: It does not matter if you are a Doctor, a Lawyer or an infantry soldier in the Army if you want to be the best and get ahead, you will need to take risks. A doctor may have to take risks when working with a patient. The Doctor may have to experiment with different forms of medications or new surgical procedures when all else has failed in an attempt to help the patient. A lawyer may have to argue a case in an unorthodox manner to win the case, but if the lawyer wants to become the top lawyer and make millions of dollars fighting high profile cases lots of risks have to be taken. A soldier may have to take a risk and run thru gunfire to save another injured soldier, to complete their mission, or just to secure an area from being overrun by enemy troops, after going days with little to no sleep, but if a soldier wants to get promotions and eventually lead men into battle they also need to take risks. These risks are not unlike someone looking to get rich in a casino, they have to be willing to risk everything they have to get that million dollar payoff. If you play it safe in a casino you may get lucky and win a big jackpot on the slot machines, but if you want to make millions you are going to have to play games such as Poker, Blackjack, Roulette and Craps . These are the games that with some skill, some luck and a lot of risk taking you can retire off your winnings. The same can be said about life in general. No one gets ahead in life from playing it safe. You will not meet your special someone if you are too afraid to risk getting rejected by someone, you will never get that big promotion unless you take risks at your job. It is very important to continue to take risks in life. To stop taking risks means to stand still in life. Standing still in life is one of the main causes of depression. These are usually the people afraid to confront the boss and tell him that they demand a raise; they are the ones that allow life to pass them by out of fear. The entire purpose of fear is to stop you from taking a risk. Fear is nothing more then the unknown. If you have always wanted to quit your job and open a shop but you are too afraid to do it, this is because you are afraid of failing and risking what you already have. It is important to learn to take risks in life if you want to be happy, you may not always get the things you risked for, but you will know that you tried, and in the end it does not matter in my opinion if you succeed or not it is how many risks you try to make that is the real test of how successful you are. Just remember if no one took risks we would be a world without flight and probably no automotive vehicles at all, maybe we would have no electricity. So risk truly is needed to improve the world.
Many people were hoping that if the Democrats won control of Congress they would reverse the online gambling ban, but experts doubt they will even try or that if they do that the will be successful. Once the bill was passed and signed into law by the president, it became much harder to reverse the law. The democrats would need to bring up the law and get it to a vote, then after the vote passed it needs to go to the president for his signature. The problem with this is that the current president is the one who signed the bill into law in the first place. Another problem is because the gambling ban was attached to another bill, it means that to reverse the law the entire bill needs to be reversed, but the other part of the bill is for an increase in port security, so any congressmen who recommends reversing this law, will be going on record as trying to reverse the increase in port security. Because of this trying to get the law reversed could ruin a congressman’s chances of ever getting elected to public office again for the rest of their lives. It is more likely that it will have to wait till the end of George Bushes term in office and then get an amendment to the law that reverses only gambling ban part of the law. So if you are on Online Gambling enthusiast and you were hoping that after the election the online gambling ban would just disappear I am sorry to say you were mistaken and that you are going to have to wait a little longer, but that does not mean you need to sit quietly by. The key is to make sure that you are heard, write letters to congressmen, and attend protest rallies anything that will keep this issue in the front of the minds of the politicians so they know that just as the Republicans lost the house so can they. The republicans used the online gambling ban to try to gain votes for them in the last weeks before the election, but it backfired on them and lost them more votes then it brought in. Hopefully the Democrats will learn from the mistakes of the Republicans and will understand that banning something never works, and that it is only thru regulating the online gambling industry that will ensure that it is safe and honest to play and that no underage children manage to play. Other wise I am sure that the Democrats will also see the wrath of the American voters when it comes time for the next elections. The American people are tired of having the government controlling every aspect of their lives and I think this election may have made their point for them. So if the question is will they try to reverse the law I am sure they will try, but how successful they will be is still up in the air, and no one can really know what the outcome will be.
