Monday, August 31, 2015

5 Tricks to Make Yourself Finish Writing Your Books and Articles

“The road to hell is paved with works-in-progress.” —Philip Roth

You know the drill. You come up with an amazing idea and you begin to work on it and then all hell breaks loose. You get sidetracked and by the time you sit back down to write, you have another amazing idea and you begin to work on the new project, never returning to the previous project. On and on it goes, until you have a mountain of uncompleted projects.

Getting books and articles finished used to be a trouble area for me years ago, but I’ve since started using these tips and tricks to make myself finish what I’ve started.

1. Finish What You Start - No Exceptions


“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” —Francis of Assisi

Decide right now that you will always finish what you have started. You will work your tail off until the project is completes, no exceptions. Do not allow yourself to start any other writing projects until you have completed the one you are working on.

2. Break the Project Down into Simple Steps


“Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.” —E.L. Doctorow

Feeling overwhelmed? Break your writing project down into smaller steps and tackle each step one by one. For example, the steps to write a book can include research, outlining, writing first chapter, and writing 2,000 words a day. When you break the book or article writing process down into simpler steps, your brain becomes more apt to want to tackle the steps.

3. Designate Time to Write


“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” —Zig Ziglar

Create a writing schedule and stay committed to it. Give yourself a job, be the boss and schedule in your hours, and be an awesome employee to yourself by keeping those hours.

4. Put Other Ideas on a List


“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.”—Robin Williams

It never fails. I start writing a book or a blog post and suddenly I get a flood of new ideas. Instead of starting each new project as it pops into my head, I jot down my new ideas into a new file or write them directly into my ideas notebook. This way I don’t get distracted from my current project and I get to build up a list of what I can write about later on.

5. Give Yourself a Deadline


“I always was an early-morning or late-night writer. Early morning was my favorite; late night was because you had a deadline. And at four in the morning, you make up some of your most absurd jokes.”—Joss Whedon

Deadlines are not an option. You need to set yourself a clear, obtainable deadline and work towards it. If you break your writing down into smaller tasks, give each individual task a deadline or a time limit. Be strict with yourself and keep to it.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

6 Reasons Why You Should Never Give Up Writing

1. You Will Get Better At It


I started submitting my stories to publishers and magazines when I was 11 or 12. I knew I wanted to be a writer, that I was going to be a writer no matter what, but I was far too young and inexperienced to get published at that age. Thank goodness I never let the slew of rejection notices get me down.

The fact is, you will get better at writing as you continue to write. As with any other form of art or even sport, practice makes you better.

2. Even the Worst Writers Make Money


How many times have you read something and thought, “I can write better than that.” That writer was more than likely paid for that book or article or is earning money from it, even if it is only pennies a month.

If you know you can write better than that other writer, then do it. No excuses.

3. Possibility


There is always that possibility that one of these times your book is going to be a bestseller. There is always that possibility that you will start earning a livable income from your writing or that you will start to bring in 6 figures a year. Where there is possibility, there’s hope. Continue to write and see what happens. Or simply make it happen by studying other bestsellers and learning their formula for success.

4. Time


Many people complain that there is not enough time in the day to write. I say, as do many other writers, you have to make the time. This means creating a work schedule. Set aside one hour a day for writing only. Eliminate non-productive busy work from your day to day life and watch television only as a reward for completing the day’s work.

5. Too Many Words


Here’s some food for thought: the average mobile phone text will text 30,000 words a year. Those 30,000 words barely took any thought and only took moments to send. Instead of texting, imagine how many words you could type in an hour each day. If you wrote only 1,000 words a day, by the end of a month you will have 30,000 words. That’s 1 to 3 nonfiction Kindle books or 1 fiction Kindle book each month.

6. The Best Things in Life Take Time


Finding your voice, developing your skills, and learning how to plot all takes time. You should never give up writing just because your first, second, or fifth book didn’t sell the way you wanted them to. You shouldn’t give up because finding the perfect formula takes time to develop. Like wine, as writers age and gain more experience, they get better at writing and spinning tales.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

6 Reasons Why You Can’t Finish Writing Your Book

Here are the 6 main reasons why many people can’t finish writing their books and what can be done about it.

1. You Didn’t Break Writing a Book Down Into Smaller Tasks


When you look at the entire process of writing a book, from concept to final editing, it can seem overwhelming. Many people stop working on their books simply because it seems like too much. What you need to do is break book writing down into smaller tasks. For fiction, you can break those tasks down into outlining (if you do outlines) and writing 1,000 words a day. At 1,000 words a day, you will have 30,000 words done in a month and 60,000 by the end of two months. For nonfiction books, you can break the tasks down even more: finding a niche, researching, outlining, and writing a daily word count.

2. No End in Sight


Do you know how your book is going to end? Many published writers know the ending to their story before they begin writing the book. Find the ending to your story. That is what you are writing towards.

3. Impossible Word Count


Kindle Shorts are as short as 5,000 words, and maybe that is all the words you will need to tell your story or write your non-fiction book. Don’t aim for a larger word count when your book doesn’t need it.

4. Lack of Positive Thinking


Writers can be their own harshest critics. Take the time to appreciate what you are doing and what you have accomplished so far. Many people dream of writing a book, but most don’t make it as far as you have. Be proud of your accomplishments and continue on. Make a promise to wow yourself by finishing the book you have started.

5. Lack of Habit


To be a successful writer, you need to create a writing habit. Schedule a time to do your writing and keep at it every day, no excuses.

6. Too Many Interruptions


Scheduling writing time might not be enough. If interruptions are your biggest problem, you will need to take steps to eliminate them. Turn off all external interruptions. If you have young children, you can plan your writing during nap times or practice writing while watching and caring for them at the same time. It can be done. Older children can be taught to provide you with distraction-free writing time.

Friday, August 28, 2015

6 Great Tips That Will Help You Write a Book in 30 Days

There are books available on how to write your book in thirty days and, of course, there is the very popular NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) where people prove that it is possible to write a full-length book in a month.

There are certain things you need to do before you begin your 30 day writing journey and things you need to do during that grueling month to make your writing easier.

1. Prepare


Clean up your work area. Get all your notes together and in one place. Stock up on snacks, drinks, and shop for easy, healthy meals to make during the month. Clear your schedule of all unnecessary activities.

The more prepared you are for a month of solid writing, the more writing you will get done.

2. Create an Outline


Create an outline before you begin. If you are writing nonfiction, get all of your research done before you begin your writing. For fiction writers, prepare a one to two sentence summary of your book so that you can read through it as you are writing and re-focus. If you write fiction from an outline, create one. It can be as simple as a few sentences jotted down in sequence or it can be several pages long.

When you work from an outline, you already know what you are going to write about and you know your plot points and twists. An outline is nothing more than a guide to ease the process of writing.

3. Break the Process Into Steps


Deciding to sit down and write a book in a month can seem daunting, at first. If you break the writing process down into steps, chapters, or plot structures, your book will feel easier to write.

4. Determine a Daily Word Count


How big do you want your book to be? How many words should it be? Determine your word count and break it down into how many words you need to write each day for 30 days.

For a simple 30,000 word nonfiction book, you will only need to write 1,000 words a day.

For an 80,000 word fiction book, you will need to write 2,667 words a day.

5. Throw Yourself Into the Work


When you decide that you are going to write a book in 30 days, you need to commit yourself to the task. From the first day to the final day of writing, you have to throw yourself into the work and into the story. All other things, from family drama to your favorite television shows, will have to take a back seat.

