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Entries Tagged 'writing' ↓

Choosing the Best Titles.

When choosing the best title, it is first important to know our target audience. For social media and attracting the interest of potential readers it is vital to choose an engaging title which creates interest and offers something unique. It is vital to choose a title that gives the impression the article is actually worth reading. To get an idea of powerful titles just have a look at the delicious popular page. Successful titles have the ability to draw in a reader.

Off the top of my head I can think of various headline templates such as

  • Effective ways to Captivate a Reader
  • Are you making these mistakes…. ?
  • Why the belief in … is mistaken
  • 10 Powerful ways to…. (10 is the most popular number, followed by 7)
  • Secrets of the successful ….
  • Why you should … To…
  • How to …
  • More Eye Catching Titles

The other strategy for titles is to choose keyword rich titles that attract search engine titles. The problem is that these are often quite generic and ‘boring’ For example on a finance blog. Good keyword titles include: ‘Best Money tips’ However, ‘best money tips’ is hardly likely to set the social media alight. This article is currently Ten Effective ways to make the most of your money but, I will change it later.

Best of Both Worlds

If you really put your heart and soul into an article, you could make the best of both worlds. Start off with choosing an effective title for the social media. Take advantage of potential stumble and delicious traffic. After a month, you can revert the title back to the search engine friendly title.

It is best to use the post slug option to keep the original url compatible

Things I learnt Writing Guest Posts

In the past few months I have written guest posts for a variety of blogs such as Lifehack, Pick the Brain and Dumb Little Man. It has been a good experience, helping the development of my blogs but also improving aspects of my writing.

These are some of the things that I learnt through writing guest posts.

Titles Do Matter

I have written quite a few articles for Pick The Brain, John would often change the title to something more appealing and eye catching. For example, I wrote an article “How To Meditate” John changed the title to “4 Powerful Reasons to Meditate and How to Get Started“. I would never have thought of using this kind of title, but it did very well on Digg and Delicious. Now when I write articles, I think carefully about the best title. Note, this is most important for long articles you hope will be popular on social bookmarking sites. However, this does not mean every title should be written with Digg in mind.

See also: 7 Tips for eye catching Titles 

Grammar is Important.

Sometimes I would write 2,000 words and some commentators would pick up on a small grammatical error, 3/4 of the way down (e.g confusing their and there). Previously, I had seen this as not particularly important. But, when people pick up on these errors it encourages you to proof read an article several times, especially when it is for a big audience. You could take the attitude that you should ignore these grammar pedants; but, my philosophy is if you are going to write an article, it is best to make it as good as possible and give as little scope for criticism as possible.

Write From Personal Experience

The articles which have done well, tend to be those where I have written from a certain personal perspective. Some topics have been covered many times on the internet. The thing is to find topics where you have a specialised knowledge and can offer some personal insights. This is the case for my articles on meditation and a recent article on 10 Effective strategies for writing

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How To Become a Better Writer

Writing is a very important skill, which will have significant bearing on your job, personal life and capacity to earn a second income. Whatever your motivation for writing, there is nobody who cannot become a better writer. These are some practical tips that will help you become a better writer

1. Aim High

To improve our writing we need to make it a goal. If we do not care about improving our writing, nobody is going to do it for us. Whatever your current standard, make a sincere effort to improve different aspects of your writing. If you give a priority to this target, there is no reason why you cannot improve.

2. Learn The Art of Simplicity

There is an oft used phrase ‘less is more’ With regard to writing this is particularly relevant. If you can make the same point with less words then this will make you a better writer. Good writing should be effortless to read; it shouldn’t be complicated and take time to decipher.

3. Practise.

If you want to be a better writer, the best thing to do is regularly practise the art. Through regular writing you will become more fluid in your command of language. If you are daunted by the idea of writing 1,000 words, start off with writing 200 words. By writing little and often you will gain increased confidence and assurance.

4. Don’t Aim for Complete Perfection

It may sound paradoxical, but to be a better writer we may have to accept less than perfection. The reason I think this is important is because when we expect perfection from ourselves we become a very slow and ponderous writer. Whatever we write doesn’t sound right, because we know it could be better. This insistence on perfection is the wrong way to begin writing. Start off by allowing yourself just to write, later you can go back and you will be able to improve on your first draft. Also, if we aim for complete perfection we will be very sensitive to any criticism; and this will be a deterrent to our writing. Continue reading →

Writing and the Shortage of Time

Making the most of Time

The great difficulty that we face as writers is the lack of time.

It is easy to think – If only we had the luxury of retiring to a cottage in the Mountains then all our writing difficulties will be solved. However, it is not just about how much time we have, but, how we use it. To maximise our potential as writers we need to make sure we make the best use of time; if we don’t have enough time, we just have to create some extra time.

