Big Ideas, Delivered With Impact

Posts Tagged ‘Writing’

Did Terrorists Just Save the Publishing Industry?

In Writing on December 26, 2009 at 10:49 am

By Tim Beyers

Along with family, friends, presents, and far too much food, Christmas Day brought news of a thwarted terrorist attack on board a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit. CNN is reporting that a 23-year-old Nigerian man named Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab activated an explosive device that caused a fire as the airplane began its descent.

On TV, talking heads are speculating about heavy-handed new security rules. Ignore them. We already know how the Transportation Security Agency and airlines are responding, thanks to analyst Charlene Li. Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

Editorchat Gets a Friend

In Resources, Writing on September 2, 2009 at 11:28 am

By Tim Beyers

Twitter sometimes acts like it’s in college; everything’s fine till someone throws a party.

Dozens are invited, of course. Tweets flow like beer and whiskey. Tweeps get louder and more obnoxious with each thread, right up until someone breaks a stereo — I mean, server — and the killjoys who weren’t invited hear the noise and call the cops.

Stumblers head for the exits. Some make it. Others enjoy a nice, quiet ride downtown to the drunk-tank. Everyone else passes out on the couch, waiting for Twitter to rally from its out-till-3-am alcohol and Cheetos bender.

Source: PhotobucketAnd of course all of this happens in a matter of minutes — just enough time to transform Editorchat from a joy to an annoyance. My friend Lydia Dishman and I prefer it when Editorchat is a joy, which is why we’ve moved the chat from Twitter to FriendFeed. Read the rest of this entry »

This Resource Beats the Web

In Resources, Writing on July 14, 2009 at 2:22 pm

By Tim Beyers
Check out my about.me page!

The Web is the second-best resource ever created for writers. The library is still better, by far. Here’s why.

Source: Strahov Theological Hall, Prague

Source: Strahov Theological Hall, Prague

1. You get free access to the Web at most libraries. My local offers two options. Patrons can either bring their own computers and log on with free Wi-Fi, or they can reserve one of the library’s computers. Either way, the library gives you the Web and a lot more.

2. You can find top reference books. When I was first starting out as a freelance writer, I’d spend $20-$30 for a shining new copy of the annual Writer’s Market. My local has its own copy that I can use every time I visit. Even better: I can check out copies of the magazines that WM is telling me about. Money saved is money earned. Read the rest of this entry »

Was I Wrong About Helium?

In Writing on July 2, 2009 at 4:58 pm

By Tim Beyers
Check out my about.me page!

Was I wrong to tell my fellow freelancers to not write for content aggregators? Recently, I sold a reprint of an article that I first wrote for Helium to Hope Clark for her FundsforWriters newsletter. “5 Ways to Boost Your Word Count” appeared in the June 21 issue.

One query, 31 times the earnings

Find the original article from last August here. Helium readers and reviewers liked it but didn’t love it, ranking it 11 of 23 articles on the topic of writing more. So far, my story — which I have since improved — has earned $0.47 in shared advertising revenue. By contrast, Ms. Clark paid me $15 for one-time reprint rights. One query and a modest rewrite netted me 31 times the earnings.

Read the rest of this entry »

How to Add Yahoo! Buzz to a Hosted WordPress Blog

In Blogging on June 21, 2009 at 8:03 pm

By Tim Beyers
Check out my about.me page!

Freelance writers who blog should help readers to “buzz up” their content using Yahoo! Buzz, a popular social bookmarking service that hopes to rival Digg, StumbleUpon, and dozens of others.

There’s just one problem: Buzz buttons like these invoke Javascript, a technology unavailable to those who host their blogs at WordPress. The good news is that there’s an alternative. Any writer willing to dedicate 10 minutes under the hood with HTML can get Yahoo! Buzz working without invoking a single script. Here’s how.

Read the rest of this entry »

How to Write a Film Review

In Resources, Writing on June 11, 2009 at 1:01 pm

DTaylor-thumbnail-headshotAnother month, another guest post. This time, Dave Taylor takes the reins. Dave is a well-known entrepreneur here in Colorado. One of his latest ventures, FilmBuzz, you can find on Twitter. I’ve asked him here to talk about the business of writing movie reviews. Read on for his expert tips, and when you’re finished be sure to check out my review of CrossOver for Mac at Dave’s tech support blog.

By Dave Taylor

Have you ever watched a movie?

Yeah, I thought so.

