Posts Tagged ‘writing’

The Simplest Things of Life

Life is sweet, life is fun

Life is full of great new dreams

Life is fresh, life is good

Life’s not tampering with my mood

 

I can see, I can breath,

I can live life to the full.

 

I can talk, I can walk

I can swing my arms around.

 

I can dance, I can jump

I can play the games I like.

 

I can pray – everyday!

I can sing on many notes.
‘Tis a great thing to be blessed

With the simplest things of life

These are rarely boasted about

But are vital things to enjoy.

So the next time you are low

Fight that feeling with these thoughts

And be thankful for the simple things of life.

Simple ‘Writes’ that keep you close to your clients

I love writing, and normally I expect other writers to love and enjoy it like I do! After all, how can you be a writer and not love writing? That would be weird, right? Well, I have slowly discovered that writing often doesn’t come easy for most people, including even those who profess to be writers. It takes a while to perfect the task or even get used to a regular writing schedule.

There are some things, though, that we must all learn to write no matter whether we enjoy writing as a task or not. They are very important things that tend to add value to what we are doing regardless of the field in which we operate. I would like to call them ‘little writes’ as they usually require very little time and are very short in length. But VERY IMPORTANT! We use them everywhere, everyday, in every sector; they need just a little bit of extra care in wording and style to produce the right effect.

However, the thing that I want to emphasize is that they are valuable as items that communicate volumes to both potential and existing clients. They are small tokens which, when used in the right manner and at the right time, can produce priceless benefits for your relationships with clients. I am referring to welcome notes, thank you notes and acknowledgements.

Welcome Note:
One of the things I am learning about doing business online and maintaining a community of followers is that although people have a very short attention span and move quickly over the net, most still appreciate a personal touch when it comes. For instance when someone likes my Facebook page I usually make a point of sending them a message of welcome to my page. This is because I value every single follower whether they end up taking up my services or not; they are a potential client right from the start.

You can do this not only for Facebook pages but also for email lists on your website or blog. You can also add a welcome note to the home page of your site. It makes you appear more visitor-friendly.

People love to be recognized and appreciated so learn to do it often. Make sure to keep it simple and short – a greeting, describe what your page or blog is all about in one sentence, and appreciate the fact that they have come to you. Then make an offer for them to call or email if they need your product or service. That’s all.

Thank You Note:

This is one of the most precious things in a relationship – saying thank you in written form. Writing is visual, enabling a lasting impact in the mind of the reader/recipient. Saying thank you in speech is not the same as writing it out in rich language using beautiful note-paper. Ok, the paper doesn’t have to be all that fancy, but you get my point. Remember that two people can do the same thing but one of them stands out simply because of the way it is done, so make sure you write something fresh, something unique, something memorable. Exercise your writing skill to the fullest!

Address the recipient by name and make sure to mention what it is you appreciate or like or value about that person or about what they did. Again, be short and simple. Remember that a note and a letter are two very different things, so don’t turn into a letter!

 

Acknowledgements:

A very important thing about communication (actually a very basic thing) is the ability to respond to a letter, an email, a request, an inquiry or outstanding service in the shortest time possible. Now, I know these are probably the busiest times we have ever lived in and sometimes it takes long for things to be attended to. However, you can choose to stand out from the pack and be one of the few people who make sure to acknowledge receipt of an inquiry, request, letter or email so that the person who sent it does not feel unattended to.

Acknowledgements should be written immediately before you move onto something else and forget. Make sure to thank the person for taking the time to contact you. If you are not in a position to give a concrete response to the need, then at least let them know you are working on it and give a time period within which they are likely to get their need sorted out.

 

Okay, those are what I call ‘little writes’. They are essential and small in size but large in impact. I hope you have been writing them and will continue to do so. If not, it’s never too late to start!

 

 

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!

