Time to Say Goodbye — Weekly Blog Post 20

It’s been twenty weeks. 4-months of blog posts. It’s been quite a journey, but today — this marks the last one.

Don’t worry though, I’m not going anywhere.

I’m restructuring my website a bit, and I want to talk more about that decision.

A Fresh Start

Many of you may remember a few weeks ago, I made a post saying I had quit my job. Since then, I’ve taken a much more frontal role in writing, and it’s taking up all of my time during the week. This is perfect — it’s exactly what I wanted! And I am so happy to be succeeding in what I want to do.

Yet with that comes fatigue.

Therefore, I want to change the way I handle this website. I’m going to post bi-weekly, starting next Saturday, instead of weekly.

In doing so, not only will it give me much needed time to rest, but I truly think my blog posts will benefit from the less regular schedule.

Why?

Instead of being a weekly blog post, my updates will be more akin to a “bi-weekly writing lesson”

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

I want to bring you — my readers — more dedicated and valuable content to help you grow alongside me as writers, and so rather than post a weekly blog skimming the surface of matters, I’m going to post less frequently, but with deeper insights exploring everything writing and beyond.

So stay tuned and be ready for more in-depth lessons! (I’m even thinking of integrating my YouTube channel into these lessons to better explain topics!)

In the meantime, I want to thank all of my readers who tuned in and left a like on my blog posts every week. I hope you stick around and look forward to the new “2.0” version of this website.

With that — see you next Saturday!


Are you looking forward to the new style of posts? Then drop a like on this post and subscribe by email so you miss nothing!

Are there any lessons or advice you want to see?

Get in touch! Comment below, or email me!

See you next week!

Google’s E-A-T (and How You Can Incorporate It) — Weekly Blog Post #19

I’m a day late on my weekly blog!

Someone call the police, arrest me, lock me up in chains —

Wait, I know it’s not THAT big of a deal. I was busy yesterday, and I needed a break. It’s only natural, right? Yet I’m back with a fresh blog post today to whet your appetite.

Today I want to talk about something I’m noticing in a lot of articles I read. Something I’m sure I’ve done myself — I’m only human, after all — however I’m learning, and I want to help others learn too.

We’re talking about something that excellent writers overlook, and it affects their work, and the traffic that work gets.

We’re talking about E-A-T.

No, no. It’s not a search engine for finding places to eat. Its Search Engine Optimization (SEO) related!

Pull up a chair and let’s explore it some more.

What is E-A-T?

E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness. Let’s break those down.

Expertise

Do you know what you’re talking about? Are you credible?

If you head on over to my About Me page, you can see I love writing. In my F&Q question page, you can see I’ve got qualifications IN writing.

I have expertise.

…And that’s all there is to this one.

Yet what do you think would happen if next week, I posted a blog about healthcare? Or lifestyle? Or anything unrelated to writing?

I’d be able to publish the post, sure, but as soon as it ranked with keywords, Google would look at it and say;

“Hang on a minute. This guy doesn’t know the first thing about healthcare. Why are there posts about healthcare?”

Google would manually de-rank it. It doesn’t matter how many keywords or search terms I hit in my writing. I don’t have expertise in the subject, so why should I be at the top of the Google Search results when people search for healthcare advice?

Authoritativeness

Yet having expertise isn’t all you need to rank. You need authority, too. This is a writing website. It’s in the URL, and writing is all I post about.

Similar to our above example, what do you think would happen if I posted a blog about healthcare next week? Why am I giving healthcare advice on a writing website?

How can I be an authoritative source on the subject?

Again, I might rank with keywords. But again, Google would put their foot down and throw my website into the gutter.

Let’s talk about my external links, too. These are really important to authority. Say I am giving a tutorial on writing, and I reference an excellent outbound source I’ve found. What if that outbound source doesn’t have authority itself?

Did you know my website would suffer for that, too?

How can I have authority, if I am referring people to a website without authority?

Remember: Always, always, always outbound link to credible and relevant sources!

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Trustworthiness

… And the last part of E-A-T is trustworthiness. This one is important for a website that sells product.

Is my checkout queue on a secure (https) network? Putting an image of a padlock on the screen and writing, “Secure” won’t cut it.

Can a customer read up on all the information about my services i.e. refund policies, terms and conditions of a sale? If a buyer comes through my page, will they be able to trust me?

That being said, still consider trustworthiness if you’re a writing website like this one.

This is when connections are needed, testimonials from other validated sources and endorsements. If a highly popular website, with a great E-A-T score is linking to my website — oh, boy, do Google like that.

So build your connections!

…And of course, trustworthiness is where your actual writing style comes in to play.

Don’t hedge.

Think about it, I’m writing an article on how to write, and I say:

”If you incorporate this writing style, you might get results. It sometimes works. You never know.”

Does that sound like trust-worthy information to you?

Compare it to this:

If you incorporate this writing style, you will get results. In fact, 82% of writers that did got results. Here’s a link to some testimonials to back that up…”

Which one are you more likely to listen to? Which one are you more likely to see rank on Google?

So remember, when you’re writing with SEO in mind, don’t just get your keywords and litter them into your article. E-A-T your work up, too!

For further reading, check out YMYL. It goes hand in hand with Google’s E-A-T and can also make or break your website’s rankings with SEO.

Photo by Yuri Catalano on Pexels.com

So What Should You Do Now?

You know all about E-A-T, and you’ve read a little more about YMYL. Let’s get your writing website a high score.

Go over your old content and writings from a bygone time.

Have you incorporated E-A-T on them?

Remember, just because Google de-ranked you, it doesn’t close the door on your page permanently. As long as your website is in the listings, they’ll check it constantly and make relevant adjustments to your E-A-T score.

Check our outbound links: Are they reliable sources? Are you linking to a medical journal with your test results, or are you linking to a Wikipedia page?

Check your content: Is it related to your website or expertise in any way, shape or form?

Write an About Page: Seriously, do it. Get people to know you.

And make sure you’re not hedging!

