after making preparation and I still do that to this day.
My optimum time was first thing in the morning (though your own may be at another time of the day or night) and my daughter was either sleeping or as she got older, playing nearby.
When she took her afternoon naps, I was studying. I used one hour a day to do that, too.
In the process, you know what happened? My daughter fell into a great schedule of two naps a day, which kids need anyway, and I became a real, honest to goodness, print published writer. She made my life come true, in a way. Had I not ended my career managing bank branches to raise her, I'd never have come down this incredible path.
But you can do it, too!
Think about this: If you sit down and write only ONE
page a day, by the end of the year, you'll have 365 pages.One hour a day.
Don't know how to fit it into your schedule? Try Mark Joyner
). It will put your daily chores into overdrive. I use it every day and I'm pretty organized. Now, I get more done in a day than I ever dreamed possible. Bless Mark! Oh, and Simpleology is free. You also get a dynamite web cast each week. Believe me, you're doing yourself a disservice if you don't at least check it out.
And... Someone asked how to get his book published. Please write to me at email@example.com so that I can ask you a few questions about your book. Then, I'll make another post here that will be very helpful to all, I hope.
Until then, keep writing!