Everyone reacts to a movie while they’re watching it, laughing, gasping in fear, snickering at stupid plot points or smiling at a really cool action scene. When the film ends, you turn to your companions as you walk out of the theater (or get up from the couch to use the bathroom, as the case may be!) and say “great film!” or “jeez, what a dog” or “whatdja think?” or similar.

In that sense, we are all film critics and we all have the basic ingredients to be film reviewers. Yet I’ll wager a new DVD that you don’t write any sort of reviews of the movies you see, and at most perhaps you “Tweet” your friends with a ten-word micro-review. “Star Trek?  Awesome. Go see it!” may reveal to others whether you liked the movie or not, but this tweet misses a fundamental element, the core of all good movie reviews: “why.”

Read the rest of this entry »

What to Drink When Your Writing Needs a Lift

In Recipes on June 10, 2009 at 4:59 am

By Tim Beyers

When my writing needs a lift, it’s either (a) time for coffee or (b) time for a cocktail. What’s that? You too? Get yourself a Collins glass, writer — we’re going to mix a Ramos Fizz.

Source: Esquire magazine

Source: Esquire magazine

INGREDIENTS

2 ounces London dry gin (ed. note: Bombay Sapphire, preferably)
1 ounce heavy cream
1 egg whites
1/2 ounce lemon juice
1/2 ounce lime juice
2 teaspoons superfine sugar
2 to 3 drops orange flower water

Read the rest of this entry »

The Elements of Indispensability

In Writing on June 8, 2009 at 5:37 pm

By Tim Beyers

Is it possible for writers to elevate their craft to the point of indispensability?

Source: Google image search

Source: Google image search

We discussed this from the reader’s perspective — the idea of indispensable content — during last week’s Editorchat, but we couldn’t agree. Freelancer Erik Sherman argues that indispensability varies by audience. For example, a reader facing foreclosure might find a piece about a specific house-saving strategy indispensable and a great article about grilling merely enjoyable.

This is a fair point from a must-follow blogging writer. And yet I wonder: Isn’t any piece of writing that gets you paid indispensable to the someone who paid you for it? We call these people editors, and their job is to be both reader advocates (i.e., seek and publish indispensable content) and publisher advocates (i.e., keep costs under control).

Maybe the question of indispensability is best asked with these gatekeepers in mind. Can a writer become indispensable to an editor? I think so. But just as no two readers are alike, neither are any two editors alike. Thus, in seeking a definition for what makes an indispensable writer, I run the risk of making the same mistake I made during Editorchat. “Indispensable writer” could be as loosey-goosey a phrase as “indispensable content,” and just as useless.

But I doubt it, if only because the process of thinking about what qualities our editors consider to be indispensable forces us to think as they do. This is the key, I think. Being good matters; understanding what our editors need matters more.

So what do they need? Read the rest of this entry »

5 Must-Follow Bloggers for Aspiring Writers

In Blogging, Writing on June 4, 2009 at 1:11 pm

By Tim Beyers

With Technorati now indexing more than 100 million blogs and the esteemed editors of Writer’s Digest having named the 101 best websites for writers, I could be kidding myself trying to tell you who to follow.

Source: Google image search

Source: Google image search

Certainly this would be a silly exercise if I were assuming some position of authority in presenting this list. I’m not. My aim is to feed your brain with ideas by introducing you to those who feed my brain with ideas.

Also, this is a writer’s list, not a list for writers. Writer’s Digest has already singled out top blogs about the craft and business of writing, such as The Renegade Writer blog.

Writers who blog are a different breed. Here are the first five of my 10 favorites, listed in no particular order and all of whom you can find on Twitter. (Look for the other five here tomorrow.) Read the rest of this entry »

TFWH Update: Writers’ Journal and FundsforWriters

In Resources, Writing on June 3, 2009 at 2:57 pm

By Tim Beyers

For the second time since it became an open source project, The Freelancer Writer’s Helper has been updated. Last time, Susan Johnson of The Urban Muse added freelancer job sites. This time, I added submissions guidelines for Writers’ Journal and FundsforWriters, C. Hope Clark’s excellent newsletter series that highlights markets for new and established writers. Did you know that she also pays for advice articles from freelancers? Now you do.

Stay tuned for further updates of the Helper from yours truly and the Helper’s other contributors. If you’d care to join our open source band, write to me here.

3218808174_e81aaabe0b_o