As Jedi Master Yoda once said,

”Do or do not, there is no try.”

Don’t give the reader uncertainties. Give them absolutes and show your readers your writing website can be trusted.

…And that’s the basics on Google’s E-A-T. There is tons more you can learn about it, so check out the further reading link above, and comment below your own findings!

I am still learning every day and looking for ways to improve my own craft. Let’s band together and learn as one.

Remember to like this blog and subscribe below so you can get new content delivered directly to your email!

Once again, sorry for being a day late on this post — I’ll see you next time!

NaNoWriMo: One Year Later. Where Is My Novel Today? — Weekly Blog #18

Happy Halloween!

Tomorrow is the start of November. Do you know what that means?

It means it has been one year since NaNoWriMo 2019!

… Or what I like to call — one of my biggest personal victories.

Why?

Because I completed the challenge and earned myself a certificate marking me as a winner!

I wrote 50,000 words in a single month.

So where am I now?

I’m a best-selling author, I’m world-famous, and everyone recognizes my book from a mile away…

Ha, well, that’s not entirely true.

In fact, my book is very much still in the production line, and I want to talk more about it today.

Settle in readers. Without further ado:

 Where is my NaNoWriMo novel— one year later?

November 2019. The Immediate Aftermath

Cast your minds back.

We’ve reached the end of November and before me is my novel: the toils of writing over 1000 words a day. 

Like anyone, I found myself filled with much eagerness to get into the editing process, to go back over my novel and make it perfect.

I didn’t.

I took most of December off. I finished my novel, and forgot about it — celebrated Christmas — and the New Year.

Related: The Editing Process

I took time off during Christmas and the New Year, because one of the key skills you can bring to the table when editing is an unbiased opinion.

You know that feeling you get?

When you start reading a book and get distracted for a week — you come back, and you can’t quite remember what was happening?

It’s the same with novel writing, yet you use that to your advantage!

You come back a couple of weeks, or a month later, and you can’t quite remember what you put on paper.

It helps so much with being unbiased and killing your darlings.

I came back to my novel in January. Eager and with a mind that wasn’t fresh. I sat down, and I begun the culling progress.

My gosh.

The first draft was terrible.

I mean it! There were plot holes, the writing was bad, and every chapter, I didn’t finish with a smile, but with a cringe.

Believe it or not, that’s pretty standard for a first draft.

See, writers go through a phase of writing that many call the word vomit stage.

This is the stage where — you guessed it — you’re throwing up your words onto paper and getting the story down. You’re telling the story to yourself, rather than others, and making sure it has a beginning, middle, and end. No matter how good it is.

That’s why you have multiple drafts of a novel. You’re not writing your masterpiece in one attempt; no matter how nice doing so sounds (believe me, I wish I could write it in one attempt). 

You finish the first draft, have a break, and move onto draft 2.

The Second Draft

I took the second draft one chapter at a time, going through my novel in chronological order. I reread each chapter, cleaned up the wording, removed the ideas that didn’t work (I mean it, I removed an entire major character), added plot to flesh the book out and I made the book shine.

This is the part where I could come at my novel with a critical eye! 

I scrutinized every chapter, rewriting the same paragraph again, and again, and again, and again until it really popped off the page.

The best part: I didn’t really get writer’s block! My ideas were already down from draft 1.

Instead, I filled in the gaps, cleaned up the word vomit, and laid down a lovely foundation which read well beginning to end, that one could enjoy.

This process took me until August 2020.

I mean it.

I wrote my novel in one month.

To clean it up, took 8 months (I’m not bad at maths, I skipped December remember!)

By the end of the process — In August 2020 — I had before me what I believed to be a masterpiece.

 Publishers would love it, agents would eat it up, and it’ll be on shelves by Christmas!

Of course, before I started pitching, I wanted a second opinion.

Here Come the Beta Readers

I paid my beta readers.

I did so because I picked strangers I found on the internet.

Family and friends had the risk of being biased and not wanting to hurt my feelings, but strangers — ho boy they could be brutal.

I remember sending my novel to them on August 30th 2020, and biting my lip with fear, as this was the first time someone else would really read my work.

The rest of August went quietly.

While they had my NaNoWriMo novel, I couldn’t do much work on it. I twiddled my thumbs and waited.

I didn’t hear a peep from them until about halfway through the month when they reached out to say they were enjoying the novel.

Great! They loved it! This is going to be great! I can write! They won’t have a bad thing to say!

They got back in touch with me, all within a week of one another, with a line edits and a reader’s report.

They all said the same thing.

They didn’t like my main character. In fact, they liked the character I didn’t want them to like.

 All of my beta readers did!

At first, I was in shock. I adored my main character! There wasn’t a fault in her! How could nobody like her?

However, the significant thing about beta readers is they didn’t just say to me:

“Your main character sucks,”

They told me EXACTLY why and what I needed to do to course correct.

They also told me areas of my novel they wanted to see expanded on, and areas they didn’t understand.

They did this by covering my novel with in-line comments.

 In-line comments that bought me into draft 3!

Draft 3 – A.K.A Present Day.

With the time off for the beta readers to work, I started draft 3 of my novel in September 2020.

(Two months before I started writing this blog post)

When I started on draft 3, I didn’t think my novel needed that much improving — but it was actually really interesting.

Remember when I said I took time off in December to make draft 1 feel fresher?

 I felt the same with draft 2! The second draft of my novel wasn’t the masterpiece I thought it was.

As I go along (switching to present tense!) I am finding SO many areas to improve and expand upon, and having my beta readers in-line comments is really guiding me.

Especially when their comments match up to one another (like with my main character!)

I’ve written extra chapters — which I will have them scrutinize again — and I have worked on chapters I had already rewritten time and time again, which I thought I had perfected in draft 2.

…And my novel is coming on really well for it. Getting a second opinion is great!

Sure, I was shocked at first, and it upset me, but who better to upset you? 

The beta readers before publishing, or the general public when your books is out there?

I am sure we’ll both agree on the same answer.