I’ve spoken to hundreds of editors, employers, and project managers about how they choose a freelancer for a job. Whether they were reviewing job applications or considering project bids, they all had one thing in common. As every one of them started to look at the applications, they had their skeptic’s hat on. How a Project Manager Thinks Here are a few quotes from project managers and employers to show you exactly how they think. 1. Jaime, Editor – “The First Elimination” My process of judging proposals is one of elimination. The first step is about a general impression. If it’s vague and unconvincing – eliminate. If it’s fluffed up but with no substance – eliminate. If it has real details and seems credibale – keep. Many times this process only leaves one person. That’s how easy it is to get a job – be credible and convincing. 2. Jacob, Project Manager - “I only believe what I see for myself.” I read every proposal while questioning what I’m being told. Some people make things up. Most people exaggerate. Many people think they’re better than they really are. I’ve been working with contractors for a long time and I’ve found that the only way you can judge a person is by what they do. 3. Randy, Project Owner – “Don’t Tell Me, Show Me” Don't try and impress me with ramblings. Lots of positive words strung together does nothing for me. You know, "I am keen, reliable, prompt, easygoing, articulate, generous, kind, competitive, athletic..." I have no reason to believe you’re any of those things. If you want me to pick you for the project, you have to do more than just tell me. You have to prove it to me. How to Beat the Skeptic It’s not about what you say, it’s about how you say it. Three small changes will make all the difference to your credibility and will get you more work more often. 1. Use Real Evidence It’s always better to sell yourself with a real example. Not so good – “I am reliable.” Much better – “You will never be left wondering how the project is going because I will provide timely updates to keep you informed.” 2. Use Your Results Telling project managers about your past results is also a good way to sell yourself. Not so good – “I write effective web site copy.” Much better – “With my new and improved content, my last client increased their sales by 120% in the first month.” The second statement clearly communicates the quality and effectiveness of the work. And at the same time, it’s likely to excite the project manager into thinking that the same result could occur for them. 3. Be Specific If you can use facts and figures to make your point, do so. Not so good – “Most of my business is repeat, showing that my clients are happy with the service I provide.” Much better – “96% of new clients have returned to use my services again.” Not so good – “I have completed various similar projects.” Much better – “I have completed 19 similar projects in the last year.” Make these three simple changes to your bids and job applications and you’ll win more clients, jobs, and projects.
: Words Matter Despite the high volume of e-mail that flows invisibly all the time, there is often no substitute for talking with people. Indeed, in many organizations, big decisions are made only after in-person conversations. Many career people take this seriously. Herein lies an opening for misjudgement. present with sincere gusto It is not uncommon to find a white-collar worker who believes that tone of voice and body language are underrated in effective speaking. Some polish their hand gestures and rehearse specific tones of voice because they believe that substance without style is weak. It's not just content, they say, but delivery. Seeking an edge, some even have the famous 7% rule memorized. The 7% rule states: • 55% of meaning comes from presentation • 38% of meaning comes from tonality • 7% of meaning comes from the words themselves. Though this has brought confidence and success to some, there are still people who pay more than 7% attention to the words others speak. Neither is a fringe group. However, only the latter has the backing of scientific research. still misunderstood In 1967, Dr. Albert Mehabrian and his UCLA colleagues concluded studies in communication that yielded an astonishing result: The words you use in speaking to others do not matter nearly as much as the tone of your voice or your body language. As the press picked up the story, the idea was extended: written words also take a back seat to presentation and tonality. good for shock value According to Mehabrian and his team, the original studies were never well understood. They have always asserted that words matter very much. Perhaps they didn't use the right presentation and tone - or perhaps the media were hunting for shock value. single-word expressions only The Mehabrian studies attempted to reveal the relative impact of facial expressions and tonality on the understanding of spoken words. Subjects listened to recordings of a female voice saying single words (such as "maybe" and "honey") in different tonalities. They were also shown photos of female faces with different facial expressions. They were then asked to guess the emotions portrayed in each, and to link the recordings with the faces. presentation and tone as guides The results of the studies appeared in full in Mehabrian's books, Silent Messages (Wadsworth, 1971) and Nonverbal Communications (Aldine Atherton, 1972). In both books, he clearly states that for inconsistent messages or incongruent communications, body language and tonality are probably more reliable indicators of meaning than the words themselves. Presentation and tone are more reliable than words alone for interpretive guidance with single-word expressions. These are not general circumstances. The 7% Rule is a Lie! In a 1994 issue of Anchor Point, Dr. C. E. Johnson writes, "If these percentages were really valid, it would mean that learning foreign languages could be greatly abbreviated. After all, if the words only account for 7% of the meaning, we should all be able to go to any country in the world and simply by listening to tone and carefully observing body language, be able to accurately interpret 93% of their communications!" Tone mightier than a sword? In a 1997 issue of The Toastmaster, J. E. Pearson asks, "Imagine if Nathan Hale had said, 'Okay; I'm willing to die for my country,' instead of 'I regret that I have but one life to give for my country.' Imagine Winston Churchill saying, 'Don't be afraid,' instead of, 'We have nothing to fear but fear itself.' Yes; tone of voice and body language matter very much - especially with single-word expressions. When speaking within a common language and culture do not be fooled by the myth of the 7% rule. Words matter - probably much more than 7%.
