|The Biggest Mistake Most Writers Make|
A guest post by Sean Platt of GhostWriterDad.com.
Not having a website or blog to call their own is one of the biggest mistakes a modern writer can make.
It’s shocking how many writers make it anyway.
Perhaps it’s the abundance of free solutions that lull writers into the false belief that they’re building something with long term, sustainable value, when the truth is they own nothing at all.
From social media hot spots such as Twitter and Facebook, to Web 2.0 properties like Tumblr and Posterous, writers can easily find free solutions that will allow them to easily hop online and get noticed. Unfortunately, those “free “ solutions carry the ridiculously high cost of holding those writers back.
Any writer who says they don’t need a website is wrong.
You don’t need a website to succeed at a baseline level, but if you expect to mine the maximum potential from the time you spend online, and nurture the writing career that’s in your head, then a website is non-negotiable.
A website is a MUST, but that website must also be built on a quality framework that is easy to install, simple to manage, and will help you get your work noticed by the greatest number of possible readers.
That makes the WordPress CMS the best possible choice for your website’s underlying structure.
You may think of WordPress as blogging software, since that’s precisely what it is. Yet WordPress also has everything needed to build a robust website that offers everything a modern writer needs to grow a healthy business and a lucrative writing career.
Best of all, WordPress is 100% free.
Here are 5 reasons why every modern writer MUST have a blog:
Blogs Are Prime Real Estate For Audience Bonding
You need readers.
Visitors mean nothing. It’s readers who will help you grow by buying or spreading your work, opting into your lists, telling their friends about who you are and what you do, leaving reviews of your work, and doing much of your marketing for you.
But you must turn your visitors into readers first.
Blogs simplify the process.
The most powerful element to blogging isn’t the ease of the software; it’s the human element that allows you to grow closer to your readers, and them to you.
Your blog is a place for your readers to get to know and like you. Since people like to do business with people they like, a blog makes that easier, whether your business is selling books or selling services.
Your Blog Makes List Building Easy
No matter what your business model, or your personal reasons for blogging, the key to maximizing the effectiveness of your time spent online is to concentrate on gaining and retaining subscribers.
If list building sounds too clinical or markety, think of building a list as building your fan club. This is a massively rewarding strategy, both because of the tangible direct response nature of having a list with fans who will respond to your emails, and with what you can learn from your market by paying attention to your list.
List, or “fan” building can work with any market.
My list at Ghostwriter Dad offers a free eCourse that teaches people how to make more money writing in less time. There is never anything to buy and there is about 75,000 words worth of free information. Whenever I have a new book about writing or social media, those subscribers are the first to know.
I have another list for my serialized fiction series, Yesterday’s Gone. This list is filled with “Goners,” or fans of the book. They get special chapters and exclusive content not available on Kindle. Whenever I have a new fiction book or short story, those readers are the first to know.
Two very different lists, both extremely helpful in nurturing my writing career.
Either list would be extremely difficult to build without a blog.
Your Website Will Give You a Place to Build and Store Your Written Assets
You’re a writer, with magic to be envied. You possess the rare skill of being able to create something from the depths of nothing. You can alter thinking, sway emotions, and paint pictures in your readers’ minds.
You can manufacture money from thin air and the assets you build, simply by moving your fingers across the keyboard.
But you must create your content first, then make sure you dock it in a safe harbor.
A blog gives you reason to create great content. Blog posts, newsletters, special reports, landing pages, viral videos, interviews, sample chapters for your books — you have no limit to what you can create.
A blog, more than any other tool, free or paid, will give you a reason to create content, and a place to keep it safe, visible, and easy to share.
Create enough content over a consistent period, and you will be able to repurpose and package those assets to establish streams of steady passive income.
Your Website Makes it Easy For Publishers, Readers and Clients to Find You
While there are some people who get bitten by the blogging bug and get a burning desire to start sharing every element of their lives, that’s not you.
