“Peril”

I felt like I found “the One” moments ago.

Reading through a slew of blog posts I overwhelmed my browser with, I came upon a word that caused whiplash in my eye sockets. Well, almost that dramatic. Once I read the word “peril”, my mind’s eye created a quick crack of close thunder in a very dark, scary place. That place was probably my own head, but I digress.

goldfinch

Sometimes a tiny word in the right place can provide very enjoyable communication for the reader. I wish there was a database containing all of these words, but alas, these word preferences really vary from person to person.

Asking one of my sisters what word gave her the “chills”, she told me, “clock”, an everyday noun.

“Clock” is indeed a satisfying word. It really perfectly captures the staccato of the ticking hand. It doesn’t do me any favors when I’m reading, but that’s the ol’ variation from person to person at play.

Dear “peril”…where will you be next? Part of the excitement for me is not seeing you too often. While I hope to be at peace tonight, maybe you will pop up in a future blog post and perfectly convey the dangers of abusing SEO tactics once more.

 

How to Stop Going on Autopilot

“I’ll bet a fiddle of gold
Against your soul
‘Cause I think I’m better than you”

You had a five-page assignment due and managed to squeeze it in in a solitary day. You feel proud that you’re so efficient and are one click away from turning it in to your professor or employer. You feel as confident as Johnny taking on the devil on the fiddle. You reluctantly give your work a quick skim and even more reluctantly come to the realization that writing has to be original to be impressive, not just speedy.

The paper is full of cliches and fillers and doesn’t even flow smoothly. Looks like you went on autopilot and just thought you were having a creative streak. It’s a great realization right before a deadline.

Satisfying the Word Count VS Writing

There are no less than five paragraphs in your paper that all say the same thing. When a paragraph ends, the small point should be over. If the reader arrives at the same conclusion multiple times, it’s dull and a dead giveaway that the author does not care about the material.

Genuine Interest

This is the key factor in writing well. You have to engross yourself in the writing. Always make sure you are putting effort to feel something, anything about the topic before you begin. If your interest is being shy and you are tempted to expand contractions to meet your word count, there are a couple go-tos to help make yourself interested.

Compare Statistics

Statistics is a magical world. There’s nothing that sparks interest quite like inferring conclusions from numbers. It is difficult to explain, but you know when an article is backed up by real statistics that that article just came to life.

poowpyouw

Relate Personally

Remember something related to the material that personally happened to you so that you can evoke real emotions to use for solid writing. This goes back to the days when you thought your third grade teacher was very interested in your personal life but really just wanted to prompt you to write well.

Add further ideas in the comments!

The Pursuit of Technical Writing

“If you want to become a technical writer, get an engineering degree.”

I believe there is much truth to this statement. Technical writing does not rely on writing skills so much as an understanding of material. While a technical education may not necessarily be a job requirement for technical writing, it would almost certainly be more valued by employers than creative writing. However, if you choose this route, keep in mind that any writing opportunity is going to pay less than other options in your field.

This advice is mostly applicable to recent graduates or those just starting out. Once you’re in a field, it really doesn’t matter if you majored in music, happy baby birds or only have a high school education. If you can slap 5 years of experience on the table in, say, pharmaceutical technical wtiting, you are pretty much golden.

nest

I am not one to put down a creative writing degree, for as long as you are resourceful and determined, you can find something to suit your needs. Many journalistic opportunities, for example, prefer a journalism/mass communication background, but they will gladly accept a talented creative writer.

Technical writers, feel free to comment and share your career path!

Ever Written an eBook?

I know somewhere there is someone who just snorted very sharply. Of course, you’ve written 12 1/2 eBooks. You’re a writer.

This has been my personal experience with the ebook world, and if you can excuse my naivete, I have only written one that I think others would enjoy reading, and I have only published on one site.

Where is this book now? It is still available. I can make the changes if I feel like, and I hated the ending of that story, so I will get around to it. Making people get married at the end a work of fiction makes me cringe, and I did it. I’ll fix that eventually.

verycliche

The site I used was Smashwords. My old profile is still up with me posing with the late and great Plumpkin the rooster. Anyway, like most eBooks, it has not really been marketed, and the tags have been swallowed up in the tag ocean. As a side note, the cover art is atrocious, but I’m no graphic designer.

So what can you do to make your book sell? Obviously not what I’m doing. I am not going to pretend to be an expert. (I sold two or three copies). It’s a combination of hot keywords (tags) that are still popular by the time you get done writing, the skill of your writing, the quality and eye-catching nature of your cover art and taking advantage of appropriate marketing platforms.

It’s basically luck though. One popular blogger might find your book, and the next morning you’re upgrading everything in your life. This scenario is fairly unlikely, so I like to recommend writing eBooks for other reasons. It’s a good way to make a positive online presence, and that is extremely important.

 

Give This Field a Try

What would that be? Copywriting. This is such an unbelievably fun type of writing. You’re trying to give products some pizzazz. That means you can get as creativas you’ve always dreamed of being. Only once you’ve gotten past the grueling, demoralizing process of job hunting, you can actually get some income instead of trying to stretch those boxes of frosted garbage and junk noodles to the end of the week.

This is a gray feather.

feather

Nope, did it wrong. It’s a soft, light gray feather.

Oh come on. We’re writers here. Tell a story with all the information you have. Paint a picture that’s better than the photo. A silvery feather with light, silken touch.

Okay, it sounds enticing now. Now we get someone to buy it. Let’s say our target audience is senior women looking for new hat feathers. We will post the photo online and add a blurb.

This silvery feather will add just the right silken touch that you need to complete your feminine wardrobe. The neutral color lets you wear one hat for many occasions.

Now we’ve addressed some concerns that these seniors have with their wardrobe and promised to eliminate them. Need a new feather? Got it. Want to still feel feminine? We’ve given you a compliment. Worried about your hat or outfit colors? We’ve got something for all options.

There’s so much more you can do! Don’t feel constrained because there are assignments with strict subject matter and sometimes guidelines. View them as a fun challenges.