Sunday, 2 March 2008

Addressing Writer's Block

Following on from the recent post discussing writer's block and its causes and having taken the first step of recognising that even some of the all-time great writers have at times been afflicted, I will now cover some of the ways of addressing the problem.

Writers like to think of themselves as artists and indeed they are but it is also a job just like any other. We have to work consistently as everyone else does and not only when the mood takes us or creativity seems to be optimum.

Try changing your perception of your vocation and move away from the artist mentality. Instead of considering yourself to be a writer, I suggest you picture yourself as a journalist. A journalist sits at a desk each day and produces a constant stream of work and must regulate him/herself and conform to required deadlines.

You are a professional and regulating your productivity in this manner should ensure a constant flow of work. It may not be your finest, most accomplished material but you are skilled at what you do and you will still maintain quality.

Set yourself a schedule and stick to it. However much time you decide to allocate can reflect your own circumstances but choose a defined amount of time to work each day, sit yourself down at your desk, open your laptop and write. Keep to a set timetable that suits and make no excuses. Select 10am-2pm on a Monday for example and turn up every time. Being late for work or non-attendance is not acceptable in any other profession and neither should it be so for you.

Following these guidelines should help to maintain productivity and in the next post I shall try to assist with the issue of sourcing inspiration. In keeping with the style of this series I've posted a few quotes from prominent writers that are applicable.

Being a writer is like having homework every night for the rest of your life. — Lawrence Kasdan

I love being a writer. What I can't stand is the paperwork. — Peter De Vries

A professional writer is an amateur who didn't quit. — Richard Bach

You have to protect your writing time. You have to protect it to the death. — William Goldman

If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn’t brood. I’d type a little faster. — Isaac Asimov

Let me tell you about my day. I get up at 8 o'clock in the morning. At 8:30 am, I leave the house and I arrive at my office at 8:37. I stay in the office until 2 o'clock in the afternoon. I get in my Porsche and I'm home at 2:03 because the one-way streets make it faster for me to drive. And between 8:36 am and 2 pm, I'm doing one of three things: I'm writing. I'm staring out the window. Or I'm writhing on the floor. — Thomas Harris

You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club. — Jack London

No professional writer can afford only to write when he feels like it. If he waits till he is in the mood, till he has the inspiration, he waits indefinitely and ends by producing little or nothing. The professional writer creates the mood. He has his inspiration too, but he controls and subdues it to his bidding by setting himself regular hours of work. But in time writing becomes a habit, and like the old actor in retirement, who gets restless when the hour arrives at which he has been accustomed to go down to the theatre and make up for the evening performance, the writer itches to get to his pens and paper at the hours at which he has been used to write. Then he writes automatically. — Somerset Maugham

You can't rely on inspiration. I don't even believe in inspiration. I just believe in working. — David Long

Get up very early and get going at once. In fact, work first and wash afterwards. — WH Auden

Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work. — Gustave Flaubert

How To Create A Website

Many of my readers are also bloggers and so with this post I am reviewing a friends article which I consider to be valuable insight into the use of social media to create an online presence to drive awareness to your own sites. has for the past few months been conducting what the author terms the Social Media Experiment and the post to which I refer details the strategy he has implemented to achieve 500,000 unique visitors and almost 1,000,000 page views in as little as 3 months.

His philosophy for how to make the most of social media sites closely reflects my own views and I would urge you all to read what he has to say and try to replicate his methods.

Read the original text here.

Thursday, 28 February 2008

Writer's Block? You're In Good Company!

There is nothing worse than staring at a blank page, fingers poised over the keyboard only to have it stare straight back at you. The most difficult sentence to formulate is the first. This is the one that will determine the course the piece. Even if you have a great idea, production is an entirely different matter.

Or perhaps inspiration is your problem. The enthusiasm is abundant but the spark is lacking. Maybe you fear the potential for producing poor quality work. Whatever the causes, they can all be addressed and overcome. I will cover sourcing inspiration and some other methods for beating writer's block in subsequent posts but today I will look at the first step which is recognition.

Writer's block is an age-old issue and scourge of the artist. The important thing to recognise is that this is not a personal failing. It does not mean that you are in any way lacking as a writer. In fact, you are in very good company. To demonstrate this, I have sourced some quotes from some of the finest and successful writers which I hope will provide some encouragement.

There is no iron that can enter the human heart with such stupefying effect, as a period placed at just the right moment. — Isaac Babel, from “Guy de Maupassant”

The hard part is getting to the top of page 1. — Tom Stoppard

The writer is one who, embarking upon a task, does not know what to do. — Donald Barthelme

I always do the first line well, but I have trouble doing the others. — Molière

The freedom to create is somehow linked with facility of access to those obscure regions below the conscious mind. — Loren Eiseley

It is worth mentioning, for future reference, that the creative power which bubbles so pleasantly in beginning a new book quiets down after a time, and one goes on more steadily. Doubts creep in. Then one becomes resigned. Determination not to give in, and the sense of an impending shape keep one at it more than anything. — Virginia Woolf

I believe more in the scissors than I do in the pencil. — Truman Capote

Easy reading is damn hard writing. — Nathaniel Hawthorne

Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead. — Gene Fowler

Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way. — EL Doctorow

How do I know what I think, until I see what I say. — WH Auden

There is no rule on how to write. Sometimes it comes easily and perfectly: sometimes it's like drilling rock and then blasting it out with charges. — Ernest Hemingway

What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure. — Samuel Johnson

A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people. — Thomas Mann

Sunday, 24 February 2008

100 Writing Tips

I came across this list and found it to be quite apt and highly amusing and so I thought I would share it with you all. It is reproduced courtesy of

1. Every sentence should make sense in isolation. Like that one.

2. Excessive hyperbole is literally the kiss of death.

3. ASBMAETP: Acronyms Should Be Memorable And Easy To Pronounce, and SATAN: Select Acronyms That Are Non-offensive.

4. Finish your point on an up-beat note, unless you can’t think of one.

5. Don’t patronise the reader-he or she might well be intelligent enough to spot it.

6. A writer needs three qualities: creativity, originality, clarity and a good short term memory.

7. Choose your words carefully and incitefully.

8. Avoid unnecessary examples; e.g. this one.

9. Don’t use commas, to separate text unnecessarily.

10.It can be shown that you shouldn’t miss out too many details.

