Archive for the ‘Blogging’ Category
Some things in life are just amazing and should be experienced, such as:
- A rocking stadium concert by an artist you adore (and by that I mean you know pretty much all the songs), where you are ideally close enough to the stage so you don’t just watch things from the big screens.
- Writing at least one story where you pour out your soul. Whether it’s fiction or non-fiction is irrelevant. And since you are a writer, chances are, there’ll be tens of stroy ideas where can you share bits of your soul. Don’t hold it in;)
- Dancing to one of your favorite songs without caring about anyone or anything else.
- Finding your favorite spot/city/country.
And probably the most important one for us writers:
- Making a living writing about a topic you truly enjoy. And most of us love traveling. We just happen to run out of money or time to do it as often as we’d like.
What if we could make enough money travel writing? Whether it’s from your own travel blog(s), writing for others or a combination of these, you can start your travel writing career. But if you feel stuck, or not quite sure where to start, I’ve just the resource for you.
Travel writing is easy – if you are writing for yourself.
It’s writing with the right voice, for the right audience and with the right structure that’s hard. Finding ideas and the right markets for them can be challenging, just like any other writing market.
Finding unique slants can be even more difficult in this niche. After all, it has existed for a long time, and pretty much everything has been covered. Luckily, no one covers anything like you. It does help, however, when you can take advantage of a savvier writer. It makes the climb to success less daunting, and a lot more fun.
One of those savvier writers is the lovely Kirsty Stuart, and the recommended resource is her e-book How to Start a Travel Blog and Make Money. This e-book comes with 69 pages featuring:
- practical tips and experiences from other expert travel bloggers,
- Kirsty’s own story,
- how to start and run your travel blog (including which pages you should have and what information each page should contain),
- examples of thriving travel blogs,
- how to find ideas,
- how to find an audience,
- how to manage and deploy social media for your travel blog,
- earning money with information products (including tips on how to market them),
- earning money with affiliate marketing,
- sponsored posts and paid trips,
- advertising on your blog (along with pros and cons),
- how to pitch to publications and other clients,
- list of some travel writing markets,
- earning from blogging for others (as well as additional services you can offer),
- writing an awesome travel post,
- finding work when you need to,
- inspirational quotes,
- tips to kill your fears and feel encouraged.
Why I loved the book (besides the awesome content, of course):
- it’s great for anyone who wants to write full-time about a topic they love, not just travel. The tips can be applied to any niche, but it is a lot more specific if you are interested in travel writing and blogging since she provides so many relevant tips, resources and first-hand experiences.
- the lifestyle mentioned, and how she came to choose travel writing, is easy to identify with: she calls it the struggle to adapt after you’ve been traveling a long time. I call it post-Erasmus depression. (or blues, if you are having an easier time.This shall be one of my future travel posts!)
- it’s honest.
- it’s comprehensive. It fills you in about the effort level from the beginning. And you don’t need to be a beginner blogger to take advantage of it.
- it’s fun. I’m big on fun.
- it offers places/ways/markets you can find travel blogging work.
Oh, did I mention the price is £2,99? You can check out Kirsty’s site Freelance Writers Online for more useful tips on freelance writing. And you can check out one of her own travel posts: Must-See Temples in Chiang Mai.
She was also kind enough to answer my questions on travel writing.
Kirsty on writing about politically “hot” countries:
“I personally write travel articles for companies like Viator and Flight Centre, and while I’m sure they wouldn’t want me to cover up any truths, their business is promoting travel! They want people to travel – it’s in their best interests – so for clients like this I don’t really write about political instability or anything of that nature. They’re not news sites so it’s not really relevant.”
Kirsty on whether or not great stories have an expiration date (because what if you had a breath-taking experience years ago and you are only writing about it now?):
“I don’t think travel stories have an expiration date, no. Those tremendous experiences and stories need to be told! If there are details that I feel could have changed – the cost of a visa at the land border between Thailand and Cambodia springs to mind – then I’ll just say that. Something like, “It cost $20 USD (at the time of writing)” should cover it. If there’s a good story there, don’t let the passage of time prevent you from telling it.”
Even though some of the first articles I sold in my freelancing career were travel articles, I had somehow gone into a writer’s block-induced hiatus. But after going over the book for the second time, I made a plan, and made my “returning” travel pitch. It’ll hopefully lead to other ideas and acceptances.