You started out online because you wanted to build a writing career, and were smart enough to see that the digital trends were undeniable.
Mostly, you wanted to get noticed.
Whether you’re looking to get discovered so you can land a traditional publishing contract, establish an audience of readers who will be eager to buy whatever you write, or establish a stable of steady clients for your growing freelance business, a website makes it much easier for publishers, readers and clients to find you.
More importantly, an increasing number of publishers, readers and clients now expect writers to have a website or blog. If you don’t, you risk being seen as out of touch from word one.
Your Website Provides a Central Hub For Your Writing Career
Whatever else you do, or wherever else you might spend your time online, a website offers a central hub to your writing career.
Your Facebook is important, as is your time on Twitter. And of course, that author’s profile on Amazon has tremendous weight, but you’re only a digital sharecropper if you don’t own your own domain.
The common denominator for an overwhelming number of successful writers is this simple formula: they own their own domain and have established a blog.
Your blog is the sun; everything else in your online world should orbit around it.
You don’t have to be great to get going, but you must get going if you expect to be great. Without a website, you’re only cheating yourself, and your career potential. If the thought of managing your own domain seems overwhelming, you can start with a free solution at WordPress.Com. It isn’t what’s best, but you can do it today with a few clicks, so you have no reason not to dip your toe.
A list for any writer of free software to be downloaded to help making your writing life easier.
Respect nature like you respect your friends and family.
God gave us this wonderful gift to enjoy every moment of our lives, to lighten up our days when we feel as if the world is upon our shoulders.
Today I want you to tap into that inner poet, look at a bird or a flower or even a butterfly, and write a poem, make that moment that you are seeing a moment that lasts forever through your words.
Capture your memories with a pen.
(Photo credits: http://wall.alphacoders.com/ )
This is very helpful when describing any characters.
Weekdays are always such a rush;
people frustrated, getting irritated:
‘I missed the bus!’
The clock seems to stand still while at work;
as soon as you get home the clock gets a growth spurt.
Dinner is made, the children is put to bed.
No time is left for me, tomorrow I’ll do my nails instead.
I open my eyes and look at the clock,
I need to get up, the bus is around the block.
Another day to race the clock;
weekdays’ rush gives me an emotional knock.
© Rozanne van Zyl
All Rights Reserved
* Image Credits: Softonic
Sometimes, short and sweet is best, and English includes many three-letter words that help us accommodate our yearning for concise composition — or, to be brief, fix our yen for curt prose. Some are workhorse words — the article the, the pronouns his and her, conjunctions like and, prepositions such as for, verbs like put and say.
However, other three-letter words pack a lot of punch as nouns, adjectives, and verbs (sometimes adaptable to all three forms of speech), and are suitable for purposes as diverse as fitting into a tight headline or packing a punch in prose. Here’s a list of vivid vocabulary consisting of three letters:
1. Apt: appropriate, or suited or inclined
2. Ire: anger
3. Ken: something known or understood, or to know or recognize
4. Wee: small
5. Vex: to distress, irritate, agitate, or puzzle
6. Eke: to accomplish with great effort (also used to mean “increase” or “also”)
7. Cog: a tooth on a gear, or, in a figurative sense, a person as an insignificant part of an enterprise; a similar projection on a piece of wood for interconnecting with another piece; also, flattering, or throwing dice unfairly (also used to mean “to cheat or deceive,” as well as referring to a medieval sailing vessel)
8. Cwm: a valley or hollow
9. Err: to make a mistake, or to transgress
10. Ere: before
11. Gig: a short-term job
12. Yen: a yearning or urge for something
13. Bar: a beam or rod or other manufactured device or natural feature, or a counter for serving drinks or a commercial enterprise for this purpose, but also a verb meaning “to obstruct or prevent” or in reference to an exception (“barring that”)
14. Jet: a powerful stream of material, a jetlike emanation, or an airplane that uses jet propulsion, but also a very dark black, a type of glossy coal often used as jewelry
15. Ram: a male sheep, or a tool used for forcing movement or for breaking through a door or other structure, or a part of a vehicle or vessel designed to damage other vehicles or vessels; to use a tool or similar device
*Article courtesy of Daily Writing Tips
Think twice about the book you’re reading tonight, acknowledge the author and the wonderful talent that has been given to them.