… And that brings us to today! One year later!

My NaNoWriMo novel is very much still building, but it’s come so far. It’s a different novel to that in which I finished last November, but it’s changed in ways which make it shine.

Writing is a slow process, but it is so fulfilling and watching your story grow with you as a writer, there’s nothing quite like it.

Photo by Akil Mazumder on Pexels.com

I am so proud of what I have done up until today, and with NaNoWriMo 2020 on our doorstep, to all those participating this year:

Good Luck.

I am not participating I wish I could (in fact I always thought I’d be writing my novel’s sequel this NaNoWriMo), but there is still work to be done on book 1 and my time is pretty strained!

I hope you all get to read my final novel when it’s out there, and I hope you all love it!

NaNoWriMo is hard.

Don’t give up, and whatever you do, don’t feel the need to publish what you have at the end of November. 

Take your time, and let your book shine!

That’s it from me today!

If you want to see more writing tips and advice, be sure to subscribe via email to my blog and follow me on Twitter, and Facebook.

You can even connect with me on Linkedin!

Comment below your own novel-writing experience, and if you have any tips or tricks you’d like to share with me: do so!

See you next time writers and good luck with the marathon!

Why I Don’t Have a Niche (and How You Can Benefit From Not Having One) — Weekly Blog Post #17

If you go onto any page teaching freelance writing, one of the first instructions you’ll read is:

“Find Your Niche.”

It’s an important step.

For you readers, It may beg the question — what’s my niche? What topic of study do I focus on?

Here’s something that’ll shock you: I go against all advice, and I don’t have a niche.

Does my business suffer because of it?

It hasn’t so far, and that’s what we’re going to talk about today.

What Is a Niche?

A niche is the area of study that suits you best.

It’s a topic you focus on and base your career around, and this helps with having an authoritative voice.

“A place or position suitable or appropriate for a person or thing.”

Dictionary

For example, if I had a blog about animals, and every post I made talked about our feline friends, then animals would be my niche.

If the client wants to hire someone to write about animals — they’re going to go for the most skilled writer that has an authoritative voice. With an animal niche, that’ll put me ahead of the curb, and increase my chances of scoring the commission.

Photo by Kat Jayne on Pexels.com

For further reading on that, check out this article by Woocommerce.

However, that’s not why you’re here. You want to know why I don’t have a niche, and why I am crazily going against all advice.

Let’s discuss!

Why I Don’t Have a Niche

There’s one very straight-forward answer to this:

A niche restricts my market.

This is a writing website, and thus, I write.

If I were to focus on a topic, let’s say animals again, and write only about them — then why would anyone outside of animal writing blogs hire me?

Time to be big-headed: I am capable of doing two things very well — researching and writing.

Therefore, I will tackle any topic under the sun that’s thrown at me, and I’ll tackle it well.

I talk about this briefly over on my Frequently Asked Question page.

If a client wanted a piece written on rocket science, rather than bury them in all of my grades and my website focused on nothing but rocket science, I’d instead reach out and show them how well I can write.

I’ll write them a piece on rocket science before they’ve hired me.

I mean it!

I won’t show the client I have a niche in their subject, I’ll show them I can write in their subject.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I’ll read their brief or job posting, and then I’ll send them a paragraph relevant to what they’re asking that I’ve spent maybe five to ten minutes on.

Here’s an example:

“Hello,

I’ve collated a small sample based on your brief. Please have a read below:

*Google Doc Link*

If it’s to your liking, please consider me for the role.

You can have a look at my website here for further samples in different fields: http://www.samboydwriting.com”

Straight away, I am showing the client I have experience in their subject, and that I am versatile, too.

It’s appealing.

More so than:

“Hello,

I have lots of experience in your subject. Please check out my website for samples: http://www.samboydwriting.com”

Why should the client have to look for my samples?

This method has scored me tons of jobs, and not once have I thought, boy do I wish I had a niche!

Bear that in mind when building your website!

Though that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a niche!

How to Have a Niche the RIGHT WAY.

Having a niche is a proven method, so I’m not telling you to avoid having one.

I’m telling you to avoid restricting your market.

If you want to have a niche, the right way of doing it is by subsidising.

Most people choose a niche they’re passionate about: so absolutely do that!

However, if you want to sell freelance writing as your career — keep your options open!

Photo by James Wheeler on Pexels.com

People always say in job markets to never burn any bridges, so why would you do so by only writing in one field?

Finding your niche is wrong and sticking to it is wrong. Having an online portfolio with all of your writing experience is correct, and a niche is a bonus.

With my method, I can apply for any writing gig I see — and still show experience in it. If it happens to be in a niche I like, then my pitch will be even stronger. I can send them my generic website, the sample, and the subsidised niche website.

With all three the chances of getting the job are astronomical.

So consider it! Subsidise your niche and don’t restrict your market.

… And that’s all for today! It’s just a quick read this week, but hopefully it’s a small piece of advice that’s of value to you.

Think I’m bonkers and barking up the wrong tree?

Comment below and let me know!

Otherwise, subscribe to my page via email for weekly updates and writing advice, and hit that like button if you enjoyed this, read!

Also, do consider liking my Facebook page! I’ve recently started one up for my writing.

See you next week! We’re going to talk about my novel some more!

I Quit My Job to Freelance Full-Time (Here’s Why You Should, Too) — Weekly Blog Post #16

This week turned out unexpectedly.

In fact, it marked the start of another stage of my life.

How — you ask?

I quit my full-time position!

I never expected I would so soon. 

I’d planned to long term, but this week — I caught myself by surprise!

I quit my job to pursue my passion, and today I would like to talk a little more about what I’ve learned!

Taking the Dive

Photo by Picography on Pexels.com

Taking my writing full time was an idea I’d always toyed with, but I’d constantly tell myself I’d do it later on. When I’d saved enough money, when I had more clients — I always had an excuse.

Until one evening this week, when one of my clients reached out to me, offering me a new position within their company.

