Want to Be a More Successful Writer?: Meet Other Writers. Here’s How…

Learning more about your craft, and the business of writing is easier when you network with other writers. After all, who will know best about how to do things, how to find information, and what to do regarding your writing career than other writers who are experienced? If you want to learn more about your industry networking with other writers will help. Let’s look at places you can find other writers.

Seminars – At any given time there are many different seminars all over the world for writers. Since seminars are usually smaller than conferences but larger than workshops, this is a great way for you to start meeting more writers. In a smaller group, you may feel more comfortable being open and talking to them.

Conferences – A conference is a larger event. There could be anywhere from 50 to 100’s of people at a conference. There are numerous opportunities to network at these types of events. Usually, there are breaks for meals, coffee hour, and cocktail hour. Take the time to be out and about during those breaks as that is when you’re going to network the most.

Webinars – It’s not as easy to network during a webinar, but it is not impossible. If the webinar offers a chat area, you can ensure that you’re helping in the chat area answering questions and helping plus providing your information if allowed so others can contact you. Another way to network with writers via webinars is to host the webinar for writers yourself.

Critique Groups – Writers often form groups that enable them to show work to the group and get feedback on it. If you’re part of a critique group, your job is to give honest feedback to those who share their writing. If you get feedback your job is to accept without getting upset understanding that feedback is subjective, but you may learn something new.

Literary Meetings – You can find local meetups that fit this criterion by going to Meetup.com and Writersrelief.com to find literary meetings in your area. Each meeting will be different be sure to follow the leader’s example.

Book Clubs – There are book clubs for writers so that when they discuss the work, they’re reading it is done from a writing perspective to help learn a technique. You may read books about writing or examine great writing to know how you can turn your writing into great writing.

Workshops – Writing workshops happen at local colleges and universities and sometimes are started by your local library or literary association. When you go to a workshop, you’re going to learn but also to network with the others who are there.

Writer’s Organizations – There are numerous writing organizations that you can join that have regular meetings internationally, nationally, and locally. Check out several before joining any. You want to ensure the organization you join has the writer’s best interest in mind not making just making money from you.

Message Boards, Forums, and Social Media Groups – Online you can find so many message boards such as at Delphiforums.com, and Facebook Groups that fit the criteria of networking for writers. Networking online is just as effective as networking offline for most writers depending on their goals.

When you do network with other writers, it’s important to understand what your goals are for any one event. That way you can ensure that you make the most of each. The important thing is to be yourself, be open to learning, and to be proud of what you do.

And important! Remember to continue the connection after the event or outside of the group. Add them to social media, stay in touch and where possible, make time for more in-person connection. 

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How to Improve Your Writing Process in 4 Steps

How to Improve Your Writing ProcessOne thing that will make your writing come easier is if you pay attention to your writing process. Instead of just sitting down and writing without any guidelines or idea of what you want to say, you’re going to want to set up your writing so that you can focus on one thing at a time. To accomplish this, you’ll want to define each section or chapter of your writing before you get started writing the meat of your story or report.

The importance of defining the purpose of each section or chapter of your writing will become apparent when you do it. You’ll be able to focus on writing when it’s time to write. You’ll be able to stay on topic easier. Not only that, it will speed up the writing process substantially. Plus, as a bonus, your writing will be more understandable and easier to read.

Pre-Writing Makes Writing Easier & Faster

In fact, defining the purpose of each section of your writing project is one of the first steps in the writing process. Often this part is called “pre-writing.” This is where you find the idea you want to write about, build on your idea by researching, and then plan and structure the writing so that it’s like simply putting a puzzle piece together by filling in the blanks at the end. This makes the writing process so much faster.

Flesh Out Your Purpose for Each Section

Once you’ve done your research, brainstormed, and created the outline for your writing it’s time to start defining each section. The best way to do this is to simply write a synopsis of what you’re going to talk about in this chapter. Since you do have an outline, you can work with the outline to write the synopsis. Once you’ve written the synopsis for each chapter then it’s time to do the most writing.

Ensure You Have Order in Your Writing

One thing that separates good writing from mediocre writing is the ability to get your point across to your audience in as few words as possible while still engaging and entertaining them. You’ll have better luck accomplishing this is you’ve worked on the synopsis for each section carefully. At that point, you may choose to reorder some of the headings so that it flows better and makes more sense.

