Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Cleaning up the dead weight in your writing queue

If you're like most online writers, you use a word program for your writing. Chances are, your queue is filled with abandoned articles,thoughts, notes and titles for posts you've never written. There's good and bad ideas in your writing queue. Why not make it a practice to spend one day a week (or a month) going through those archives? You can turn all those old thoughts into gold. Or at least clear some space for new ideas.

What about those impossible dreams?

We all have a few of those ideas sitting in our queue that we know will never come to fruition. There could be a lot of reasons for this. Maybe you're not qualified to write that particular article. Maybe it requires more research than you care to do. Maybe you're just not interested in the subject matter any more. Maybe someone else beat you to it.

You could delete it.

What are the benefits of deleting abandoned writing projects? It's somewhat satisfying. It also saves you from looking at it. Who wants to be reminded of their 'to do' list every time they check their queue? Deleting those lost causes sure feels good, doesn't it? Wait. Isn't there anything you can do with it before you say goodbye?

Could you simplify it?

Maybe instead of writing a factual article, you could use it as a blog post. You could talk about your personal experience on the subject. You could rant or rejoice about it. You could make it funny. You could whip off a couple quick paragraphs with links to further info. By keeping it casual, you won't be required to do quite so much research.

Could you change the subject?

Maybe you could take a look at that abandoned title you're no longer interested in and be inspired by it.
Could you take it in a different direction more easily? Is there a related subject that interests you more? Does it remind you of something else you've been wanting to write about? Does it have any merit outside your original thought?

Could you part with it?

You know your fellow writers pretty well. You read their work all the time, right? It's only fair, since they read yours. Do you have a writer friend who might take your prompt and run with it? Is it right up their writing alley? If so, why keep it to yourself? It's not doing you any good sitting in the queue anyway. They might as well give it a go.

Never say never.

Some of those ideas you have cooking in your writing queue are worth saving. Others may not be. Just don't give up on them until you've explored all the possibilities. So clean up your queue by using those old ideas or losing them. Either, make some money with your old ideas. Or delete them. After all, the idea is to make a living at this writing gig, right?

Friday, July 8, 2016

Now that Examiner has shut down, what will we do?

Oh man, here we go again. Another one bites the dust, right? I know that's what all my writer buddies are thinking. That's especially true of those of us who have been through this all before. Chin up! There are good things about the shut down. There are also alternatives.

My daughter would never forgive me if I didn't mention that she is co-owner of a writing website that is still very much alive and quite successful. There are opportunities to blog, write articles or do just about anything you did on Examiner and more. Contact Lyn Lomasi or her partner Richard Rowell at Write W.AV.E. Media. She's also recovering content from for quite a few writers who don't have time to do it themselves. She can do it for you too!

Do you have your own website or blog? If so, this is a great time to transition to writing exclusively for yourself and/or private clients. Doing so is much more profitable than writing for someone else, anyway. If you don't have a website or blog of your own, why not use the opportunity to start one up? It can be done for free on or any number of other venues. And no worries if you don't know HTML. Weebly is point and click. So user friendly!

On a personal note, I will miss They gave me many years of income, exposure and great opportunities. However, I must admit that I was getting to a point where I was conflicted about whether to place my work on my own blogs or on Examiner, since both have the same topics. And sometimes sharing was difficult due to the way their site is set up. I'm not bad-mouthing them, though. As I said, I greatly appreciate what they've done for me. It is what it is and I have no bad feelings toward them.

So, now, here I am, able to focus entirely on blogging, which I love to do. It's very freeing for me. Down the road, I may or may not go back to seeking out private clients. I may even look for another website to write for. But you know, I'm in forced retirement right now, so the blogs are a great fit. I have no deadlines or clients to worry about. I do things my way without interference. And if I'm not well that day, there's no one to answer to but myself.

Preparing for writing website closure

Folks, I wrote this one a few years back and updated it today. Thought it was timely, considering the shut down of It's certainly all still true. You should never put all your writing eggs in one basket, so to speak. A lot of you are finding that out this week. But hey, it's not too late to save your work or do better next time! So let's talk about being prepared for that next website shut-down.

Online writing is a fickle mistress. There's no telling when your favorite writing venue may disappear from the web. It's best to write for sites that have a long term history. Like Yahoo Voices or Right... 

So, what if your favorite place to write suddenly shuts down like they both have now? Would you be prepared? Have you backed up your work? Do you know your rights as far as publishing content featured there on another site? How can you be assured of a smooth ride when they “pull the rug out” from under you?

Do you write “on site?”

Most online writers know to write in their word program, rather than in website templates. If you're new to the game, you might not realize how important this is. If you don't retain a copy of your work off website, you may never be able to retrieve it when a website shuts down without advance notice. Do you have online content that isn't stored safely in your word program and backed up on a flash drive? If so, take steps now to see that you don't suffer a permanent loss.

Are you a single venue writer?

I'm not. Plus, I make sure I remain in good standing on all the sites I write for, no matter how successful I am there. Having back up income makes a huge difference. That way, if the main site I write for goes through any major changes, my income doesn't change drastically. If the main site I write for should happen to shut down, I also know that I can transfer my saved non-exclusive work to other sites or to my own blogs with ease.

What about exclusive content?

Whenever you write exclusive content for any website, you're taking a calculated risk. Doing so may get you better assignments or other perks. On the other hand, once the website closes, it's up to them if they wish to relinquish the rights to your work. The best rule of thumb is to retain your rights whenever possible. That way, you can do as you wish with your content in the event of website shutdown.

What does your old content look like?

What if the website you write for shut down? What if a closed venue put your less than perfect exclusive content on another site you don't have access to? Why not make sure you've dotted all your I's and crossed all your T's in the articles you've already written. It would be awful if there were typos left in something you could no longer change.

Don't walk away mad.

Writing online is no different than any other job in that respect. No one wants a disgruntled employee working for them. Behaving in a less than professional manner when a venue changes or shuts down reflects badly on you as a writer. It's not their fault you weren't prepared for any eventuality. Being ready for such an event before it happens can make a world of difference.