11. Similes are about as much use as a chocolate teapot.

12. Avoid ugly abr’v'ns.

13. Spellcheckers are not perfect; they can kiss my errs.

14. Somebody once said that all quotes should be accurately attributed.

15. Americanisms suck.

16. Capitalising for emphasis is UGLY and DISTRACTING.

17. Underlining is also a big no-no.

18. Mixed metaphors can kill two birds without a paddle.

19. Before using a cliché, run it up the flagpole and see if anybody salutes.

20. There is one cheap gimmick that should be avoided at all costs…………..suspense.

21. State your opinions forcefully-this is perhaps the key to successful writing.

22. Never reveal your sources (Alistair Watson, 1993).

23. Pile on lots of subtlety.

24. Sure signs of lazy writing are incomplete lists, etc.

25. Introduce meaningless jargon on a strict need-to-know basis.

26. The word “gullible” possesses magic powers and hence it should be used with care.

27. The importance of comprehensive cross-referencing will be covered elsewhere.

28. Resist the temptation to roll up the trouser-legs of convention, cast off the shoes and socks of good taste, and dip your toes refreshingly into the cool, flowing waters of fanciful analogy.

29. Don’t mess with Mr. Anthropomorphism.

30. Understatement is a mindblowingly effective weapon.

31. Injecting enthusiasm probably won’t do any harm.

32. It is nice to be important, but it is more important to avoid using the word 'nice'.

33. Appropriate metaphors are worth their weight in gold.

34. Take care with pluri.

35. If you can’t think of the exact word that you need, look it up in one of those dictionary-type things.

36. Colons: try to do without them.

37. Nouns should never be verbed.

38. Do you really think people are impressed by rhetorical questions?

39. Pick a font, and stick with it.

40. Sufficient clarity is necessary, but not necessarily sufficient.

41. Less is more. This means that a short, cryptic statement is often preferable to an accurate, but drawn out, explanation that lacks punch and loses the reader.

42. Sarcasm-yes, I bet that will go down really well.

43. The problem of ambiguity cannot be underestimated.

44. Never appear cynical, unless you’re sure you can get away with it.

45. Many writer’s punctuate incorrectly.

46. Colloquialisms are for barmpots.

47. There is a lot to be said for brevity.

48. To qualify is to weaken, in most cases.

49. Many readers assume that a word will not assume two meanings in the same sentence.

50. Be spontaneous at regular intervals.

51. The era of the euphemism is sadly no longer with us.

52. Want to be funny? Just add some exclamation marks!!!

53. Want to appear whimsical? Simply append a smiley :)

54. Some writers introduce a large number, N, of unnecessary symbols.

55. Restrict your hyphen-usage.

56. Choosing the correct phrase is important compared to most things.

57. Some early drafts of this document had had clumsy juxtapositions.

58. Try not to leave a word dangling on its own

59. line.

60. The number of arbitrary constants per page should not exceed .13.

61. Use mathematical jargon if it is absolutely necessary.

62. And avoid math symbols unless ? a good reason.

63. Poor writing effects the impact of your work.

64. And the dictionary on your shelf was not put there just for affect.

65. If there’s a word on the tip of your tongue that you can’t quite pin down, use a cinnamon.

66. If somebody were to give me a pound for every irrelevant statement I’ve ever read, then I would be very surprised.

67. Strangely enough, it is impossible to construct a sentence that illustrates the meaning of the word 'irony.'

68. Consult a writing manual to assure that your English is correct.

69. It has been suggested that some words are absolute, not relative. This is very true.

70. Be careful when forming words into a sentence-all orderings are not correct.

71. Many words can ostensibly be deleted.

72. In your quest for clarity, stop at nothing.

73. Complete mastery of the English language comes with conscientious study, notwithstanding around in bars. Moreover the next page. Inasmuch detail as possible.

74. Sporting analogies won’t even get you to first base.

75. If you must quote, quote from one of the all-time greats (Cedric.P. Snodworthy, 1964).

76. In the absence of a dictionary, stick to words of one syllabus.

77. Steer clear of word-making-up-ism.

78. Readers will not stand for any intolerance.

79. If there’s one thing you must avoid it’s over-simplification.

80. Double entendres will get you in the end.

81. Vagueness is the root of miscommunication, in a sense.

82. Don’t bother with those “increase-your-word-power” books that cost an absorbent amount of money.

83. Self-contradiction is confusing, and yet strangely enlightening.

84. Surrealism without purpose is like fish.

85. Ignorance: good writers don’t even know the meaning of the word.

86. The spoken word can look strange when written down, I’m afraid.

87. Stimpy the Squirrel says “Don’t treat the reader like a little child.”

88. Intimidatory writing is for wimps.

89. Learn one new maths word every day, and you’ll soon find your vocabulary growing exponentially.

90. My old high school English teacher put it perfectly when she said: “Quoting is lazy. Express things in your own words.”

91. She also said: “Don’t use that trick of paraphrasing…… [other people’s words]…… inside a quote.”

92. A lack of compassion in a writer is unforgivable.

93. On a scale of 0 to 10, internal consistency is very important.

94. Thankfully, by the year 2016 rash predictions will be a thing of the past.

95. There is no place for overemphasis, whatsoever.

96. Leave out the David Hockney rhyming slang.

97. Bad writers are hopefully ashamed of themselves.

98. Eschew the highfalutin.

99. Sometimes you publish a sentence and then, on reflection, feel that you shouldn’t ought to have been and gone and written it quite that way.

100. Practice humility until you feel that you’re really good at it.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

What On Earth Is Wrong With Gravity?

"When Newton saw an apple fall, he found
In that slight startle from his contemplation —
'Tis said (for I'll not answer above ground
For any sage's creed or calculation) —
A mode of proving that the earth turn'd round
In a most natural whirl, called "gravitation;"
And this is the sole mortal who could grapple,
Since Adam, with a fall or with an apple."

