Archive | February 2014

Promoting Your Writing

Writing is hard work and once you have written something you would love for someone to read it. Writing must be promoted if you write on the Internet. There are thousands of online writers and everyone is vying for the reader’s attention. A reader can only read so much since most readers also have another life. So while the writing part is actually very important, you need to devote a good part of your day to promoting in order to make online writing a success.

We probably all use social networks to advertise our latest articles. While that seems a slow process, it is a necessary one. But, how much traffic, likes, comments, subscriptions or follows do we actually get from those?

If you have fixed your settings on the websites to which you write articles to automatically submit to Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Stumble upon and Tumbler as well as many other websites does that guarantee readers?

I would like to figure out a schedule in which to promote articles in a certain way every day, but sometimes that seems daunting. For those places you may want to try, but that all writing websites do not include as an automatic submission, that means a great deal of work daily. If you write 3 to 4 articles a day, the amount of promotion time seems almost impossible to achieve. You will actually spend more time promoting than writing.

Promoting writing involves using your time to the best advantage so you do not spend hours where you get little return. Getting more bang for your buck is exactly what you must consider when choosing where to promote.

Exchanging links with other writers seems to be a good way to help each other, but unless they are much more advanced in their writing career than you are and also have more contacts, it may be useless to pursue. More established writers were once where you are and may be able to help you avoid the promoting pitfalls. They may know where the best places are to promote so as to get enough of a return for your time. As your writing career advances, you too will have many more contacts and know which ones are the best bets to get results.

Hashtags for Twitter and Facebook are another possibility. You simply find a descriptive word for your piece. You put a (#) number sign in front of it and the web picks up this designation and it is shown with others of its kind. For example, this article could be promoted with a hashtag like this -#writingpromotion

Joining writer’s groups or chat rooms where there is a specific place to mention articles and list the ones you want to promote, is another avenue to try.

Writers need to locate all the possible ways for promoting and then choose wisely. Most writers only have so much time to promote daily and want to work on those with more likelihood for success.

There are lots of ways to make sure your articles get a growing readership and it would be helpful to explore each one on an individual basis. I may try to do that here.

I need to have help in finding all these places of promotion for myself as well as the readers of this blog. This is a place I could really use your comments as to what has worked for you. Thanks.

Please share your best place for promoting or add to the few I have already covered quickly.

Writers should set goals

In order to be successful in any enterprise, you must monitor progress so you can adjust the way in which your proceed. In school, we are tested after being exposed to certain material to see what we learned, but not so in writing. Your only test comes after you have submitted your work and been rejected. Then, you are sure something went wrong. You realize maybe you need to learn more. It is said that writers learn to write by writing. So it follows that the more you write, the better you should become. It also seems prudent to set yourself some goals.

Since I write for at least 3 online places a week, including this blog, I try to set goals for the amount of articles I write each week. For this blog, I aim for five postings each week. That may change when I get more people and start to receive more comments. Hopefully, others will have ideas about what we could blog about.

Since I am the recent Colorado Springs Rescue Animal Examiner, I try to do between 5 and 7 articles for them every week. I am usually posting photos of dogs that need foster care or adoption so I figure since I am doing that I might as well add some text and do an article. This assignment also features interviews from time to time and reports about events so I need to also figure those sometimes must be timely and that could make my numbers of articles a week go up in some cases.

Helium is another place I write, more for exposure and practice. I usually manage to give them two to five articles a week as well. In the past I wrote for Helium and so there are about 350 articles of mine, total on that website.

I try to set my goals at a minimum of 3 articles or posts a day to reach this goal. I want to take on more so I may need to raise the numbers produced weekly. I have thought about the fact that I really want to write fiction and eventually a novel. That would certainly change my weekly goals as that would be my prime objective and more ambitious project. The responsibility I would impose on myself to finish a certain number of words or pages would change all my goals.

I’d be interested in finding out how other writers set their goals and how strict they are about enforcing those self set goals.

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Writers -hope you took time to show love on Valentine’s Day

For writers every day is the same. They write, they rewrite, they edit, they create, they daydream ideas and work hard to produce. The dedicated ones seldom take time off to relax much less celebrate, but they should.

Think of all your family and loved ones put up with so you can write. They let you seclude yourself. They pretend they are not even in the same house. They keep the noise level down and the kids and dogs are learning to use their quiet voice. They may even monitor calls so as not to disturb you and interrupt your train of thought. They work hard to create the atmosphere that lets you work hard.

