Reverse Guest Blogging

Have you tried asking people to write for your site, as contributors (free/ contributed writers)? It’s complicated. We don’t feel good about asking for free content. But, there are good reasons to write for another site, even if you aren’t paid in dollars, or cents.

  • Building contacts
  • Becoming an authority
  • Attracting new readers

If you write for another site (as contributed content) make sure you get an author profile with links to your own sites and a little write up about who you are and what you do.

If you want to find writers for your site make sure you set the terms clearly. Don’t leave them expecting to be paid and hope they won’t notice or make an issue out of it. Tell them about your site and your readers. Interest them in what you do. Talk about your future goals but keep it short until they ask for more information. When you request a guest/ contributed post from them think about how you would like to be approached yourself and be sincere.

How Does Reverse Guest Blogging Work?

To make reverse guest blogging work for you, you’re going to need a plan. There are essentially three steps:

Figure out what you want out of a guest contributor. How often do you want them to contribute? Is there a particular subject you want discussed? Who is going to be in charge of managing this relationship?

Make a list of all the authors you may want to feature. After you make a list, consider doing a few searches to find other writes who you aren’t familiar with.

Go out and try to connect with those authors and talk with them about this opportunity.

If you can’t get the authors you had originally wanted, don’t get discouraged. Figure out who they are connected with (possibly other writers on that blog) and do your outreach there to try and make yourself known.

After all, it’s important that you and your blog are something the author knows as much as it is the other way around.

via Reverse Guest Blogging Will be Huge in 2014: How it Works.

Could you Get Paid to Write?

It’s a bit dramatic to pick up your first ever copy of The Writer’s Market, which ever year you buy your first one. Suddenly you have taken a step into the world where people write and make money from it. This brings the responsibility of expectations. Paid writers should know how to write: spelling, grammar and punctuation. Paid writers should be professional and have a real office (for one thing). What a lot of pressure to perform!

In spite of all that… let this be the year you take that step. It’s kind of scary but exciting too. Make a plan to be a paid writer by the end of 2014. Set that as your goal. You may have been paid small amounts as commissions on Squidoo and other writing networks but take a big step and get paid directly, get paid more and work with an editor at a publication which will judge your writing, possibly make changes and then pay you for it (not a percentage or commission but a real pay cheque for you!)

This deluxe Writer’s Market includes online markets – a great thing for writers who have already had some of their writing published online. Posting to your own site counts too, even if you have been the only one proofreading and editing your work, it is still published (self publishing).

  • Start by getting someone professional (someone who does know grammar, spelling and punctuation) to review your writing work. Get feedback on the common mistakes you make so you can learn from them, be aware of your flaws and watch for them as they come up with you work. Making mistakes is not a bad thing as long as you work on learning from them. Like a word you have trouble spelling, just train yourself to remember the right spelling.
  • Don’t procrastinate. Jump in by looking for a writing market you would like to get into. It might be something you know about from your own personal or professional experience – like a travel agent writing about travel for travel magazines. Take time to plan your method of attack for the market you pick. Choose more than one so you have more options if you get a rejection from your first pick.
  • Decide what you have to offer your chosen market. What does the publication need that you can provide? Study the publication if you have not read it a few times before. Each publication will have topics which are over done and some which just aren’t relevant or timely enough. Find writer’s guidelines for the publication – there are almost always guidelines so keep looking if you don’t find them right away. Or, send a note to the publication and ask for their writer’s guidelines.
  • Craft (and yes, it is a craft) a query letter. Direct it to one publication, one editor (get a name) and give your idea an extra push in some way. Read more about query letters – there have been some spectacular successes and just as many spectacular disasters.
  • Depending on what the publication expected (when you read the writer’s guidelines) you may now begin writing or you may have already written the article/ book/ etc and submitted a sample of it with your query letter.
  • Don’t get scared off or intimidated now. The writing is the part you know, remember?
Writing for children is an extra opportunity if you can illustrate it yourself too.