Helps Define the Beginning, The Middle & The End Better

When you take the time to organize your writing by defining the purpose of each section of your writing, it helps you ensure that each section has a beginning, middle, and end. When your audience reads the writing, they’ll be more likely to relate to the writing and understand it when it’s organized in this way. Plus, you’ll be able to ensure that you’re delivering the message you wanted to.

When you define what you plan to write for each section you ensure it has a beginning, middle, and end that makes sense to your readers. It also helps you write faster and in a more professional way. If you want to be a professional writer, you’ll be glad when you add this method to your process.

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How to: Sandwich Technique to Promote Your Book

Sandwich Promotion TechniqueThere are a lot of ways to promote your book but one of the most popular for not only book promotions but for giving people bad news, for handling critiques, and generally softening the blow about some news the sandwich technique is a winner.

You know it’s a winner due to the sheer number of people who use the technique to sell more books. Let’s learn more about this technique so that you can have your aha moment and get on with selling more books.

Three Parts to a Sandwich

First, there are two pieces of bread a top and a bottom plus something inside. Often that’s referred to as the meat even if it’s peanut butter. If you wanted to use this idea for promoting your book the way you’d do it is by putting the meat (your book) in between mention of at least two other books, (the bread) one before, and one after your book.

Create a List of “Best” Books

To accomplish this sandwich selling, you can be creative and write a blog post about three to five books in a genre remembering also to list your own book. You can also focus on other aspects of your book. For example, if you have a book on meditation techniques, you might want to list books that talk about meditation but don’t provide the techniques so that your book is differentiated from the others.

Write a Whitepaper Comparing Offers

Another way to use the sandwich technique to sell more books is to write a whitepaper. Now, a whitepaper is going to work better for nonfiction “how to” books. For example, if you have a book entitled, “10 Ways to Get Over Your Ex” that you want to promote you can compare that book with another book, program, or method that purports to help people get over their ex. In this case, while you’ll mention the others, you’ll highlight yours and explain why this choice is preferable to the others without being obvious.

Create a Round-Up

There are numerous ways you can create roundups, you can use any criteria your audience will be interested in to make lists that fit together. For example, “My Favorite Books of 2019” or “The Books I Will Read in 2019”, or “Great Weekend Reads in The Winter.” However, you can justify to your audience why these books are in a list, you can do the roundup. Of course, always include your book with a link to buy it too.

Compare and Contrast

You can also use this technique in a compare and contrast way. Remember to think about the sandwich. Give some positive information about each book, plus the negative, and then the positive again. If you can spin it so that your book is highlighted as the best choice in the equation, you’ll make more sales for your book.

As you can see the sandwich technique can work very well to sell your book. You see this method used all the time. Any time you see any type of list compiling anything you can buy you can bet it’s probably the marketer using the sandwich technique even if they’re totally unaware of it because it works.

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Should You Specialize Your Writing Business? – Tips for Freelancers

Specializing as a Freelance WriterWhenever anyone starts any type of business one thing that is drilled into their heads is niching down. Niche down your services, niche down your audience, niche down to serve a small portion of the entire audience so that you can specialize and make more money with less work. But, is it always a good thing? Let’s explore the pros and cons of freelance writing specialization.

First, there are two ways you can specialize. You can choose to write within a certain industry regardless of the type of writing. For example, if you wanted to write for the medical industry. You can write about it in general, but you can also niche to a specific topic like pediatrics as a topic.

The second way is to specialize is to specialize your skill set. For example, if you’re a nurse who wants to write about breastfeeding you can play up your skill set as a nurse. Another idea is that you may specialize in creating lead magnets for any niche, or reports, or books. It’s up to you how you specialize, but the important thing is that if you do, that you are clear about what you do who you do it for and why you’re the right one to do it.

The Pros of Choosing a Specialization

When you choose to specialize there are a lot of benefits to doing it. The benefits are the reason that most business experts suggest niching down.

It’s Easier to Attract the Right Clients – When you know what you will write about, or the types of things you will write (such as lead magnets or reports) it’s easier to market to the right clients. For example, if you want to specialize in creating lead magnets, you’ll need to market to people who use them.

It’s Easier to Write What You Know – When you know a topic, it’s so much easier to write about it. If you have education, time and experience dedicated to a topic you can call on that when you write.

You’ll Get More Referrals – Knowing that Betty writes about breastfeeding means that if someone sees a request on a group for that type of writing, they’re going to tag you or tell you about it. Plus, if anyone asks them, they’ll be sure to refer you because they know that’s you.