Don Juan (1821), Canto 10, Verse I. In Jerome J. McGann (ed.), Lord Byron: The Complete Poetical Works (1986), Vol. 5, 437

The story of the apple and how Newton discovered gravity is well known. It was from this alleged incident that Newton extrapolated his theory of universal gravitation which has been largely accepted as accurate for 300 years. It was through this that he was able to calculate and plot the course of the planets through the solar system. So why isn't the moon where it is supposed to be?

It was Newton's calculations which allowed us to put a man on the moon but by this time it was already suspected that Newton's theory was flawed. Something was wrong with gravity. So, in 1969 when Apollo 11 landed on the surface of the moon one of the first things they did was to set up an experiment to test Newton's law. The experiment consisted of the placing of a mirror or reflector on the moons surface.

At the McDonald Observatory in Texas they target this reflector with a laser and measure the time it takes for the pulses to be returned. This has enabled them to produce an extremely accurate record of the moon's path over the past 40 years. The result is that the moon is not quite where Newton predicts it should be.

It was not until 10 years after Apollo 11 in 1979 that a strange discovery was made at Kitt Peak National Observatory. They discovered what appeared to be two identical quasars sat side by side. Further examination of the spectrum revealed that they were not merely twins but were in fact one and the same object. So what phenomenon was making this object appear duplicated?

In fact, this effect had already been predicted years earlier by Einstein. He argued that the universe consisted of a fabric which he dubbed as space-time and that an object massive enough could not only warp it but everything in it including light. What was being witnessed was light being bent around a massive object so as not to appear to come from its original source location. The picture above is from hubble and shows the blue galaxy apparently duplicated as a result of bending light.

Even time is warped by gravity. As Einstein theorized time is warped by the Earths gravity and as such operates at a different pace on the surface to that which it does in orbit. It is for this reason that GPS satellites have to have regular manual updates dialled in to maintain synchronisation with Earth time. If it wasn't for Einstein it wouldn't just be Newton's moon that isn't where it is supposed to be, we would all be getting lost.

However, Einstein himself realised that his theory regarding gravity was less than perfect. Quantum mechanics takes us a step closer still but if Newton was good enough to put a man on the moon even if it is 10 metres from where it should be who cares about gravitons?

For my regular readers this is intended to be an example of researching and writing to a topic outside of your ordinary comfort zone. We would all love to produce fiction and poetry but unfortunately very few people want to buy poetry. We must learn to try and produce what people want to read and are willing to pay for even if it is not the type of work we are used to producing. Picture courtesy of Wikipedia.

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Opportunities Update 02/14

Thanks to everyone who has made submissions with me so far. These are the latest opportunities available through Constant Content and Helium. Use the 'submit an article' link to write to any topic. Those of you who have not already done so will need to take a few moments to register with the relevant site but all may use the same link.

Top 50 Lists

Payment $100-150
Word Count 500-1000

10-15 articles needed in the genre of gadgets and technology. They need to be catchy, funny and have mass appeal. Suggestions: 50 celebrity voices you would like to have on your SatNav, 50 songs to walk to work with, 50 video games that should never have made it past the planning meeting.

Extra notes: The bottom 40 can be a simple list with a comment, but the top 10 needs to be a little bit more involved. Most importantly: It has to be witty, sharp, and entertaining!

Submit an article

Resources For Entrepreneurs Trying To Raise Venture Capital

Payment $50-100
Word Count variable

Up to 10 articles required for a venture capital group website. The group is focused on providing seed money for mobile web and online marketing companies. Topics could include business planning (business plan writing), how to get venture capital and general advice within these realms.

Submit an article

Publisher: Training and Education Solutions
Deadline: 02/20/08

Why Investing in art makes good sense, 750 – 1,000 words, $60 per selected article

Ways for siblings to divide an inheritance, 1,500 -3,500 words, $150 per selected article

Submit an article

Publisher: Liberty in Homeschooling
Deadline: 02/21/2008
Payment: $24 per selected article
Word count: 700-1000

Homeschool success: Evaluating academic and social development in homeschooled children

Your article should cover each of the following stages:

1) children’s academic and social development during homeschooling years
2) their readiness for college
3) how well they can get into good universities/colleges, citing examples of admissions policies or apparent attitudes toward homeschooled applicants
4) students’ level of success in college
5) and graduating college students’ readiness for the workforce and their careers. In your examination of each of the above stages:
(a) compare or contrast homeschooled students with institutional/non-homeschooled students, and
(b) point out both what can lead to success and what can lead to failure.

Homeschooler to entrepreneur: How home-based education helped prepare successful entrepreneurs

600 – 800 words, $20 per selected article
Write an article about homeschooled children who eventually started their own businesses.
The idea is to examine how home-based education helped prepare successful entrepreneurs for their professional achievements.

Submit an article

Publisher: Creation
Deadline: 02/22/2008
Word Count: 1500–2000
$56 per selected article


Reflections: What value are you adding to humanity
Never give up: How to keep your dreams alive
How to spot opportunity when you are blinded by crisis
The importance of self-image in the business world
Protecting your business ideas
How networking helps in promoting a start-up business
This too shall pass: How every obstacle hindering your way to success is subject to change
How to unlock your innate potential
Guide to soliciting for business in an unhealthy environment
How to protect your intellectual property rights

Submit an article

Rio Grande Valley Lifestyle Magazine

$100 per selected article
Deadline: 02/25/2008
1,000 words

Rio Grande Valley: 2008 Spring and summer fashion trends: Discuss fashion trends for spring and summer 2008, including but not limited to using multiple bright colors and bold prints. Describe how a black dress or conservative pastel outfit can be made trendy by adding colorful shoes, scarves, etc. Are there any color combinations or pattern combinations to be avoided for any reason such as body type, skin tone, hair color, or colors that don’t match? Should one be conservative in buying clothes of this type because it’s a trend, or has this type of fashion always been around? Also, discuss bling for 2008.