Pick your Writing Genre and the Markets Too

Just as there are other types of writers – there are other types of writer’s markets and guides to those markets. Look also for photography and graphic artist guides to markets.

Most of all – Best wishes and good luck! I wish you every success in your freelance endeavours.

Don’t forget poets. It may be harder to get paid for poetry but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.

Time Management Matters

Don’t spend too much time getting advice and suggestions. Time management is an important part of working as a freelance writer. You can’t add more hours to your day so use them well.

Great Things to do While Unemployed (or Underemployed)

I read a sensible post about things you can do while you are unemployed. It was sensible. Probably practical even. But, it did not deal with the issue of keeping your soul alive, your spirits up and your creative energy high while you go through the ups and downs of being unemployed.

Being without a job is bad enough. You need that nice, lovely pay cheque. (Yes, that’s Canadian spelling).

However, the worst part about being unemployed is how it makes you feel. Some days you just don’t want to do anything. You don’t want to talk to anyone or be seen by anyone. These kind of days you could happily wear your pajamas and check email from under the blankets in your bed all day. But, that won’t be a good thing.

The more you close yourself off the more you disappear from the world and become cut off from everything. At the time it feels like this is just what you want. But, really, it isn’t what you want at all.

We all want to be vital and important and someone who is up and coming and out there. We all want to be a somebody!

Just because you are unemployed, somewhat financially challenged and feeling kind of down… that doesn’t make you an instant hermit.

So, this is the time in your life when you most need to push yourself out there into the world. Like a baby chick just leaving the nest, you have to step out of your comfortable, reliable nest and dodge cats, watch out for cars and other hard objects in your flight path and find your spirit again.

This is a time to bring yourself out again. Dust off who you really are versus the person you became to suit the job you used to have. We all change to suit, like a chameleon. Now is a great time to snap back into your non-chameleon self.

Rediscover who you are.

I know it sounds kind of silly, but take some personality quizes. There are lots of them online. Take the silly ones and the serious ones. Try the Myers Brigg personality test and find out your four little letters.

Use all this information. Weed out the stuff that doesn’t sound like the real you. The stuff that is leftover from the employed you.

Now go do something that the real you would like to do.

Rediscover your hobbies, your passions and the things that make you want to get out of bed in the morning.

Think back in your life, what did you love when you had time to love something outside of your regular family and work life? Think all the way back to when you were a kid if you have to go that far back. Did you write penpal letters, did you fly remote controlled airplanes, did you crochet?… Somewhere in your past there is something you love and have had to put aside while you focused on work, career or business instead.

Bring your old passions back into your life now, when you need some passion and motivation.

Keep a plan, a schedule of some kind each day too.

Writers can spend one hour writing each day, for instance. An artist can go to a new location each afternoon and paint, photograph, etc. Read up on new skills in your area of work. There is always something new you can learn. Join a local group involved in something in your field of work. Get out there and attend the meetings.

Or, become involved in local issues. Go to the town meetings, find out about the issues in your area. Become involved in change. Be a voice people will hear. (But, don’t be a jerk about it).

Volunteer somewhere. Don’t look at lists of places actually looking for a volunteer and leave it at that. Go to community groups, associations, societies, etc. and ask if they would like a volunteer. Suggest things you could do, things you would like to do and things you are good at doing. Yes, it’s a good way to keep involved and you can keep on top of skills you have and build up your experience, those are all good, practical reasons to volunteer. But, really, it’s about having something to do, a schedule and people who will be counting on you to appear and accomplish things.

Even if you do nothing else – get out of your home area at least one hour every day. Don’t become a gradual shut-in hermit type. That just isn’t you. Plus, you’ll get that weird smell.

Meet new people.

Just smile at someone as you pass by, for a start. When you buy a coffee, start small talk with the cashier. Cashiers are great at small talk. So you don’t have to do much once you start the ball rolling and begin the conversation. A short, simple conversation while you pay for your coffee, groceries, lumber, whatever. A small thing like that can make a big difference in how you feel. Without some kind of social (real, not online) contact you can start feeling disassociated, cut off from the rest of the people on the planet.