Some tips for effective writing practises

Dedicate half a day to Writing.

A full day of writing seems quite an onerous task, but, if we give 3-4 hours of writing we can get into the flow of creative writing energy without being overwhelmed. When we are in the right space, writing comes more easily. We should give these time slots a high priority; when we write we should avoid getting distracted by things that can wait for another time. If we are writing articles, don’t just do one at a time; often when I get into the flow of writing I find that the next 2 or 3 articles come quite quickly. Leave the uploading of articles to your site for another time – perhaps in the evening, when you are too tired to write.

Know What to Say.

Sometimes the hardest thing about writing is knowing the direction to take and what to say. Always keep a list of titles that you would like to write. When you sit down to write, this gives you a good choice of things to write about. If the title is a little vague write down a list of 6-7 key phrases which will make up the body of your writing.

Writing Without Inhibition

When you sit down to write it is important that you try to write without expecting perfection at first attempt. It is worth seeing the first draft as a place to put ideas down; this means you have the confidence to write down quickly. Sometimes, if we are highly concentrated, this form of quick writing may actually be quite effective. There is greater power in our writing when we can write – without long pauses to daydream or worry about we should write. Of course we will check, edit and delete where necessary. But, it is important to have something to edit with first. If you are a slow writer, practice writing quicker – just as an experiment and see how you get on.

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Writing on Holiday

sunrise

I am currently on holiday in the Carribean – an idyllic resort in the Dominican Republic. I hoped that a holiday would provide lots of free time to enable more writing. However, I’ve found that despite having more free time, I actually feel less inclined to write.

Here are some Tips for Writing on Holiday.

  • Decide whether you want a break or whether you want to write.
  • It is better to have a complete break and mentally switch off. Rather than being under pressure to write, but not having any inclination to do so.

  • There is nothing Wrong With Taking a Break from Writing.
  • A break can be good for recharging the batteries.

  • Write on Different Topics.
  • Maybe you have a commercial / work oriented blog. When your on holiday these topics may seem even less inspiring. Take the opportunity to write on other topics that do motivate you.

  • Prepare for a Holiday
  • Fortunately, on one self improvement blog I had pre written 4 blog entries that I could publish over the course of two weeks. This gives you a break and also enables you to keep your blog ticking over. Another option is to invite guest bloggers to write for you.

  • Find a place and Time for Writing.
  • Like anywhere else, writing is easier under certain circumstances. If you can find a bit of peace and quite writing will be much easier than taking your laptop to the beach (plus, sand and computers don’t mix very well.)

    This holiday has shown me the importance of maximising your productivity in a busy day. When you are so busy you think – if only I had more free time to write. – But, now I have more free time, I am doing less writing.

    10 Steps to Writing a Memorable Article

    A good article does not magically appear out of thin air. Even the best writers have to work very hard at producing good quality articles.

    A writer is somebody for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.
    ~ Thomas Mann, Essays of Three Decades, 1947

    However, if you breakdown the article writing process into several steps, it becomes easier to organise your thoughts and produce a memorable article. It is worth noting that here, we are aiming for excellence rather than mediocrity. Mediocre articles will generally sink without trace; unless you can really stand out from the crowd your article will have little long term impact.

    1. Think of a Title.

    • A good title is essential to creating the initial interest which is so important on the internet.
    • If the title is insipid, you’ve lost 50% of your potential readers before they get to the first paragraph.
    • Of course, make sure you know what you are writing about – Writers can not live on good headlines alone :)
    • 7 Tips for creating eye-catching titles

    2. Have a Clear Objective

    To a large extent this will be determined by the title. But, when writing an article think about:

    • Who is the target audience?
    • What do I hope to achieve with this article?
    • What can I add of value that hasn’t been said before?
    • What is the optimum length?
    • Don’t try to cover too many things in one article. Break it down into separate sections
    • Write with Confidence and authority.
    • related reading: The Beautiful Post at Skellie.org

    3. Plan 7 -10 Points which are the main 7 paragraphs of the article.

    You don’t have to write in list format (although, they often work well on the internet) However it is a good idea to have a plan; this breaks down the essay into manageable sections.

    An example of an Article Plan is like this

    How To Write A Good Email

    1. Short / Concise
    2. Be Polite
    3. Wait before sending important emails
    4. Is it better to phone?
    5. Stick to the point

    (BTW: How to write a good email)

    Then all you have to do is expand on the points and explain it. It becomes less daunting to write a 1,000 word article when you have this structure.

    4. Write with Enthusiasm

    • The next stage is to get in the flow of writing.
    • Don’t aim for perfection, just write the ideas that come out. (Try imagine talking if you get stuck).
    • You don’t have to begin at the start. Begin anywhere.
    • See – Write like there’s no tomorrow.- then edit at Daily Blog Tips

    Continue reading →