Posts Tagged ‘better writer’

Your Writing Talent Is An Asset

Robert Kiyosaki, author of the famous book, Rich Dad Poor Dad, talks about the importance of building more assets than liabilities if one wants to be successful in business and life. In business terms, assets are simply items that bring in or increase income and thus have a positive impact on wealth. The synonyms for the word ‘asset’ give us a broader understanding as they include benefit, advantage, plus, positive feature, quality, skill and talent. Does that sound like your writing skill?

When I was younger, about eight or nine years old, my older sisters asked me what I would like to be when I grew up. My instinctive and completely sincere answer was, “a writer!” At that age I already knew about a few writers like Enid Blyton and Agatha Christie (my all-time favorite fiction writer) and I definitely admired them. I was totally in awe of the art of writing, and I still am.

Writing is a golden-edged gift that brings pleasure to both owner and audience. Most writers enjoy their work as much as the world loves to read their writing. It is also a tool of communication that has been effective over many centuries and will continue to be, regardless of how much the medium used changes. More than that, however, I see the writing skill as an asset that should be guarded well, developed continuously, used for the good of society and converted into income if need be.

There are so many ways in which writing can be used to increase your personal wealth. I will not go into the details of how to make money from your writing skill here – many other blogs do that. I just want you to place a lot more value on your talent than you have done before and see it in new light.

What does one do with an asset?

Increase it: The more you have of an asset, the better for your personal wealth. How do you increase your talent? By ‘taking it to a higher level’ such that it produces more for you. Mensa Otabil, in Buy The Future: Learning To Negotiate For A Better Future Than Your Present (Pneuma Life Publishing, Inc., 2002), refers to a process of “roasting” that transforms one’s gift into something of higher value. For writing, this simply means improving your skill in a particular field or gaining competence in other fields of writing. You could go for some training, for example, or venture into a new field of writing you have not done before.

Make it produce for you and others: An asset that cannot produce anything ceases to have value for its owner. If you have not been using your skill to produce income, maybe it’s time you began to think about it seriously. However, if income is not among your goals then you could still use your skill to help others achieve their own goals even if they are not paying you. Volunteer your help on major writing projects at work or in your community. You never know, your reward may come in a different way other than finances.

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Keep Your Scribal Juices Flowing!

Writer Wordart

Writer Wordart (Photo credit: MarkGregory007)

I regularly attend a writer’s forum where we encourage and build one another to become better writers. I have found it to be both enlightening and challenging as I keep learning new things. Recently, the leader of the forum decided to veer off our usual menu of reading and critiquing poems, short stories and essays and decided to talk about writing itself. He insisted that for one to be considered a true writer, he/she must write every day. Well, the response was not quite what he expected and a long discussion ensued about whether we should write ‘everyday’ or ‘as often as possible’.

The bone of contention was that it is hard for the average person to write often because sometimes the will or energy to write is not there. It’s not easy to keep the juices flowing! True. However, if one is to persist with that attitude in their writing career (or any other career for that matter) then we would have very little literature in the market.

Writing is a pursuit that must be nurtured often; the regularity depends on individual abilities and circumstances. Notwithstanding that, every writer has to find a way of motivating themselves to pen new thoughts, ideas, stories, descriptions, suggestions, etc. There is no universal rule of doing it; you just have to go for what works best for you. However, there are a few things you can do to maintain your passion beyond the norm.

Look for what inspires you:
Many writers work from inspiration, meaning that something in their environment triggers the desire to write, or provides the subject for a story. Find that single inspiration and keep it close by if you can. It could be an environment of complete silence, like when alone in the house; it could be nature, the outdoors, driving to a rural area, being at the lakeside, watching children play, listening to slow music, etc.

Spend a good amount of time reading:
There’s no better writer than a reading writer. I believe that reading fosters writing, and the more you read the more you get ideas to write about. Reading often exercises the mind to think in different ways and can also trigger you to evaluate your own writing as you compare it with others.

Allocate specific time for writing:
In the same way that you allocate time for bonding with your friends, do the same with your writing gift. You need to constantly and consciously get in touch with your writing ‘soul’ in order to develop it, and making time for it deliberately is the best strategy. It may appear a bit stiff at first, having to writ only at a certain time, but once you get into a steady routine you will be glad for it. It helps you focus completely on the task at hand without getting distracted.

These are three simple things you can apply immediately to your writing life. Go on, keep your scribal juices flowing with these suggestions and I hope you enjoy yourself.