Try something new to you.

It may be an art like photography, or a craft like knitting, or skill you can learn like bookkeeping. Keep your brain evolving. Trying something new and having to make your brain work is a good thing. Failing and then learning and continuing to try are also great things for you now. You won’t like the learning curve while you work on this new skill but the accomplished feeling you get once you become good will be well worth the momentary frustration of learning something new.

Create a Crazy Resume

You’ll be writing and rewriting and editing and re-editing your resume countless times. So take one of those times to go crazy with it. Play and have fun with the whole resume thing. Break the rules.

Add colour to your resume. Doodle on the margins, Highlight words, whatever you like. Print it on coloured paper. Use coloured fonts. Draw in crayon on it if you want to.

Add silly skills to your resume. Add things like master teeth brusher, independent car washer, amateur kite flyer, anything you have actually done but would never add to a resume. You may even find yourself discovering a skill worth adding once you stop being so serious about analyzing your skills and experience. But, that isn’t the point. Make yourself sound all puffed up and important for the bits of nothing, the silly skills and all the other stuff we take for granted about ourselves.

Stick your crazy resume up where it can be seen. Someone will laugh about it. Someone will be slightly jealous over your creativity and someone will copy the idea. It’s all good.

You probably shouldn’t send that resume to anyone, in a professional sort of way. But, aren’t you curious about what would happen it you did? You might actually hear back from some of those stuffed shirts who never reply to anything. Kind of tempting isn’t it? Of course, I can’t officially recommend anyone actually sending a crazy resume…

It’s Just a Silly Job Interview

Get together with friends and do job interviews for jobs you make up or would never actually apply for. Go big and interview to the the new owner of McDonalds or WalMart. What does it matter? Go small and interview to be the under-manager of shower curtain inspection. Something silly and non-existent (I hope. Surely there isn’t someone going around inspecting shower curtains in people’s homes).

Do all the really awful interview questions.

  • Why did you apply for this position?
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
  • If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?
  • What are your salary expectations?
  • What do you consider a weakness in yourself?
  • Are you a team player?

But, have fun with it all. Poke fun at the interview process and the questions they ask. Laugh about it all.

Freelance, Consultant or Start your own Business?

Consider going freelance, setting yourself up as a consultant or starting your own business. This is a time when you might find DIY works for you. Sure it’s a risk and you could fail. But, you have time to make plans, find resources and see how much you can do without spending a lot of money.

Go to the library and read information online about freelancing and consulting. What areas of existing business could really use your skills, not as an employee but an outside contractor?

Look around your neighbourhood, what service is needed that you could provide? Where do you see a need you could fill? Keep it practical. Don’t go over your head when it comes to the money you would need to start up or the time and energy it would take to maintain your business/ service.

Start with a business plan. What do you want to do and how feasible is your idea? A well thought out business plan can really help you understand what you are doing, the risks, the chances for success and how other people with similar businesses and services can fit in with your new business or service.

Keep in mind, you don’t have to start the next Tim Horton’s (huge Canadian coffee shop), or be your own Mr. WalMart, etc. Your business just needs to bring in the income you need for your needs. It’s perfectly ok to think local and think small. You don’t have to go in for a world domination plot. Leave that pressure for the next generation.

It’s All About YOU!

Bring, and keep yourself, out of your shell. Don’t sink into a depression, or a decline like a romance novel heroine of old.

Use this free time to your advantage to build yourself up and bring back the creativity, inspiration and passion you had to suppress while you were being a devoted worker bee.

Not only will you feel better emotionally and physically but you will sound better when you do apply for a job and write a real resume. It’s funny how your attitude and emotions leak out even when you think you are being the perfect professional. So, keep yourself feeling strong.

Best wishes to you!

