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Posts Tagged ‘twitter’

Should I write only for money?

Monday, January 10th, 2011

Last week, I participated for the first time in #writechat on Twitter.  #writechat was created by Julie Isaac (a.k.a., @WritingSpirit – Follow her!), and it’s a weekly event every Sunday afternoon from 12-3PM PST.

For all you writers out there, this was a valuable use of a Sunday afternoon.  You can dispense advice or ask questions from dozens of writers from a wide range of experiences.  You should go.

One of the topics that came up last week was whether someone should write only for money.  One participant indicated that she always writes with the intention of getting paid.  There’s a lot of financial sense in that: why would you spend your time working on non-productive tasks?

While I applaud the concept, there are some other reasons to write with no expectation of money:

  • A story for a family member or friend – They, particularly children, love having a story crafted just for them
  • A letter for a loved one – There’s still no beating the rush of receiving a personal letter in the mail
  • To try out a new style – When you’re just trying out a different writing style, there’s often no market to sell to
  • To expand your horizons – When you’re trying to make sense of a new technology, experience, or person, sometimes writing it out will bring clarity
  • To preserve something for posterity – A journal can be an invaluable asset for your surviving family members when you go
  • To help build a relationship – Sometimes a letter is just the right thing to help you get that new client or learn more about a family member’s past

In some cases, you may still be able to sell your writing.  However, for the most part, I think this is unlikely.  However, you’re still investing in your own skill and helping others you know, so there’s a lot of non-monetary reward.

Does lack of a financial reward lessen your drive?

When there’s a purpose, I think we’re driven to write better.  Sometimes non-monetary rewards are those that will help drive our for-profit writing to even higher levels.

What do you think?  Should a writer only write for-profit?  What other places might a writer’s efforts be spent on that are more valuable than money?

Getting Started With Networking as a Writer

Monday, December 13th, 2010

Earlier this week, one of our members posted this question in the forums:

I understand networking is extremely important especially if you would like to have something published but my question is how do you do this? How does someone like myself build up a network of links and acquaintances at such an early stage?

It’s an excellent question, and I’m taking a stab at it here.

First, as a shameless self-plug, I think forums like WritAnon are a great place to start. You can start finding out more about people, and as you get to know people better, they’re more likely to want to help you succeed.

Next, blogging is a good way to build a following, BUT you have to have a purpose with your blog. There are too many blogs that are unfocused out there, so you want to ensure you’re blogging for a purpose.

What do I mean by a purpose? Perhaps your purpose is to blog using short stories to establish yourself as an author in a particular genre. Perhaps you want to share some area of expertise you have that others do not (I blog about robotics, volunteering, and my family life in addition to running the blog here at WritAnon). Each blog as its own purpose, and I try to write articles that are interesting and focused on the audience for my blog.

Also important for would-be bloggers:  blog on a regular schedule.  It might be once a week, a few times a month, or a couple times a day, but create a schedule and stick to it.  I’d recommend starting light (once a week) and writing more often if you find you have more time and more to say.

If you want to build followers relatively quickly, Twitter is an awesome tool. However, you have to keep using it regularly (at least once a day), or your follower counts will start to drop.  And you have to say something interesting.  “I’m brushing my teeth again” doesn’t count.  “I’m brushing my teeth with an alligator skin toothbrush” might.  Especially if you have a photo to prove it.  Disclaimer: I don’t know if someone actually makes those, but I’d probably recommend against using one even if they did.  Please don’t capture an alligator and use it as a tooth brush.

Lastly, creating your own website that you update often (at least once a week) is useful, especially if you want people to find you by searching on your real name. You can check out my personal site in my signature if you want to see how I do it. I’ll be posting something tomorrow or Saturday for a new article. You then want to sprinkle it here and there on the Internet so people have a higher chance of finding the real you.

As an afterthought, I should also say: don’t try to do too much networking at once. It can easily become a full-time job if you let it.  Social networking should enhance your writing, not take away from your time of working on your stories.

These were my off-the-cuff and slightly edited comments.  What other things should a budding writer should do to build their network?

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