Submit an article

The Auspicious Concierge

Due: 02/25/2008
350 – 400 words


Top home improvement features in the luxury home industry ($24 per selected article)

The newest luxuries for updating a kitchen in your second home ($16 per selected article)

Luxury pool trends ($16 per selected article)

Property Managers

Best new destinations for successful year-round properties ($24 per selected article)

Property managers: Top 10 warning signs of potential bad renters ($16 per selected article)

Property managers: Best new trends for pampering your guests ($16 per selected article)


Best vacation destinations for a nature-filled getaway ($32 per selected article)

Best destinations for a family-friendly Spring Break ($28 per selected article)

Benefits of vacationing in the spring ($16 per selected article)

Tips for the eco-friendly traveler ($16 per selected article)

Submit an article


Blogsvertise is a program which brings bloggers and advertisers together. Bloggers are paid to complete set tasks which amount to a short review of designated websites. The reviews need not be an endorsement of any kind, in fact it can be a complaint if it is deemed appropriate but must include links. Blogsvertise has the potential to add significant revenue to any blog and as such is an opportunity which should be given serious consideration. Click here to visit the site.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

My War With

Firstly, my apologies to my regular readers for being somewhat off topic today however this is something which I feel needs to be said. It recently came to my attention that regardless of how much support my submissions to received they never reach the front page.

Upon further investigation it became apparent that every one of my last thirteen submissions had been 'buried'. My first thoughts were that I had in some way offended someone or some people who had taken it upon themselves to attack every submission I make.

However, I soon realised that while such unscrupulous people no doubt exist they are not generally anonymous in their actions. Having seen such an attack on a friends submission it is clear that the people that do this at least have the courage to put their names to their comments. Furthermore, providing there is enough positive support these actions are not enough to supress an otherwise popular submission.

Having done some further research it appears that has a policy of blacklisting URLs allowing them to 'auto-bury' submissions and preventing them from being seen by the general public. Whilst I understand the potential need for such a practice there is no reason whatsoever for my own site to be subjected to this.

Most of my submissions have been from my own site although as my regular readers will be aware I often feature the work of others here as well as my own and nothing that I have submitted infringes upon digg.coms terms and conditions in any way. Digg purports that the success or failure of any story is dependant upon how it is received and voted on by the public. This as you can see is not always the case.

I was prepared to give Digg the benefit of the doubt and emailed them requesting that the error be investigated and resolved. I have now emailed them three times and have not received so much as a generic response.

This is unwarranted discrimination and as such is illegal practice but something tells me I am not the only one to have been treated unfairly in this way. Since they have failed to respond I have forwarded these concerns to both the BBC and Reuters and there will be many more to follow.

I have included the unanswered emails below for you all to see.

Dear Sirs,

Although new to Digg, I am active on various social media sites and was slightly baffled as to why my success elsewhere was not mirrored so far at Digg. However, I recently became aware that all 13 of my most recent submissions had been buried without even being viewed by those who were responsible for this.

The majority of these submissions were from my own site although they have been produced by a number of different authors and all were of good quality. Perhaps in one or two instances some may disagree but not in the case of 13 consecutive items produced by different people. It would seem either I am being personally victimised or there are a selection of people deliberately attacking blogger sites.

In the possible event that it was a personal attack I allowed the author of the latest post on my site to submit it themselves. The result was the same despite the fact that in this case the author is a highly successful writer and novelist. But then as I have said it was not even viewed before being buried.

I have no wish to be vindictive and so I have chosen to bring this to your attention privately rather than making this a public issue in the hope that you are able to satisfactorily resolve this issue and provide assurance that any future submissions I make be fairly treated. I am assuming of course that this is as a result of a few unscrupulous individuals whom you are able to identify and not a problem that is inherent to Digg.

I hope to submit within the next 24 hours and so I hope to receive a prompt response.


Matt Barnes (w0lfh0und)

Dear Sirs,

I find it unfortunate that you have not as yet replied to my previous email. Perhaps customer service is not considered a high priority?

Having completed some further research it has been suggested that my treatment is not due to public response but more likely that my URL has been blacklisted by Digg and that the removal of my submissions is an automated procedure. This would make some sense since public comments I have received have always been positive.

Whilst I understand a potential need for this kind of practice to be in place there is certainly no reason whatsoever for this to be so as regards my own submissions. I also find it disturbing that you purport that the success or failure of a story is dependant on public opinion when this is clearly not the case. As previously stated, every one of my submissions whether it be my own work or that of others has always been well received.

It is now my intention to prepare a report for as to how you have chosen to handle my grievance. I have already stated that I expect to receive a response from yourselves within 24 hours. This expires at 09.30 GMT, I trust that I will hear from you before then

Matt Barnes (w0lfh0und)

Dear Sirs,

Since you have chosen to ignore my previous emails you leave me with no alternative. You may expect to receive invitations to comment from several news agencies.

I am also seeking legal advice since unwarranted discrimination is quite clearly illegal.

It is unfortunate that this has become necessary when a resolution could have quite easily been achieved.

Matt Barnes (w0lfh0und)

Saturday, 9 February 2008

The Legacy Of Sigmund Freud

Today, in the latest of our featured writer series I am pleased to be able to bring you an article from Rachelle de Bretagne. Rachelle is a key figure and five star rated writer at Helium as well as being an author of two novels.

If one was to ask what the legacy of Sigmund Freud is, it is that element of his life which still touches those in our society today. He was a bit of a pioneer, and while I cannot purport to agree with his theories, what Freud had was the image to explore and to create standards in analyzing people's thought patterns.

Taking the premise that the mind is almost pre-programmed by events within our childhoods, he went further to explore the id, the ego and the super ego, and the way in which each works in the process of thinking. One of the biggest flaws that psychology seems to have overlooked is the link of human thought to religion, and Freud was no exception. There is always this stigma that the way we believe can be explored scientifically without reference to belief or indeed those spiritual areas of life that were dealt with by the great philosophers of our times.

Having studied Freud, and while I agree with some of his principles, others seem flawed, though this could perhaps be forgiven by the passage of time and the changes that have taken place in society since his work in the late 1800's, where sexuality was being explored in a society where values were much more primitive or even covert in the areas he examined.