The Exposed Writer: Connect with other writers

I like scouting for blogs that make a good read and in the process of doing this I get to learn what other writers are thinking and what their experiences are. I came across one particular blogger who mentioned in a post that writers are often lonely, a situation that adds to various other difficulties encountered in the writing journey. I found this interesting in light of the fact that there are hundreds (if not thousands) of freelance writers out there in the cyberspace, most of them doing similar kind of work. If you doubt this, check the number of people who run blogs, subscribe to active writers’ forums or publish books, including self-publishers.

This left me thinking, is it really true that writers are lonely or do they just create that loneliness with their actions (or lack of action)? Whatever the answer is, I firmly believe that writers should not be lonely at all. Every writer belongs somewhere; you just need to find the right place to fit in.

FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A lonely writer is like a piece of wood trying to ignite on its own just a few meters away from a bonfire. A single piece of wood remains cold and ineffective but once it gets into the bonfire with other wood it burns brightly. Writers like you and me should never be alone.

A year and a half ago I began to attend a local literature forum, AMKA – Space for Women’s Creativity, and discovered what it means to be what I call an exposed writer. Prior to that I had been all on my own, spinning poems, short articles and unfinished stories by the month (I didn’t write that frequently). For some reason I thought I could make it on my own like a lonely traveler but it turned out to be a tough job. Of course I was doing quite a bit of reading and research on the net but I still felt inadequate as a writer looking to establish a freelance career. Then one day, a friend asked me how I was doing in my writing and I replied that it was not picking up as I expected. He suggested that I look for “people of like-precious-faith” to mingle with, meaning people who have a similar passion for writing, and that is exactly what I did.

When I joined AMKA it immediately became obvious that I needed to learn a lot of things. I spent the first few months simply listening to the discussions, without submitting any of my work or offering my critique to other writers, though the forum encourages members to do both. Mingling with other writers on a regular basis provided not only a sense of belonging but also opened the door to opportunities I wouldn’t have accessed on my own. It was through this forum that I got my first short story published in an anthology. I equate this literature forum with the bonfire mentioned earlier.

It is healthy for writers to stay close, work together, and uphold each other especially during difficult times, which are bound to come. Every writer’s journey has its own set of unique experiences, both good and bad; it helps to share this with someone who understands, or better yet, someone who has more experience in the field. In the process of rubbing shoulders with other writers in different settings you become ‘exposed’. As a result, you get to expand your own thinking and embrace new ideas and developments in the writing field.

Mentoring quickly comes to mind as a vehicle through which every writer can get ‘exposed’. Though it is a learning process, the responsibility of ensuring that the learning takes place lies more heavily on the shoulders of the one being mentored. The exposed writer is, therefore, one who is able to take advantage of learning tools and opportunities offered during a mentoring process and translate them into success. The exposure comes through networks, writing forums, workshops, seminars, and reading relevant literature. The exposed writer is therefore neither working alone, nor missing out on important events that can help to build his/her writing career.

Have you been feeling alone? You do not need to. Don’t accept it. Find a way to connect with other writers and do not fear to let them know your needs. Remember the saying that in one person lies the possibility of connecting with 100 other people; so don’t ignore an invitation to network with other writers.

Quality Assurance for Content Writers

When you get a huge workflow of content writing and the clients are diverse with varying requirements and expectations, how do you manage your output to ensure high standards are still maintained? How do you make certain that your clients are always satisfied with work done?

Quality Assurance is not a new concept in management circles but I wonder how many freelance writers have a QA system in place for their work?

Recently, I thought about this and wrote a guest post on Freelance Switch about how to meet your client’s expectations through Quality Assurance.

Click here to read the article and let me know what your opinion is on the subject.

10 Blogs That Offer Valuable Tips For The Freelance Writer

How good are you at doing online research? Do you find it boring, tiresome, too much work, or do you enjoy the thrill of going through countless web pages to find the right information? Looking for relevant information is no mean fit for the average person, however well-versed with the internet; there’s so much out there! Besides, not everything you find is valuable or even relevant to your task.

As a writer, I bet research is one of the tools you frequently use to come up with good articles, right? You have to find out what has already been written in order to write what’s relevant and unique, right? However, because of the sheer volume of information on the net, you often have to filter it out to get what’s really useful to the task at hand. Doing that takes quite a bit of time that is not always there. That is why I thought of doing something for you, my dear writer, to make your life easier!