6. Write During Every Free Minute You Have


Make use of every moment you have. If you have to pick up the kids from school, use those few minutes while you are waiting to keep on writing or work through plot holes. If you have an appointment that you can’t skip, keep on writing up to the point where you must throw on your coat and rush out the door. Then, in the waiting room, write some more.

Make writing a part of who you are.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

6 Great Tips on Writing an Introduction to Your Nonfiction Kindle Book

Not sure how to write the introduction to your non-fiction book? Follow these 6 easy tips that will help you write your introduction in very little time.

1. Write It Last


The most important tip to writing your introduction is to write it last. Your introduction introduces your book to the reader. If you write your introduction before writing the rest of your book, how do you know what you are introducing? You will find that you will have to return to your introduction after you’ve finished writing the rest of your book and rewrite it. Instead, skip writing your introduction until last and jump into the meat of your book.

2. Grab the Reader’s Attention


Open your introduction with an attention grabber. A common way to do this is to ask your readers a question. Ex. “What if I told you that you could be a multi-millionaire in one year? How about one month? I am going to teach you the methods…”

Another common way to grab the reader’s attention is to open your introduction with a fact. Ex. “Studies show that millionaires have 8 essential habits that are the building blocks to their success.”

A third way to start your introduction is with a quote. Ex. “Benjamin Franklin is quoted as saying, ‘Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.’”

3. What Is Your Book About?


Don’t make your readers guess the subject of your book. Tell them directly about your book and what they will gain by reading your book.

4. Skip Secrets


Don’t present your readers with the promise of revealing some great secret and then string them along through the introduction and the next several chapters. It’s not only annoying, but you will also lose the trust of your readers.

5. Preview


Give your readers a preview of what they can expect from your book. Give them a brief rundown of steps and actions they will be taking. If possible, use bullet points.

6. Keep It Short


People don’t like long introductions, so keep your introduction short, zippy, and full of enthusiastic energy.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

5 Writing Habits That Will Make You a Better Writer

Read about any successful author and you will soon learn about her or his writing habits, from waking up in the early morning for the quiet to sitting in a bare hotel room each day to type out a novel. Writers create habits to get themselves in the mood to write and they build upon these habits until they become a daily ritual.

1. Relax


Stress will block the flow of your creativity. Create a prewriting ritual where you relax and prepare to focus on your writing.

2. Write Every Day


Stephen King writes every day, including holidays. While you don’t have to write up to ten pages a day like he does, you should set a daily word count goal, such as 1,000 words a day.

3. Write When You’re Not in the Mood


You wake up and you feel like crap. You stub your toe on the way to the bathroom and spill your coffee on the kitchen counter. Guess what? You still have to write today.

Write no matter what kind of mood your are in. Follow the first habit for better writing and create a prewriting ritual to put yourself in the writing frame of mind.

4. Write When Its Inconvenient


There is no absolutely perfect time to start working on a book, and if you wait for that perfect moment, nothing will ever get written. Break free from waiting for the perfect moment and train yourself to work during the most inconvenient times. It can be while you are sitting in the car, waiting in an office, going to the bathroom, or while the teens are having a shouting match.

5. Finish What You Start


The book ideas may be flooding in, but the best time to start working on a new book is after you’ve finished the one you are working on. Keep a list of your book ideas and go back to them after your current project is finished.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

5 Ways Writers Can Set Up Their Work Area to Increase Productivity

Writers spend a bulk of their time writing in their personal workspaces, so why not use the area to not only be functional, but to also increase productivity?

1. Window Seat


You want to work in as much natural sunlight as possible. It is healthier for you and it helps set the mood for writing. Try and set your work area next to a window, but avoid setting your desk in front of it. If you do set your desk in front of a window, you may find yourself becoming easily distracted with the scenery.

2. Music Setup


Forget about playing music directly from your computer. Fiddling with your music selection and having the player open in the background can cause you multiple interruptions during your work hours. Instead, create a music station with the addition of an mp3 player with speakers or a cd player. Prepare your music selection beforehand so that you will not be tempted to switch around between songs or simply put in a cd and let it play.

Avoid music with words. What you want to play is background music and something that sets the mood for your writing. While music with words will distract you from work, but you can still play any style of music you enjoy, from New Age to classical to dance floor beats.

3. Keep Supplies in Reach


Even though many of us work on the computer, we still need the other office supply tools from time to time. Keep a supply of pens, pencils, paper tablets, scissors, and a staple in a drawer. Visit your local office supply store and look into desk organizers and other supplies. Keep yourself well stocked and know where everything is to avoid losing valuable work time.

4. Live Plants


Live plants in your work area not only creates beauty, it can also make you feel happier and less stressed. Plants will also improve the air quality in your workspace and, according to research, will increase your productivity.

5. Personalize Your Space


Above all else, give your work area some personality. Some people have a few choice toys on their desk. I prefer paintings on the walls and a fuzzy blanket to wrap around my shoulders whenever I catch a chill. Make the space yours and surround yourself with items that inspire your creativity.

Monday, August 24, 2015

5 Ways Writers Can Find Inspiration for a New Book Series

Book series are extremely popular with readers. Readers get to know the characters and they anticipate the flow of the author’s writing.

Besides nonfiction, writing book series is another way to earn a good deal of money through Kindle publishing. Here are some ways you can come up with inspirations and ideas for a new book series.

1. Read a Few Series


To get a good feel of how an author develops his characters, holds back secrets to be revealed in a later book, and creates main plot with an underlying subplot, read a few book series. Study the books and find out how the author hooks the reader into the story and turns the reader into an addict.

2. Watch a Few Series


I am not a huge fan of television, but I do love to treat myself to an episode of a favorite show each night after getting the day’s work done. I love mystery series, such as Miss Fisher’s Mysteries and Rosemary and Thyme.

Watching television series and actively picking the plots apart is good exercise for a writer. If you want to study character development, begin watching MASH and study how the characters start off as comedic sticks and, after a season or two, develop into real people. Study plot themes, such as in Rosemary and Thyme where the underlying theme in all the episodes is gardening. You can learn a lot from television series, as well as use different series to spark your own ideas, with your own characters, and underlying theme.

3. Day Jobs


A few years ago, I worked at a local hospital. During my time there I learned a lot, especially why so many television and book series are set in the hospital. There are many other job settings that set the scene for series: law offices, court rooms, retail jobs, and more. If you work a day job, dream up ways to spin plots in your setting. If you don’t have a day job, you can use the settings of jobs you’ve had in your youth or the jobs of your family members.

4. Hobbies


Hobbies can also be an inspiration for a new book series. Hobbies can include ship building, dog shows, or painting. Imagine choosing a character that loves to paint. How would you get her out of the house? We could say that she loves to paint scenery. So, she travels throughout the countryside, painting beautiful scenery and historical buildings. Each new place uncovers a new mystery. It could be a murder mystery or a supernatural mystery. The mystery at each new location catapults the main character into a heavy plot of intrigue, observation, and action. That is how you take a hobby, give it a character, and begin building a plot skeleton.