Let me know what you think about traveling, traveling writing and the e-book:)
While writer’s block can be one frustrating ordeal, it’s not that hard to get rid of. I have some great suggestions on inspiration in this post: Finding Article Ideas & Writing About Them: 30 Inspiration Tips for Writers.
But if you are suffering from a physical condition that prevents you from writing, especially if it’s hand/arms-related, I recommend you head to Sophie Lizard’s Be a Freelance Blogger and read my post there. (Yeah, I’m quite psyched about being published there!:))
For more on writing inspiration, you can check out these posts:
Are you fiction writer? A non-fiction writer? Or both?
If you truly love writing, want to make a regular income from it (or you are already making a living writing) and/or can’t wait to share what you have learned and experienced with the rest of the writers out there, chances are, you are both into writing fiction and non-fiction.
Stephen King wrote a book on writing, simply called On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. Now, that’s the kind of writer I want to learn from. Not because I’m a horror fan, but because I admire his success, productivity and ability to write in diverse genres (Shawshank Redemption, for instance, is based on a story of his) and write in a variety of formats (novels, short stories, non-fiction books…)
Some novelists get to adapt their movies to screen themselves and writing magazines love publishing advice articles from published writers. Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower, anyone?
But sometimes, one takes priority over the other, usually because of deadlines and where your productivity is gravitating towards at that moment.
For the last couple of months, even though I did my best not to neglect my blogs, I’ve concentrated polishing my screenplay and a TV pilot for competitions. I read even more about formatting, selling, contests’ reliability. I found great resources on both writing and selling, and I’ll be sharing them here soon.
But it’s safe to say I was lost in a world of fictional characters and story lines, and reading up on how to make them come alive.
Of course my non-fiction ideas didn’t stop flowing. So I noted them down, and after having taken care of 3 competitions with the nearest deadlines, I’m ready to immerse in non-fiction once again.
Getting back to real life is fun, though your mind and writing might take a while to adjust. So below are a few tips to make the transition easier and quicker:
1) Go through your old ideas. Having worked on different projects might have provided you new insights and angles. Use them. Brainstorm with your just-back-from-fiction mind. You might be surprised.
2) Keep writing new ideas down. Also make a note of what you have learned about writing/selling fiction. There are a million stories there.
3) Not getting hit by a new load of ideas? This post is bound to ignite some quality inspiration: Finding Article Ideas & Writing About Them: 30 Inspiration Tips for Writers.
4) Check the websites/publications you follow, including the ones you have written for or wanted to write for. They might have gone through editorial changes. Their submission guidelines or how they work with freelance writers might have changed. Is this still a place you want to write for? Update your market list accordingly.
5) If those websites are still up your alley, study the new articles. You need to know what they published recently. You don’t want to waste the editor’s time, or yours, by pitching an idea that was recently covered.
6) Do a “markets” research. There are probably new writing markets you might want to catch up on. Make notes of the ones that interest you.
7) Write. It’s like switching between rollerblades and your bike. Both are fun, both are you. They just work a bit differently.
8) Promote your writing. Remind your readers you’re alive and well. Of course this works better if you’ve kept up a presence in the blogosphere during your fiction marathon.
9) Read non-fiction: blogs, magazines, books, twitter feeds of the people that inspire you, entertain you and/or piss you off…new and old stuff. Read.
10) Read some of those awesome e-books you kept for referencing, and some new resources you found. Some of my new favourites came from Sophie Lizard’s Another 52 Free Resources for Freelance Bloggers post, for instance.
11) Keep reading fiction, but don’t make it the priority.
12) Exercise. Seriously. I know how easy it is to get caught up in the wonderfully exciting worlds you have created, but we need to be healthy. And exercising gives you even more ideas.
13) Eat healthily. Yes, you always need to do this, but if you have gone on a binge to make the deadlines, get a grip on your eating habits before your immune system decides to punish you. I’ll be posting about this too, so stay tuned.
Welcome back to the lovely world of non-fiction! If there are any tips you’d to add, comment away…
If you don’t have time for the whole post, don’t let me keep you. You probably already do this. It’s one of the most important steps of querying: Being personal and specific in your customized pitch – as in sending a well-targeted, well-tailored query to the right person and not bulk-querying haphazardly.