I must admit, luck struck me. Many deciding if to go into freelance don’t have the privilege of their client asking them to increase their availability.

I did, and I am so grateful for that.

I didn’t want to turn down the opportunity or let it escape me. Yet, I knew, I wouldn’t be able to take on the client’s increased work-load and juggle my full-time job at the same time.

I questioned the sanity of the decision, the security of it. But then, I realized:

If I didn’t do this. If I didn’t do this right now. Then I never would. In a year’s time, I’d always wonder, “what if?”

So I said to my client I could increase my availability! That I would accept the additional responsibilities.

The next morning, I contacted my full-time position and apologized to them. I told them I wasn’t coming back, and that a role in my desired career had presented itself; a role I couldn’t refuse.

I felt awful, but the company I worked for showed understanding, and they even wished me the best of luck!

It didn’t feel real, but becoming a full-time freelancer had become my reality in a split-second.

It’s only been a few days now, but already, I am realizing a few things: The pros and cons of my decision.

Today, I would like to share them with you all!

The Pros of Freelancing Full-Time

First, I want to talk about the positives that I’ve discovered since taking my career to the next level!

The Freedom to Work When You Want

Photo by Frank Cone on Pexels.com

My most prominent discovery: I’ve got so much time on my hands!

I’ve still been setting myself hours to work, but that’s the key here: “setting myself.”

No longer is someone telling me how or when I should work.

When can I take breaks? It’s up to me!

It’s so gratifying.

If I get tired, or burnt out, nobody is stopping me from… stopping!

If I wake up an hour later, no big deal — I’ll just work an hour later!

If I fancy a cup-of-tea, that’s no problem too. I can take it to my desk, and this ties into my next positive.

The Ability to Pick Your Own Environment

Freelancing means you can work where you want.

While so far, I’ve only stuck to my computer desk, there’s nothing stopping me from taking a laptop down to Tim Horton’s and working.

If I return to my home — to England — that’s fine, too. I can work on the plane, and at the airport when I land.

I can even set up my base of operations in England instead of Canada if I wanted!

By going full time, I’ve given myself versatility. 

That comes with a sense of freedom, which I think everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

You Set Your Own Wages

Now, this one isn’t 100% true.

Some of my clients have set rates, and I’ve accepted those. However, with others, they’ve asked me how much I charge and that’s up to me.

Sometimes, the client negotiates my set rate, sometimes they’re happy. Either way, I’m not being told by a higher-up in a suit what I’m making and forced to be happy with it.

Here’s the key take-away from this one: By setting my own wages, I’m never working for less than what I think I’m worth.

I can never complain about my wages and if I want a pay-rise, then I can contact my clients and we can come to a new agreement.

You Make as Much Money as You Need

This one mixes my first and third positive together. 

As mentioned, I have the freedom to work when I want, and I’ve set my own wages.

With that, if I want to make more money, I can work more. There’s nobody stopping me. I can complete orders late into the evening, and I can work on weekends, too.

I can make as much as I need, then take time off to relax — providing I don’t have deadlines of course!

Speaking of deadlines, freelancing isn’t all heaven on earth.

It’s hard.

If it wasn’t, everybody would do it.

Let’s talk about the negative aspects.

The Cons of Freelancing Full-Time

Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

The Deadlines Can Be Tight

Freelance writing is a business, and one must keep clients happy. If I miss deadline after deadline, my client will go to someone else. You’d do the same, right?

I need to finish orders on time.

Yet, I also don’t want to say no to deadlines as clients present them to me.

When they ask me if I can get a piece out by a certain date, they want to hear “yes!”

The trouble is, I have multiple clients and they are all setting their own deadlines for work. Sometimes, I will have two pieces due out within a day of each other, sometimes even on the same day!

You can imagine how stressful that is.

When I said a positive about freelancing is that you get to work when you want. While that’s true, it’s not always the case.

If I have deadlines coming up, sometimes I have to work late into the evening, into weekends, and sometimes I even have to tell my clients it’s just not doable.

It makes my heart heavy when I have to do that, and that risks losing the client, your income, and your credibility.

This was the case even before I went full-time!

Photo by samer daboul on Pexels.com

The Wages Are Insecure

This is huge, and one that will no doubt appear on other freelancer’s variation of this post.

(Again, another contradiction to a positive!)

I said I set my own wages and work until I’ve made as much as I need to make. Yet, what if the work isn’t there?

Sometimes I get huge commissions from a client, sometimes I have tons of small ones that add up.

Yet sometimes, the well is dry.

When that happens I won’t make money and that means I am forced to find new clients, which can lead to me creating more deadlines for myself and therefore more stress.

It’s an uncertain job, and it’s impossible to plan. Want to save for that holiday? Who knows how long it will take!

Working freelance is uncertain, and at any point, you could go from making tons to barely scraping by.

It’s Awful Lonely

I mean it. I wake up bright and early, and my girlfriend goes to work. Then I am alone, in the house, all day.

I can listen to music, I can relax — but I have nobody to share that with. And I am sure that’s the case for most freelancers!

 If they have deadlines, they must work on them and can’t afford to socialize.

You never have the same laughs that you have working somewhere with many colleagues.

Again, I am lucky in this respect, because one of my clients hosts an entire team of writers and they have a chat room. I have fond memories in there — but there’s nothing like having a laugh in person with a colleague!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

It’s Scary

This is the final one. The final negative!

Working as a full-time freelance writer is plain scary.

Maybe that’s something that will fade after these early days are over, maybe not.

Yet, knowing I have deadlines, knowing my wages can change in a heartbeat: it worries me.

I don’t know what my future holds. I don’t know if in a week’s time I’ll be happy, or regretting leaving my full-time position.

Working freelance makes the future uncertain. I could go from being successful to unemployed in a heartbeat.

Though that doesn’t mean you should run and hide.

Here’s Why You Should Go Freelance

You might have noticed I balanced the positives and negatives. I did this on purpose. 

Why?

Because like a yin and yang, like light and shadow — the positives and negatives will always go hand in hand.