5. Neurosis


Pick a neurosis: a person suffering from chronic depression, a hypochondriac, or a person with an obsessive disorder. If you want more ideas for a neurosis, was a few episodes of my 2-year-old’s favorite show, Figaro Pho. After you’ve chosen a neurosis, give it a character. For example, Adrian Monk in the television series suffered from OCD and other phobias. Decide what you’re character is going to do and begin to build a basic plot skeleton for the series.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

5 Ways to Research Your Next Book Fast

I started a new book yesterday and the research was dragging on and on for hours. It is not because I didn’t enjoy the subject I am writing about, but because I love it and I found myself reading stuff that wasn’t related to the focus of my book. Essentially, I was wasting valuable writing time. As soon as I realized the problem, I cut out the extra reading and finished off the rest of the outline. Here are some other tricks that I use to cut down on research time.

1. Speed Reading


Speed reading comes naturally to me and I have problems trying to teach others how I do it. The good news is that there are a number of great books on how to speed read. Learn how to speed read because it is a blessing when you are doing research and you can train yourself to glance through text and pick out key words relevant to what you are searching for.

2. Prepare Beforehand


Another trick I use when researching is to gather all my research material beforehand. For the current book I am working on, I had 6 books on my shelf and I bought a seventh for my research. They are currently on the floor beside me because I finished going through them. If you need to research online, do keyword searches on the page or cut and paste the text into Word and keyword search through it that way. This works especially well with copyright expired ebooks that can be found on The Online Books Page.

3. Know Your Keywords


This brings me to knowing your keywords before you dive into the books or start your internet search. Writing down your keywords, you can search through a book’s index to see if it has anything relevant to your subject and it allows you to quickly search online and through online texts.

4. Hire a Researcher


Oh yes you can! You can hire someone to help you out with your research. For example, let’s pretend you have a chapter on The History of Whiskey. Hire someone on Fiverr.com to research the topic for 2 hrs and provide you with notes. This is a great way to decrease your research time, especially when you have a chapter about something that does not interest you and you find yourself stalling to complete it.

5. Cut and Paste


Use cut and paste when doing your research instead of trying to write everything in your own words. My personal rule for myself is that anything written in the research outline has to be completely re-written to avoid any plagiarism issues. If I take the time to describe something in my own words, I put an asterisk by the sentence or paragraph so that I know the words are my own.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

5 Ways to Prepare to Be a Kindle Book Writer

You’ve probably read all the Kindle publishing success stories and now you are anxious to start writing and publishing your own Kindle books. Here are the steps you need to prepare to become a Kindle writer.

1. Know Why You Want to Write Kindle Books


Before you start on the path to writing Kindle books, know why you are doing it. The reasons can be many. Some people write and publish Kindle books to replace their day job. Some do it for the extra earnings. There are writers who write for the enjoyment and writers who want to leave behind a legacy.

2. Set Goals


Set realistic goals for yourself. How many books can you write in a year? Most Kindle writers succeed by publishing at least one book a month. Even if you write only one book every two months, that is still six Kindle books a year.

3. Step by Step


What steps do you need to take before you begin a career in writing? Do you have a work area set up? If not, that is one of the steps you must take. Have you created a working schedule? Plan each step you need to take and then take them.

4. Writing Habit


Turn writing into a daily habit. Plan on writing every day for a certain amount of time during your most creative hours. Keep to your schedule, no matter what.

5. Get Others Involved


You may not always get the support you would like when you decide to become a writer, but you can enlist them for help. Delegate tasks, including housework. Do your fair share of the housework, but not more than your share. You can’t do everything for everyone and still have time to write a book. Also explain “bugger off” time to the members of your family. Tell them not to disturb you while you are writing. Let them know your writing schedule and tell them that you are available to them before and after that scheduled time.

Friday, August 21, 2015

You Don't Need Mega Brains to Write a Novel

Back in high school, I was called down to the guidance counselor's office to discuss what my plans were for when I got out of school. I said, "I'm going to be a writer." Well, Mrs. Miller, the guidance counselor, burst out laughing. "You'll never be a writer," she told me. "How about a secretarial position?" I should have told her to go fuck herself, but I didn't need any more detentions or in-school suspensions.

A few years later, I got my first "real" check for writing. It was from The New York Times. I made a photocopy of it and, to this day, I have it in my file box to remind me of Mrs. Miller and what that creature said to me.

Don't Listen to What Other People Say


The first rule to becoming a writer is to dismiss what everyone has told you and will tell you. Forget about your English teachers - they haven't got a clue. You don't need to be super smart to be a writer. Average intelligence works just fine for us.

What you do need is the ability to feel a wide range of emotions and articulate those emotions so that others can feel them, too. If you are an emotional basket case, you will probably be a great novel writer.

Spell This


Back in the late 1990s, I was in contact with one of my favorite writers. She wanted to know how I had built up my site's popularity. As we exchanged more and more emails, I saw that she couldn't spell or type for the life of her. I loved her books and her wonderful creativity, but I was thankful that she also had an exceptional editor.

You don't have to be great at spelling or even great with your tenses. You do need, however, a really good editor. Most publishing houses will edit your work before they publish it, but, as a self publisher, you will need to hire a good editor.

We Don't Need No Education


You don't need a formal education to be a writer. I am a high school drop out (that guidance counselor I mention above sealed the deal for me) and I am in excellent company. Augusten Burroughs, Seth Rogen, Mark Twain (dropped out at age 12), H.G. Wells, Charles Dickens, Jack London, William Faulkner, and George Bernard Shaw (dropped out at age 14) are all high school drop outs.

Ray Bradbury, author of over 500 literary works, did not support colleges. He supported libraries, instead, because anyone can use a library to study and learn. That is what he did and that is what anyone can do - self learning.

If You Have a Dream


If you dream of being a published writer, follow that dream. If some poopy head comes along and says you will never make it, prove him wrong by keeping at it. When it comes to writing, there is no "perfect" writer. It doesn't matter if you can spell big words without a dictionary and no one cares if you are a genius at calculus. All that matters is your ability to transport the reader from her drab life into a new world surrounded by disasters and opportunities. Make the reader feel, and then you will have become a successful writer.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

5 Tips to Get Motivated to Write on Cold Winter Days

I used to be so unmotivated to write during the winter months until last winter when I decided to buckle down and make a few changes. Since then, winter has become my most prolific season.

1. Walks


I always talk about the importance of taking a walk. It helps reduce stress, helps with refocusing, and it gets your energy levels up. Incidentally, walking in the winter also helps you burn more calories than walks in the summer because your body has to work hard to keep you warm.

I admit, I don’t take long walks in the winter. A brisk walk around the block is good for getting the creative juices flowing and you will appreciate how warm your home is when you get back inside.

2. Sunlight


Many people suffer in the winter from seasonal affective disorder and depression. To fight it off, you need to get more light. Enjoy the sun through a window on bright winter days and look into purchasing a SAD light therapy box. Dawn simulators can also help battle off the sluggishness of cold winter mornings.

3. Drink Plenty of Liquids


Between the dry winter air and heating, it is easy for your body to become dehydrated. Drink plenty of liquids, including lemon water, during the day. Dehydration can cause you to feel sluggish and confused. You can also get headaches if you are not getting enough liquids.

4. Eat High Quality Snacks


Put away the Skittles for another season. During the winter months, your body will appreciate warm, quality snacks. Make large batches of soup and whenever you feel like snacking, heat up a small bowl for yourself. Cream of wheat and oatmeal is also a filling and warming food that can replace sugary snacks in the wintertime. Also consider eating snacks that are high in proteins, such as eggs, nuts, and protein shakes.