By now, this tip should be saying like vampires have fangs. Common knowledge. It’s not. It’s, for some reason, blissfully ignored by a number of bloggers and writers. How do I know it? From the impossibly generic guest post pitches I’ve been receiving since I launched my blogs.
I don’t generally accept guest posts for my sites. I don’t advertise for guest posts. Because I can’t pay writers at the moment, and I don’t think it’s fair to ask, especially when I distinctly prefer to write for sites that pay.
That said, if a writer was completely OK with this fact, didn’t need the money and had something he couldn’t wait to share with my audience, something that was right up this blog’s alley, I wouldn’t necessarily turn him down.
But even though there are no pages or posts here (or any other of my blogs) that ask for guest posts, I frequently get pitched by e-mail and I can’t believe there are so many bloggers/writers out there who don’t seem to have read any tip on pitching someone, ever. Apparently, they have read all the titleson the benefits of guest posting, however.
I’m saying “titles” because they haven’t gone through the entirety of any solid article on guest posting (or querying) either. Because almost all of them underscore similar things. Some of the shared tips are: Address to the right person, make sure you read the publication and show this in your pitch.
I tend to get several generic pitches a month for the different blogs that I run. Some pitchers haven’t even tried: as in they don’t even have my blog’s name, my name or even the blog’s URL in the pitch. I still read them anyway because I want to give them the benefit of a bad subject line. I also like providing myself with material for future posts.
Some spice up the generic up , and add my blog’s URL in the subject line. Not the worst move but it screams “bulk” and that’s never good. The glaringly important issue here: My blog URLS and my blogs aren’t the same. It might not be the smartest SEO move on my part but trust me, there was some strategy involved in it. Anyway, the pitcher was too lazy to write (or even possibly check out) the blog’s name. Ouch. Seriously.
One blogger, the most recent pitch that prompted this post, has taken bulk-pitching to a whole new level. The subject line doesn’t mention anything about me or my blogs. The greeting doesn’t include my name. The post doesn’t have the name of the blog the writer wants to write for. I know which one through an educated guess because she has at least mentioned the topic.
She has, however, proposed a relevant topic with a suitable title, using a decent language.
I haven’t returned the e-mail. I don’t think that will hurt the blogger’s feelings much since she probably has sent the email to a couple hundred other bloggers as well. Besides, I don’t want to mess up with the statistics. When the pitch is generic, you will most likely get no response.
Here’s the thing to keep in mind. Editors, some of them are also writers, are busy people. Many are busy to the point they can’t even respond to the to-the-point, personalized and timely pitches if it’s not what they need at the moment.
It’s kind of funny. You’d think that it’d be common sense to check out the name of the person you are querying. And my name isn’t a secret. It’s even in the e-mail I use for writing-related correspondence. It’s also on the About section. Even on blogs where I have occasionally accepted guest posts (from writers who pitched well and for blogs I unfortunately can’t always produce content regularly for), my name is on the 98% of the posts.
I’m not going to say that all publications make it easy. They don’t. They post almost encrypted guidelines or don’t post at all. Editors’ names might need some minor detective work like calling the publication or asking other writers. Some publications ask you to contact for questions but often don’t return with the information you requested. But when it’s right out there, and you don’t use it, it’s on you.
Grammar and spelling are important. A creative subject line can work, so is crafting a concise message. But it all starts with at least trying to hide the fact that it’s a bulk offering. There might be several publications that cover similar topics with similar angles, but it’s up to the writer to make each pitch sound personal.
The upside of these e-mails, in addition to inspiring post ideas (and/or case studies), they help you get in the shoes of the editor/publisher, and show you why you have to work diligently on your pitches. Not that we didn’t know before, but boy is their job difficult…:)
I can’t resist saving funny and inspirational writing-related images whenever I run across them, and I love sharing them with you. So let’s have some laughs and smiles:
Much funnier if you have also seen the Friends episode where Ross and Rachel sing “I like big butts and I cannot lie…” to their baby daughter Emma.
This just might be my favorite.
Found this gem via the Facebook page of Page Writing Awards.