Yet I am sure after reading my negatives you’re thinking, the freelancing life doesn’t sound as nice as it does on the surface! 

So, why do I think you should do it?

I think everyone should try it. 

It comes with a risk, but if you’ve got the skills, the talents, and know what you want to do as a freelancer, then why not give it a go?

You’ll always wonder “what if” otherwise, and if you take the dive and it doesn’t work out— you can always get another job again.

It might not be at the same place you worked at before, but at least you can fall-back onto something and start saving money.

I’m not saying read this, and quit your job to start freelancing tomorrow.

Make  a plan, save some money, and then when you’re ready:

Take that leap of faith!

It’s what I did, and I haven’t regretted it yet.


…And that’s that! 

If you’ve made it this far, I hope what I’ve said has helped spur your decision! If you’re just here out of curiosity, I hope I’ve answered some of your questions!

Now, regular readers, you know the drill by now!

 If you liked what you read, let me know! Comment your thoughts and opinions — even your own experience of leaving your job behind to pursue your passion!

Remember to subscribe via our mailing list for content delivered directly to your email and as usual:

See you next time!

An Effortless Way To Power Up Your Writing — Outlining Your Blog Posts – Weekly Blog Post #15

I’ve been so busy lately. Every moment, I juggle jobs, and it’s chaos.

Or at least, it SHOULD be chaos.

Yet I’m standing proudly on the peak of the mountain, looking down at the work trying to creep up the side. I won’t let it overwhelm me.

Why?

Because I know a few tricks.

We already looked at How To Be A Time Management Mastermind, and that’s a significant step in the right direction.

Though, what more can one do?

How can YOU become a more efficient writer?

Let’s talk about outlining your blog posts.

Why YOU Should Outline Your Blog Posts.

Let’s look at Andy.

Andy has multiple articles due within a week, but he doesn’t outline his posts. He takes each article as it comes and writes without a plan.

Perhaps he prefers crafting his garden as he goes, and while he might produce something excellent, he won’t produce it quickly.

His other work is creeping up the side of the mountain, and he is so focused on the one article, he doesn’t see it coming.

He doesn’t stand much of a chance.

Annie — on the other hand — outlines all of her work.

She has the same amount of orders due as Andy does, but as they come, she zooms through them, laying out an intro, the headlines, and the desired call to action.

She only spends five minutes doing so on each article.

Yet, she produces work faster than Andy does.

Why Is This Effective? Benefits of Outlining Your Writing

With Annie’s outlines, she doesn’t have to spend as much time thinking about what she’s going to put on paper.

Consider each headline she’s written as a small writing prompt. She’s broken down her work and can take each section as it comes.

This allows for:

  • Increased MoraleA task broken into sections will seem less overwhelming and will have an end in sight.
  • Better ContentYou can always tell when a television show is improvised. Writing is the same. Having a script will always be better than the former.
  • Increased Research SpeedWith each task broken into sections, you know exactly what you have to research. You can even copy and paste your headlines into google!
  • Quicker Writing You don’t have to spend as long thinking about what to put into each section, or at a loss for what to do next. You’ve got a friend telling you each step.

As you can see, it’s key to producing quality content.

You might ask now, how does one create an effective outline?

Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.

How To Outline Your Writing

There are multiple ways to do this. If you wanted, you could write a list with your article’s title, and a few appropriate headlines that are relevant.

That’s the most simple way.

With a more complicated piece, you might have to do more. You could expand on the above, and add a few lines of research underneath each headline, so you don’t have to spend as long switching between your web browser and your work.

If you want to go even more deep than that, however, you could consider using outlining tools. Let’s go over a few:

  • MindMapperA great brainstorming tool, that does what’s in the title! Create a brainstorm with all the ideas you can delve into in your article.
  • CheckvistA To-Do List that allows you to send tasks directly to your email. Subscribe to their Pro version and you can even attach files to it! (Make a list of topics you want to cover and check them off as you hit them!)
  • ScrivenerThis one focuses on novels, but it has an excellent structure. Keep multiple drafts of your work, organise your research, and even pin pictures on their Pinboard!
  • StickyPadWindows 10 has a similar tool built-in, but this is a more lightweight version. It’s a great way to make brief notes that you can use to plan your writing.
  • NotepadEven more lightweight, and the bare minimum you need. Have a separate notepad open to your writing platform and chuck your ideas in there! It’s that simple!

You don’t have to use every idea. If you do, you might put out thin content and your article may end up being messier. But using these tools, you can create a pool of ideas you can pick from in your article.

It’s a great way to beat writer’s block!

So, to surmise:

Outline your work, because otherwise, you’ll get overwhelmed and struggle to keep up.

It’s fool-hardy to not do so, and in the long-run, you’ll only be making more work for yourself. Don’t get lost in the outlining and never spend over fifteen minutes doing it!

Remember: Check out some tools above to streamline the process and keep all of your ideas in one place.


Comment below your thoughts and opinions on this subject! Do you have your own outlining tip, or can you offer a tool below I’ve missed? Let me know!

If you enjoyed this article and want to see more helpful hints, be sure to subscribe via email below! Get content delivered directly to your inbox!

…And don’t be like Andy!

3 Simple Steps to Get Rid of Writer’s Block – Weekly Blog Post #14

It’s time I wrote something regarding writer’s block. The bane of all content creators around the world.

Sometimes, the well runs dry. In those situations, it’s hard to create new content. Novelists, songwriters, poets; we all suffer from it. It can leave one clenching their jaw and shaking their head.

But is it preventable?

Absolutely!

Join me, friends, because today we’re going to discuss how to overcome writer’s block!

What is Writer’s Block?

Writer’s block is a condition in which a writer will hit a brick wall. Beyond that wall is a well of ideas, yet the writer can’t reach it. The writer doesn’t know what to write about, and so all of their work comes to a grinding halt.

If you have deadlines to meet for clients, it can frustrate. Not only that, but it can demotivate, and for some, it can even be the final blow in their career.

It doesn’t have to be.

