Posts Tagged ‘writer’

Why do you write: for self or for publicity?

“Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.” 

Cyril Connolly (1903 – 1974)

This is a quote I heard at the tail end of an episode on Criminal Minds – it was a fitting epilogue of what had just taken place, given that the criminal in question had been leaving strange writings on the bodies of his victims.

That line set me thinking, why do writers write? What is the real motivation behind the endless hours of typing and researching and compiling and editing? Perhaps it is to satisfy the ego or a deep inner need in our lives. Or perhaps it is for others to know that we can write, or for them to read our books, magazines and articles for pure entertainment or for knowledge sake.

The quote above gave me food for thought though. What would be more important to you when you write, your self or the public?

Let me know what you think…

Feel free to share this post as often as you want on facebook, twitter, or your blog.

Have a great weekend!

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.

Developing your writing skills: self-improvement for writers.

How many of us take time out of our busy writing schedules to focus specifically on improving our ability to write?

I called a friend of mine recently (we share the same writing passion) to pass on some vital information and after the usual chit-chat I asked him what he was doing at that particular time. It was a Saturday morning. He told me that he had allocated that whole day for reading; reading articles, eBooks and stuff he had gotten from the internet to help sharpen his writing skills. I thought to myself, what a lovely idea, devoting a whole day to an activity that doesn’t involve writing but contributes to your writing career!

 

Do writers have to spend all their waking hours scribbling or typing away till their fingers ache? I don’t think so. I believe there is a place for investing in self-improvement to become even more productive. Take some time off your routine writing and think about activities you can engage in to make you a better writer. I know this may not be easy, especially for writers on contract or when you have a number of clients waiting but remember that your future as a writer depends on what you do today. The sum of activities and decisions made in your present are a good indication of future outcomes. Try to invest in your tomorrow today.

You may be asking, so what can I do to improve my writing skills?

For starters, ask yourself where you want to be in the next 2 – 5 years. What kind of a writer do you want to be? Are you likely to change what you are doing now, e.g. from writing articles for sale to writing your own books and publishing? The goals you have set for your writing career will determine what you need to do. However, there are those basic things that every writer must engage in to develop themselves further regardless of their particular interests. My favorite one is reading (I wrote an earlier post on this entitled The Reading Writer. You can find it in the archives). Another one is mentorship or being mentored.

Let’s talk about these items next time. For now, keep mulling over what you need to do to develop yourself as a writer.

All the best,

Edna.

Your Personal Writing

Writing is a process – a journey into a world where sometimes the end is not very clear at the beginning but you have to write anyway. Sometimes it’s hard, sometimes it’s easy but you have to keep at it if you really want to become a good writer. The best writers usually do one thing; they write and keep on writing, and they don’t give up. Quality is more important than quantity.
Your writing must have value and that is usually found in the eyes of the reader. Think about excellence and style. Develop your own style and avoid aping someone else’s. As a beginner on the path of writing start with simple exercises. Don’t overstrain yourself with difficult subjects or complex ideas. For instance, write a paragraph of your thoughts every morning. Don’t worry about whether it makes sense or not. The idea is to keep the writing flame going till you can develop something more interesting. Build on this and work your way towards a whole page then two pages and so on. This particular exercise helps to develop your ability to communicate honestly from your heart. Write whatever comes into your head and don’t despise it; it could be good material for future use. Focus more on the process not the product.

How has your experience been with your own writing? Keep me informed via the comment box.

Cheers!

The Writer

“A writer is an explorer whose mind, emotions, experiences and knowledge become the field of exploration in a journey that takes time to complete.”

“A writer is not so much someone who has something to say as he is someone who has found a process that will bring about new things he would not have thought of if he had not started to say them.” (William Stafford).

Quickly – 5 Important Things to Know About Freelance Writing

Hey, it’s Freelance!

So organize your time!

Your time management skills will prove very valuable as there will be no manager, administrator or supervisor telling you what to do or when to do it. You will have to set your standards, manage your customers, do your own marketing/advertizing, and basically everything that goes into running a business.

There are a wide range of options

The beauty of freelance writing is that you get to decide what kind of writing you want to do and for how long. You can choose from a wide variety of possibilities including blogs, copywriting, content writing, magazine articles, ghost writing, writing curriculums, writing e-books, and many more.

Settle on whatever option suits your skills best and have a happy writing experience!