5. Have an Orange


Orange have more in them than just vitamin C, including thiamine, potassium, and fiber. These little balls of orange citrus are power foods and eating just one a day can help you fight off viral infections, lower your cholesterol, and give you a much needed boost of energy.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

4 Reasons Why Writers Should Try Out Different Day Jobs

In 41 years, I have worked a lot of odd and average type jobs, from a concession stand starting at age 8 to an inner city hospital as a nursing assistant. Each job provided me with a wealth of knowledge and insight that has gone into my writing.

1. Provides You With New Perspectives


How can you write about a character if you've never walked a mile in her or his shoes? Taking on a job gives you the chance to explore different perspectives from all walks of life.

You don't have to go as far as law school to learn what it is like to be a lawyer. All you need to do is get an entry job working with or near lawyers, such as an entry job at a court house. The best gossip comes from the average worker, not the higher ups.

2. Gives You New Characters to Add to Your Novels


The world is full of interesting characters and everyone has at least one thing about her or him that can be used to build up a character in your book.

Study the people you work with. Listen to their stories. Watch them and make notes about their habits, their favorite sayings, and how they act in different situations.

3. Teaches You New Skills


Every job has something new to teach you.

When I worked as a receptionist for an accountant, I learned how to treat people who thought they were terribly important. I learned to play to their huge egos and how to get the hours I wanted and days off with just the right amount of flattery. I also got a good look at how accountants behaved with each other. It was great insight that I was able to use in one of my stories.

4. Provides You With Creative Ideas for New Book Series


Have you ever wondered why there are so many book and television series set in hospitals? Go work in one, as I have, and you will quickly learn that the hospital is the one place where you will meet every type of personality under the sun.

You can create a book series for any type of occupation or occupational setting, from office worker to botanist. Getting a job outside the home helps writers explore the different settings and characters available to them. It gets the creative juices flowing and broadens our insight into the working world.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

5 Reasons Why Writers Should Never Use Multitasking

Studies are showing that people who multitask are accomplishing less than those who tackle one task at a time (Stanford News).

Some writers have been swayed for the formerly trendy notion of multitasking and have tried working on multiple writing projects at the same time. The only problem is that these multitasks aren’t finishing what they’ve started.

1. Multitaskers Get Less Done


Multitasking decreases your productivity. When you are trying to write several blog posts, create an outline for your next book, and talk on the phone, the most you will accomplish is creating a big mess. Your brain needs to focus on something. If you have too many things going on at once, your brain will focus on nothing. Your work will be scattered and riddled with errors. That phone call? You probably won’t remember what was said.

2. Increases Stress Levels


Writing a book and arching your deadlines can be stressful enough. Imagine trying to accomplish multiple tasks at once, each with their own amount of stress levels. From the start, you will be in a hustle to get all the activities done and you will quickly burn out.

3. May Lower Your IQ


Studies that have tested the IQ of people who were asked to multitask while performing cognitive tasks found that multitasking can lower an adult’s scores to that of a child’s. Why would a writer do that to her or himself?

4. Increases Mistakes


Your brain can handle up to two tasks at a time. Anything over that two-task limit and your brain will not be able to focus properly. Mistakes will be made.

This means, you can safely listen to music while you work on your book. However, if you add text messaging to that mix, you are more likely to increase spelling errors and lose track of your book’s plot.

5. Decreases Creativity


While you are trying to write a blog post, check your email, and watch the news at the same time, you are decreasing your brain’s ability to be creative. With multiple activities, there’s just no room left upstairs for spontaneous or creative thought.

Monday, August 17, 2015

5 Great Websites for Generating Nonfiction Book Ideas

Before you begin exploring these 5 great websites for nonfiction book ideas, quickly grab a pen and paper. You’ll need them for the list of book ideas you are about to come up with.

1. Lifehack.org

Lifehack.org gets over 10 million unique visitors a month. It’s one of those viral websites that is loaded with content for people read and share on social media. To get nonfiction book ideas, visit the sections that interest you: communication, lifestyle, money, productivity, tech, and work. Read through the titles and the content. See what subjects get shared the most and what people are reading. How can you develop the popular ideas into a book? How can you change the subject to reflect your own interests?

2. Ancient-Origins.net

If you are into the strange, the odd, and you love history, this is the website to get lost on. Each article on Ancient-Origins.net can lead you down a new path of study that can be turned into the research for a new book. This site is also a great inspiration for works of fiction.

3. BuzzFeed.com

BuzzFeed.com gets an estimated 150 million unique visitors a month. Their newsfeed is continuously rolling with great ideas. At the time of this writing, quite a few DIY craft posts are trending. Drink recipes are also pretty hot right now. Want to make your boobs look bigger? That’s up there, too.

4. ZergNet.com

ZergNet.com gets about 26 million unique visitors a month. Similar to BuzzFeed.com, ZergNet.com puts you on the pulse of what people are reading online and what they are interested in. When you get past all of the celebrity news, you will find great ideas for drinks, food, health, and beauty that can be spun into a nonfiction book.

5. Entrepreneur.com

The articles on Entrepreneur can inspire an endless amount of nonfiction book ideas. While the main focus is on entrepreneurs, the subjects covered on this website range from sleep habits and branding to business start-ups and hiring.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

5 Book Outlining Methods You Can Try Right Now

When it comes to writing nonfiction books, outlining is an absolute necessity. It ensures that you cover your topic completely and effectively while ensuring that you don’t cover the same material twice. It also helps to organize your thoughts and plan out step by step instructions.

Fiction is an entirely different animal. Some authors will outline an entire book, some will only outline basic plot points, and other authors don’t outline at all. When you are first starting out, you have to discover what method works best for you and that means some trial and error.

I have to outline my nonfiction books. When I do, the outlines become so full of notes that writing the actual book is a breeze. With my fiction books, I work with a very basic plot point outline telling myself that I am starting here and going to this point to the next point and eventually to the conclusion.

Whatever you are planning to write, nonfiction or fiction, these book outlining tips can be used and experimented with right now.

1. Plain Page Outlining


Forget about those ridiculous outlining formats you were taught in school. Forget what gets numbered, alphabetized, and indented. Simply open up a blank page in Word, TextEdit, or whatever you write in, and write a basic title at the top of the page. Beneath the title, write a summery or purpose of your book. Beneath that, write out plot points or, if you are writing nonfiction, section headings.

2. Mindmapping


Some writers swear by this method of outlining and some of us just can’t get into it. The only way to find out if this method will work for you is to try it out.




3. Notecards


Using notecards to plot out a book is old school stuff, but it still works. I used notecards for many years before I switched over to plain page outlining on my computer and it worked wonderfully. What you do is put one plot point or section heading onto each card. You can add notes underneath and rearrange the cards in the order you desire.

4. Outlining Software


Software is available to outline your novel. Scrivener is a popular outlining and book writing tool for Mac and PC users. Other outlining software includes Microsoft OneNote (PC) and Dramatica Pro (Mac and PC).

5. Snowflake Method


I tested out this method and absolutely loved it even though I don’t use it as often as I should. The snowflake method is used for plotting out a work of fiction. It exposes plot holes that you might not have seen if you used some of the other plotting methods.

To learn more about the snowflake method, visit How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

How Often You Should Post to Your Blog

People will give you all sorts of numbers for how many posts you should make to your blog on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. I am going to tell you from my personal experience just how few or how many posts you should make to your blog if you want it to be passible or extraordinary.

Least Amount of Blog Posts


The absolute least amount of blog posts you should make is 4 posts a month. If you don't have the time to give your blog full time devotion, then plan to write 4 blog posts a month and schedule them to go live one day a week.