Are you a new writer struggling to get ideas for the articles you need to write? If so, you are not alone. It takes time and practice for any writer, no matter how good or how well trained, to learn to come up with good article ideas quickly. So do not be discouraged. Instead, learn from the advice of other writers. I can give advice about article writing because it is what I do. My first bit of advice is simple: write about what you love. Any time I come to a stand still about things to write about I go back to the things I am passionate about. I may not be able to write a very convincing article about why all children should watch professional wrestling (because I don't believe it is true) but I may be able to write an amazing article about the importance of families eating dinner together at the end of a long day (because I believe it is true and important). Article writing must come from things that matter to you. Reflect upon the things you value and let those give you ideas for writing. Another simple piece of advice I'll give about writing articles is to read. That's right: read. Every single good writer I know is a consistent reader. Why? Because we can learn from reading the work of other writers. It is one of the most valuable things any writer can do. Reading keeps us involved in language and even fuels new ideas for article writing. So when you're stuck just pick up a magazine and read an article or two. Don't be afraid of copying. The more you read the less chance you have of copying something you've read. It is important to think about your audience before you begin writing an article of any kind. It is always wise as a writer to try to write articles that will somehow connect with your audience and affect their lives. Just as you want to write about things that matter to you, so you should write about things that matter to them. No one will read articles that they could care less about. So look for ways to learn what people care about most. Do surveys or talk to your friends that read articles. Readers are the best source for writers. Article writing can be fun and exciting. Just take your time, relax, and enjoy it. You will never last long at something you hate.
Professional writers are often admired or envied for the end products they create. Yet, few look at the process of writing as an exciting career choice. And, for good reason. It can be difficult to sit for hour after hour, putting words onto pages. But, few professional writers actually spend all their time writing – instead they get a few words or paragraphs down, take a break or write about something else, then return to the initial project. And, they may spend their whole day working this way. And here's where you can learn from professional writers. Don't try to get all of your message written at once – especially if it's an important message. Instead, think of writing as a series of intense moments broken up by longer periods spent doing something else. For example, if you need to write an important memo, think about the chunks involved in creating it. Let's say your memo will start with an objective, in which you outline the problem that needs to be addressed. In the second section you outline the options for addressing the problem. Then, you identify and explain the solution you've chosen, and in the fourth section you list the benefits that should flow out of implementation of the solution. That's a big bag of ideas to deal with all at once. Perhaps you might start with a simple outline and a few bullet points in each section. After that, you turn to something else for an hour or two before writing the first section. Follow that with a break in which you do something else, then you write the second section. Follow that same write-break-write-break process until you've finished the memo. In summary, taking a bit-by-bit approach means you'll probably end up with a better message, one that's more likely to get the results you want.
People seem to be as divided on note taking as on any hot-button political issue. One group will give you all the reasons why they don’t take notes: I’d rather focus on listening. I don’t know what to write. Note taking never worked for me in school. While the note taking enthusiasts will counter with: Taking notes keeps me focused. I can always refer to my notes – I don’t have to rely on my memory. Taking notes works for me. While this article may not make the die-hard non-note takers convert, it will give them some tools to try. And even the most avid note takers will get some new ideas to add to their approach. Most of us use note taking techniques we learned or developed while in school. At that time our goal was the acquisition of knowledge with the purpose of reciting it back on a test or examination. As adults our purpose for note taking is typically quite different. We are taking notes on: A group meeting A phone call An interview or other face-to-face meeting A workshop or seminar A book, article, newsletter or podcast In all of these cases, while we want to acquire knowledge or information, the end goal of our note taking isn’t a test, but application of what we’ve learned. As with most anything in life, when we change the goal we may want to re-examine and change the techniques we use to get there. Here are seven ways to make your note taking more useful and valuable to you: Start with the end in mind. Start by understanding why you are taking the notes. Don’t take them because you are “supposed to,” take them because you know what or how you might use them. Having this picture in your mind will help you take the right notes without being lulled into writing down everything. Lose the linearity. Most people take notes that are very linear in nature. Not all lectures, conversation or meetings follow a strict 1, 2, 3 or outline pattern. Allow yourself to take