In this century, we look into child behavior in a very open way, and the differences of opinions are vocal ones, though Freud's theories of the Anal, Genital and Phallic stages would certainly be cause for debate in a society that is more open to addressing the behavior patterns of children based on what we know. These, to me, were the weak links within his study, and when I read up on his work in this direction, I found that present day thinking would probably have scoffed these theories more than those theories of Freud that do hold water, on the subject of adult behavior.

In an argument with my own thinking, I crept into the covers of Freud's books and I suppose it could be said that Freud and I became bedmates for a while, though perhaps not in the Freudian sense that people recognize and use. His books were weighed down with theory that interested me, and I would agree with his ideas on how ego works, and also in most of the defence processes used to demonstrate this, though, as stated above, much of what he left us was scientific and bore no relationship to that spiritual side of a human being that also comes into play in the make-up of balance. For example, the defense process of rationalization must surely take into account those moral beliefs that we derive from religion. Without this added element, what most psychologists failed to do was to examine the whole, and treated the mind almost like a scientific machine that responds to stimuli.

It may be my own vanity that leads me to believe that the human brain is much more complex than Freud's studies suggest, and that he didn't leave room for gray areas, assuming that given circumstance gives given result, and with the diversity of human behavior that may not be the case. In his field, he was a pioneer. He devoted his life to the study of psychology with the intention of helping mankind understand mental illnesses and processes, and no one can deny this as being part of his legacy, though would his findings have been the same today ? With the study material available, my strong belief is that even though his theories on Egoism, the Id and Super Ego were valid observations, they are just that, observations recorded by a man who had the time and the luxury of recording his findings.

His free association work was very astute and the encouragement of free flow of thoughts is still helping patients worldwide. His work with hypnotism was radical in the times when he was alive, and are still valid now, and certainly the interpretation of dreams held water and is arguably astute. The true legacy of the man is perhaps laid to rest in these areas rather than other areas that were at best, incomplete and questionable.

What I believe to be the most useful legacy that a man like Freud can have is that he made people think, to examine and to explore in an effort to improve understanding. Perhaps in years to come, these works, mixed with the works of philosophers and beliefs would make a fuller diagnostic of human response to life, though while psychology remains in the field of science and turns a blind eye to the spiritual side of humanity, it will always be limited in it's usefulness to all those seeking answers of whatever race or creed.

Rachelle has produced in excess of 1200 articles at Helium. If you would like to see more of her work please use the Helium link below. As always your feedback and comments are both welcome and encouraged.

, , ,

Thursday, 7 February 2008

An Experiment In Social Networking

In a recent post I discussed the usefulness of social networking sites in promoting your work. Today I am going to outline the strategy I have been using myself over the past couple of weeks in order to give those of you who are considering using this method yourself a little insight.

As most of you will know by now I like to use Yuwie purely because they share revenue with its users but there is no reason why the same strategies cannot be implimented with the likes of MySpace or Facebook.

The first thing I did was to search for clubs which were writing based but you can pretty much find one for anything, whichever happens to be most appropriate for your needs. The next thing I did was to set up one of my own. The theory behind this being that once promoted it would serve to raise my profile on the site.

Finding members was relatively straight forward, I simply poached them from the top ranking club by befriending them and inviting them to join my own. A top ranking site will attract new members purely because of its visibility and every time one signs up, I add them to my own. It has taken me about two weeks to reach the bottom of the front page. A couple more weeks and I should be able to leave it to promote itself.

I now have the opportunity to 'advertise' my site on the club message board as well as on my own profile. Technically, advertising is not permitted but I am simply informing my members of something which I know they are interested in. It is not blind.

The next step is to send all my new friends a 'comment' whenever I update or add something new. Comments appear on the members profile where anyone who visits it may see and as such is much better than a private message. Bear in mind that many of the people on these sites are getting their profiles viewed hundreds of times per day. I use my headline animator banner which you can see at the top right of my page. This is produced by feedburner and therefore allows me monitor how many times it is being viewed rather than just click through.

Do not expect this to bring you the kind of traffic that will overload your server but what it does produce is a core of highly targeted quality traffic plus a residual flow by virtue of increased visibility.

Perhaps what has been most satisfying is the fact that I have received many enquiries from very enthusiastic and even grateful followers.

, , ,

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

The Hub Effect

Over the past few weeks I have demonstrated how it is possible to make the most of a portfolio by publishing the same content non-exclusively at various different sites all of which will earn royalty payments.

I recommend publishing at Helium first, then copy and paste the same work at Associated Content (remembering to submit it as non-exclusive) and then offering it for sale with Constant Content (as a usage item).

Today I am introducing you all to a fourth option, HubPages. Again, you retain the copyright of your work so it does not infringe on anywhere you have already chosen to publish it or may choose to do so in the future.

Just as with the other sites royalty payments are based on shared revenue generated by advertisements displayed with your content. There are some differences here which I rather enjoy. You are given 60% of all page impressions with 40% going to the site. You may import your own adsense account if you have one to analyse results. You can also add amazon and ebay and use your own choice of keywords to generate appropriate and attractive ads and share revenue on attained sales.

HubPages also has a community feel similar to that of Digg or Stumble Upon which can be used to your advantage. The site is easy to use to produce attractive results. I set up an account and pasted my 'Love At First Sight' article. I chose 'valentine' as the keyword to select ads from both amazon and ebay and I am pleased with the way it turned out. I have incorporated it into the banner link below so that you may see what can be achieved with little or no technical knowledge.

Above all, it is another site to submit to and earn from the same work you have already produced at no cost.
, , ,


Monday, 4 February 2008

Opportunities Update

Thanks to all those who have made submissions with me so far. Today I am highlighting some opportunies currently available with Constant Content for the first time and also those that are still available with Helium. Use the 'submit an article' link to write to any chosen subject, those of you who are not currently a member with either site will need to take a moment to register their details but may use the same links.