This method does not work well if your blog is brand new and you have less than 150 posts made to it. If, however, your blog is drawing in good hits and is filled to the brim with content, you can get away with this schedule without causing too much harm to your blog.

Adding fresh content on a weekly basis lets the search engines know that your blog is not abandoned. It gives the same impression to visitors to your blog. No one wants to really bother with a blog that hasn't been updated in years. Although my old, abandoned blogs on Blogger do still bring in some income, they are not high performing blogs because I do not bother updating them anymore.

Great Amount of Blog Posts


When your blog is new or if you are blogging to earn money, you should post to your blog 3 to 7 times a week. Daily blogs are great because you are showing search engines and readers that you are here, working away. Your blog is not dead or abandoned. Fresh content is always being added. Personally, I do my best to post a blog a day. If I have a day or two when I don't have time to write a blog post, I will, as soon as I am able, go back and post a blog article for the missing days. I like my blogs fleshed out. And, once you develop the habit of blogging every day, it almost becomes an obsession. You have to do it.

Awesome Amount of Blog Posts


If you want blogging to be your main source of income, then you need to treat it like a full time job. Dedicate the hours to it and create two or more blog posts a day for each of your blogs. This is the fastest and best way to build up blog readers. It also gives you fresh content to Tweet and Like each day. Constant fresh content keeps readers coming back each day. The search engines start to love you as you build up your authority on your subject or niche.

Friday, August 14, 2015

How to Get Traffic to a New Blog

The big question most new bloggers have is "How do I get traffic to my blog?" The search engines take their time at acknowledging your blog's existence, so where does the traffic come from? Social media.

Twitter


Twitter has been a blog saver for me. While Google and the other search engines were farting around, I was busy adding my links to my Twitter account.

It is not difficult to get followers on Twitter. The great big secret to getting followers is to follow other people. When I was first looking for followers on Twitter to share my links on writing and publishing, I went to a writing magazine's profile that had thousands of followers and began following those people. They were already interested in writing and publishing, and many of them followed me back. Do about 100 follows a day to increase your following. Those who don't follow you back, delete.

Facebook


They say that you're either a Twitter or a Facebook addict. Rarely can you be both. I'm a Facebook flunky, but there are many, many people who exceed at Facebooking. To bring in readers to your blog, create a Facebook Page and send a Like request to all your friends. Then, buy a Facebook Ad to really boost your numbers.

Google+


Google+ all your articles. I am not very active on Google+, but I do get a lot of hits from it. Getting followers is as easy as it is with Twitter.

Pinterest


I love Pinterest. It is an interesting concept and it gives me yet another excuse to use my own photos on my blogs.

Go Paper


I actually created and printed off a simple ad for my Kindle publishing site. It's posted on the bulletin of a local library I frequent. Book readers also tend to dream of writing books, so I took advantage of the free advertising. I will probably print off business cards next with my url, site name, and slogan and ask the librarian if I can set them on the counter for people to take. In fact, I think I will just order the business cards after I finish this post and save myself the trouble. I'll make a day of visiting local libraries and the two used book stores I visit frequently.

Other Ideas


There are a slew of other ways to drive traffic to your blog. For example, sign up with AllTop.com and add your blog information. There's also Delicious, Reddit, LinkedIn, Digg, and a slew of other places to add links to your latest articles. There is also guest blogging and writing for related ezines for a byline with a link back to your blog.

In other words, there are many, many ways to get that initial traffic. And, eventually, the search engines will hopefully begin to acknowledge your blog's existence.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

How to Improve Your Blog Writing Skills

A poorly written blog is a failed blog. If you can't write or struggle to articulate yourself, then you need to take action and begin the steps needed to improve your writing.

I have been earning a living from my writing since 1998. You would think that by now I would know everything there is to writing, but the simple truth is that a writer never stops learning. Here are the things that I do to increase my writing skills on an almost daily basis.

Read Books on Writing


It sounds too easy, but it is true: reading books about writing will help increase your writing skills. I have a library of books on writing. I also look for free Kindle books on writing on a daily basis. I can plow through a Kindle book about writing within an hour, typically. I also make weekly stops at the used book stores and buy up any writing and style guides I don't already own.

Take Online Courses


A quick search through Udemy.com will bring up a number of paid and free grammar and writing classes. I have taken a bunch of classes through Udemy, including 2 classes on writing. I highly recommend that you check them out and try out a free course or two before you commit to paying for a course.

Keep on Writing


Write as much as possible. Practice really does make one close to perfect. Try and find someone who will edit your work. You will more than likely have to pay for this, but just having someone correct your writing and studying where you made your errors will help you target your weak areas. You can use Fiverr.com for editing and proofreading services.

Read Your Writing Out Loud


A trick that many writers use is to read their material out loud. This not only helps you pick out errors, it will also help you find trouble spots that need correction.

Another trick that I use is to have my computer read my writing back to me. On my Mac, I write my blog posts in TextEdit. When I'm finished, I select Edit at the top of the screen and scroll down to Speech -- Start Speaking. I can pick out lots of errors just by listening to my blog being read back to me.

Don't Give Up


The worst thing you can do to yourself is give up. I am telling you right now that it possible to improve your writing skills. All you need to do is continue to learn, continue to write, and stay determined. Admitting that you need help with your writing is a great first step. Now, get to work and begin improving your skills and yourself.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

How to Write List Posts for Blogs

There are many different types of posts you can write for your blog, and the best blogs use them all. Creating different types of posts is fun for your readers and just as fun for you. It would get boring if you just used the same type of post on your blog each and every day. By learning about and trying out all the different types of blog posts you can write, you'll get to add great content to your blog and avoid a case of blogger's block.

Lists posts are just about the easiest type of post you can write and they can be about almost anything. Here are some examples:

Top 10 Places to Visit in Pennsylvania
5 Easiest Ways to Change a Lightbulb
200 Tips to Clean Your House
50 Easy Homemade Bread Recipes

How to Come Up With a List Idea


Begin with your niche. As an example, let us say that you have a blog about cat care. Cat care is your niche.

Next, look through the titles of the articles you have already written. Let's say you wrote an article about caring for a cat after surgery. You can expand upon that article idea and create a list of "10 Things You Should Do After Your Cat is Neutered." This, of course, can lead to even more list ideas: 20 Tips to Keep You Cat from Spraying, 5 Ways to Stop Your Cat from Scratching the Furniture, and more.

When you start to get ideas for lists, write them down as fast as you think them up. You will forget them if you don't, and you want to always keep a list of blog ideas handy for when you don't know what to write about.

Building Your Blog List


After you have come up with a list of ideas, choose one idea from that list. Begin brainstorming and researching. Create the list and number each item as you go. For example, I am working on a list of the types of blogs you can write. My list looks like this:

1. The Long Post
2. The List Post
3. The Review Post
4. The Definition Post

Try and get at least 5 items on your list. When you are finished with your list, move on to the next step.

Adding Text and Links to Your List Post


If I would publish the above list on the types of blog posts, it would look boring. It provides the reader with no real information. So, the next step is to give the reader a brief description of each item and then provide a link for more in-depth information. Example:

1. The Long Post - Search engines are beginning to favor longer blog posts and writers are now aiming to create content that is 1,000 words or longer. Learn how to write longer blog posts with these instructions and basic outline template.

You can make the descriptive text as short as a sentence or as long as two paragraphs. Do this with each item on your list and link each item to content that is already on your blog or on another blog.