notes without a strict linear format. There will be times to write a list, but there will also be occasion for more free more comments and thoughts. Capture ideas. While you are in the workshop or conversation new ideas will spring up. They may be connected to the situation, or they may not - either way you want to capture the idea while you have it! Give yourself permission to write down your ideas with your notes. Capture actions. The thing you are discussing or learning about (and therefore taking notes on) may suggest specific action steps you need to take. If you are taking notes in a meeting or face-to-face conversation this might seem obvious. But again, as you are engaged in taking notes you may think of a new action step or task. Make sure you write these down and don’t lose them. Develop shortcuts. You will find that if you use abbreviations, or develop other shorthand that works for you, it will make your note taking easier and faster. Since you won’t likely be sharing your notes with anyone, the nature of your shorthand can be very personal. This technique will help you speed up your note taking. Have a format. Perhaps you will find that developing a common format will make your note taking easier, or even more enjoyable. I divide a note taking page in to two columns. In the right column I take my normal notes. In the left column I draw a light bulb at the top – under it I place the ideas I have during the note taking situation. About half way down the left column I place a check mark inside of a small box. This is my icon for actions. I write the actions I think of or are generated while I am taking notes in this area of each page. I share my format as a example, you are welcome to use it or come up with your own! Review and summarize. Perhaps the most valuable thing you can do comes after you are done. Take a few minutes to review your notes – adding any words or phrases that will make them clearer. The review process will help you remember and make the notes more useful. Once you have reviewed them, take a couple of minutes to note the most important points again. This summarization will serve as a great way to “lock in” the learning you gained from the situation. Each of these seven things can help you improve the value of your notes. If you take notes regularly, try one or more of these approaches. And if you aren’t a note taker, consider these ideas as a way to try a new approach to note taking – one that might provide you value without the barriers you have encountered in the past.
Whenever you gather writers together they talk about writing. There are many different types of writers. Those who prefer to compose in long-hand or can only write on an old-fashioned manual typewriter. Those who write to music, demand complete silence, or create best surrounded by noise. You have the writers who must plan and outline before they can begin and those who find even talking about a project before it is drafted can stifle their creativity. But one of the most controversial divisions among writers is about whether writing is a skill, craft, or gift. I admit that I like to stir the fire a bit because I can argue all three points and depending on how my own writing is going at the moment I may find that one viewpoint carries more weight for me personally. I know as a teacher of writing that writing is a skill. I have taken people, young and old, who loathed writing and believed they would never be able to write -- and provided them with basic tips and tools to become good basic writers. I have taken good basic writers and given them the support and direction they've needed to become skilled writers. I've watched skilled writers with practice and determination become proficient writers. I have seen this in the classroom, at writing conferences, and in newsrooms. I have witnessed this transformation enough to know that writing is a skill that can be taught and a skill that can be learned. I know as a writer, editor, and reader that writing is a craft. As the definition reads to craft is "to make or produce with care, skill, or ingenuity". A skilled writer can capture our interest and convey information, but a writer can also craft a story, poem, or essay that touches our emotions as well as our brains. For those who have gone beyond simply skilled to be craftsmen and craftswomen they can rely on their knowledge, experience, and instinct to create writing that does more than simply delivers -- it also sings. I know as a writer and reader that writing is a gift. Some writers simply possess a special quality that allows them to step beyond and above the huddled masses. For some it is a special ability to shape words into images and ideas and for some it is a unique vision of this world (or another) that speaks to our souls in a way others cannot. Are writers born or made? Many people argue that some gifted writers are born, but I am not convinced. Perhaps you could have some predisposition but I believe that writers are made. They are made in the rocking chair when Mother reads "Goodnight, Moon"; they are made under the cover with a flashlight when you simply must finish "The Hobbit" for the first time; they are made when you proudly pocket your first library card; they are made when you fill your first notebook; they are made when you submit your first poem, article or story for publication; they are made when you receive your first rejection; and they are made when you turn the computer on every day to write. I believe some writers are supremely gifted but even so does that mean it was a gift given to them whole or was it a gift developed through years of reading, writing, talking, and thinking about words? So, I believe, writing is all three -- a skill, a craft, and a gift. Some writers find their ability spans all three while others never progress past the level of skill.