When I started freelance writing in 2010 and launched my first blog, I quickly realized that I needed to get the latest news on blogging. I needed to find out who else was out there, what they were doing, why was it working for them, etc. I did not know where to start but made up my mind to scour the net every day until I got all the data needed. This took me a few months until I bumped into a single blog that provided me with the most valuable information to date for my blogging work. Naturally, it’s the first one on the list below. Wasn’t I glad to rest from all the weary work!

Today, I offer you these ten blogs that I believe can save you a lot of trouble searching for the right information, especially if you are just starting out as a blogger. They are not in order of preference or quality or anything like that; all of them are valuable in their own right. Check them out to see if I am right and if you like what they offer, go ahead and subscribe to their RSS feeds so that you are always up to date. Well, here they are:

1. youngprepro.com

2. freelanceswitch.com

3. aboutfreelancewriting.com

4. problogger.com

5. thinktraffic.net

6. successfulblogging.com

7. basicblogtips.com

8. menwithpens.ca

9. thecreativepenn.com

10. dailyblogtips.com

All the best as a writer,

Edna.

The Reading Writer (II)

Previously, I wrote about the various ways in which reading helps the writer (see “Reading Writer” under the category Improve Your Writing Skills) and looked at four benefits or advantages. This time I would like to focus on how to make the reading habit a permanent part of your lifestyle as a writer.

You see, it’s very easy to keep telling writers that they must read often in order to become better at their craft but this can be a tricky thing for some. Many writers are faced with deadlines to write copy or pressure to produce a certain number of articles that sometimes it’s hard to slot in reading of books, journals, magazines or other writers’ articles. This is especially so for the large number of writers who do it for a living as their main source of income. Besides, reading doesn’t come easily for everyone and so it takes real effort and commitment to inculcate it as a daily or even weekly activity, for example.

I, myself, have made it a goal to read at least one book every month, not necessarily in my field. However, it is a goal that I have to keep reminding myself to fulfill and sometimes it gets tricky when I do not have extra money to buy a new book. Borrowing is an option, of course, but that usually means I am limited to what is available with friends as opposed to what I feel I need to read (in any case, I prefer to own books, not borrow them). Your own case is probably different from mine but whatever your struggle is with getting to read regularly, I would like to offer you some suggestions that can help.

Here are five:

1. Cultivate a love for books
You may be asking, “How do I cultivate a love for books?” Well, the same way you would do it for a person. What are the factors that commonly lead to falling in love? One of them is spending a lot of time with that person, listening to them and enjoying their company. Spend time with the few books that you have, if you do, or buy one or two to start with. Read a chapter in the morning and another in the evening. Go to the library once a week and browse or search for something interesting to borrow. Attend the annual book fair (if it hasn’t happened yet) and visit every stand, talking to authors and publishers alike.

In simple language, go out of your way to acquaint yourself with the world of books. This is something you have to do consistently and consciously as there is no magic for it.

2. Set a reading goal
…and please stick to it, no matter what!
You could copy me and start with reading one book per month, or set a goal that fits in with your own schedule. Just make sure you are not over- ambitious (five books a month may be a bit too much) nor should you aim too low. By the way, it doesn’t have to be books only – feel free to pursue other reading materials like magazines. The key is to have a focus (the goal) and be consistent over time. Goals have a way of making us more focused and purposeful in what we are doing, both of which are essential for getting desired results.

 

3. Join a book club
There are plenty of online and offline book clubs where you could get to further nurture this new pursuit. You will find people to exchange notes with, discuss difficulties, discover new books to read and generally become more exposed to the world of reading. Some book clubs even have their own libraries from which members can borrow books that they may not be able to afford to buy.

 

4. Spend time with people who love to read
Enthusiasm is one thing that tends to rub off very easily! The more you hang around book lovers, who are enthusiastic about what they do, the more likely you will become like them, little by little.

I know this is related to point 3 above but it doesn’t have to be a formal club; it could be just a single friend who enjoys reading as a pastime and you could agree to be reading together once in a while. Sometimes it helps just to have near you someone who does the same things you do for motivation purposes.

 

5. Build a private library


This is something I plan to do in the long-term, not just for me but also for my children in future. You can do the same too, little by little, with the literature you buy regularly. The advantage is that you have a 24/7 domestic resource center with a variety of literature to suit various needs, e.g. journals for research, novels for leisure, etc. Make sure the room for the library is well-designed with comfortable chairs and cushions as well as a reading desk and proper lighting. This goes towards providing an incentive to be there for long periods of time.

 

Well, these are action points that you can implement easily and become a Reading Writer. Let me know how it works for you or if you think of something else that can help.

Sincerely,

Edna.