How to Get Rid of Writer’s Block — Three Simple Steps

  1. Take a Break

You heard it right. The first step in overcoming writer’s block is to stop writing. I find, for myself, if my ideas are running dry, taking a break refreshes my brain. It doesn’t have to be a long break, even a short walk will suffice. Either way, as soon as you see the writer’s block wall looming ahead, stop what you’re doing.

When I’m writing, I have this thing I call the sweet spot. It normally occurs in the first 30 minutes of my sessions, and that’s when I get all of my best work done. It’s almost as if I have a unique set of eyes on, where I see things I miss after the window. It’s my favourite time to write and when I struggle, I know I’ve surpassed that sweet spot. With that information, why force myself to carry on if I’m just getting frustrated and not writing like I did in that window? There’s no point. The writing will be bad, it will show in the work, and the pieces I submit will lose quality. It’s more of an investment to stop, take a break, and come in again at a new angle. Which takes us onto the next step.

Photo by mentatdgt on Pexels.com
  1. Try a new angle.

Imagine this, the writer’s block wall is before you, and you’re ramming your shoulder into it again and again. The wall isn’t budging, but your shoulder is getting bruised. You wouldn’t keep going, would you? You’ve taken your break. It’s time to take a fresh approach. We’re going to navigate the wall, instead of going through it.

This step can vary depending on whether you’re writing fiction, or for a client. If you’re writing a novel — jump ahead a few chapters! There’s no rule saying you must write a novel chronologically. You’ll find by jumping ahead, you might create some paths you can follow back which will knock the wall down in its entirety!

This differentiates a bit for article writing, since sometimes it’s not practical to jump ahead. So what new angles can you take when collating a piece for a client? You could try doing some research! Instead of putting words on paper, why not look at the subject you’re writing about? It can give you a fresh perspective. Or even consider looking at other articles! Compare yourself to the competition and see how you can develop to come out on top of them.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com
  1. Try Writing Prompts

I love a good writing prompt.

What are they?

Writing prompts are like call-to-actions, but instead of being for the reader, they’re for you. Someone will set you something to write about and your job is to do just that. Write about it! You can find books filled with writing prompts in superstores, but also a whole slew of them online. Try looking it up now! For fiction, you might get a writing prompt such as, “tell me about a cat chasing a mouse”. For non-fiction, “write about your favourite meal and why”. They’re simple and don’t have to be very long. How do they help with writer’s block?

Imagine a car with no fuel. It won’t run. A writing prompt is fuel. You’re filling yourself up and putting content down on paper. In doing that, you’re going to keep moving. A writing prompt may not bear a relation to your task at hand, but it might give you enough of a drive to break that wall! Below are ten writing prompts I’ve made for you:

Fiction:

  1. Write about a man who has lost his car keys.
  2. Write about a little boy who has gone with his parents to the supermarket.
  3. Write about a family lost at sea.
  4. Write about a group of pets in a pet-store. Yes, from the pet’s perspective!
  5. Write about a couple on their first date. What are they feeling?

Non Fiction:

  1. What’s your favourite TV show or movie? Why?
  2. What are your favourite meals to cook? Why?
  3. Why do you write?
  4. What gets you out of bed in the morning? What are you thankful for?
  5. What are you looking forward to?

They’re very simple, but answer them, and see how they develop. Maybe the fiction writing prompts will turn into a short-story. Maybe the non-fiction ones will turn into a review, or a source of inspiration! Try it out and see what happens!

Photo by Khoa Vu00f5 on Pexels.com

Follow these three simple steps and like that, you’ll get over writer’s block. It’s that easy! When a writer tells me they’re suffering from it, and they use it as an excuse to stop writing , I don’t believe it. Writers block is a problem! Yes, it exists! Yet, like every problem in the world, there’s a solution. Don’t lose to writers block, keep trucking and before you know it, that wall will be dust in the wind.

Thank you for reading! If you try my prompts, be sure to comment on your answers below! Same for if you have your own tips, or scenarios where writing block has really made you suffer! I want to build a community. Let’s do just that!

Be sure to give this post a like, and subscribe via email below if you want tips, tricks and content by me delivered right to your inbox!

Thanks for reading! See you next week!

How To Find Writing Jobs Online — The Simple Way – Weekly Blog Post #13

In my experience as a content writer, I’ve had many people reach out to me, asking how to find writing jobs online.

I’ll be honest with you — I’m not the old, all-knowing, owl. In fact, I’ve only been in this game for a little while. However, today I’m going to share with you what I’ve gathered so far, hoping you can apply it to your own budding writing business. Why? Because if you succeed and you have an overflow of work, I hope I’m the first person who comes to mind!

Without further ado, how do you start an online writing job?

Starting An Online Writing Job

Your first step is research, and if you’re reading this, you’re already well underway!

Refer to my last blog post (How to SEO Your Website — The Power of Keywords) to learn about keywords. You want to know what people are searching for and begin developing your niche in that area. Remember, write what you know and focus on a subject you’re passionate about. Otherwise, you are at risk of burning out.

Once you know your niche, write about it.

That’s a really important step, and such a simple one in finding writing jobs online. Most clients will ask for samples of your work, or experience in your niche. If you’ve got nothing to show, they’ll hire the competition. Set about writing a few thousand word pieces about your topic you’re ready to send out in an instant. Make sure these pieces are perfect. No grammatical errors, no syntax errors — check, check, check!

You can upload them to an online portfolio — such as a WordPress website — or you can sit on them until someone asks. In my experience, it doesn’t really matter. Just as long as they’re ready when a client asks.

When you’ve got a good portfolio, you’re ready to start.

Photo by Ju00c9SHOOTS on Pexels.com

Where To Find Clients

This is the part of the blog post you’ve been waiting for. Having a good portfolio is great, but it’s not much help if you don’t know where the clients are hiding, or how to find writing jobs online. Word of advice before I begin, though?

DON’T JOIN A WEBSITE YOU HAVE TO PAY FOR.