You’ll Be Writing What You Enjoy – Hopefully, the thing you’re an expert in is what you also enjoy. When you like your work, it becomes much more fun to find clients, do the work, and get paid for it. It will hardly seem like work.

These pros generally make up for any cons because when marketing and finding clients your work is so much easier if you know who will need your skillset. Plus, when you work in a niche, you will be building those skills even stronger as you get more clients. While there aren’t very many cons let’s look at them anyway.

The Cons of Choosing a Specialization

While the pros probably do outweigh the cons, there are some cons. Mostly the cons have to do with stifling your creativity. It can get boring to write about the same topic all the time, or only create lead magnets instead of also writing articles.

Another con is if you choose a niche only based on money-making potential and forget about whether it brings you joy or not you may not stick to it. Does it really matter if vampire related young adult fiction is a money maker if you really hate reading it, and will hate writing it even more?

When choosing whether to niche or not to niche try to figure out how you’ll market to your audience if you don’t niche. There must be some form of a common thread that enables you to create marketing messages that resonate with them enough that they will hire you.

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How To Write Quickly When You Are Overbooked – Tips for Freelancers

Freelance Writers Write FasterEvery now and then you may find yourself in a situation where you have no idea how you’ll get all the work done that you need to get done due to overbooking yourself. However, if you set up processes and systems, it will be more difficult to end up overbooked accidentally, and you’ll get done faster on a more regular basis.

Don’t Skimp on The Research

When you do enough research about a topic writing will become much smoother for you. When you’re stuck, it’s usually because you don’t know enough about the topic to write about it with intelligence. The more you read about the topic, and seriously study it, the easier it will be to write quickly.

Keep a Swipe File Handy

When you are researching, it will help you to organize some swipe files. In the old days, the way this was done is you could write quotes and paraphrase research on with the source listed on 3×5 cards. You can now do this using software like Trello.com or even just by using Word documents with file names that are easy to search about the topic. More than likely you’ll write about the same things a lot, so this will cut down on your research time.

Make Complete Outlines

Once you’re done with research even when you’re short on time making a complete outline is going to make the writing portion faster for you. Plus, your documents will be more organized and easier to read for the client and their audience.

Set Your Daily Writing Goals Realistically

If you’ve overbooked yourself, you’re probably going to have to change your schedule by eliminating anything that stops you from writing for your clients. You may have to work longer during the day, work at night after the kids go to bed, or give up your weekend. Something must go but try to be realistic about it so that you don’t get overbooked as much.

Set Aside the Time to Get it Done

If you know, it takes you a certain amount of time to write 500 words you must set aside that time. Even if you’re overbooked, you probably won’t be able to do the work faster literally. Although being more organized will help you become as fast as you can get.

Write Even on Your Days Off

Speed with writing comes with practice. While you’re still learning it’s important to try to write every single day even if you’re not writing for your clients. Even an hour a day on your days off will help increase your speed and skill. Try working on different aspects of your writing such as eliminating passive voice or extraneous words during your non-work writing days. Plus, you want to have some free writing days as well where you can just let it flow. All the practice will make you faster.

Ensure You’re Writing at The Right Level

Sometimes writing seems hard because you’re trying to use words that are too big. This is the reason you need to know about the audience who is reading the work. What your client wants is important too, but as the expert, you can guide them to the type of writing and content that their audience will enjoy reading. If you’re trying to be too intellectual, you may be trying too hard. Write how you talk, then edit for clarity and accuracy.

Outsource

If all else fails, it can help you to have a couple of people you can call on to help you catch up. This will work if the people you choose have a similar writing style as you. Don’t outsource if you don’t have time to edit it yourself though because you are the one ultimately responsible for the work.

Writing quickly when you’re overbooked takes a lot of practice because you want to give your clients good work, but you want to get it done on time too. If you can ask for flexible deadlines that will also help you with arranging your work even if you’re overbooked.

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Things To Consider When Drafting a Statement of Work – Tips for Freelance Writers

Writing a Statement of WorkAn SOW is often referred to as a scope of work or statement of work. This is a document that can help you and your clients understand the scope of the work you are doing for them. It can help avoid any misunderstandings about what you will do for them. It is essentially a contract that helps define what you will do for your audience and what you will deliver to them exactly.

It Aligns with Your Expectations

The SOW should align equally with your expectations and your clients’ expectations. During the creation of this document, you should both ask questions and edit it as you go to ensure that it states what you both want it to state. You need to both understand what the project is.