China Travel Articles - specific cities/places

Payment per article $30-40
Word Count 800+

A magazine published for the expat community of Wuxi, China needing city/area guides for that part of the world. Readership is based in China so should not include travel to. Out of the ordinary places preferred.

Submit an article

10 Common Mistakes To Avoid At An Ebay Auction

Payment $40-50
Word Count 1200

How to succeed with ebay article required centered on mistakes to avoid. Must be unique content.

Submit an article

Financial Topics Of Interest To Baby Boomers

Payment $40-50
Word Count Flexible/Variable

Financially oriented article targeted toward baby boomers. Specifically interested in the following topics whether it be informational, opinionated, how to etc.

• Retirement income planning
• IRA rollovers/ Rolling over or annuitizing qualified plans
• Nonqualified and qualified plan distributions
• Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs)
• 1035 Life Insurance Exchanges
• Life insurance – importance of reviews, how it fits into an estate plan, ownership issues, beneficiary issues, etc.
• Life Settlement
• Estate planning (various topics)
• Long term care
• Reverse mortgages
• Home equity lines of credit
• Selecting a financial advisor

Submit an article

Deadline: 02/14/08

Why the restaurant industry needs web-based marketing and ordering systems ($64)

In 600-800 words discuss why restaurant owners need web-based marketing and ordering systems. Include all sources and interviews. Third person preferred. Audience: Restaurant owners.

How foodies use the Internet ($64)

In 600-800 words discuss how foodies use the Internet (to find recipes, connect with other foodies, rate restaurants, etc.). Third person preferred. Include all sources and interviews. Audience: Foodies and restaurant owners.

How the Internet has influenced cookbooks ($40)

In 400-600 words discuss how the internet has influenced or changed how cookbooks are used? Is the cookbook dead … or evolved? Is the internet the new cookbook? Third person preferred. Include all sources and interviews. Audience: Foodies. Tone: Light, yet smart.

How food practices influence how we relate to one another ($48)

In 500-700 words please discuss how food practices influence how we relate to one another. For example, how does the presentation of food (family style vs. individually plated meals) affect how we relate to others at the table? Include all sources and interviews. Audience: Foodies. Tone: Light, yet smart.

How tipping works ($40)

In 400-600 words discuss the practice of tipping. Is it ever OK to not tip? How are tips shared among wait/cook staff? How are they taxed? Audience: Foodies who have never waited tables. Include all sources and interviews. Tone: Informal and informational.

Submit an article

Small Business Owners

Deadline: 02/15/08
Word Count: 400 – 600
$16 per selected article

· The small business owner's guide to 401k plans· How private equity can benefit small businesses and start-ups· How investment research can benefit small businesses and start-ups· How a fast loan can be used to support or start a small business· Getting an SBA (Small Business Administration) loan· What you need to know about the SBA (Small Business Administration)· The ins and outs of commercial lending· Factoring 101 for small business owners· Small business owners: How to effectively manage cash flow· Is a merger right for your small business?· How CRM software can benefit your small business· Effective money management for your small business· Small business network management· Project management 101

Submit an article

Find out the meaning behind these names: Noah, Nicholas, Kaylee, Addison, Mackenzie, Sydney, Taylor, Zoe, Natalie, Zachary, Benjamin, Elsa, Ian, Kenton, James, Christopher, Luke, Maya, Landon, Joseph, Gavin, and Evan.

Articles, 400-600 words in length should include gender, pronunciation, etymology, origin, history, popularity, facts, namesakes, famous persons, and name variants. Write 1 or write 20 articles and receive $20 for each selected article submitted by February 14th.

Submit an article

Friday, 1 February 2008

Bloggers - Don't Delete, Your Old Posts Could Be Worth $100s

All bloggers know that to succeed you must contantly produce new content. Finding the time, the motivation and the creativity to do this day after day often working very long hours for little financial reward can be demoralising.

We also know that for SEO reasons it can sometimes be necessary to clean up the archives and delete older posts. Hours of work gone forever and even if you keep it who actually reads this long buried content? Does it even generate any revenue at all?

However, it is exactly for the reasons of faltering creativity that this work has value and there is a healthy market for it which can be tapped easily. People are willing to pay good money for your old content for their own sites and you can sell decent quality work over and over again whilst still retaining copyright and the option to continue to use it yourself.

So what are they worth? Blog posts usually sell for between $5 and $30 a piece if they are non-exclusive or 'usage' titles with the average being around the $10 mark. Original 'full rights' work can fetch considerably more but of course you cannot sell previously published work as such. Selling your old posts as usage titles allows you to sell them over and over at an average of $10 a time.

And how do you go about selling them? Of course, the work has to be of decent quality and be appealing to buyers but listing them for sale is simple. I recommend using Constant Content as registration is very simple and completely free. They accept text articles as well as video and picture content. Those of you that are are already writing non-exclusive articles to Helium and Associated Content may reproduce and sell the same work here too.

It's a completely no lose situation. There is no guarantee of a sale but listing costs nothing. Remember this is old work producing little or nothing anymore when it could be earning.

And all you have to do is copy and paste.

Please use this link to register with Constant Content.

Marketplace Update

Hot off the press, these new titles have just become available today, with payments of up to $64 per article. As before use the 'submit an article' link to take part.

Deadline: 02/14/08

Why the restaurant industry needs web-based marketing and ordering systems ($64)

In 600-800 words discuss why restaurant owners need web-based marketing and ordering systems. Include all sources and interviews. Third person preferred. Audience: Restaurant owners.

How foodies use the Internet ($64)

In 600-800 words discuss how foodies use the Internet (to find recipes, connect with other foodies, rate restaurants, etc.). Third person preferred. Include all sources and interviews. Audience: Foodies and restaurant owners.

How the Internet has influenced cookbooks ($40)

In 400-600 words discuss how the internet has influenced or changed how cookbooks are used? Is the cookbook dead … or evolved? Is the internet the new cookbook? Third person preferred. Include all sources and interviews. Audience: Foodies. Tone: Light, yet smart.