A Side Benefit to Creating Lists


One of the best things I have learned while working at About.com is that creating list content helps you identify weak spots in your content. Write now I am working on a blog post on the 12 types of blog posts. I made my list of the 12 most common blog posts and realized that I still have to write individual posts on each of these types of post. As I write each new post, I go back to my original list and add a blurb about the type of post I just wrote about and add the link. My list post, as soon as it goes live, will be a hub where a reader can go and find a basic list post and dig deeper into this blog to find more valuable information about each type of blog post.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Increase Blog Traffic by Increasing Content

There are a number of ways to increase your blog traffic, and one of those ways is by increasing the amount of content you have on your blog.

For example, back in 2008 I was contracted by The New York Times to be an About.com guide for bread baking. It was a brand new section with no previous content. I don't remember how much content I had created when my section went live, but I am certain it was under 30 articles. My page views were extremely low for the first year. I think I was only getting 6,000 to 9,000 page views a month. On the one hand, I expected my page views to be higher because I was a part of the About.com website. On the other hand, though, not many people bake there own breads. By 2011, I was getting over 200,000 page views a month with around 300 recipes and articles in my section. Then it was over 500,000 a month. I could not have gotten that many page views if I wasn't constantly adding new recipes to my section.

Write Posts that Help Readers


My most popular article on bread baking was about how to bake a first loaf of bread. It was a super simple recipe, one that could be easily altered by even a beginner, and it got a ton of reviews. Why? Because it helped people who have never successfully baked a loaf of bread, finally achieve a perfect loaf.

Writing blog posts that help readers is the number one way to gain more traffic. Provide your readers with the information they need so that they can do it themselves.

Write Posts that Answer Questions


On my other blog, KindleMeThis.com (a niche blog for Kindle book writers), my most popular blog is on how to gain Twitter followers. It is a long post that shows book writers how to gain followers easily and without buying ads. The post effectively answers the writer's questions.

PDF Content


Back in 1997 or 1998 (I'll have to go back through the records to find the right year) I ran a homeschooling website. I created PDF worksheets and coloring books that can still be found online today. Those PDFs were downloaded hundreds of thousands of times during the life of the website.

A quick look at Google's Keyword Planner shows me there are about 10,000  searches a month for "PDF download". "Free PDF" gets over 5,000 searches a month. So far, I have only created one PDF worksheet for my Kindle blog (Easiest Way to Write Nonfiction Books with Outline Template), but I am certainly going to add a few more for my readers.

Offer Free Stuff


I have read conflicting opinions on offering free things on your blog posts. From my own experience, I began creating 1 or more posts a week linking to all the free Kindle books related to writing on my Kindle blog. By doing this, I saw an immediate jump in my page views and in my Amazon sales (thank-you).

Some bloggers recommend offering a free ebook in exchange for the reader's email address (list building). They say that this works great and brings in potential readers.

To Put It Simply


Overall, a tried and true method for getting more page views is to create more content. The more content (good content) you have, the more links you will gain from search engines. This increases your opportunity at getting found on the internet.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Testing Nonfiction Book Ideas on HubPages

When you have a list of nonfiction book ideas and you don't know which ideas will be the most successful, test them out on HubPages.

I have been posting articles to HubPages since 2011. Since I might only post 1 article every month or so, I really haven't been paying attention to my stats like I should. The other day, however, I decided to take one of my book ideas and turn it into an article just to see how well it would go. Then it hit me, I should be doing this with all my book ideas.

Publishing Articles Brings in a Small Income


Just by publishing articles on HubPages, you are creating another source of passive income. When you hit or exceed the $50 mark by the end of a month, you can expect a deposit the following month. It's a nice addition to whatever else you are earning, but you probably won't be able to retire on your HubPage earnings.

Testing Out Subject Ideas


Without consciously realizing it, I have already written two Kindle books based off of two articles I had written for HubPages. And now, when I look through the stats on my articles, I can see two other promising book ideas.

For example, my pattern instructions for knitting hats does very well. I love to knit and I can easily come up with more hat knitting patterns. Also, my brief article on pinafores has always had a good amount of traffic. I could spend a week designing pinafore patterns and write a book on it.

I can also see which subjects have flopped. This may be because, at least for one article, the market is already glutted with information on the subject. Another article is on an obscure subject.

Make a List and Test It Out


You should always keep a list of book ideas on hand. As you get each idea, test it out. If you don't already have a HubPage account (or another article site), get one set up. Create a brief article about each of your nonfiction book ideas, and see what the readers have to say. Keep track of your stats (something I will be doing from now on), and see which topics get the most hits.

This is just another way to test out ideas. While doing a keyword search on Google's Adsense will give you a few ideas, writing 1,000 word articles and publishing them will let you test out the market.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

How to Write the Best Type of Blog Post

The best type of blog post you can write is the "how to" blog post. "How to" is one of the most common phrases used in search engines. Examples include:


  • How to Make Tuna Casserole
  • How to Bake Bread
  • How to Build a Swing Set
  • How to Swim in the Ocean
  • How to Take a Test


You get the idea.

Deciding What to Write About


Before you get writing, you need to know the general subject you are writing about. For example, if you run a blog about buying used cars, your ultimate how to post will be How to Buy a Used Car, but there are hundreds of smaller how to articles you can write up. For example:

How to Identify Rust on a Used Car
How to Get the Best Price on a Used Car
How to Avoid Buying a Lemon

Every little bit of information that goes into buying a used car can be turned into a how to article.

Break It Up


People have short attention spans and if they are faced with a large block of reading, they will probably skip reading it. The best way to format your how to articles it to break it into bite size paragraphs. Give each paragraph a heading so that the reader knows what the paragraph is about.

Add Photos


Adding photos to your how to blog post will also help break up the text and it will increase the reader's enjoyment of the post. Use your own photographs, if at all possible, to avoid violating anyone's copyright.

Title Accurately


While you will probably write your blog title before you write your how to post, it is important that, after your how to article is written, the title reflects perfectly on the content of your blog. The title is how people will find your blog post. If the title doesn't reflect the content of the post, you will lose readers' trust.

Post and Share


After you have proofed and perfected your how to article, it is time to post it. Add a photo or more to the article. If you are able, create a how to video, post it on YouTube, and link to it in your article. After the post goes live on your blog, share the link through your social media accounts, such as Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Using PLR Articles on Your Blog

PLR (Private Label Rights) are again becoming a hot topic in the blogging and book publishing world because people want to run a blog or publish a Kindle book, but they don't have time to write all the articles necessary to build a large blog or create a book. So, like them or hate them, PLR articles are going to keep growing in popularity.

PLR articles are articles that are sold to website owners and bloggers. When you buy PLR articles, you are buying the rights to use them in any way you see fit. You can edit the articles, change the titles of the articles, and publish them under any name you choose to use.

Where to Buy PLR Articles


If you have never bought and used PLR articles before, you can start looking for some PLR articles on Fiverr.com. For $5 you can buy anywhere from 20 articles to a database of thousands of articles.

Also, do a Google search on "warrior forum PLR articles". You will get lists and recommendations of places you can buy PLR articles.

If you want to test out your editing skills, you can also do a search for "free PLR articles" and try your hand at rebranding with the only cost being your time.