Helps You Remember the Details

The SOW will detail the issues around the deliverables and even the entire process. It’ll state the price, the timeline when you’ll invoice when you give them the work, what the work will look like, and every single detail about the project including everyone’s individual responsibilities.

Includes the Scope of Work

When you create the SOW, you’ll want to think both about the “statement of work” and the “scope of the work” because all of it should be in the document. You need to define the extent of the work that you’ll be doing so that you can both look back at the document. You should use it like you used a rubric in school – check it to ensure you’ve met all the criteria listed before turning it into your client.

Spells Out Responsibilities

When you have a good SOW, you’ll never again wonder why you’re doing that project, what you are supposed to deliver, and who has approval. You’ll know exactly how the project will be approached, which phase you’re in when invoices are sent, and everything from cost to deliverable to what happens later is included.

Saves You from Misunderstandings

The SOW will save you and your client from serious misunderstandings. This is something both of you should take part in creating and signing to ensure that it is what you both want to do. Anytime you’re not sure you can point back to that document. If your client has a question, you can point them to that document.

It might seem like extra work to create a statement of work, but it will save you problems and work later. When everyone is on the same page about what is supposed to be done, why it’s being done, who it’s being done for and what it should look like it’s harder to make mistakes. Plus, it streamlines the work you know you need to do each day.

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How to Manage Effective Client Communication – Tips for Freelance Writers

Effective Client Communication

If you watch any TV shows or movies at all, what causes the most problems and drama on your favorite shows? It’s a lack of communication. If you’re afraid to speak up to clients (or anyone) about things it will be difficult to deliver to them what they want. As a freelance writer, your job is to find clients that want what you can deliver. If you communicate well, you will be able to avoid misunderstandings and even scope creep.

Avoid Misunderstandings – Not talking to each other can cause problems that don’t even exist. If your client is secretly upset about something you wrote and doesn’t tell you, that is going to cause a rift in your relationship. What’s sad is you won’t even know until you lose the client.

Increase Project Clarity – There is no dumb question even if people sometimes think they are dumb. When you get a project always ask questions. If you have no questions, state what you think the deliverables should be so that you can ensure that you are right with the client.

Get New Ideas – When you regularly talk to your clients about their projects, you’ll naturally end up with new ideas for them and for other clients too. When people communicate you an come up with so many new things because you never know what will spur you to greatness.

Stop Scope Creep – It’s natural for clients to come to you with other things to do. Finding good people is hard. If you’re a good person, they are eventually going to ask you to do something that is outside of your scope or even out of your comfort area completely. When you communicate about these issues, you can stop this.

Choose the Right Communication Channels – There are so many ways to communicate today. You can use email, snail mail, SMS, Zoom, Phone, Landing Pages, Video, customer handbook, and so forth are all ways to communicate. You’ll want to choose several to give your customers a choice. A customer handbook with your welcome kit can’t be beaten for helping them work with you more.

Builds Trust & Builds Relationships – The best client relationships are long-term ones. By communicating regularly and having an open-door policy for them, you’ll end up building stronger relationships with your clients. This can build your business bigger than you may have thought possible because when you have a relationship with a client, they will sing your praises and recommend you.

To ensure that you keep communication open, make sure your clients know how you prefer to communicate so that they know what steps to take to get answers. For some clients, you may need to schedule regular meetings to stay updated, and for others, they will prefer to email for an appointment just when they want one. It’s up to you how you do it but accommodating what your client needs while also ensuring it will work for you will make it that much easier to communicate with your clients.

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Expanding Your Subject and Improve Your Writing Skills: Creating Side Topics That Interest Your Readers

Creating content in one niche is a good way to start with writing. You can write about one subject for a book, or a blog, or even as a ghost content writer. No matter what your subject is, you can expand on it in numerous ways so that you never run out of topics for your readers that will interest them.

Create Case Studies – Sometimes the only thing you need to do to expand your subject is to add people to the equation, other people. Collect case studies or stories from other people who love the subject.

Create a Comprehensive Outline – Starting with the broad topic that you’re writing about, create an outline that covers that topic from every angle. When you look at the outline, you’ll be able to take anyone point or subpoint from it and write about that.

What Was Before & After – Whatever your subject is it has a history and a beginning. It also has an after. Learn about the before, during, and after. Your audience will like hearing the different historical facts about the subject they love.

Make it Persuasive – How can you turn the subject into a persuasive piece of content? For example, if your content is about sewing, you may want to write about why people should learn to sew, how sewing can save money and other topics that confirm to the reader that they should keep sewing.