I have to admit it’s not exactly writing related. But it’s strangely motivating:)
This is all for today. If you want more funny and inspirational stuff, you can check out the other two posts on the blog:
Write Where the Money is one well-rounded resource that can, and will explain pretty much any question you might have about any stage of writing for a magazine or a website. It was written by veteran writer/blogger Robert Earle Howells.
There are many amazing resources I’ve found about querying, contracts, formatting, writing and such, but I don’t think I have seen all of together, and written so well, in one place.
It’s a must for beginner writers, although it has a lot to teach and/or remind all levels of writers. And even if you’ve been writing and getting published successfully for years, it is still a handy resource to have because it does cover pretty much everything.
It’s a 154-paged PDF document, but it reads as fast as a page-turning work of fiction. Honestly. First time I was reading it, I almost forgot to get off at my bus stop.
But let’s give you more details on why you might need it too.
Below is a breakdown of basically what the book covers, though I interpreted chapter headings to give you a better idea. For the actual chapter names, take a look at the book’s sales page. (Yep, it’s an affiliate link. I stand by the book, and wish I had purchased it much sooner. It’s $47.)
I should mention that all chapters include quotes from other writers, editors and publishers, as well as experiences of Robert, and stuff he used for his own queries. And each chapter ends with a summarized action plan for you.
Here we go:
-How you know if you can write (or know about what to write)
-How to organize your ideas
-Why experience/clips don’t matter as much as good ideas
Now, technically, this is common sense. But it’s easy to get intimidated by our lack of experience in one area even if we have experience in others. So keep in mind that great ideas (and how well you present them) are what matters. And we were all beginners in a niche once.
Just keep brainstorming, and studying publications.
- How/where to get valid experience
He guides you on different strategies to get those first clips.
- What to pay attention to when choosing how to get your clips
- How to write something editors would want (aka how to write well)
- How to study and pitch a publication
- How to understand/interpret writer’s guidelines
There’re some very useful, but not-always mentioned tips on how to read a publication’s guidelines, what to believe and what (not) to take seriously, and what is said vs. what is meant.
- Tips on how to really write a successful query letter
Again, unless you’ve just started writing (congratulations, this is a resource that will get you very far without you having to collect all the information you need about writing, submitting and publishing from a hundred different resources), you are familiar most of the tips. But it’s practical to have a solid checklist.
- What comes after the query, deciphering contract terms, negotiating, rights
The book doesn’t leave you high and dry after sending the query letter. It features insights on how to follow-up, when to give up, how to react to similar ideas published in the same magazine that rejected yours and so on.
Then there’s the breakdown of not just rights, but other terms as well.
- Working with editors
This part informs you about how to react to edit and rewrite requests professionally; as well as developing long-lasting relationships that will land you assignments without querying (much).
- How much you earn, and how to know an article’s actual worth, what to do when the payment is late
Plenty of magazines do in fact pay a lot better than blogs. Even the publications that pay for both print and online content pay more for the print articles. However, they also happen to expect a lot more in terms of research, experts and interviews.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t do your best when you are writing for the web. You definitely should. However you will see that sometimes an article that pays 3 grand won’t have paid as much as the 50 bucks you got for that 500-word piece for a blog. He explains how.
This section also gives you ideas on how to re-slant your articles and what more you can do with them. Moreover, there’s detailed information service articles vs. feature pieces.
- Defining/finding markets
Different types of publications are explained, along with tips on what to expect from them. Job boards are analyzed. And there’s also information on how to monetize your own blog.
- Qualities you need to become successful: This is divided into two chapters.
And it’s not just about clear writing or being more productive (though they are obviously covered). It pretty much tells you what you need to manage your business, writing and life properly so that you will be a successful writer.
- Wisdom, tips and experiences of fellow writers
This part is great for gaining (and keeping) you faith and confidence.
- Glossary for the writing business terms
- Resource Listing: from markets to associations.
All in all, it is a book to keep as a resource as long as you are writing non-fiction. It should be kept where you can refer to as fast as you need, whenever you need it.
Sorry about the absence.
I’m publishing my new post very soon, and until then you might want to head over to Sarah Russell’s Write Your Revolution blog to read my article 9 Simple Ways Writers Can Find Paying Web Markets. The article lists how to create your own ever-growing list of web markets in any niche since when it comes to web markets, we don’t have a definite resource.