Edit the PLR Articles


Never publish PLR right away. You need to edit them, expand upon the articles, re-spin them, and re-title them. Sound like a lot of work? Not really. If you sit down and work on one article at a time, you can break the articles down and give them subheadings. You can toss in a bit of your own knowledge and personal experience into the mix, or, if you don't want to be bothered, head over to Fiverr.com again and hire someone to edit and rewrite your PLR articles. There are plenty of people there who offer this service.

Easier to Write Your Own, But...


I have never used a PLR article, but I have been researching them for the past few days after I discovered PLRs being sold on Fiverr. Since I write full-time for a living, I find it far easier to write my own blog posts than to have to sit down and edit a pre-written article.

On the other hand, if you are fairly new to writing articles, PLRs might be a great place for you to start. You get semi-structured articles that you can change and expand upon. You don't have to brainstorm lists of article ideas because the basic ideas are already there for you.

Really, if you are truly in a bind for blog posts and are out of ideas and have little to no skills at writing, why not try your hand at rebranding PLR articles? The way I see it, it's a bit like re-skinning an app: you take the bare bones and turn it into something unique.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Writing Definition Blog Posts

There are many different types of blog posts, but the one that is often overlooked is the definition post. The definition post is a blog post that defines a word or a phrase. It is generally considered evergreen material and it is useful content that readers look for when they first become interested in the niche you are writing for.

The Purpose of a Definition Post


The main purpose of a definition post is to educate your readers on the words and phrases that are common to your niche. For example, while I was the bread baking guide for About, I created a few definition pages for bread bakers. One word I defined was "retard." It is a term used in bread baking to slow down the growth of the yeast used in bread baking - to retard (slow down) the yeast. The word has many negative associations and that is why I felt the need to define it on my site. I needed to educate my readers on the term because it is used in many older cookbooks.

Choosing Terms for Your Niche


Every niche has words and phrases that belong to it. For example, blogging has words and phrases, such as SEO, content marketing, and passive income. All three of those phrases can be defined for your readers who are new to the subject of blogging.

Find words that are common to your niche and create a list. Work on creating one definition post for each word or phrase. Use the post to link to other information on your site to further help your reader.

How Often to Post Definitions


Definition posts are not as popular as how to posts, but they can produce a steady supply of incoming traffic. If you are making one post a day to your blog, aim to include one definition post each week until you have used up your list of words and phrases to define. Include links to related content in each definition post, and then go back to creating more how to posts and long posts.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

How to Get Started in Food Blogging

Back in 2008 I became the bread baking guide on About.com, and have been blogging and creating recipes for the past 6 years. While I don't consider myself an expert in food blogging, I do know a lot about the subject and I know about all the hours and hard work that goes into building a food site.

Choosing a Niche in Food Blogging


The first step when deciding to go into food blogging is to decide on your angle, main focus, or, as it is most commonly called these days, a niche (pronounced neesh). Choosing a niche is extremely important because it will give you an edge over the larger food websites.

A food niche can be as broad as breakfast food and as narrow as gluten free bread baking. You can focus on ethnic cooking such as Chinese recipes or you can create an entire food blog around a certain ingredient such as potato or apple recipes. There are also recipes for certain diets, such as vegan or paleo. The beauty of food blogging is that there are so many different angles, or niches, you can choose from.

Domain Name for Your Niche


When you know what you food niche is, it is time to buy a domain name. Before you start your search, write down your niche and any words directly related to your niche. This is because you want a domain name that has your niche in the name. For example, if you want to create a food blog about casseroles, you will want casserole in your domain name. You will need to throw in a another word or two to find a domain name that is available. A quick search and I find that AmericanCasseroles.com is available at the time I wrote this blog post. If I was going to make a casserole recipe blog, I would probably buy that domain name.

Creating Original Content and Recipes


Many people get stuck on the idea of creating original recipes and content. The truth is, it is not that difficult. First, you need to collect as many cookbooks as possible. Choose one and begin searching for recipes related to your niche. When you find a few interesting recipes, make the necessary preparations to make the recipes. Think about how you might alter the recipe, as well. For example, and easy white bread recipe might be altered by using coconut oil instead of butter and using honey instead of sugar. Write out your changes and test out the recipe.

During my first 2 years as the bread baking guide I did a lot of testing on bread recipes. Heck, I would empty my spice cabinet and refrigerator onto the kitchen table and pull together different ingredients for my recipes. Some of my creations turned out wonderful, some needed further adjustments, and a few were total flops. After those initial 2 years, I had far fewer flops because I had already tested out nearly everything imaginable in my breads and I was then able to bake breads according to my tastebuds. The entire process became easy.

A Word on Copyrights


The U.S. Copyright Office is the final word on the subject of copyrights and recipes.

Basically, a list of ingredients cannot be copyrighted. The creative content, such as the introduction to the recipe, the explanation as to how to follow the recipe, and any illustrations are protected under copyright laws.

Photographing Food


One habit you will need to get into is keeping your camera in the kitchen. You should photograph ingredients, the procedures, and the finished recipe. Take about 10 pictures of each step and item using different angles and natural light. The more pictures you take, the more likely you will get that one, perfect shot. Keep your unused photographs in a file. You will find other uses for them, such as when you are writing about different ingredients or different techniques.

Use the type tool in your graphic software to add your domain name to your image. This way, if your photo gets passed around, people can see where it originated from. It's like free advertising.

Marketing Your Food Blog on Social Media


Social media is the best place to get the word out about your blog. Build a Facebook page for your blog and create a Twitter account for your blog. Also, put your photos to good use by adding them to Pinterest. Food blogs do really well with Pinterest because nearly everyone likes to look at delicious foods.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Blogging for a Living

Let's be honest. Blogging for a living is hard work. It takes months and even years before a blog starts to earn money. But, and this is a big but, blogging really can bring in the money.

I write for a living - from the time I get up until the time I pass out in bed while writing on my iPad. Writing is a compulsion for me. My biggest earnings do not come from blogging, though. My biggest earnings are from the sales of my Kindle books. I've written over 20 books and published them mostly under pen names so that I have the freedom to write what I want. My second largest earnings comes from writing for About.com. Blogging income comes in 3rd place. When I pick up a freelance job, the pay I get is always more than what I am making through my blogs.

Why Keep Blogging

As a writer, I always have to write. If there is a slow moment or if I am between books I write blog posts. I blog in the mornings to get myself into the zone. I blog at night to get those last words out of my head.

But if blogging isn't my top earner, than why do I do it?

Because there is always that chance, that "what if", that at least one of my blogs will take off. I'm not going to miss out on that opportunity simply because my blogs aren't my current top earners. Heck no. In fact, I am going to work even harder on them, not give up, and post as much valuable content as I possibly can in a day, week, month, and year.

I live for dreams, and I work to make those dreams come true.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Blog Naming Ideas

While searching for article ideas that encompass the word "blog," I came across the keywords for "blog name generator". What are people thinking?

If you are looking for a great name for your blog, you start off with the main keyword, or subject of your blog. For example, if you plan to create a blog about raw food, "raw food" is your keyword. If you are planning on creating a blog about cats, "cats" is your main keyword.

When you know the subject or main keyword for your blog, write it down because that keyword is going to be used in your blog name.

Next, you will need to add another one to two words to your main keyword. For example, Raw Food on the Go. This would be a blog for raw food people who need tips and recipes for raw food while out and about. For cats, you can choose a particular focus, such as Persian Cat Lover. This is also called choosing a niche. You want your main keyword and you want to break it down into a smaller, targeted category. This helps you target your audience as well as help you focus on what type of articles you should plan on writing.