ASCII Art is a Useful Skill for a Writer

ASCII art dragon

We are told to bring something extra, unique, something people will remember to each query we sent for our freelance writing ideas. Most writers are limited in what they can show in text. I’m not. I’ve made ASCII art for more than 10 years (on and off). Just today I thought about how I could create something and send it along with a query letter. Not as something in the envelope but in the actual letter, on the same paper my query is typed into. This even works for email queries, though not as nicely as something I can actually print out.

What do you think?

What’s the Difference between a $5 Per Article Writer and an $85 Per Article Writer?

b) Know Your Worth: When I first started out, I set my rates according to what I needed to be able to make a decent living. My thinking was this, “Writing is hard work and if I can’t earn a decent living doing this type of writing, then I won’t do it — period.”

By 2007, I’d been freelancing for 14 years, so I already had clients. Hence, if the “SEO content writing thing” didn’t work out, I wasn’t worried that my freelance career was over.

At $25 per article, I figured even if I just wrote four articles per day, that’s $100/day, or $3,000/month – enough to cover my monthly expenses – and then some (Note: This will be different for every person). To my surprise, I got so busy at this rate that within a couple of months, I had to hire other SEO writers to help me

via SEO Content Writing: What’s the Difference between a $5 Per Article Writer and an $85 Per Article Writer?.

Make your Writer Feel More like a Writer this Christmas

Writing is something we often do alone while we think we really are not very good. It’s so easy to compare yourself to so many other people who seem to do it all just a bit better than you can ever do it yourself. We all get days where we feel we could not write our way out of a wet paper bag. So, we need some inspiration and encouragement from those around us.

If you have a writer you want to encourage this Christmas, I have some ideas for you! These will also work as self-help if you are the writer you want to encourage and inspire.

  • Treat yourself to a creative writing inspiration type of book. Really treat yourself or your writer and buy one new, not second hand.
  • Look at software for organizing and keeping track of freelance writing submissions. If your writer doesn’t already have something like this, you can really encourage them by giving them a tool to help them do more and do it better.
  • A dictionary is an old stand by, maybe too much of a stand by. But, if you really don’t know what to get it’s something safe. Make sure you go the extra mile and sign the dictionary with encouraging words from you.
  • A writer needs a portfolio, not so different from other artists. Talk to your writer about the portfolio they have and ask about how it could be better. Listen for ideas and ways you could help them get from where they are to where they could be.
  • Look at home offices and see what tools and gadgets would suit a writer’s home office. You might get a gift card at a store which offers wallpaper, paint and etc and let them use it toward redecorating the home office space they have.
  • Sometimes a writer needs to get away and recharge the batteries. Give your writer a trip to a spa, a coupon for a weekend of babysitting their kids, or get them tickets to a creative workshop or writer convention coming to the area.
  • If your own budget is tight give your writer a Christmas card full of inspiring quotes geared to writing and creativity. You can find all kinds of great writer-like quotes online.

Try a New Writing Format

No matter who you are, there will come a time when you need to write someting and just don’t have the inspiration to make a start at it. One thing you can do is try a new format. An interview, when possible, is a good way to go. But, there are other options. I found this list when I was looking at writing jobs today. I’m posting it as a reminder to myself as much as a tip for anyone else. 🙂

 

Articles will be written in a few key formats. (These formats will expand as we grow).

– A History of…. (e.g. A History of Mars Exploration)

– Nerdy Lists … (e.g. 10 scariest video games of all time)

– Stuff For Nerds (e.g. Twenty awesome iPhone cases for nerds)

– Versus (e.g. Klingons vs. Tribbles).

via Bloggers / Freelance Writers needed for Geeky/Nerdy topics.

Science and Technical Writing

Originally posted to SuiteU, part of Suite101. SuiteU is being removed from the site. I wanted to save the ecourses so this resource would not disappear.

Science & Tech Writing

By Melissa A. Nelson

Introduction

The practice of Scientific and Technical communications has been around for years; however the fields are both considered new fields. While there have been writers writing about the latest scientific discoveries since Aristotle, and technology since before the printing press was invented, the fields were not given these names until just the last few decades. Due to the fact that the fields often intertwine, knowledge of what is expected to practice in both can be invaluable to anyone wishing to practice in either field.

