Get Inspired by Tess Kincaid

This blog is dedicated to the enjoyment of poets and writers, for the purpose of honing their craft, sharing it with like-minded bloggers, and keeping their muses alive and well.

Instructions

1) Write a poem or short vignette using the picture featured in this post as your inspiration. Feel free to take the image to use for your post.

2) Link back to Magpie Tales from your post.

3) Sign up in the Mr. Linky list, linking directly to your post, AFTER you’ve posted.

via The Mag.

Individual Bloggers Need Their Own Niche

Top 5 Ways to Master Online Content

1. Optimize, Not Compromise

Content farms are so obsessed with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) that they prioritize search terms within content over logical narrative. Worry less about how Google indexes, and focus on delivering great information about potential keywords.

5. Find Your Niche

Being an expert at one thing is better than being knowledgeable on many things. Do research on a specific area of interest. Find what is under-represented and fill the void.

via Too long. Didn’t read. – The Writer.

I think finding your niche (actually, creating your niche) is the real way for individual writers online these days. We can’t compete with the amount of general content on the content farm sites. Even as a writer on one of the content farm sites we seldom stand out enough to make enough money. So, the key is to stand out on your own in some way. Find your niche, something you can sustain, and then get into promoting it so people will begin to find you out here in the vast online wilderness.

Writing for Content Marketing Sites is Too Expensive

How much does it cost to write for other sites, like HubPages and Squidoo? There is a push for writers at these sites to add video along with the content they write and the images they post too.  No one quite dares to make video mandatory (as far as I have seen). However, for me personally, the addition of video to my posts has cost me $20 a month more on my ISP (Internet service provider) bill.

Viewing several videos for each post takes up bandwidth. My account is not one of the huge packages, I live on a budget (as most writers who don’t have money to burn, do). There is also the image added to a post. Some writers at these sites pay for the images they use. I don’t. I use my own photos, create images myself or go to sites where the images and clipart are free to use.

Don’t forget to count your writing itself. No matter how you feel at the time, writers should be getting paid for the content they create. I find many of these content marketing sites don’t pay writers a single cent. Over time a writer may make a pittance or two. However, how much time writing, promoting and researching has the writer spent to earn $10 over the months… years… they gave.

I used to think writing community sites were a good thing for web writers. I don’t any feel that way now. Mainly the cost of viewing video and the push for writers to add video – that is what has me a little angry actually. No big deal for these sites to ask for video added to posts. The sites make money on the farm of writers they keep. Don’t think they are struggling too much. Their success comes from the people they pay nothing to almost nothing. It doesn’t matter to them if the writers are happy, not really. People who write for them are a dime a dozen, cheaper actually.

So why write for them and spend more than you get paid? Pick yourself up, copy your content from the site and put up your own site. It’s not hard and you shouldn’t be intimidated. You don’t have to be a huge success right away. If you can improve your earnings from cents to dollars you’re ahead of where you were before. Plus you can have pride in what you have done, you are your own editor (along with spellcheck) and every penny you make stays in your pocket.

Do you Have to Wait for Inspiration?

Can you write when you don’t feel inspired? Or do you stall, hoping something will come along?

We need to find our own inspiration or just start writing without it. If you are working on a long project it is a bit easier to pick things up and go ahead and write. It is harder when you have a project to plan and write from the beginning. You may need to stop looking for artistic inspiration and instead think of more practical inspiration.

Practical inspiration is simple to find. We need to write to pay bills. We need to write to finish a project by the deadline. Everyone has this kind of inspiration but we sometimes take it for granted and don’t think it is the kind of inspiration a writer should put first. This is a silly attitude.

Let your own practical inspiration take over when you lack something fancier and artistic. Take a few minutes to get into your writing routine and then plug yourself in there and get to work. In the end, writers are those who write.

Writers of Old Books Don’t Have Twitter Accounts

Reading an old book is interesting because you know the writer is long deceased. The book is like something frozen at one point in time, the story will never change to reflect the modern use of cell phones and you can’t ever contact the writer on Twitter to offer a review of their book.

I do like to look up writers when I am reading their books. I like to see what kind of internet presence they have, do they make use of their Twitter account (if they have one) do they keep their blog/ site updated about upcoming books and give readers tidbits about past books? Do they write a bit about themselves, telling us who they are and why they wrote the story they wrote? I like the odd note about their journey to get the book researched, written and then published.

You can’t do all that with a book written 100 years ago. The writer isn’t going to be answering your email any time soon. It’s a funny feeling, a little eerie/ spooky. Kind of sad too.

What was the last book you read which was older – so old it was written before you were born or more than 100 years ago? If you have never read an old book, why not?

Who’re is Not a Word

This was a word sent out in a newsletter by a writer, for writers: who’re.

I had to look twice. I thought it was whore for a spilt second. But that didn’t use the punctuation and it made no sense in the sentence.

Who’re, on the other hand, is not a word. Not a real word. It is a mangled word which should be who are. I don’t think even who are was used right. But, it was better than who’re.

Which sounds to you?:

Who are you?

OR

Who are coming?

Who are reading?

Who are writing?

etc.

I do not promise to be a great or perfect writer, especially when it comes to grammar. But, I try to keep up the standards as I have risen to thus far. Meaning, I try not to sink any lower than I already am. Lets all try to do the same, if not better.

Mindfulness

I found this post while curating content for my Creative Writing Inspiraton feed at ScoopIt. This comes from PLoS Blogs: Mindfulness and Stress

Take for instance the phenomenon of writers block. This has been a frequent struggle for me and even as I was writing this post, inhibiting thoughts flooded my mind which I immediately accepted as truth: I’m taking a long time to write this post, I must be sub-par; How will I make this post be the most creative possible? If I can’t do that, then what am I wasting my time for?; What if my readers aren’t interested—at all?