My kiss symbolize my love for you;
a love is sealed with a kiss, our love is true.
I want the world to see how much you mean to me,
showing that we are meant to be.
A kiss can take up many different meanings,
but mine is created with true love feelings.
You light up my life, you are my light in the dark,
spending a lifetime with you sitting on a bench in a park.
I want you to know that you mean the world to me;
being without you leaves my heart with misery.
This words is coming straight from my heart,
sealing our love with a kiss –
we will never be apart.
© R. van Zyl
All Rights Reserved
(Image Credits: Trends Updates)
Trash the brownies. Nix the wine. Cut the Coolatas. Dang. Is it that time of year again? Soon enough, everyone will be turning to those grim New Year’s resolutions.
That roll call of self-deprivation has never been productive. I prefer to look on the bright side.
This year, I plan to live and write large. If I’m making any new year writing plans, it’s to write bolder and happier. This year, I’m going to be the bon vivant of the writing world.
What about you? Was 2011 the year of great and generous writing? Or was your work already trudging toward the winter blahs? Has this been the year when your day job and your family and your pets and the neighbors have demanded too much of your time and sidetracked you from your creative dreams? Or have you been faithfully putting in the time but … well … writing has become just another daily chore? Have you lost your passion?
It’s time to ring out the old writing year and plan for how to build on the past year’s success. And to do that, you may find that you need to refresh your writing routine.
So get happy. Get writing. Here are six questions to ask yourself so you can finish the year right.
1. Your New Year artist statement: You do have one, don’t you?
From those first drafts to that Pulitzer Prize party, I believe that your writing should be inspired by something much deeper than getting rich or getting famous or getting even with your ex. It should cohere with your own personal vision or belief system.
This is a good time to look within yourself and ask some tough questions about what you write—and why. How much does creative writing actually matter to you? Why do you even bother? Your honest and highly personalized answers will help you write a brief artist’s statement. I’m not talking anything Hallmark or biblical here. I’m talking about a simple, heartfelt statement that will sustain you over the next year. It will help you to balance your writing with working and parenting and commuting. It will serve as your daily reminder, your check-in with your creative self.
Already have an artist’s statement from last year? Dust it off and ask yourself if it still applies. A lot can happen in a year. These life changes can shift your worldview and your inner sensibilities. So take these early days of the new year to ensure that your artist’s statement still fits.
2. Your current regimen: Still working?
I put the finishing touches on this article in the beauty salon. It was a Wednesday evening after work. I was sitting in the stylist’s chair, editing and tweaking while she put the finishing touches on my new hair coif. A long time ago, my stylist stopped offering me those glossy magazines. She simply applies my chemicals and says,
“I’ll let you do your usual homework.”
As a busy day-job writer, you need to be ready to mix it up, to write on the go, to always have a draft or a research article or a final edit in your briefcase or under the seat of the car.
Take an honest look at how well your current regimen is really working. If necessary, be willing to experiment or make a change.
Ask yourself: Does last year’s writing schedule still work with your life? If you’ve been promoted or downsized, if your kids have graduated or started school, it may be time to tweak or adjust. Just like in real life, when you get lost in your writing routine, the easiest thing to do is to retrace your steps until you discover the juncture where things went wrong. If you’ve just had a year in which you often got sidetracked, take a diagnostician’s look at the where, the how and the who. Make a list.
In the new year, how can you change or avoid these? Often, this is a simple fix. For example, if you habitually get caught up in the TV morning news or the daily chores the second you go downstairs every morning, then … don’t go downstairs. Keep your laptop or your notebook upstairs, and get in some writing before the day actually begins.
