What is your Word Limit?

Posted on June 4, 2013. Filed under: Blogging, Resistance, Staying-With-It, writing, Writing-Exercises | Tags: , , |

For the past few months, I have been targeting 1000 words a day as my writing goal. While that worked for some time, the ultimate result was that I could not sustain it.

Since the real goal is a sustained pattern of daily writing, this goal did not work for long term purposes. A new goal of 500 words a day, using a software tool called “yEdit2” from Spacejock Software, has helped.

What is your daily word goal? If you have stopped writing, consider that you set your requirement too high. Set a lower limit and see if that works better.

Worried that a lower limit means that your aspirations are too low? Keep in mind that you can raise your limits later, once your daily habit of writing is better established.

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Content Farms

Posted on June 3, 2013. Filed under: Blogging, writing | Tags: , , |

If you read much about writing and the Internet, you have no doubt heard of “content farms.” (Sometimes “content farms” are also called “content mills.”) If not, then you may be wondering what they are.

First of all, how does one judge whether or not a publisher is a “content farm”? The basis of the decision is partially based on the quality of the writing and partially on the volume of writing purchased by a publisher. Fees paid tend to be very low.

So, what should you do? The decision is a personal one. One argument for writing for content farms is that you will paid, albeit low paid, for writing. This gives you a chance to be paid to practice your skill.

An argument against writing for a content farm is that your name may become associated with low quality work, and this may affect you if you view yourself as a “brand” in the marketplace. You may close the doors on publishing with certain publishers if you follow this route.

In the end, only you can decide what route to follow.

Here are a few links about “content farms”:

Wikipedia article on Content Farms

Make a Living Writing: Both Sides

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Writing as a Business

Posted on June 3, 2013. Filed under: Blogging, eBooks, Staying-With-It, writing | Tags: , , |

At some level, if you write, you should be writing because you want to write. But, if you want to focus on writing as your livelihood, then you need to consider your alternatives.

One alternative is to work as an employee or a contractor. If this is your goal, then consider education and training as a technical writer. And, even if this is not your goal, keep in mind that this experience can provide a strong foundation for becoming a freelance writer.

If you believe that you already have the foundation you need to be a freelance writer, then you need to start thinking of your writing in terms of it being a business. You will need to consider business planning, including issues of finance, marketing, and managing your “operations” as a writer.

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Writing and Imposter Syndrome

Posted on June 2, 2013. Filed under: Blogging, Resistance, Staying-With-It, writing | Tags: , |

One problem with writing is something called the “Imposter Syndrome.”

You are writing, and while part of you intuitively can tell this is important to you and that you need to be doing it, you have self doubts.

You are doing what writers do: you are writing.

But, you have doubts. You are not a “real” writer, whatever that is.

Maybe the time has come for you to create one or more character sketches of what you believe a “real” writer is. Chances are good that you can build several characters from this. And, as you build these characters, you will be writing.

This may not “cure” your imposter syndrome right away, but as you write you will eventually write away those feelings. With practice, you will overcome this.

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It’s a Spring Day; Go out and Play!

Posted on May 28, 2013. Filed under: Staying-With-It, Writing-Exercises | Tags: |

It’s a spring day! Go out and play! Brandon Lee, in his last interview (made while filming “The Crow”) offered that when he looked at a full moon he sometimes wondered “how many times” would he see it again.

Life easily passes us by stuck in front of a computer or glued to a tablet or a smart phone. If you are doing too much of this, maybe you need to volunteer for a few months at a nursing home.

You will not find anyone there complaining that they did not work enough overtime. And, in the years to come, you will not find anyone complaining that they did not spend enough time glued to their computer or smart phone.

Take a tablet (paper, not electronic) with you out into the day and enjoy it for once. Maybe, just maybe, you will find the inspiration you need to write your very best writing ever.

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Relief in the Discomfort Past

Posted on May 22, 2013. Filed under: Blogging, Opinions, Resistance, writing, Writing-Exercises | Tags: , , , , |

You may or may not believe in the ghost of Christmas past. But, we all have experienced relief in the discomfort past.

If you took the time to capture your discomfort when it was with you, you now have a chance to write about what it is like to have it gone. Did you take the air conditioner for granted. (This assumes you have one, and heat is an issue. Maybe you do not have one, or maybe you do not need one. I suspect this metaphor does not translate well to writers in Anchorage.)

Your word pictures from your time of discomfort now provide a context for your sense of relief. As you develop characters, don’t you think that they would go through the same process?

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The Spammer as a Work of Fiction

Posted on May 16, 2013. Filed under: Blogging, Writer-Tools, writing, Writing-Exercises, Writing-Tools | Tags: , , , , |

At some point, someone will start writing stories about spammers and trolls and other internet monsters and hobgoblins.

With a bit of ingenuity, they can be interesting characters. After all, as a writer you can paint them in any way you want. Fiction presents a canvas in which you can use broad strokes to produce the picture that you desire.

Imagine a spammers’ club. What picture of words would you paint?

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Breaks Are Dangerous

Posted on May 14, 2013. Filed under: Blogging, Opinions, Resistance, Staying-With-It, writing, Writing-Exercises, Writing-Tools | Tags: , , , , |

Breaks are dangerous. The inevitable emergency or demanding situation calls, and your writing efforts cease. One day turns into two, and two turns into three.

Adapting an old saying, supposedly a Chinese saying about drinking alcohol, to writing “breaks”:

  • Writer takes a day off.
  • Day off takes a day off.
  • Day off takes a writer.
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When Your Inner Dog Won’t Bark Back

Posted on May 13, 2013. Filed under: Blogging, Resistance, Staying-With-It, writing, Writing-Exercises, Writing-Tools | Tags: , , , , , |

Hemingway is reputed to have said “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

 

Now, typewriters are passe, and we have desktop computers, laptop computers, tablets (electronic), and cellular telephones with micro-blogging tools such as Twitter. Shouldn’t writing be easy?

 

 

But sometimes when you talk to your Inner Dog your Inner Dog won’t bark back. Looking at you in silence, not even a whimper emerges. What to do?

 

 

Maybe this is the moment to take a break.

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Emitting Words

Posted on May 12, 2013. Filed under: Blogging, Resistance, Staying-With-It, Writing-Exercises, Writing-Tools | Tags: , , |

Some days, all you can do is emit words. Your daily writing task looms. It is an exercise, like athletes lifting weights or stretching. And, you know you must do your exercise.

But no words and no brilliant ideas seem to emerge. On these days, you must emit words. And, you can emit anything. It can be gobbledygook, randomness. If you are lucky, you can string it together into sentences. And, you might even string those together into paragraphs. Asking anything more than that can be too much. The job, on these days, is to emit words.

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