They probably do without your presence even when its important to them, like the date night with your spouse or the kid’s basketball game. They often don’t see you for many days and nights while you work on that novel. They even let you spend hours at the library or traveling for research and they don’t complain.

These are the folks that enable you to follow your heart and do what you want to do. Some wives or husbands may be working even harder because the income you once provided is now pretty hit or miss with this writing gig.

So today is Valentine’s Day- did you even know that? today is the day to celebrate love. It can be your lover, the love of your life and soul mate that you must remember. Your kids need love just as you do, so make sure they get some of your precious time today. Don’t ignore this need for them to know how important they are to you. I’m sure you probably do not show it as often as you should. How about your other family members who love you and show it all the time. They may get little of your attention and yet, they are so understanding. spend an extra couple minutes to text them or call them. don’t wait until it is too late to tell everyone your care for them.

The wonder of words

Words are capable of creating many moods and eliciting lots of emotions. For the writer, the right words mean everything. To express yourself correctly takes knowing words and their meanings. For the poet, there is no way to paint that picture without the exact, perfect word. Even for the reader, words are what we give them. We choose words to make ourselves explicitly clear. We choose words to create an atmosphere. We pick words that convey an exact meaning. The reader’s understanding  of the meaning we are trying to convey and their enjoyment depends on the right words. 

What are the right words? How do we decide? Where can we find them? How can we learn them? All these questions are ones writers should explore.

Writers and authors should have amazing vocabularies. They should know as many words as possible in order to pick the right one. Do you spend the time to build up your vocabulary? How do you learn new words?Anytime a person uses a long or difficult word in conversation today, they are made fun of or ribbed about it. So sometimes the written page is the only place you can use that word. If people make fun of those words in conversation, will they understand its meaning on the page?

To increase your vocabulary, as a writer or a reader you must see and learn words you do not usually use in everyday conversation. You can do this by stopping to look up a word you don’t know whenever it pops up in your reading. Then you can spend time writing that word in a sentence to see if you truly know what it means. Use that word at least a couple times a day for a week and it should be yours. Once it sticks with you, there will be many more opportunities to use it, especially in your writing.

Words like books are a pleasure to own. When you own lots of words you can browse through your mind much as you do your wardrobe to pick the perfect item. When you write a word down, use a Thesaurus to check to see if a better word is available. If a different word is closer to the idea you wish to express, choose that word.

It may be fun and serve some purpose to keep track of the word  or words you learn each day. Keeping a list of these words posted where you can constantly see them, will serve as a reminder to check the list when writing for a more appropriate word. New words, like new clothes are fun. See what fits you and your style. Words are like accessories for a writer and they must be used to enjoy them.

Writing schedules and rituals- do they help?

Writing schedules should be part of the writing life. To get the most out of yourself, shouldn’t you set times for specific projects or at least goals for pages written? I work on different things every day, but do not have specific times for each blog or article I write. I often wonder how much more work I could get done, if I organized my time better and stuck to a schedule.

Some people are more creative in the mornings as soon as they get up. They feel fresh and aware of everything. Others tend to need more time to wake and come to life. Morning, for them, may come slowly or arrive quite late. Others are night owls and that is when they do the majority of their writing. So while you and I are snoozing, they are writing the next important novel. Does it matter when you write? Is there a time you are most creative or prolific? Well, it seems to me no matter when that time falls, that is when you should write.

 Many authors while writing a book set a goal of a specific number of pages or words they will set down before they are done for the day. You will have a finish date you would like to achieve. So you know the end date for this book project. If you decide the approximate number of words your book will probably need then, you can easily decide how many days a week or hours a day you want to work. When decided you will be able to determine how many words a day at that rate will reach your goal.

 Many of us work on deadline for an article or other writing project and know what is involved to be ready to meet that deadline. We may delegate some time to just figuring out the angle and what our particular slant will be for this piece. A short piece may not take loads of time to write once everything needed is ready to use. A longer piece may need to be written over a longer period of time. We need to put aside time for any interviews or research that must be done. Scheduling all this in advance is could make or break the article and determine its success. Scheduling will be part of this writing plan.

 For poetry and fiction writing, scheduling seems more difficult since you may not always be ready with the ideas or the plots you wish to expand upon. The beginning of those types of writing would be more unpredictable till your idea was fully fleshed out. Once that is decided I imagine the scheduling would be pretty much like every other kind of writing. A book would be subject to the same type of arrangement, working to produce a certain number of words or pages. The schedule also may depend on finishing a scene or just working on dialogue for that day.