How food practices influence how we relate to one another ($48)

In 500-700 words please discuss how food practices influence how we relate to one another. For example, how does the presentation of food (family style vs. individually plated meals) affect how we relate to others at the table? Include all sources and interviews. Audience: Foodies. Tone: Light, yet smart.

How tipping works ($40)

In 400-600 words discuss the practice of tipping. Is it ever OK to not tip? How are tips shared among wait/cook staff? How are they taxed? Audience: Foodies who have never waited tables. Include all sources and interviews. Tone: Informal and informational.

Submit an article

Small Business Owners

Deadline: 02/15/08

Word Count: 400 – 600

$16 per selected article

· The small business owner's guide to 401k plans

· How private equity can benefit small businesses and start-ups

· How investment research can benefit small businesses and start-ups

· How a fast loan can be used to support or start a small business

· Getting an SBA (Small Business Administration) loan

· What you need to know about the SBA (Small Business Administration)

· The ins and outs of commercial lending

· Factoring 101 for small business owners

· Small business owners: How to effectively manage cash flow

· Is a merger right for your small business?

· How CRM software can benefit your small business

· Effective money management for your small business

· Small business network management

· Project management 101

Submit an article

Find out the meaning behind these names: Noah, Nicholas, Kaylee, Addison, Mackenzie, Sydney, Taylor, Zoe, Natalie, Zachary, Benjamin, Elsa, Ian, Kenton, James, Christopher, Luke, Maya, Landon, Joseph, Gavin, and Evan. Articles, 400-600 words in length should include gender, pronunciation, etymology, origin, history, popularity, facts, namesakes, famous persons, and name variants. Write 1 or write 20 articles and receive $20 for each selected article submitted by February 14th.

Submit an article

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Fresh Opportunities For Writers

My thanks to all those who have already submitted articles. Some of the previous titles under mystery stories are still available.

Today, I am pleased to present some fresh Helium Marketplace opportunities. As before use the 'submit an article' link below each chosen category to take part. It would be great to see some more of our readers put forward.

Irreverent Downloadable Game Site needs 400-500 word reviews for online video games.

Darkside Arklight 2, Spandex Force, Caribbean Hideaway, Bloodties, Turbo Subs, and King Mania.

Original reviews must include a rating out of 5 and commentary on game play, graphics, creativity, innovation and sound. Free trials are available. Reviews are needed by 02/05/2008. Earn $20 per selected review.

Submit an article

Publisher: Project Parenting

Deadline: 02/15/08

$16 per selected article

400-600 words

Titles available:

Guide to baby cribs ∙ Car seat buying guide ∙ Best choices in diapers ∙ Timeless costumes for kids ∙ Guide to children’s bedroom furniture ∙ Must-have items for your child’s playroom ∙ The best bedding for your child ∙ Guide to stylish and functional diaper bags ∙ Outfitting your baby from head to toe ∙ Complete your crib with the right crib bedding

Submit an article

A Boston newspaper needs a 350 word article on the best spots to find pet treats in and around Boston. Focus on the top four spots in Boston to buy interesting and unique pet treats. Cover these topics: top-selling items, price range, and location. Selected articles pay $24 if submitted by 2/15.

Submit an article

A Boston newspaper needs a 350 word home buyer’s guide for first-time buyers in Boston. The guide should include quotes from a Boston-based realtor; tips to those who currently live in apartments/condos and want to buy their first home; dealing with the high cost of living in Boston; and what are some red flags to look out for. Submit by 02/15 and selected articles will earn $16.

Submit an article

Best of luck to everyone who takes part, I wish you all every success.

**** NEW TITLES JUST IN 02/01/08 CLICK HERE ****

, , ,

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

What Value 'Artificial' Traffic?

I confess to being no expert in search engine optimization but during my first few days of blogging I used a traffic exchange. You know the type of site; click on a few sites, earn credits and use them to have yours viewed in return. My theory was that at least having some activity couldn't hurt in terms of page rank and who knows maybe the odd visitor may be of value.

I no longer use these exchanges for my blog but continue to make use of one for a referral program I am involved in. It was whilst clicking for credit the other day when I was presented with a page from Associated Content. As most of you will know by now AC and Helium pay writers according to page views. My first thoughts were what an excellent idea this was but would this be considered acceptable conduct?

I scoured through the terms and conditions at both AC and Helium to see if there was any indication. Both sites state that driving traffic to articles by automated means such as spiders and auto refreshers are deemed a breach. Helium goes one step further in specifying that utilising 'pay to surf' sites is also unacceptable.

I would interpret this as the use of traffic exchanges would be taken a very dim view of by Helium but perhaps more acceptable to AC. If it is done in the form of an advert which has to be chosen I believe it is less likely to be an issue.

Of course some of these exchanges are better than others. I first used Trafficswarm which while I quite like the format I found would be more appropriately named were it to be called Traffictrickle. Having tried a few, I have found Clickthru to be the most effective for a relatively small investment of time. Whilst 'pro' upgrades are available most of these sites can be used for free

I will let you decide for yourselves as to their value and the morality of their usage. Comments as always are welcome.
, , Network!

Sunday, 27 January 2008

Societal influences: Have We Lost Our Individuality?

Today's article is a favorite of mine, written by fellow Helium member, Elaina Wicks. As always your comments and feedback are both welcome and encouraged.

In a society driven by ranking, classifications and "status", it's a wonder that anyone could ever be completely content with him or herself. No sooner than we break our budgets to purchase the hottest new garb or "must-have" accessories, the trends have changed by dawn. We are littered by advertisements glamorizing "what's in" and are pressured by our peers to get with the times or else suffer the ridicule of the ever lurking "fashion police." "Oh no she didn't," they'll say, with their haughty smirks and giggles. God forbid; she didn't get the newsletter, comfort is out.

We spend our entire existence trying to find "ourselves;" all the while envying the characteristics or clothing or pricey possessions of everyone else. We go through ridiculous lengths to look like the girl next door and in the end; we find that even she is yesterday's news. Discomfort in our own skin, a tragedy. We pass this obsession onto our children, but do we really take a step back and look at the damage it is doing? We lead by example and are teaching our youth that if you want to be anyone in today's society, you must strive to be like someone else.