And hopefully this month will be the month when I’ll turn bulk-writing a habit. I’m good at taking notes and brainstorming in bulk when ideas hit from north and south, but maybe because I’m good at with the brainstorming, I end up writing one post at a time.
Do you occasionally take posting breaks without wanting to?
Tom Ewer is enjoying his well-deserved popularity as he runs the popular and authoritative blog Leaving Work Behind where he writes about quitting your job and building a career that’s right for you.
While his posts aim to help you realize your goals of quitting your job and running a successful online business, he focuses a lot on freelance writing/blogging which makes it very relevant for writers.
But another thing that makes Tom’s posts relatable is that he is not so far gone in his freelance income that he’s doing $500/hour copywriting gigs or $1/word magazine writing jobs.
Yes, he could accomplish that if he wanted to but with his current schedule he has the time to work on other projects. And flexibility is one of the best things about working for yourself.
He encourages you to take well-paying, respectable jobs but he knows that if you’re just starting out, you might not want to pass up on $30/piece blogging gigs, especially if it is from a growing, respectable company.
He started taking gigs on the side before he left his full-time job.
He’s all for passive income, but he suggests you improve your writing, and start making money through it because passive income streams take a lot of time and effort to develop.
Tom also offers useful additions to topics when you think you’ve heard it all before.
Below are 3 of my favorite posts:
This is primarily a video post, and I’m usually more into reading than watching or listening. But he makes great points on how to pick the best jobs on job boards by actually following all the links, looking at and analyzing the employer’s site and giving you the pros and cons, including educated guesses on what the pay might be.
This is by far the most comprehensive and useful post I’ve encountered about job boards.
This post isn’t just for freelance writers. It points out how internet marketers/online business owners shouldn’t disregard the power and potential of blogging. Even if they don’t get paid for it, writing good web copy plays a crucial part in making money online.
But if you could, why not get paid for it?
This is a great guide that covers how/where you should go about looking, how you should apply (including the template of his application) and how to handle the project once you land it.
Tom Ewer’s Leaving Work Behind is informative, easy to relate to and fun. Established writers are following him too, so I suggest you take a look if you haven’t already.
Yep, you’ve read it right. We aren’t talking about paying guest posters, but getting payment from guest posters so that they will have a chance to be published. And it’s not like these blogs are just selling spots to anyone who wants to have their articles published- they want the same quality, original and targeted posts that other respectable blogs (that either pay by bylines and exposure or the ones that do pay actual money in addition to that) do. And while these blogs that require you to pay do offer the bylines and exposure, they have the added requirement of payment exchange for a quality guest post from you.
I first came across this on We Blog Better’s guest posting guidelines. Now, in all fairness, the editor gives you two options:
1) You can apply to be a regular contributor (though the contributor will be paid by exposure only),
2) Or you can deposit $40 with your guest post, and if it is not accepted, you will get a refund. If it is published, you’re not getting the refund.
She also explains her reason for these options: crappy, time-consuming submissions. And while her new set of guidelines seem to be an effective way of eliminating the careless and generic articles, it might put off bloggers/writers who actually pay attention to their pitches and writing.
Granted, this successful blog doesn’t exactly need all the guest post writers out there, but I don’t think many good writers would tempted to deposit or apply for a regular position (which probably doesn’t pay either.)
It just might be easier for them to apply to other popular blogs that they don’t have such guidelines. They might have to wait longer for a response, but that comes with the pitching territory.
But there is another blog that doesn’t offer a refund, at least not on their guidelines.
Million Clues says “Cost per Guest Post is $50,” meaning they do want to be paid $50 – no wonder a lot of the other guest-post guidelines are yelling “get featured for free.” This “benefit” listed on their guest post guidelines had seemed redundant to me until I came across this one.
Yes, you will only need to pay after your post is accepted. But honestly, if Problogger or Copyblogger doesn’t request money, I don’t think anyone else should. And then there established blogs for writers/bloggers who actually pay for the guest posts their publishing – such as Make a Living Writing, The Renegade Writer and Rock Solid Finance, among others.
Imagine what would writers’ lives be like if suddenly established magazines started charging money to read submissions? Ouch. It gives me the shivers to think about it.
You might say one is blogging and the other is writing, but come on. If a blogger is truly researching the publication, sweating over her query, outline and the article, I’d say that she is a writer. Why should she also pay in addition to her efforts, especially if she is content with byline and exposure for her efforts?