I can’t believe this is a genuine issue! Many websites — I’m looking at you Contena — talk about how they’re the number #1 writing website for professionals. Yet, pay to join?

They try to say your payment is an investment, but in most cases, they’re just aggregator websites. They search the web and compile all the jobs they find into one place. Everything they offer is already out there for free. If you know how to research, you’re throwing money to nothing. You’ve never had to pay to apply for a job in the corporate world, have you?

Yeah, so avoid those websites.

The same goes for content mills! Honestly. A mill is constantly running, right? That’s what you’ll be signing you up for. You’ll be spending all of your time writing for a little turnaround. If you want your business to be serious, avoid them. Write some fantastic samples instead!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Job Boards

This is the most basic way to find writing jobs online. What’s the difference between a job board and a content mill? A job board will have some serious clients, with some serious cash.

Job Board examples:

Fiverr — Fiverr is my favourite job board. You can post your gig, advertise it across all of your social medias, and wait for the clients to come for you. This is a rare job board where it works that way round. You have to pass a writing test to get acceptance, but it’s easy if you know your trade.

Freelancer — I liked this website, but it’s VERY competitive. Their vetting process isn’t great, and your bids — cover letters, if you will — are public (unless you pay a fee), so it’s easy for other users to steal them.

Upwork — Similar to Freelancer, but they have a vigorous acceptance procedure. You can’t bid on jobs unless they’ve accepted you as a member, and sometimes that can be difficult. For example, they may reject your profile just because they’ve had a large influx of submissions from other freelancers. This can demoralise, and I don’t rate them very high because of this.

Job boards are a great way to start, but they’re not my favourite. It’s in job boards where the competition really comes through, and they hold your clients hostage. You can’t give clients your external email; so if you leave the website, you lose the client.

Social Media:

Photo by Tracy Le Blanc on Pexels.com

Yep! I mean it! Social Media — Facebook in particular — is a great way to find writing jobs online. In fact, it’s where I source most of my work. I’m not saying post a Facebook status asking your friends and family to hire you, that wouldn’t work! Instead, check out Facebook groups such as Cult of Copy and Science of Copywriting. They update their job boards daily with new jobs, and you can message the clients directly to open a channel of communication with them. If you have a good portfolio, it’s a brilliant way to start out!

Pitching Businesses.

This is a classic way of doing it, but it works! Take a pen and paper and walk through your local area. Write the names of businesses, research them, and then email them. Tell them how you can benefit their company. Nobody wants to part with money, so you need to write an interesting pitch that promises a good turnaround. This is where your samples really shine — proof-in-the-pudding if you will.

Consider this cold calling. 99.9% of the emails you send will receive no response. However, the few that do will earn you a good profit!

…And that’s the basics of how to find writing jobs online!

To summarise:

  • Build a strong portfolio.
  • Don’t subscribe to paid aggregators.
  • Avoid content mills.
  • Check out online job boards.
  • Look into social media groups.
  • Pitch local businesses.

Thanks for taking the time to read this blog post. Got your own advice? Comment below! If not, be sure to subscribe via email and have my content delivered directly to your inbox!

Thanks again!

How to SEO Your Website — The Power of Keywords – Weekly Blog Post #12

I’ve wanted to write an article about SEO and how it works for a while. I know there are a thousand guides on the internet regarding it already, however consider this my spin!

SEO is short for Search Engine Optimisation. In short, it’s the practice of using certain techniques to increase your page’s listing on web crawlers — or in laymen’s terms — search engines. The higher your listing, the more traffic your website will receive, and in terms of monetization, you can already see how important that is!

But what are the techniques? How do I SEO my website?

The first thing you need to understand is keywords. When you write something into — let’s say Google — it picks out certain words from your search (keywords) and displays the most relevant results based on them. These words are usually what others are searching for.

How can we use that to our advantage?

This is where SEO tools come into play. Using a website such as wordtracker.com, you can research what others are searching for. For example, if I was to type in, “Cheap Hotels.” on this website, I recieve the following information:

As you’d expect, most people are searching for cheap hotels themselves. But, I can also see people are looking for, “cheap hotels near me”, and “cheap hotels in Las Vegas”. With this information, I know to write an article about cheap hotels with a heavy lean on Las Vegas.

Let’s talk about Keyword Density.

With what I’ve told you, you’re probably wondering why I can’t write a blog where I repeat “cheap hotels” a thousand times, and jump straight to the top of web crawlers. Search Engines are smarter than that, and it won’t work. They know people utilise SEO and if you try to trick the system by doing that, you’ll get punished for it.

I’m not saying the police will knock on your door and arrest you! However, it will hurt your ranking and you’ll drop in listings. Because of that, you need to know about keyword density. To SEO your blog, scatter your keywords within the text — but only to a certain percentage based on your word count. Sounds complicated, right? Don’t worry, we can use tools to do this again. Websites, such as SEOreviewtools.com or Yoast.com, can look at your text and let you know the density of your keywords. They’ll warn you if you are using the word too many times.

Cater your blog using your keyword research tool and density checker and you have the makings of an SEO friendly blog.

The trouble is, everyone else is doing the same.

I’ve written my SEO friendly blog about cheap hotels in Las Vegas, I’ve followed the exact steps above, but I’m still not getting a lot of traffic. Why? There’s too much competition.

I’m going to introduce you to Long Tail SEO.

This is like the former, however it utilises keywords which have less incoming traffic. The term long tail comes from the fact these keywords are usually longer and more focused. For example, instead of making my keyword “cheap hotels in Las Vegas”, I might make it “cheap hotels near Las Vegas Airport.”

Compare the volumes:

So now, you’re thinking, I’ve just killed 90% of my potential traffic. While you’re right, I’ve also leaned myself toward a targeted audience. 7679 people are searching for cheap hotels in Las Vegas and the comptition is going to be thick, but only 132 people are looking for “cheap hotels near Las Vegas Airport.”

Those 132 people are for more likely to come to my powerful SEO blog with a clear, focused topic.