You don't need a blog name generator, just a pen, paper, and the Internet to come up with ideas, niches, and to check to see if the name and domain are unique and available.

Monday, August 3, 2015

10 Tricks to Increase Your Productivity

There are only 24 hours in a day, and it never seems to be enough time. Here are 10 tricks that will help increase your overall productivity.

1. One Thing at a Time


Avoid multitasking at all costs. Research now shows that multitasking actually decreases our productivity rather than increases it as was previously believed.

Instead, choose one task and work on it until it is completely. Avoid the temptation to stop midway through or start another project before the one on hand is finished.

2. Write a New To Do List Each Night


Before going to bed at night, write a to do list for the next day. This way, you know what you need to do when you get up.

3. Begin Work Right Away


Immediately after waking up in the morning, read through your to do list. Perform your normal morning hygiene rituals and eat a breakfast. Begin working on your list immediately. Don’t start the day off with a long break.

4. Eliminate Busy Work


Remove all non-essential chores or tasks from your daily to do list. There is work and there is busy work. Skip doing anything that doesn’t directly tie in with your personal work goals.

5. Delegate Tasks


Assign as many tasks to other people as possible so that you can focus on your main work goal. Get the kids involved in doing chores and hire someone online for other tasks.

6. Make Your Goals Reachable


Break large goals down into smaller tasks. Assign one or more of these tasks to yourself each day.

7. Assign Time for Each Task


Give yourself a time limit for each task. Set a timer and begin work.

8. Remove Negative People


Remove negative people from your daily activities. Ignore anyone that stresses you out, doesn’t support you, or puts you down. Negative people are emotionally draining and they are time wasters.

9. Give Yourself Little Rewards


Give yourself a small reward for completing each task on your list, such as a piece of candy, or give yourself a larger reward at the end of each day you’ve completed your to do list, such as sitting back to watch a favorite television show.

10. Don’t Overburden Yourself


Know your work limits and don’t give yourself too many tasks to do in one day. Learn to say no to others who want you to take on more work.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

5 Anti Aging Herbs We Should All Know About

1. Ginkgo


Ginkgo biloba is a well known herb for the brain. It is believed to help improve memory and overall mental health in adults. Some studies have even found that ginkgo can help victims of Alzheimer’s disease. Aside from brain matters, people are taking ginkgo supplements to help correct erectile dysfunction and to help with arthritis.

There are many ginkgo supplements available for purchase online. They are relatively inexpensive and, if you have trouble swallowing large capsules, you can always open up the capsule and mix the powdered leaves with honey or peanut butter before eating them.

2. Garlic


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Allium sativum is being used by adults to help prevent wrinkles. While garlic is known to have numerous health benefits, the antioxidant minerals in garlic are known to prevent wrinkles. For the best results, garlic should be eaten raw. You can add thin garlic slices to salads or, if you are brave, you can eat one to two garlic cloves a day. Dip them in honey to soften the bitterness when you are chewing them. If you can’t eat raw garlic without smelling like a big garlic clove, you can take odorless garlic supplements instead.

3. Horsetail


Equisetum arvense is another great herb for skin care. Like garlic, it can help prevent wrinkles. Horsetail, also called bottlebrush, contains a trace mineral, silica, that makes skin glow and look healthier. It is also great for your joints, hair, and bones.

Horsetail can be bought as supplements online or the herb can be bought loose and dried. Horsetail tea is also available and can be worked into your morning breakfast routine.

4. American Ginseng


Illustration of ginseng from Bigelow "American Botany" Wellcome L0017447
Panax quinquefolius provides people with numerous benefits, ranging from heart health to regulating cholesterol. Commonly known as a brain herb, it helps to stimulate the mind and keep us sharp as we age. There is even some evidence that ginseng may also help improve memory in adults.

There are many ways to add ginseng to your diet. One of the most common methods is simply taking supplements that are available online for purchase. You can also buy the dried roots whole, sliced, or powdered. Ginseng teas are also available to purchase for when you need a quick boost of energy.

5. Gotu Kola

Centella asiatica is an herb for the skin. It is usually used topically to reduce scars and repair skin damage. It is often an ingredient found in natural skin care products.

Supplements can be found online and are well within many people’s budgets. You can also buy centella cream to reduce the appearance of skin imperfections and scars.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

10 Signs You Might Be a Procrastinator

Procrastination can get in the way of so many things, especially when it comes to achieving your life goals. Here are 10 signs that you might be a procrastinator and what you can do about it.

1. You are reluctant to get out of bed


Morning comes, your alarm goes off, and what do you do? Hit the snooze button. Do what others have done and set your alarm across the room so that you have to get up out of bed to turn it off. Also, tell yourself that once you are out of bed, it is time to prepare for a new day. Don’t allow yourself to crawl back into bed.

2. You find excuses to not do work


There’s work and then there’s busy work. Many people will turn to busy work in order to avoid real work. Writers, for example, may turn to housecleaning as a way to avoid writing. One trick to overcome this is to use the Pomodoro Technique of working for a solid 25 minutes and then giving yourself a 5 minute break to do something else. This means that if you desperately want to do some busy work, like cleaning off the windows, you will first work for 25 minutes and then work on the windows during the 5 minute breaks.

3. You don’t finish what you’ve started


You love starting new projects, but you never finish any of the projects you’ve started. Make a new rule for yourself. You can start a new project only after you have finished off two old projects. After you have gotten caught up with past projects, continue to only allow yourself to start and work on one project at a time.

4. You’re always late for appointments


Procrastinators put things off until the last possible moment and they are constantly late. Instead of dragging your feet through life, buy a day planner and create a daily schedule for yourself. Keep to your schedule by including preparation time (getting ready to go to an appointment) and afterwards time (time after the appointment that you will need to prepare for the next task or appointment).

5. Your workspace is a mess


You don’t feel like cleaning. You don’t feel like working. You don’t feel like doing much of anything. Break the vicious cycle and spend an hour (time yourself) cleaning up your workspace. A cleaner workspace can improve your productivity and it will certainly make you feel better about yourself.

6. You’re always stressed


You’ve got so much to do and you never seem to get any of it done. That’s because you have been putting things off and it is causing you too much stress. Instead of being constantly stressed, write down everything that needs to get done. Create a daily to do list for yourself and begin tackling the things that have been bothering you.

7. You spend a lot of time daydreaming


There’s a difference between daydreaming too much and daydreaming as a creative exercise - it’s what you do after you are done with the daydream. If you find yourself daydreaming the days away and not getting anything done, you are a procrastinator. Break free of constant daydreaming by taking action. If you are daydreaming about a story, start writing. Art? Start painting. A business idea? Start working.

8. If it’s not easy, forget it


Procrastinators have no problem doing the easy stuff. It’s the hard stuff they can’t find the motivation to tackle. Go back to my earlier suggestion of creating a daily to do list. If any of the tasks seem too hard, break the task down into smaller, easier steps and start tackling the easy steps, one by one.

9. Facebook fiend


If you’d rather check to see if anyone liked your Facebook post than do your work, you’re a procrastinator. Schedule time for Facebook. If you decide to only allow yourself 30 minutes a day on social media, spread it out over the day in six 5 minute breaks. Set a timer and don’t allow yourself to go over your allotted time limit.

10. Always making up excuses


You have a back stock of excuses for why you can’t do something or you often find yourself trying to make up an excuse for yourself. Stop with the excuses and take on a can-do attitude.