Would mornings work better than evenings for chipping away at that ms? Are there incidental spots (lunch hour, waiting for your kids to get out of sports practice, a half-hour between school drop-off and your morning commute) when, given the right setup and equipment, you could easily fit in a solid spate of writing or editing?
3. Your hardware, software: Time for an upgrade?
Machines will not make you into a better writer. Commitment, passion and self-belief will. If, however, you’ve spent part or most of the past year unjamming your printer or cursing at your computer, then this is the time to upgrade your technology. Or, if you’ve found some incidental times and places in which you can fit in some writing, now is the time to splurge on a portable device that will help you use those times efficiently.
If you’re due for a tech upgrade, do it—it may be tax deductible. Many freelance writers work from a home office, which is tax deductible—including all the equipment that helps you do your job. (The same applies if your creative writing has reached professional status—even if it’s not your full-time gig. Check with your tax accountant about what is required to deem yourself a pro, or do some online research.)
4. Writing extracurriculars: Are you missing out?
Being a professional writer goes way beyond the U.S. Tax Code—but nobody will treat you like a professional unless you treat yourself like one. It’s important to give your writing equal or greater status to the other facets of your life—including your paid day job. And it’s important to utilize professional development opportunities. Workshops, writing conferences, webinars and classes are all excellent venues where you can keep up with developments in the field and network with your fellow writers.
So as you plan the next annual chapter of your writing life, investigate what opportunities are available, and what will work for your budget. Writing conferences fill up quickly. Continuing education classes are enrolling now for the spring semester. Don’t get shut out of those webinars.
Professional education and training—and your mileage—are also tax deductible for professional writers.
5. Your support network: Is it in place?
Nobody really writes alone, without the support of a partner, friend, babysitter, neighbor, cat, agent, local indie bookstore. As you draft your plan for a grand and happy writing year, list the people who can help you make it happen. If you’re a parent, can you and your partner agree to one kid-free night each? Can you trade or pay for babysitting services in your neighborhood? Would joining a local writing group give you the support, friendship and deadlines needed to get your work out of the attic and into the world?
As well as recruiting your cheerleaders, this may be the time to look at the people who have distracted or discouraged you from your writing dreams or plans. Is there a family member who never takes your work seriously? Is there a writing buddy who spends more time moaning about the publishing industry than actually writing or providing mutual support? Trust me, there’s a reason why people discourage you from your creative dreams. And the reason is them, not you. So make a New Year’s resolution to beef up your support systems, and either reduce your time with the naysayers, or at least change your reactions to them.
6. Day planners and deadlines: Have you mapped out a path to success?
I had a college professor who used to tell us evening graduate students, “A good paper is a done paper.” I’ve always remembered her advice. Whatever mood you’re in, there’s nothing as motivating as a fixed date with an editor who wants your work.
But how to find those editors and those calls for submissions? Take the time to research the writing and funding opportunities for the new year.
Many magazines, literary journals and fellowships have long lead times. Study the Standout Markets column in this magazine, and check out books like Writer’s Market to choose the opportunities that either apply
or appeal to you.
Be realistic here. Given your daily schedule, what can you reasonably achieve? Equally, it’s important to aim for some projects that will stretch you as a writer. Once you make your 2012 list, note the submission dates in your electronic or paper day planner. Done? Not yet: Inset those pre-submission dates to make a little project plan for yourself, including the sub-dates by which you need to complete your first draft, get it to your writing group for review or, if you use a copy editor, get it to him for that final pre-submission review and rewrite.
As writers, we often get so caught up in our work that it’s hard to take time to examine how we can make things better and plan ahead. But you use this kind of goal setting and long-range project management at work and at home. Why not finish the year right by setting yourself up for success in the new year with resolutions to approach your craft smarter and happier?
Your writing will thank you.