The goal of a scientific or technical writer is to create communications that enable the reader to take some form of action, or to make important critical decisions based on the information the communication is relaying to them. Another goal, simply put, is to take something difficult to understand and make it easy to understand. Scientific and technical writers do not just communicate the information others give them; often times they help to create the information that they communicate.

Read moreScience and Technical Writing

Magazine Writing

Originally part of the Suite101 University ecourses offered for free. This content is being removed by Suite101. I wanted to keep it active and useful for myself and others.

Magazine Writing

By Lisa-Anne Sanderson

Introduction

 

If you’ve always had an ambition to write, freelance writing for magazines is an excellent place to start. Writing non-fiction articles can be a fun and lucrative hobby, or an interesting way to earn a living. The rise of technology provides writers with the freedom to work at home, another big advantage. The Internet is a wonderful way of doing research, and emails and faxes provide the convenience of being able to send articles straight from home, although some magazine editors still require them to be posted.

Read moreMagazine Writing

You Don’t Look Like Someone Who’s Famous and Other Reasons I Will Never Feel Like a Somebody

I looked at my place on the AllTop Writing list today. It was a nice spot, close enough to the top to keep my toes from getting chilly and yet not so close that I feel intimidated by myself or stressed out about having to perform.

Performance anxiety, the stress you get when you realize someone is actually watching and expects you to do something worth watching.

I know myself. I know I will never believe in myself enough to give myself credit for what I accomplish. It will never be enough. The crazy critic inside my head keeps my feet firmly planted on the ground. I know any success I have is due to some fluke, something that happened by chance and isn’t likely to be repeated. Like reporting an error on a website, they ask you to tell them how it happened by repeating the steps you took to get there. Like we all keep notes. Well, some of you probably do, I don’t.

Any success I have will be immediately discounted as luck or random chance.

I don’t look like someone who could be famous. I don’t act like someone who could be famous. In a room of famous people I would be asked to serve the cocktails and someone would fire me when I tried to hold too many cocktails on my tray and spilled them all over – smashed glasses and all.

Someone famous is thin, or at least trim and fit looking. I’m not.

Someone famous spends time on their clothes and cosmetics. I’m not even wearing lipstick. I’ve even let myself run out of Blistex so my lips are not silky and soft today.

Someone famous would be making better use of their day. I’ve been sitting here most of the day, researching, writing and publishing.

Someone famous would have been having social chitchats with other famous people. I took a break and played cards with my Mother.

Someone famous has themselves set up in the perfect setting with no clutter and a lot of glamour. I’m surrounded by paper clutter, Ubuntu DVDs I burned and games I will procrastinate with later. There are pens and markers on my desk, getting in the way of my computer mouse. My coffee cup is empty – usually it’s here too. Hairbrush, hair clips, a flower shaped cookie cutter, vitamins, a jingle bell from Christmas, a red ribbon from the new underwear I bought a month ago, hand sanitizer, a Swiss Chalet survey, paperwork to fill out for my volunteering job and assorted other clutter that someone famous would have staff to handle for them.

Someone famous isn’t making their own lunch, or skipping it cause in another hour it will be time to start making dinner anyway.

Someone famous doesn’t have a shelf (more than one shelf) with self-help, creative writing inspiration, freelance writing and web development type of books which they have not actually done more than skim yet.

Someone famous doesn’t get swollen feet from sitting here too long.

Someone famous would only spend an hour (at most!) on writing and then they would be off for their TV interview, lunch with Keanu Reeves and a public appearance for the reporters and adoring crowds.

Someone famous would never feel like I do.

Yet, the odd thing is… some of them do!

The really, really, really odd thing is; there are people who will look at this site and the other sites I write for and think I’m a somebody. (Not after they read this of course. Illusions of my grandeur are shot now. But, you get the idea).