Check below for hints and suggestions on how to organize your writing and make it a better read for your audience. Story Summary. State in one or two sentences the kernel of your book, story, or blog. Do not exceed thirty words total. Outline Structure. Provide yourself with a rough outline of the story’s structure as you see it now. This would include story arcs (beginning, rise, climax), character introductions, main themes, pivotal events, key information, plot points intended to maintain tension, etc. In the beginning this doesn’t need to be extensive, but have it set aside to refer to, and flesh it out as important points occur to you. After you have a good outline to work with, you can use it like a map. Try to avoid adding ideas on small slips of paper. Instead, incorporate them into your outline. If you’re not sure where they go, guess, and mark them with an asterisk as a reminder to review them later. Character Traits/Development Log. List the vital statistics of your characters, leaving room to flesh out the information. As you think of back-story for them, traits, thoughts, etc., list them here. If they are main characters in a long piece, consider setting up separate documents for them, or even databases. Chart a time line for your characters as you go, noting development (growth or decline), change, conflict, back story, relationships with other characters, etc. These thoughts should work in tandem with the outline you are developing. REMEMBER, MOST CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT SHOULD BE MADE THROUGH DIALOGUE. THIS IS THE MOST RELIABLE WAY TO CREATE VIVID CHARACTERS THAT THE READER WILL RECOGNIZE. A READER WILL OVERWHELMINGLY BELIEVE A SPOKEN CLUE TO CHARACTER OVER AN EXPOSITORY ONE. Note: Characters can and probably need to be witty, but biting wit creates unsympathetic characters and the protagonist should not be unsympathetic. There are exceptions, but the rule is to keep your protagonist likeable. Exposition Use this as a device to increase tension and augment the dramatic tone of your work. Be careful to limit self-indulgent wallowing or too much repetition. Topics could include goals, plans, fears, and dreams. Exposition shouldn’t be long-winded, and should have variety. Build on previous revelations, and vary short and long sentences to give your exposition rhythm and punch. Remember, when readers get tired or bored, this is the stuff they skip. Make your exposition as readable as possible. If you’re going to lose someone, this is probably where it will happen. Conflict Stories are about conflict. Conflict is an essential element of fiction. In your writing there should always be at least two things in your story that are sources of conflict. There should be one conflict which follows through the whole story and is only resolved at the end. Secondary conflicts are necessary because they propel the reader through slower sections of the story and maintain tension and momentum. You should structure your work to include secondary conflicts where they will keep your writing moving at a pace that will make the reader keep the book in his hand. Try diagramming the story by conflict to see where the gaps are. Have Fun If you’re having fun writing, your reader will know it. One of the easiest things you can do to improve your writing is to enjoy it. Whatever your level of skill, you’re creating something. The more enthusiasm you have for the process, the better the end product will be.
If you are looking for a job, then it is very important that you understand how to offer yourself in the best way to an employer. This is done by writing a 'CV' (curriculum vitae - Latin for 'life story'), called in some countries a 'resume'. Different countries may have different requirements and styles for CV resumes. So you must follow the correct practice for your culture and country. What IS a resume? A Resume is a self-promotional document that presents you in the best possible light, for the purpose of getting invited to a job interview. It's not an official personnel document. It's not a job application. It's not a career obituary! And it's not a confessional. What Contents within the Resume? It's not just about past jobs! It's about YOU, and how you performed and what you accomplished in those past jobs--especially those accomplishments that are most relevant to the work you want to do next. A good resume predicts how you might perform in that desired future job. What is the fastest way to improve a resume? Remove everything that starts with responsibilities included and replace it with on-the-job accomplishments. Most common resume mistake made by job hunters! Leaving out their Job Objective! If you don't show a sense of direction, employers won't be interested. Having a clearly stated goal doesn't have to confine you if it's stated well. What's the first step in writing a resume? Decide on a job target (or job objective) that can be stated in about 5 or 6 words. Anything beyond that is probably fluff and indicates a lack of clarity and direction. Chronological resume or a Functional one? The Chronological format is widely preferred by employers, and works well if you're staying in the same field (especially if you've been upwardly-mobile). Only use a Functional format if you're changing fields, and you're sure a skills-oriented format would show off your transferable skills to better advantage; and be sure to include a clear chronological work history! What if you don't have any experience in the kind of work you want to do? Get some! Find a place that will let you do some volunteer work right away. You only need a brief, concentrated period of volunteer training (for example, 1 day a week for a month) to have at least SOME experience to put on your resume. Also, look at some of the volunteer work you've done in the past and see if any of that helps document some skills you'll need for your new job.