There might be more blogs charging for a guest post (opportunity), but I have stumbled upon these two so far.
So what do you think?
- Are you a fan of guest posting as a marketing strategy, whether it is for your blogging/writing career and/or your business?
- Do you think blog owners should pay guest bloggers?
- Do you think it is a good idea to ask money from the posters?
There are many ways of running a successful blog, and you’ll see that a lot of successful bloggers have followed (and/or broken) a different set of rules to get to where they are now. Sometimes breaking the rules will work in your favor. Sometimes they will stall your progress.
But as long as you don’t break the rules in the name of procrastination, being a sinner might just work in your favor.
So today I’m sharing my blogging sins, and my reasons for committing them:
1) I don’t post frequently as I should/want.
As a writer, I’ll be the first to admit that despite my best intentions, I don’t always write as often as I should, or as often as I’d like.
In addition to life getting in the way (and by life I mean getting sick, approaching deadlines and the ultimate enemies-procrastination and depression. Come on, who doesn’t get writer’s blues? And, no, you are not allowed to say Stephen King. :))
Then there’s the other writing I like/have to do. Fiction and non-fiction. Posts for me and other publications.
And while writing is one of the things I should be doing, as researching/marketing/blogging/finding inspiration in different places are also vital parts of freelancing description, I don’t write as much as I should. And without writing, you don’t have something to pitch, market or edit.
Oh, and there isn’t only writing fiction or non-fiction, and with non-fiction, there are several blogs of mine as well as markets to pitch.
Now, while I love my blog and I’d publish once a day in every one of them in an ideal world (where the days last at least 48 hours), sometimes I get lost in a blogger’s other important tasks, or writing other things.
Do these sound like invalid excuses? Maybe you are right. But guess what I did right after the pain from my severe ear infection – I wrote 3,000 on the novel I’m working on, wrote and published Resources for Writers & Bloggers:Travel Blogger Academy Review, researched markets, organized bookmarks and my home office and…well, did this post of course. I might be a sinner, but I do work hard to compensate for the sins.
2) I don’t post on a constant schedule.
Sometimes I post twice a week, sometimes twice a month. Partly because of the sin covered above, but mostly because I like to write things that not everybody else is already writing. I don’t want to read another post about how to optimize your blog for the search engines. Yes, we need that post, but there are a million of them out there. You don’t need to read them here as well.
And yes, there have been other posts on the deadly sins of blogging- but these are my personal sins, and their reasons and why they don’t have to be deadly.
I also don’t want to write about killer headlines. Not because I am not fond of the topic, but so many people have done that, and they have done it well. You might want to check out Headline Hacks, where you only need to give your email address to download Jon Morrow’s free report (52 Headline Hacks) for instance.
3) I don’t treat a current topic as timely- because ultimately, even the current topics I’m interested in tend to be evergreen.
I saw Bryan Adams live in August this year, and I’m yet to post my review/experience post in the music category of my entertainment site. Partly because of sins number 1, partly because…well, a Bryan Adams concert isn’t something that’ll go out of fashion. I was a fan 12 years ago, and I still am. So the important thing is to find the current element in the post, highlight what matters and publish the post in its relativity.
After all, I have a couple of more slants I have up in my sleeve. For instance, why concerts are a great way of staying fit (for my unconventional beauty and fitness blog), why I tend to get over the worst colds at concerts (motivational post)- oh and then there’s the musical aspect – the testament to how Bryan’s rocking skills are “aging like wine.” So you see, maybe I missed out on my “Sarsborg” or Norway audience (not that I am saying I had audience there.)
So maybe it is not that sinful to commit this delaying sin, depending on which angles you are taking and why.
4) I don’t comment frequently enough on other blogs.
In the world of blogging, some marketing tactics don’t always remain valid. Some do remain valid, but lose its level of impact. And some are too valuable to be dismissed as a marketing tactic.
To me, blog commenting falls into that “too valuable” category. I genuinely like commenting on other blogs, and I enjoy it when people comment on mine. Of course when I say commenting, I mean actual commenting- comments that say something personal, meaningful and related to the post.
So I don’t think it is a great idea to try and comment on every related post, regardless of where they are posted. Because let’s face it: forcing yourself to leave 20 distinctive and worthy comments are going to come out as just that: forced.