While common reasons for not being able to write are attributed to not knowing what to say, not being skilled enough, or simply fearing what others will think of your prose, an experience of writers block can generally be resolved by free-writing or free-listing. Both exercises force the author to experientially work through the contradictions, doubts, and – more often than not – the very nuggets of wisdom or topical analysis that the author originally sought from outside sources.

During free writing, the author is obliged to not worry about future or ultimate outcome, but rather about developing ideas step-by-step, or as they come to the writer. This has the effect of getting the proverbial idea-ball rolling, which encourages even more present moment thinking, until the writer enters more-or-less of a “flow”. As the author learns to trust him or herself more and more, less emphasis is placed on whether the piece will be an astounding success or an abysmal failure. The emphasis, instead, is placed on focusing the authors own experience of the processing of ideas, which has the continued effect of reducing stress and increasing productivity by increasing the experience of control and self-efficacy.

By engaging in this process of moving forward little by little, less time and mental capacity can be allocated to worrying about the outcome of a given problem, since the practical challenge of completing the next step takes precedent over predicting conclusions.

What Can Writers Offer as a Live Performance?

There are few options for writers, artists and musicians when it comes to protecting your work in the days of the computer and Internet. It seems there is not much to be done once you fire off the initial legal mouth piece paperwork. Then sit back and wish you could hire someone to really do something.

All that work and in the end it can’t pay the bills, created for art, not money.

I was thinking about that this afternoon. I came to the conclusion that musicians have the best chance at still making money from their art. Musicians have live performances which they can sell tickets to and collect a profit. They can use the event to sell music too. Not to mention the gadgets and accessories like T-shirts which they make something on from the work of others.

What can writers and artists do as a live performance? I can’t think of anything really useful or reliable as a way to make money from your art in the modern world. Yes, writers can read their poetry or fiction and hope to sell a few books. Live readings don’t make the money a live music performance can, no T-shirts either.

I’ve seen artists as street painters – temporary work which people watch and may chip in a dollar or other spare change while they stand around and watch the artist at work. No rent money on that plan.

So, what can writers and artists offer as a live performance with the plan of making money from their work without the problem of having their work ripped off and sold by someone else?

Why Aren’t You Writing for HubPages?

Note: This was originally posted on the HubPages site, June 2012. I have stopped writing at HubPages but still recommend the site for new writers or those who don’t want to set up their own site or weblog.

I was thinking about what I get out of writing for HubPages and decided it would actually make a good post. Other writers should know the benefits, the less obvious benefits, to writing for HubPages or other networks.

Yes, you get paid. But, yes… you actually do get paid.
You get to practice in front of a live audience.
You get your name out there, on topics relevant to you and your interests.
You get to dabble in blogging without opening a site or buying anything.
You can work on your spelling, grammar and punctuation.
Meet other writers and other people sharing your interests or interested in you.
Promote yourself on social media by linking back to your accounts on Twitter and etc.
If you have a site you can give yourself back links and interlink between relevant posts.
Learn from the guides, tips and rules on the network. Watch for changes to how they do things and find out the reasons behind them.
Get fresh, new ideas from what other people are posting. Use the ideas in your own way.
Making Money at HubPages

My time writing for HubPages is a bit skewed. I opened an account and didn’t start using it until about 3 years later. So my results are different from what your own may be. Of course, no one is going to have the exact same experience anyway.

However, when it comes to my time here versus my money earned, things are a bit complicated.

Still, as far as being paid by HubPages. I am getting paid and I am making money here. I signed up for other writing networks and did not get any money for my work and my time. In fact, I’ve only been paid for work on my own blog (which is outside of any writing network) and HubPages. None of the other networks have paid me a thing in the past year. So, of course, I am putting more into HubPages and my own sites.

My first payment from HubPags was just over $50 and I am halfway to a second $50 payment. Due to my own efforts – choosing topics, writing headlines, writing content and finding context, etc – I have made $25 in three months.

Now, if you look at your cost of living that doesn’t seem like much. But, it’s pretty good for a writing network. I know others are making more money in different ways. I’m not comparing apples and oranges though. I’m quite pleased with the money from HubPages.

Of course, the secret is time management. Don’t over do it. Keep your time, work and the returns you get in balance.

There’s More to Writing for a Network than Money

People always want to know about making money. But, as a writer, there is more you can get out of writing for an online network than money alone.

Don’t forget the importance of feedback, building up your skills, learning how things work and building a reputation/ creating an online presence for yourself. Those are all real things you can get from writing for a network like HubPages.

I also like HubPages because it gives me a goal to work towards. When I write for myself I have no boss, no one looking over my shoulder or keeping me on track. I sometimes go off on my own and daydream about some new idea or write a post because it appeals to me, just me. Having a bit of a task master at HubPages is a good thing. You need to keep your focus, watch how and what you write/ post and you can see the results and set yourself goals to improving based on the numbers HubPages tracks for you.

Right now I’m working on getting traffic numbers up. I want to go from 10K to 100K around the end of this year. It may be too much to reach for. But, I’m past the quarter point. Progress, even if I may fall short at the end, I can still see things might work out. I’m pushing extra buttons by promoting my posts, linking to them and continuing to write new posts.

Why Not Give HubPages a Try?

I’m not going to stick in a referral link here. If you do join I would appreciate the referral but I’m Canadian and I’m just not comfortable asking for something for myself.

But, if you have read this and think writing for a network is a good idea, try HubPages. You don’t have to pay to join, you don’t even have to start writing right away. Think about it, consider how useful it could be for you and then give it a spin.

Send me a note when you make your first post. I’ll leave you a welcome comment.