It can be done remotely – absolutely anywhere!

Another advantage of freelance writing is that you can do it from anywhere in the world, as long as you have a PC and reliable internet connection. This makes it one of the fastest growing freelance careers in the 21st Century.

Many people are turning to it because it requires few skills other than good grasp of language (especially English) and knowledge of subject matter. It is also becoming very common among people who have long retired from formal employment but still want to have a busy, productive life.

Your research skill is an advantage

You will often find yourself with assignments where you have to do a lot of internet research to get material for your topic. Your ability to get information, analyze, classify, and separate what is relevant from what is not, in the shortest time possible, will come into play. Your clients will be judging your work based on quality and originality, so sharpen those research skills as often as you can.

Flexibility to change

Whatever the nature of your writing, learn to embrace change because it is a normal part of life. Freelance writing is closely linked to the world of technology, which is constantly changing. You must learn to be flexible enough to embrace new ideas and ways of doing things so as not to lose clients at the doorstep of remaining old-fashioned.

Enjoy your writing career!

Getting Started on Freelance Writing: 5 Things to Consider

Freelance writing is getting popular everyday! I can attest to that by the number of people turning to it on a full time basis, including me of course! The options available are vast, exciting, interesting and potentially very profitable. Thanks to the world getting smaller electronically and more technologically advanced, writers are sniffing out new opportunities for business.

Writing as a career is not a bread-and-butter issue, though. It requires a certain level of commitment, passion, discipline and diligence. You’ve got to work out a plan that clearly outlines what you will be doing, how, when and where. The plan should also include an estimate of your anticipated income and how you expect to earn it. Does that seem like a mountain? I hope not, but here are five primary things to consider first before launching into writing as a career:

1. Do you really want to write?

First of all, you need to be sure that you really want to write. Writing is work so you must be ready to carry the load every day or week depending on how often you need to write. Ask yourself questions like, how much passion do I have for writing? Is it just a past-time (hobby) or is there a cause for which I must write? It will be hard to make a career out of writing if your interest is half-hearted or limited. Although you will not become a guru overnight, you need to have a strong inner conviction that this is your line because that is what will keep you going during the hard times.

2. What kind of writing are you interested in?

There are various types of writing that you can engage in and the choice is yours. It all depends on individual skill, experience and interest. You need to define clearly what kind of writing you will engage in because opportunities are vast out there. Besides, some appear very lucrative at face value but can turn out to be a great challenge to implement.

Write a list of possibilities including the pros and cons of each. To help you do this better, do an online research on all the options available, e.g. copywriting, blogging, content writing, transcription services, writing for magazines, ghost writing, etc. Out of that list, pick two as a starting point. These should be the ones that are easy for you, especially the ones you have already started doing. For instance, you may already have a blog running or you have been writing short stories since high school days. This means you may have developed some level of skill in that area, which makes it easier for you to launch into it as a career.

3. Do you have what it takes?

A writing career is very demanding of personal time and effort. Most people don’t realize how long it takes to become an exceptional writer or one who is sought after by publishers. When you look at published authors during book signing events, for example, it seems as though they got their book out very easy but that is not so. They probably took a few years to write and then suffered a few rejections from editors and publishers first.

To make a career out of writing requires a lot of determination, self-belief and an ability to market your work. You must be able to build a brand and make it stand out so that clients choose your service over others. You will also need a high level of excellence that will make your clients keep coming back.

4. Does it make economic sense to you?

Never begin a new project without first counting the cost and evaluating what benefit it will bring. This applies to your writing career. It will effectively be a business for you so you need to sit down and work out the mathematics of it. How much will you be able to earn in, say, one month? Will that amount cover all your expenses? What about things like medical insurance? Will you be able to put something aside towards savings? This is just to ensure that you are being practical about things. Remember also that people will be asking you why you have chosen to be a writer (out of all the other possible careers in this world) and you will need to have a sound answer.

5. Basis of operation

Lastly, albeit very important point, determine your mode of operation. Will you rent an office somewhere or will you be working from the house? Of course, the latter would be a better option for someone who is just starting out because then you have fewer expenses to worry about. Consider also whether you will need to purchase a laptop or work from a cyber café, or borrow somebody’s machine to start with before you get your own.

A good plan for your freelance writing career is worth all the trouble. You will avoid many pitfalls that are common for newcomers in the field.