Not everyone prefers doing that. Some love the thick of the competition! However, it’s something to consider!

… And that is the basis of SEO! It takes a little research, and getting used to, but use these methods and watch your traffic soar! Still, make sure your content is quality. You want to keep your readers coming back, after all!

I’ve mentioned this several times in my blog before — but here’s some advice! If you have an image heavy website, make sure the page has over 350 words on it. Web crawlers don’t see images, and so if you have fewer words than that, they’ll mark the page as lite on content and you’ll fall down the listings. Even if it is the most SEO friendly blog on the web!

That’s all I’ve got time for today, folks! I know this is just a brief look — there is so much more! Keywords are constantly changing, and some people even develop tactics to predict what keywords are likely before the fact. However, for those just starting out, I hope this points you in the right direction. I want to see your business soar and knowing how to write articles with SEO friendly content will do just that.

For further reading, look into Google’s snippets, Google’s “People also ask box” and the dangers of putting out duplicate content. These are massive in writing SEO friendly copy and can help you with your keyword research to a great degree.

Got your own advice, you want to add? Comment below! Also, subscribe to my email for a notification every time I post. Get writing advice delivered directly to you! What more could you want?

Thanks for reading! See you next time!

3 SIMPLE Tips to Make YOU a Time Management Mastermind! – Weekly Blog Post #11

The more time that goes by, the less of it I find I have. It can be stressful and leave me feeling overwhelmed. Especially with customers coming from different time zones wanting fast turnarounds!

I have my novel to work on; I have a paid trial for a prominent company; I have my individual clients; I write AND run a Dungeons and Dragons campaign for my friends; I work a full-time job, and I’m in a relationship maintaining a loving family.

Sounds like a lot, huh? I wanted that paragraph to be a mouthful, so you’d feel the same way I often do!

However, it doesn’t have to be difficult! With a strict schedule (and yes, I mean strict!) I often get everything I want done and always please my customers. In doing this, I’ve learned various effective time management skills that I want to share with you today! So read on to hear some tips of the trade!

Photo by Bich Tran on Pexels.com

What is Time Management?

I know, it sounds like a silly question. But it’s an important one! It’s easy to assume time management is a simple case of managing one’s time. Trust me, there is more to it than that! If you can manage your time, you’re off to a flying start, but another important aspect is organising what you do with that time. It’s not about working hard, it’s about working smart. So for this blog, we’re going to define time management as the effective use of your time, and to do that, there are two key things you need to be succeeding at it:


1. Pleasing your clientsIf you’re good at managing time, you’ll never miss a deadline.
2. Not getting stressed Don’t drown in your work! Don’t be afraid to ask for help!

But how do you do that? Do you use tools? A worksheet?

HERE ARE THE TRICKS

The first thing you have to do is create a working schedule, and stick to it!

Every day, I dedicate an hour and a half, AT LEAST, to writing. During that time, my writing is akin to working for a corporation. I don’t allow myself to get distracted, and it’s all I do.

I understand you might not have an hour and a half to put aside every day, so here’s a little trick.

SET A TIMER.

Upon my desk, I have a timer next to me – on my phone. I set it to an hour and a half and hit go. Sometimes life happens, and I get distracted. My partner needs me, or we have visitors show up unannounced. Instead of getting frustrated, I hit pause on that timer and see to them. As long as that timer hits 0:00, and I’ve spent every second of the countdown writing, I know I’ve put my time in for the evening.

The best part about doing that is every night when I go to bed, I can’t feel bad for the amount I’ve done, because I can tell myself, I put in the same amount of work as I did the night before.

I even sometimes do extra! For example, I call Wednesday, “Writey Wednesday!” On that day, I set the timer to two hours!

Photo by Mike on Pexels.com

REWARD YOURSELF

We’re all human, and a key thing in life incentive. Why should you put the work in every night, when there’s no gain from it? For me, my incentive is that I get paid. But what if you’re building a portfolio? What’s the incentive when you haven’t got guaranteed customers?

I use an android app called DoItNow!

It’s a real simple app – that I keep meaning to write a full article on – where you set yourselves tasks and upon completion of them, you earn virtual coins! Those coins you can then exchange for rewards, which you create! An hour and a half of writing earns me 15 coins. For 50 coins, I can go on Amazon and buy myself something nice! I buy nothing for myself on any other occasion and it’s a HUGE motivator.

KNOW YOUR DEADLINES AND UNDERSHOOT THEM.

This one’s important. It took me a long time to learn and believe me; I annoyed previous companies by not being good at this. I’m proud to say I am now. If you have multiple customers, don’t just REMEMBER your deadlines, KNOW THEM, and BEAT THEM. How can you do that?

A spreadsheet.

Every time you receive a new order, ask your client about their turnaround. They’ll likely give you a range, such as 5-7 days. On your spreadsheet, enter your customer’s details and create a “due date” column. Order your spreadsheet by that column, so you know your priorities. Then, enter a definitive date to finish the client’s article by. Make that date AT LEAST one day before the customer requires.

This way, should life happen, you have breathing room. Should you need to make last-minute revisions, you can. Should everything be in order and you send your article to your client earlier, you have one happy client!

Don’t forget to use colours, too!

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Pexels.com

You want your due dates to stand out. If you have time to work on something, or a deadline is far off, highlight it green. If the deadline is coming up: amber. If it’s gone by or imminent: red.

If you don’t use colours, it’s easy to miss something!

Follow these three quick tricks, and you’ll find already, you’re building an organised business. Remember, only work within the time-frames you set yourself! Outside of those times, spend time with your loved ones, doing what you want and having fun.

Why?

What’s the point in building a freelance career if you’re not enjoying doing it? Money is little more than digital numbers on a display.

Thanks for checking out this week’s blog post! Tune in next week for more writing tips, advice, or to just hear about how I’m doing!

Don’t forget to comment your own advice below, subscribe to my email list and get in touch! I’m always looking for more clients, or to discuss the craft of writing!

See you next week!

Page 1 of 3

Powered by