I comment when I want to say something others haven’t mentioned, or I want to share my own personal experience. Or I just have to say that post made me laugh/cry/think/feel inspired and why.
Then there is also the commenter’s block. It just exists for me. I don’t feel like commenting, even though I thoroughly enjoyed the post. So I either save and come back, or have a reading marathon when I’m in the commenting/researching mindset. This saves time, and makes commenting a natural act, and not a promotional tactic.
Oh, and then there are these powerful blogs who have disabled comments for their own reasons. Now, they definitely want us to commit this sin.
I like reading comments where my readers have shared what’s on their minds while having fun doing it. That’s what I like to do when I’m commenting.
Chores are boring. Promotion might feel forced. Instinct and passion, on the other hand, make for better comments, don’t you think?
5) I write for my audience- even when the audience is me.
As wonderful as it is to be read, and as valuable as it is to write for your readers (and write what they want/need), I can’t write a post I have absolutely no interest in writing, even if my readers were dying to get it.
Some bloggers will definitely disapprove of me saying this, but for me, blogging is an amazing form of expression- and as a writer, the freedom to express comes first. I love being read, and it is an awesome feeling when somebody reads, and hopefully resonates with, your work. But in order to be read, you need to write. But I can’t write something I don’t want to read.
Yes, I love having readers. Yes, one day I’d love to have thousands, millions of daily readers. But I want those readers to come because they identify with what I write. I can’t do that if I am not happy with my topics.
Yes, I write for my audience. But guess what? Before anyone else sees your writing, you still get to read, proofread and edit your writing. You’re the first set of eyes to see the work, and if you are not happy, you won’t want to pass it along.
Audience comes first. But don’t ignore the needs of your first ever reader.
6) I write more than I market. Or pitch.
This is a sin I’m not proud of. But it is a sin I find very hard to stay away from, because as you can see from the name of the blog, I’m addicted to writing- first and foremost. This of course can harm future earnings, or delay how much you are going to make. It might also stall your career. But I try to use this to my advantage.
Because guess what? As much as I often drown in ideas and have a hard time keeping up with them despite my best efforts, sometimes even I get writer’s block. It doesn’t mean I don’t write anything for days or weeks. I wouldn’t have managed that even if I tried.
But I know it goes against my nature to stop a writing flow to market or do anything else. So I let myself write until I drop, or the ideas stop exciting and/or entertaining me. Then I move on to other tasks. Then I organize, plan, market and do all other things on my to-do list- until inspiration comes flooding again.
Is this the most effective way of marketing? Absolutely not. Can/Should it be improved? Hell, yes. But does it result in a happy writer who doesn’t get depressed over lack of inspiration, eager to learn more about self-promotion and improve her marketing skills? Certainly.
It is a big sin. But it is not a deadly one as long as you have a counter-attack plan.
7) I have many niches.
I can’t be a generalist, and I don’t want to be a generalist. Meaning I don’t want to write about anything. However I also can’t be a specialist in one area and keep writing in only one area. I’ve published 545 posts on my entertainment blog at time of writing this article, and over 400 of them are on movies. And despite my obvious passion for movies, I have also written novel/book reviews, album and concert reviews and so on. I am passionate about music and reading too.
And while I’d have probably have come a longer way in any one area, but it is impossible for me to work that way. I’m passionate about a lot of topics, and I love writing about a lot of different topics. I have either the experience, enthusiasm or both to justify this need and want of mine.
I also realized that writing in a lot of different areas is a great way to prevent writer’s block, or at least a chance to move to another topic when one road gets blocked.
So here’s the thing. If I wanted to write about one thing alone, I’d have gotten a desk job. It may not be so for everyone, but diversity is a part of my definition of freelancing.
Verdict: A Sinner With A Cause
So there you go. I’ve just shared my 7 sins. I’m proud of some of them, seldom ashamed of a few and determined to improve on the shortcomings. But I like knowing what I do and why I do them.
While I make some mistakes along the way, I tend to come up with more ways to compensate for them. Committing some sins are also a nice way to learn what works, what doesn’t and how to get where you want to get to faster, without compromising your personality and passions.
What about you, fellow bloggers? Should you been forgiven? Have you sinned? : )