Look for Broader Associations – For example, if you’re writing about a specific subject like sewing you can broaden this by branching out to talk about how to sew something, different fabrics, types of thread, the kinds of needles you need and so forth.

Create a Mindmap – This is a fun way to create more ideas for any subject including starting fresh with your subtopics. For example, if you create a mindmap about Beans, you can easily come up with unlimited writing ideas by headings of everything you want to talk about to do with beans such as cultivation, history, types, health, flatulence, production and so forth. Then under each of these ideas write more points.

When you brainstorm the topics aside from just focusing on creating a full mindmap or outline also focus on the content that you’ve already published that is popular. Plus, check the questions you’ve been asked too. You can also check out discussion groups to get ideas. The important point is that you leave no stone unturned when it comes to expanding your subject so that you can have more content for your audience.

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Creating a Space That Encourages Writing

Creating a Writing SpaceWriting is a brave career. It takes a lot for someone to strike out on their own and start creating pages upon pages of text for others to consume. And it can take a lot out of even the best of us. Creatively working takes a toll. With such a finicky career as ours, it’s imperative that we set up our “workspace” to provide the best possible outcomes and the least amount of stress on our creative minds.

What colors or patterns inspire you?

And, alternately, are there any colors or patterns that stress you out? By either incorporating or avoiding these in your decorating, you can help to create your perfect writing space.

Where do you feel the most inspired?

Do you find that nature inspires you? Maybe working out on your deck or balcony would be good for writing. Are you inspired by the hustle and wonderful smells in your local coffee shop? It could help to incorporate some of that into your writing space, or increase your coffee budget so you can go there on a daily basis to work!

What sort of “noise” do you need when you’re working?

Do you need some white noise in the background when you’re working? Maybe you’re someone who prefers to work in absolute silence and you need to purchase some noise-cancelling headphones. Some writers like listening to different types of music, such as classical, to keep their minds working.

Are there any smells that can help inspire you?

This may seem like an odd question, but it can go back to where you feel the most inspired. If it’s nature that keeps you churning out the pages, then having an open window or open air in your workspace can help to keep you inspired. If you have a favorite memory like your grandmother’s kitchen, then maybe having a candle that smells like fresh bread or homemade cookies will recreate that for you.

What furniture works best for you when you’re writing?

Some writers prefer to sit at a desk or a table to write. They feel more productive that way. Others prefer to have a comfortable chair, a warm blanket, and curl up with their laptop.

What equipment do you need for your writing career?

In addition to the furniture you need for maximum productivity, you should also think about the other equipment you may need in your writing space. Does a laptop or desktop computer work better for you? Do you prefer an old-fashioned typewriter? Do you need a printer for research?

Taking some time to plan out your workspace can help with your productivity as a writer. Making even small changes to your workspace can also help, if what you have now isn’t working as well for you.

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Listen To Me! Writing in An Authoritative Voice Without Being Overbearing

How to Write with AuthorityWhen you’ve spent time organizing, researching, writing, editing, and rewriting your work, it’s easy to slip into the tone of you being the expert on your book’s subject matter. In fact, you probably are! But mastering that authoritative voice without your writing becoming overbearing on your audience can be difficult – especially for first-time authors.

If your writing is coming across as rude or bossy or condescending, this is probably not the right type of tone for your piece. It’s important to master the authoritative tone without coming across as any of these.

An authoritative tone will come across as the author being confident in their knowledge about that subject. Knowledgeable, but not pompous. Informational, but not condescending. Direct, but not bossy or rude.

How can you master this authoritative tone in your own writing? Here are some of our top tips.

Utilize proper word choice. Because many words can have double meanings or definitions that may have different connotations, it’s imperative for experts to choose their words carefully in order to convey their expertise and not detract from their intended meaning.

Avoid using qualifiers in your writing. Qualifiers such as may, seldom, probably, hardly, likely, and frequently can convey some doubt in your own writing. While they **may** serve a purpose, they **may** also convey uncertainty in your work. (See what we did there? The **may** certainly detracts, right?)

Eliminate any wordiness or extraneous “non-information.” Granted, words can help paint the scene you’re demonstrating for your readers, but too many words, or too much “fluff,” in your piece can detract from your authority.

Read other works like your own. Take note of how the author uses their word choice and the tone that their writing conveys. Use any takeaways to polish your own work.

Practice writing in this authoritative tone and ask your peer editors to review specifically for this. Coming off as an expert in your field, but not pompous, is key to mastering this tone.

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