 Do you set yourself daily or weekly goals? Are you motivated by keeping that schedule or finishing that predetermined amount of writing?

 Everyone is different in the way in which they work but most people must have a schedule or goals set in order to accomplish what they wish to finish during each writing session. I would love to get comments on this topic. It is important to establish what the best way is to work for most writers.

 We touched briefly in another post on writing rituals that some folks must have to be creative. Some need complete quiet and others need music, usually a calmer variety. Some writers seem to thrive on distractions while for some of us that would mean quitting for the day and losing precious writing time. Whether you must have a coffee pot cooking all day or a pot of teas stepping is certainly a matter of taste. some people feel getting everything ready as part of the writing process is important and cannot write a word until their pencils are all sharpened or all e-mail is answered. Do you use a ritual to get ready to produce?

 If you need to have a jar of licorice standing by before you can write or must wear lucky socks like athletes I know, deep down you believe in its help. You must continue with your rituals. I believe this stalling and hesitating gives some of us more time to get our mind clear and thoughts in order before we start.

That being said however, if you spend more time on your rituals and not enough time on the actual writing, you may never reach those important goals. Don’t use scheduling and rituals to delay your actual working.

 

Writing across genres and types of writing

While the majority of my writing has been non-fiction articles and reporting for weeklies, my heart still wishes to produce fiction. My few attempts at fiction have been rather unremarkable. I am in need of guidance to get started and stimulation to come up with an exciting idea.

Many writers have crossed all the lines when writing and can produce a piece of work that holds its own in any genre or type of writing. I wonder if most new writers stick with what they know or are adventurous enough to try everything. My soul is adventurous but, the practical side constantly reminds me I don’t have the skills for that type of writing. I want them and I wish to expand my writing. Not only do I want to try those things but, I want to blur those lines in fact that keep me from crossing into unchartered territory. I don’t even want to be bound by genres or styles but combine them in ways that may be crazy or at least unorthodox. So how do you shut up that voice that says play it safe and just do what you know?

I guess there is contentment and satisfaction in just keeping the status quo since that offers safety and comfort. How do you find the nerve to stretch and challenge yourself to try what is new and somewhat scary to you?

For those writers and authors who can produce readable copy and fantastic stories of any genre or style without skipping a beat I commend you. That is a frightening prospect to a writer who always wrote the same types of things. Guess I need lots of encouragement.

Do most writers write the types of things they like to read? Do those that love poetry, write poetry? Do who-done-it fans write mysteries? Or can a writer even contain the ideas into such narrow categories? I wonder.

I guess I must just venture out and get my feet wet. Just force myself to move and push forward with ideas. Not worry so much about the quality and just make a start at it. I have constantly heard that no matter what else a writer does to advance his skill, they must write. That may be the perfect answer.

Please leave some helpful comments. They are so appreciated.

Reasons to visit some writing websites

Writing websites have a lot to offer. They will be useful to most of us learning to put pen to paper. Writing websites are great places to spend some time and interact with real people, a good thing for lonely writers. These websites provide a lot of exposure to other’s writing that may be helpful in enhancing your own skills. It can also be a place to submit your writing.

To me, the most significant thing they offer are writing exercises to get you started. The beginning, for me at least, is the hardest part of anything I compose. I can really get moving once the idea is formulated and the beginning starts to take shape.

If that part is hard for you also, try any of the writing exercises recommended. Some websites are better than others and offer more practical advice such as Writer’s Digest which offers writer’s prompts as well as articles in many genres and writing skill levels. There are editor blogs with helpful information for the would-be-writer. There also are writing groups, contest and other writing resources.

Another helpful writing website is Writing.com. Here you will find plenty to read and to do. There is an activity board where you can find out about auctions, raffles, other events or gatherings. They also feature the Gift Point System to show appreciation to others on the website. They are just like tokens, but virtual.

Many Internet websites offer exercises to help get a writer starter and to hone their skills. I like the exercises included on The Journal which focuses on journaling. Some exercises give you a trait and ask you to create a descriptive image of what that means to you. They may ask you to take notes of three things you see during the day and describing them. Maybe, the exercise might me writing about something in society that is wrong or mismanaged and how it could be fixed.There are just tons of possibilities for writing exercise and for websites to help the writer.

Do you have a favorite website? What exercise have helped you become a better writer?