When someone buys a product, what they actually are buying is the benefit of owning that product. A woman buys a gift to celebrate a birthday or express a thank you... but deep down she wishes to be generous, thoughtful and remembered. A man buys a new set of golf clubs – his old set might be a bit worn out, true... but he's really hoping this new set will knock strokes off his game and improve his prestige at the clubhouse. Writing copy that sells is all about showcasing these benefits to the potential buyer. It can be a product or a service - what sells is the excellent benefits they bring. It's the benefits that motivate and persuade the reader that your product will make his or her life easier or better. To put it another way, there are hundreds of gifts and golf clubs out there. Why buy yours? The buyer's inner decisions will determine the sales outcome, after all. As a copywriter, your mission is to develop a relationship with the reader, understand his problems, and then solve those problems with your product. Lead him to choose you! Here's a look at some key points to writing great sales copy, all focused around selling the benefits of your product or service: Use Attention-Grabbing Headlines. They say headlines pull in 80% of the orders if done correctly. Your "hook" headline is the most important piece of copy on your page. Make it irresistible. Good, effective headlines get your readers' attention and draw them into your sales copy. Now you're on your way to a sale. Write Copy That Answers The Age-Old Question: "What's In It For Me?" Explain the features of your product or service only in a secondary light. Features are product centered. Benefits are people centered and solve problems! It is easier to sell a solution to a problem than it is to sell the same feature that hundreds of other products have. Simply put, your copywriting should highlight these problems, and then offer your product or service as the best solution. Establish Trust. Show Them You're Real. Rapport is so important! Part of what will lead your readers through your copywriting is the one-on-one relationship you develop with them. This is especially true in web site copywriting. Write about your product or service from the standpoint of a friendly expert. Study the product information and history until you know it well. Present the information in an entertaining, clear and concise way. People want to do business with an expert. Keep your writing as simple as you can, too. Never lose your readers in the details. Understand Your Audience! Who is your target market? What do they need? How old are they? What brought them to read your sales copy? This kind of information will make a great impact in how you write your copy. It is impossible to sell to everyone, so narrow your copywriting down to focus on your real target market. This one tip alone will reshape how you write your sales copy. When you understand and write for targeted readers, the return will be remarkable. Because you'll know who they are and what they need, you will be practicing all of the above techniques by default: -- You will be able to write targeted headlines that will grab your readers -- You will be able to show your readers what is in it for exactly them -- You will establish rapport with your readers Writing copy that sells simply focuses on good, old-fashioned human behavior! We all want benefits in life. Write about them. Copyright 2006 Trish Andrews
Defining your fictional characters' voices is important. What is equally vital, though, is grasping your characters' humanity, the core of their fictional soul. A good way to learn how to do this is by observing an incident through another living person's eyes. For this exercise, choose your spouse, a relative, or your best friend to play the fictional character in a 500-word dramatic scene. Write using either third person or first person point of view. Traumatic situations force people to reveal their true self. In other words, actions speak louder than words. How would your chosen person react in a traumatic situation, a blind date, for example, or a wildfire? Don't be blinded by your feelings for the person. You love your spouse, but how would he or she truthfully react if faced with a wildfire? Consider objectively what you know about the person, and then what you sense. We react instinctively toward other people, though we often pay no attention to the quiet voice in the back of our minds. Listen to what your quiet voice tells you about the hidden humanity of your chosen person, and then weave the information into your fictional character. The humanity you need to bring your character to life is hidden behind the friendly smile you see every day. You might want to keep this exercise away from the eyes of your chosen person. He or she might not appreciate being made into a fictional character. Do not use your chosen person's name for your character! Your life may be on the line. Grasp your character's humanity and you will give your character a soul your readers can believe in.
