5 Tips To Get Non-Writers Writing

Ever heard the saying, content is King?

Most of us work, find clients, and communicate with our peers via the internet. The key to finding success on the internet is making it easy to be found at all. And what do search engines use to find, rank, and list us? Content. Words. Copy.

For those who write for a living, the idea of putting together fresh content full of relevant keywords and tag lines is a no-brainer. But for the rest of us, a single blog post can bring on a day of agony.

If you’ve got a stagnant blog, a boring home page, or just want to build your credibility by guest posting on respected industry blogs, here are some tips to shake off that writer’s block.

1. Find your writing time and stick with it. Some people feel their creative juices flowing at 2 am, some have to write first thing in the morning or they’ll get distracted.

2. Keep track of your ideas. There’s nothing worse than sitting down at your computer only to stare at the blinking cursor, wishing words would appear. Writing is hard, and forcing it when you’re not inspired is torture. Find a way to record ideas for post topics as they occur to you. Then when it’s time to write, you’ve got a little pool of inspiration to choose from.

3. Minimize on screen and real life distractions. How many tabs do you have open at this very second? How many message alerts, social media mentions, or Skype conversations are vying for your attention as you try to write? It may sound unorthodox, but try closing every non-essential program while you write. Fewer distractions means you’ll start writing faster, and sustain your ideas until the writing is done.

4. Create an outline. Maybe your 7th grade English teacher DID know what she was talking about. Get all your ideas out of your head and on to a piece of paper. Then, start organizing them from most to least important, or some other order that makes sense for your audience. Making an outline can show you where the holes are in your thought process, and help to eliminate unnecessary information.

5. Turn off your internal editor. Just write the words. Forget spelling, grammar, and whether you’re using the passive or active voice. Those tweaks happen after all the pressing points are on the page. Just blurt it out. Hurl it at the wall. Slowly, the crap will fall away, and you’ll see the real nuggets of information that will make your writing useful.

6. Experiment with different formats: interview, Q&A, lists. Blog posts and especially copy, doesn’t have to be exhaustive. It doesn’t have to be 400-500 words. It doesn’t have to be anything other than interesting and relevant. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be you that does all the talking. If three sentences and a bullet list get your point across efficiently, your readers will thank you for saving them the trouble.

I know we’ve got lots of talented writers at Cohere. Care to share one of your secrets for jump starting a writing project?

Image Credit: Flickr – Alyssa Miller

5 Must-Read Blogs For Freelancers

Five Must-Read Blogs For Freelancers

It’s the New Year. You’ve set your goals, and created your budgets. You’re ready to grow your business, but you’re a little low on inspiration. Or you still don’t know the answer to that nagging business/organizational/house-keeping question. Where can you turn?

Of course, the first place you should turn is the collection of creative minds sitting all around you as you cowork. But what about when your question stumps the coworkers as well? Ask the blogs.

We talk about, write, and link to blogs all the time, but how many of you are seeking out blogs that could actually make you a better freelancer? Here are 5  that should be added to your reader ASAP.

Freelance Switch This extremely popular blog–over 35,000 subscribers and multiple writers–includes advice, news and opinions for freelance workers, such as this insightful post on nurturing relationships with clients you’d like to keep. Also on Freelance Switch: forums and podcasts.

The Berkun Blog This Scott Berkun is a real hot shot hero to the technically inclined, but check out the archived blog entries–there’s stuff here for nearly every creatives freelancer, especially this lesson from a Dr. Seuss book.

Freelancers Union This union resource blog deals with the ethical and labor issues of contract work–including these thoughts on whether or not freelancers should lower their rates just because their clients are struggling.

Webworkerdaily: This blog tackles issues about productivity and other day-to-day issues in the freelance writing world.  It has advice on topics such as “Tackling Big Projects and Getting Things Done.”

Essentialkeystrokes: Check out this blog for general advice about freelancing, and about working on your computer.  It has useful posts such as “13 Ways to Move Big Files on the Web” as well as many others.

Thanks to oDesk (which runs a pretty snazzy blog for freelancers itself) and GuideToCareerEducation for these clips.

Image Credit: Flickr – filipe93

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