How to Write A Product Description For Your Online Shop: Five Simple Steps

website ideas

Photo credit: Sean MacEntee

Short, attention-grabbing articles tend to do very well on the web; they allow the reader to get what you are saying in a small amount of time, which is a very precious commodity on the web. Many people do not know how to do that – explain something using few words in a manner that is clear and concise. Product Descriptions require exactly that.

A product description is simply a very short article that talks about a specific item, gadget, equipment, service, or commodity. Normally between 100 and 150 words, a product description not only educates potential customers on the value and use of the item; it also serves as a marketing tool when keywords are used in it. This is a very important tool for businesses, especially small businesses and start-ups.

If you have an online store for the things you sell, consider writing product descriptions for each class of items in your shop. Make it short, concise and use simple language. Target the kind of customers that normally visit your store, or the ones you want to attract to your site. Include 2 – 3 of the keywords you use for your site in order to attract web traffic. This is very important because you want to extract maximum value out of that short description.

Number 1: Picture in your mind the kind of customer you wish to attract. Think of the general sector, e.g. young, educated, salaried professional. Think of a particular person who fits that exact description and prepare to write for him/her.

Number 2: Write down what you want to say about your product/service, exactly the way you want to say it. Choose your words carefully and direct them at the person you have pictured. Your aim is to convince them that what you are offering has value plus superior quality.

Number 3: Insert two to three keywords for your site. This will help drive relevant traffic to your site. Put one in the title of the article, one in the main body and the last one in the final paragraph. Make sure they are not forced into the sentences; they should flow naturally with what you are saying.

Number 4: Define your Call To Action, that is, what do you want that customer to do about your product? Do you want them to buy it or ask for more information? Do you want them to click on the cart or to investigate what else you have to offer? Do you want them to write a review about it? The answer to these questions will determine how you word your Call To Action. Include that as the last paragraph of your article.

call to action

call to action (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

Number 5: Insert the article on your landing page or sales page, whichever one serves the purpose of attracting the attention of visitors or would-be customers. Make sure the font is easily readable. Feel free to highlight key text like the name of the product for example.

Remember, you can get a lot of mileage for your site from writing product descriptions. Never under-estimate the power of words, no matter how few!

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.

Using Quotes in Your Writing

Quotes are like spices in a dish for the writer; they flavor an article and make it more enjoyable for the reader. Since reading is an exercise that most people find a bit hard to pursue and keep up for a period of time, writing articles that provide an extra zing can make a big difference and quotes are able to do just that.

I love quotes and once in a while I like to use them to spice up my own writing. There are thousands of them on numerous subjects, so all you need to do is to find the one that is appropriate for your piece. Always make sure that the quote you choose is relevant to your subject otherwise it will just turn out to be a rude interruption in the eyes of your reader. Remember that your reader is a prize treasure you wouldn’t want to disappoint.

 

Quotes are short sentences or phrases that other people have said and recorded on various subjects. They belong to somebody else but give added value to your piece, like when you want to emphasize a point, introduce humor or launch a new topic. Their value lies in the quick insight they provide into different ways of looking at things and thinking about them. For instance, quotes on love provide us with insights into how people conceive of love, which helps us write more about the subject of love. Quotes can therefore provide you with new ideas about what to write as well as new perspectives. If you ever have a problem getting started on a new topic, simply Google ‘quotes on the subject’ and you may just find new inspiration or a starting point at least.

 

When using quotes, remember that you are borrowing someone else’s words so make them stand out from what you have said (e.g. using italics) and ensure you give credit to the person by indicating who said it. Do not congest your writing with quotes, though, as much as it is a beautiful technique to apply. Use them sparingly but correctly positioned in the text so as to get the most mileage out of them. They usually work well at the beginning of the article to introduce your thought process or at the end when you want to leave the reader with something to ponder about.

 

On that note, I came across the following quote on the subject of creative writing. Most of the time we writers want to give people what they want to read; how about giving people what we want to say and quit worrying about what they think?

 

Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer. ~ Barbara Kingsolver