Turn Your Idea Into a Book Maybe you're one of those lucky writers whose head is bursting with ideas. Or perhaps you have one idea that's been nagging you for weeks, always at the edge of your thoughts. Either way, you're itching to begin writing. That's good. But before you rush headlong into your story, stop and ask yourself one question: Is this just an idea, or is it a book? Ideas, of course, are the seeds of any work of fiction or nonfiction. But until an idea is fully developed, until you can envision its beginning, middle and end, that one idea might not be enough. The experience of writing for pages about an idea and ultimately getting nowhere (or getting a pile of rejections) has taught many writers to outline their books before they begin. But if the thought of an outline sends shivers up your spine, at least thinking your idea through and making sure it merits months of writing can save you future frustration. Ideas for Fiction A lot of writers, especially when they're beginners, get ideas for fiction from their own lives. This can be useful for several reasons: you're emotionally invested in the topic, you can relate directly to the main character, and if the situation actually happened to you, you're less likely to be unconsciously basing the story on a book you've read. But remember, just because you find this thing that happened to you or your child fascinating, it doesn't mean it will be fascinating to thousands of potential readers. Very often, a real-life event is just that--an event. It's a vivid scene you recall with pleasure, or a family joke that's repeated over and over. It evokes strong emotions when you remember it, perhaps you even look back on an event as a turning point in your life. But only rarely does reality provide a plot. When writers stick too closely to what really happened they fail to develop the elements necessary for a good story: a believable main character who is faced with a problem or conflict, mounting tension as that character tries to solve her problem and experiences setbacks, and a tension - filled climax followed by a resolution that's satisfying to the character and the reader. If your main character is really your son, you might not want to get him in trouble or throw rocks in his path. But you have to. It's the only way you'll create a story that will keep readers hooked and wondering how it will end. Speaking of endings, if the resolution of your story comes too easily, it's probably obvious and predictable. Try mixing up real life and have the situation evolve in a different direction. Surprise yourself, and you'll surprise an editor. However you get your idea, focus first on whether it's a plot or a theme. Many times, an initial idea is really the underlying meaning of the story, what the author wants to convey to the reader. Themes should be universal in their appeal-- such as friendship, appreciating one's own strengths, not judging others too quickly. Then play around with the sequence of events until you develop a plot (what actually happens in the book) that makes this theme clear to the reader. And remember; if you're using a childhood incident as the foundation of your story, tell it from your childhood viewpoint, not how it feels to you now as an adult. Ideas for Nonfiction Your nonfiction book should be based on something you're truly interested in and passionate about. After all, you'll be living with this idea for many months. The key to successful nonfiction is to take your idea and approach it in a way that no one else has ever done before. This means doing most of your research before you begin to write. Don't settle for the most easily-found information on your topic--your readers have probably read the same information. Keep digging until you find an aspect to your subject that strikes you as unique. Then search through the library and book stores to make sure no one else has already beat you to it. For a nonfiction idea to become a book, you need enough information to fill the number of pages necessary, depending on the age group for which you plan to write. Younger children need a foundation of basic facts, but you can also get fairly detailed within the scope of the approach you've chosen as long as you explain concepts in a simple and straightforward manner (how animals hibernate, why insects are different colors). Older readers can draw on a broader foundation of knowledge, and infer connections between your topic and related subjects. A detailed outline of any nonfiction book is essential to help you see if your idea has enough substance and originality, or if you need further research before you begin writing. Whether it's fiction or nonfiction, your idea should mean something to you, but also have the potential to mean a lot to your readers. Think it through, add to it, take the nonessential elements away, and make sure it has a beginning, middle and end. Only then will your "idea" turn into "an idea for a book."
Every writer dreams of the day when they can profit from their writing. While income opportunities abound for writers, each method has drawbacks. Newspaper and magazine reporters can make a good living but their subject matter is often closely regulated and directed. Corporate writing can be even more lucrative but even more tightly controlled. Freelance writing offers more freedom but is also more uncertain. Publishing books is even more uncertain. So what is a writer to do? Forget all those old-school writing methods and focus on the Internet. Don't write for anyone but yourself. You really can profit from writing only about what interests you. Don't worry about the market or the editors. Write for yourself. Not only will it be more fun and rewarding for your soul but for your checking account as well. I am going to share an easy (and cheap) 10-step formula that can help you start your own writing business today, but first I want to share one important fact. This is not a get-rich-quick scheme. It will take some time to earn, perhaps as long as three months to begin turning a profit, but if you keep working at it you should see your income grow exponentially each month and you should be able to count on that income and know what you have to do to increase it. You will have total control over your income and that is very powerful. 1. Create a blog account at one of the free blogging sites available online (we used to use Blogger but there are many other good options). This will serve as your Internet base. It really is the cheapest and easiest way to get online today. Yes, you could create a free web site at one out of the many available, but blogs are more attractive to the search engines. Plus they offer you the ability to personalize it, but most of your energy will be spent on content which is the king of the Internet and the real reason you want an Internet presence. 