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Archive for May, 2009

While perusing a few writing blogs,966154_old_typewriter_and_typist I found an article that reminds readers of the importance of quality website content. The author asserts that many business owners put content last during the web design process, often to save money. As a content services provider who works closely with a web design company, I have to admit that we have encountered this situation with many clients. Usually they decide to add web content at the beginning of the project, but eventually decide to spend that money elsewhere, such as on a extra module,  to pare down costs at the last minute.

It’s unfortunate, because while they might save money initially by writing their own content, the site is almost always delayed by weeks or even months because no one in the company wants to write it.  They don’t even know where to begin, and often offer up excuses as to why it’s not done yet every time we call or email. Some clients even give the web design team a tight deadline, and then wonder why they can’t make the site live in the allotted time; we don’t put the site up without content. In fact, we like to have at least one blog or press release ready to go when the site goes live, but some clients don’t understand the importance of this.

I know the economy has only tightened many budgets, but skimping on good content is likely to turn off readers, who are all potential customers. This costs a lot of money down the road. Whether you are a website content provider or just have a website for your business, I’d like to hear your thoughts on this issue.

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1138273_button_for_web_pages_1If you’re ever unsure of where to place those darned hyphens, I recently came across a helpful guide regarding hyphenation. A “friend” on Twitter posted it, which is just another way that site can help you progress in your chosen industry.

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If you plan to make a living as a writer, you should get to know some positive habits that will improve your work. Everyone has at least a few habits that they practice often, if not daily. It might be checking your email as soon as you wake up, or maybe even just doing laundry on a certain day every week. Not every habit is a good one, as you well know, but it is always a positive when you can learn a new good habit, especially when it relates to your job. This is just a short list of habits that I’ve found helpful after a few years of being a freelance writer:
1.) Read Often


If you love to write, n2178341you probably grew up loving to read. Now that you know how to write well, don’t drop your reading habit! It is easy to proclaim that life has made you too busy to read, especially when you’re in school and forced to read textbooks. But you might soon find yourself losing your writing ability, or at least stagnating, when you don’t make time for books. Even when I let a few months pass without reading anything new, my writing seems a little stale. Books are not only a great way to relax, but an easy way to make sure you keep growing in this business, whether you learn new words or sentence structures. My favorite authors who routinely plant new words in my brain are John Grisham, James Patterson, Charlaine Harris, and Patricia Cornwell.

2.) Love Learning


This is somewhat related to reading, but there are other ways to improve your writing, as well. One easy way to do this (that I have yet to get around to) is to buy a word-a-day calendar. My favorite heroine, Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse, planted this idea in my mind. It is a great way to constantly improve your vocabulary without fail. If you already know the majority of the words, it is likely to be an ego boost, which is also great!

3.) Keep Up with the Industry


On the heels of learning more, another idea is to stay current on news in the writing industry. It might seem like nothing too exciting happens in the non-fiction writing world, but other writers are constantly coming up with new ideas and ways to get ahead in this field. You don’t have to stick to news articles only; opinion blogs in which writers and editors share their experiences and suggestions are also helpful to your growth.

4.) Write for Fun


This especially goes if you are a non-fiction writer. Fiction writers write creatively all the time, but I have a feeling many content service providers do not make time for free, fun writing. Whether you have a blog online or just keep a hand-written journal, writing for fun provides both a break and an opportunity to grow as a writer. You can write about your life, or you can make up a detailed story. You can even try out some writing exercises.

5.) Take Breaks


Some writers might think this is counterproductive, while others already make sure to take plenty of breaks. Personally, I can’t write for hours at a time without a short break. After two to three hours of writing constantly, my brain is fried. This is probably why most people who write from home do not work l_9052ef598b8f39ef73ebae220d457de0full eight-hour days. On my busy days, my breaks consist of getting up for more coffee, responding to emails and job ads, filling in my calendar, and Internet marketing for my business. On my more relaxed days (like today), during my breaks I write for fun, read, or chase my pug around the house for ten minutes (these are her favorite days). No matter what you decide to do, a five to ten-minute break every hour or so will help you feel much more at ease during your workday.

Do you have any other suggestions for growing as a writer? Let me know; I could use some fresh ideas.

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