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August 20, 2008

How to Doom Your Blog in One Easy Step

I just went through a list of around 100 emails I have been sent via a call for questions. While the questions were different, all had the same issue:

  • “Why is nobody interested in my blog?”
  • “Why can’t I keep my readers?”
  • “Why can’t I think of stuff to write about?”

Want to know the cause behind these and other popular blog woes?

Before I answer, I have a question for you … read more

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July 19, 2008

What Are Your Favorite Quotes?

The writer is… an athlete required to break the four-minute mile every morning.
— Irving Stone

Replace writer with blogger and you have a good description of what the job of blogging is.

I’ve been collecting quotes since I was very young. One of my favorite books is the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, which just celebrated it’s Diamond Jubilee. I don’t know when the old rusty red edition found its way into my hands as a child, but I was totally taken with the never-ending collection of wise and whimsical things people said for every occasion. I wanted to talk like they did, combining words in such a way to make a powerful punch when provoked.

Maybe that was my first introduction and training into press release, editorial, and technical writing?
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July 15, 2008

Blogging Jobs: How Much Are Bloggers Paid to Blog?

Blogging Jobs by Lorelle VanFossenAs we continue with this series on blogging jobs, it’s time to look at the income a blogger can make by blogging for pay.

The skills and qualities a company or blog owner is looking for from a blogger are extensive, far beyond just writing abilities. As with any freelance job, determining how to put a value on the time it really takes, and the costs associated with the time and production, is really hard when the real cost is in time, not materials. Bloggers should be paid for the time as well as their expertise and abilities. Are they? This is a problem that has been around for a very long time. How much is your time worth?

For many decades, professional editorial writers found a compromise on the time/value issue with payment by the word with a restriction on word count. I often was told, “We’ll pay you a dollar a word up to 1,000 words maximum.”

This meant the magazine, newspaper, newsletter, or other print publication had space for one thousand words that needed to be filled. Going over meant changing their magazine or newspaper design structure. Giving them less meant I’d be paid less, but somewhere in the middle was a compromise for both of us, usually in the form of me setting a minimum fee I was to be paid, no matter the word count, such as “I want $500 minimum for 700 words and a dollar a word thereafter.” If the article came it at 400 words, I would still be paid my minimum. If it crossed the 700 word mark, at which point I should have been paid $700 for a dollar a word, that’s when they have to start paying me the dollar a word rate. It wasn’t the best, but the companies felt like they were getting a deal and for the most part, I covered the minimum I needed to pay my rent and eat.

Here is a chart for the various traditional writer’s pay scale based upon a dollar amount per word. The more experience and expertise, the higher the fee per word.
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July 1, 2008

Has Blogging Killed Your Writing?

Filed as News with 9 comments

I’ve recently been catching up on the Showtime program Californication. Centered around mid-life crisis sufferer Hank Moody (played by David Duchovny), the show is packed with sex and sarcasm. A subplot follows the lead as his career as a novelist dead ends due to writer’s block, leaving him with no choice but to take a paying blogger gig. Which the show portrays as a huge blow to the character’s ego.

And that got me thinking…

Ever since I became a prolific blogger, the fiction writer in me has disappeared.

POOF!

The writing styles are clearly different, and blogging, quite honestly, helps me pay the bills (while fiction was only a hobby). Interesting, because as far as I’m concerned, I’ve always found that writing breeds writing.

I’m curious to hear if you’ve experienced anything similar. Answer this question in the comments section below:

SINCE YOU’VE STARTED BLOGGING YOU…

a) Write more fiction
b) Write less fiction
c) You never wrote fiction to begin with

Now that I’m aware that I’ve turned my back on true ‘creative writing,’ I will make a conscious effort to incorporate it back into my life.

Finally I find myself writing for volume the way I always tried to discipline myself to do, yet the format is different than I expected.

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June 16, 2008

If You Have Nothing Nice to Say…

Filed as News with 3 comments

If you come across a product, service or establishment that pisses you off, and you’re a blogger, there’s a good chance that you’ll use your blog as a venue to share your feelings with the world. Before you refocus your anger to the keyboard, think twice before typing and posting.

There are two adages that come into play here:

“If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all.”

“There’s no such thing as bad press.”

If you still can’t resist the urge, and have a compulsion to post (many bloggers are obsessive personality types), ask yourself the following:

- Does the entry match my blog’s content?
- Will readers care
- Would I be satisfied if this blog post comes to represent my entire blog?

What do YOU think? Does this sound advice apply to the blogosphere?

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May 22, 2008

Tricked by a Headline

Filed as News with 2 comments

As someone who loves to blog, I am often super careful to avoid “headline bait.” These are the headlines you click on because they grab your attention. You arrive at the story, only to be disappointed that the article is about something else entirely.

Quite frankly, you end up feeling ‘suckered.’

In a rare moment of weakness, I got Punk’d by CNN this morning. One of their top headlines:

Star dies an explosive death

Thinking that some Hollywood B-lister smashed his car into a wall, I quickly clicked over – only to be met with some astronomy junk that I could care less about.

I don’t really deserve better. After all, what kind of perverse sicko wants to read about the misfortunes of a ‘star.’

So what do you think? Do headlines like the one above get credited as good headlines or as a sucker punch?

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April 15, 2008

Blog Content vs. Typos

Filed as News with 13 comments

Career blogger Penelope Trunk recently had an interesting post outlining five reasons why typos on blogs are a fact of life and that complaining about them is “stupid.”

From spell checker dropping the ball to the age-old argument that spelling is not tied to intelligence, Penelope goes as far as warning about the dangers of perfectionism.

If errors bother you a lot, consider that you might be a perfectionist, which is a disorder. Perfectionists are more likely to be depressed than other people because no amount of work seems like enough. They are more likely to be unhappy with their work because delegating is nearly impossible if you are a perfectionist. And they are more likely to have social problems because people mired in details cannot look up and notice the nuances of what matters to other people.

It is my belief that the majority of bloggers would rather spend their time coming up with something interesting to write about rather than looking up the difference between a colon and a semi. Plus, since many bloggers have adopted English as a second language, you can’t expect things to be perfect. However, I do admit that I take notice of typos on several top blogs and scratch my head over their level of caution. While it doesn’t make me doubt the validity of what they are talking about, it does raise a red flag.

What’s your take on typos? A fact of life or an unacceptable practice?

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