2. Now sign up for a free ClickBank affiliate account which will give you immediate access to something to sell. 3. Sign up for a contextual or pay-per-click advertiser such as Google, Yahoo, Revenue Pilot, or SearchFeed and you'll start earning from visitors as well as customers. 4. Develop your blog. Make 10 your immediate goal then work your way up to 25, 50 and 100 and so on. Your entries can be your opinions, thoughts, or ramblings; poems or short stories; or articles. 5. Promote your blog through article marketing, link development and submitting your blog feed. I would suggest your primarily focus on article marketing as if offers the ability to not only develop links but also delivers traffic plus as a writer it is easy for you to create articles or use a selection of the material you've already created for your blog. Yes, it really is that simple and while you can later grow by buying your own domain name (or names) and publishing your blog on your own site you do not need (and likely should avoid) investing money in expensive tools Getting started on the web can be free (as you see above) or inexpensive if you concentrate on what you really need. The simple truth is that you don't need a lot of fancy, expensive tools and programs. In the long run a domain name is a good investment. A domain name will cost you between $5 and $10 a year depending on whether you go or. info (or one of the many other options available). You don't need to find a web host or create a site. Simply point the domain at your blog for now and continue with the development and promotion of your blog. The advantage of owning your own domain name is simply that later when you have the money, time, and knowledge to develop your web site that domain name will already exist and have filtered through the search engines. It also offers some marketing advantages that a free blog cannot. At some point you may decide you want more flexibility and control than a free blog can offer and that is when you will want to run your own site. You can find a good web host for as little as $5 a month and shouldn't pay more than $20 a month for a reputable host that offers all the tools and utilities you might need for your current site--including blog software. Maybe down the line you'll need to upgrade but by then you'll know your income and your needs. Really the only other regular expense that you might consider to make your Internet business complete would be a mailing list tool. You can do this for just $20 a month and it will be worth every penny for sales, customer service, and promotion. But this is not necessary to start out and you may decide that it isn't important to your efforts so you can skip it entirely. Once you have your blog set up and monetized (by offering ClickBank products, advertising, and/or selling text links) then you are in a position to begin profiting from your writing. The way to profit it to increase your traffic so you need to get serious about your article marketing efforts because each article you distribute will generate immediate traffic and create back links for search engine optimization. Also you need to continue to grow your blog by adding fresh content regularly. This will create repeat visitors as well as bring the search engines back again and again. Simply publishing new articles and new blog entries each week will increase your traffic. The more articles and entries you create -- the more traffic you will generate. Once you have found your rhythm with your existing blog you may well decide to branch out and create a second blog on a different or related topic. Now you should be able to work even faster because you are more experienced but likely more motivated as well because you can see just how rewarding it can be to write for fun and profit.
Press releases and sales letters are key tools in marketing one’s business in today’s professional world. However, many professionals do not seem to understand the importance of enhancing their writing skills. Few people realize that the written materials they send to clients can make or break their business. A badly written press release or sales letter can make one sound like an amateur to a potential client; but a crisp, well-written letter can prove to a client that you are the best in your field. You can utilize these marketing techniques if you follow a few simple rules. First, take a minute to analyze your niche market. Who are these people to whom you are sending your materials? What will spark their interest? Use clear and concise words to detail your product or services, but do not treat your clients as though they cannot understand simple examples. Do not use words that are key words in your industry but not widely used elsewhere. Second, determine what makes your business unique to your niche market. If you are sending your press release to a business magazine or newspaper, focus on the business aspect of your services. If you are sending a press release to a magazine for women, emphasize how your product can help women. Be sure to carefully research the target market of the medium to which you submit your press release. Most editors will not waste their time with your press release if it does not have an impact on their readers. Third, make your materials attractive. Most people receive a lot of advertisements and “junk mail” every day and are quick to throw away these items without looking more closely at them. Make your sales letter or press release stand out from the rest by choosing attractive designs and interesting fonts. Add your company’s logo and offer a free service if you are able. Think of new ways to make even your sales envelope catch the eye of your client. Finally, proofread your sales letter or press release before sending it to your clients. Make sure to check for spelling errors or grammatical problems as these errors can reflect poorly on your professionalism. Allow someone else to read your material before you send it as they will have a fresh perspective and may be able to clean up your letter or release for you. Remember to not be overwhelmed by that evasive sales letter or press release. Follow these tips in order to utilize these important marketing tools. As you become accustomed to sending out written materials, you will become more adept at focusing on your client’s needs. Before you realize it, you will be standing out above your competitors. Start today enhancing your writing skills so you can begin marketing with this low-cost but effective technique.