No one is perfect, no matter how hip or thin or wealthy they may be. Even super models have problems, they're dying for an extra slice of cheesecake. The irony of the statement, "the grass is greener on the other side," is that it is said from every perspective. You might envy your neighbors expensively lavish landscaping, but you'd be surprised how much they might long to have the stellar relationship you share with your partner.

It's spooky enough that science is making the possibility of human cloning a thing of the future. Let's slow down the pace a bit, focus on what feels right to us. Love ourselves and live life in a way that works for us, as individuals. Life's too short to wear it in someone else's shoes, even if they are Prada.

Anyone else who would like to become a featured writer please state your interest in the comments section. To see more of Elaina's work use the Helium link below.

Friday, 25 January 2008

Writers Wanted, Publishers Waiting

Today sees the first of what I hope will be a regular feature here at howtowritefortheweb. In conjunction with Helium Marketplace the following are real paid articles required immediately by publishers. Use the 'submit an article' link below the relevant details to take part. It would be great to see some of our readers chosen.

Publisher: Mystery Stories
Deadline: 02/07/08
Compensation: $50 per selected story
Word Count: 1,200 – 1,500

The following mysteries need short stories: Medical, Office, Housewife, Cowboy, Cowgirl, Murder, Porsche, Cocktail, Railroad, Current Events, and General mysteries. Mystery should include at least four suspects and four clues weaved into the story. Mystery and solution need to be included at the end; mysteries will be used in school and should be written at a sixth-grade reading level.

Submit an article

Publisher: Search Engine Doctor
Deadline: 1/30/08
Compensation: $40 per selected article
Word Count: 1000 words

Personal transformation: The extreme makeover guide

Write a 1000 word article that speaks about extreme makeovers. Answer the following questions: How does one achieve an extreme makeover? What are the key components of an extreme makeover? Focus on fashion, lifestyle, makeup and appearance and include the following keywords in the article: extreme, makeover, celebrity, girls, TV, show. Also include the keyword "games", but feature this term negatively. Use for POSITIVE inspiration and reference areas of this website with the keywords.

Submit an article

The Name Game

Find out the meaning behind these names: Caitlin, Caleb, Madeline, Logan, Sarah, Brayden, Lilly, Aiden, Ella, Caden, Brianna, Tyler, Mia, Connor, Jackson, and more…Write a 400 – 600 word article including the etymology, origin, history, fascinating facts, variations, popularity, etc. Write 1 or write 20 articles, and for every one chosen for publication, you will receive $20. Articles due by 01/30/08.

Submit an article

Auto Craze

Compensation – $16
Deadline – 1/29/08 EXTENDED FROM THE 1/22 PROMOTION
Word Count – 400-1,000

Car tips & Tricks:

How to choose an auto insurance broker
How to shop for online car insurance
Cheap car rental tips
Guide to kit cars
Guide to shopping for hot rods

Custom Cars & Accessories:

Guide to car CD players
Guide to shopping for radar detectors
How to build a car stereo
Guide to subwoofers for car stereos
Choosing the right truck bed liner

Parts, Performance & Repair:

A beginner’s guide to fuel injection
How your car transmission works
The easiest ways to find auto body parts
How to change your motor oil
How to change your spark plugs

Motorcycles & Recreational Vehicles:

Motorcycle racing 101
Best motorcycle gloves
Must-have motorcycle apparel
A day in the life of a NASCAR fan
Best recreational vehicles

Many more titles are available. Use the link for further information and to take part.

Submit an article

Additionally, Helium are running a contest in partnership with Pulitzer where writers have the opportunity to become a Pulitzer Journalist. For further information on this and to take part use the link below.

Submit an article

I hope that some of you will take part and wish you all the best of luck.
, , ,

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Can You Trust The Honesty Of Online Dating Participants?

Today sees a return to writing. The following is the work of a friend and fellow writer, Helena Simpson. As always, your feedback and comments are both welcome and encouraged.

I have a better question- how much can you trust ANYONE- on-line, real life or otherwise?

Everyone can lie, or pretend to be someone they are not. But generally for the most part, people try to be as genuine as they can. After all, what is the point of being liked if you are not really that person? Who they really are will no doubt surface sooner or later, so there really is nothing to be gained from pretending, and anyone with a handful of working braincells will realize that.

Often people are more honest when not faced with an (often uncomfortable) face-to-face encounter, as they feel less threatened. Pictures are optional, so there is less immediate scrutiny, and their personality can be the first thing that can be judged, rather than what they look like. Of course, this is the ideal in real life, but due to human nature, most of us are incapable of refraining from being at least a little bit judgmental, despite what we would all like to believe.

I have made a great number of friends from random sites (some dating sites, others relating to my points of interest)on the Internet. I find them very genuine, not to mention nicer in person quite often. For two months I was in a healthy relationship with someone i met on-line, but due to the distance between us, problems in our lives and money issues, we decided to break it off. But honesty was never an issue. Be logical, not cynical about what you read, and take as many cautions with who you are talking to on-line as you are in the real world, and you will be fine.

What also should be taken into account is the fact people are also going to be thinking similar things to you...whether you are who you say you are, whether or not you have just entirely made up that list of supposed interests to make yourself look more interesting, or whether your skin really DOES have that gentle radiance your potentially photo-shopped pic says it does. All you can do is assume however honest you are is however honest everyone else is being- I know it is unlikely in at least 50% of cases...but if you want it to change, the best thing you can do is make sure that you are being completely honest before you judge if others are or not.

You can see more of Helena's work by using the link below. If anyone else would like their work featured please note it in the comments section and I will be in touch.
, , , ,

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Utilising Social Networks

Following on from yesterday I am going to discuss promoting your work through social networking sites and making some extra money through referrals. Sites such as Myspace and Facebook have grown exponentially and are now a resource that cannot be ignored. Anything that gives you a visible presence on the web is valuable.

These sites are exactly as described. They give you the opportunity to establish a network with like-minded people. Your profile is your shop window and your chance to advertise. In most cases you are able to embed HTML codes and link to your own sites. Take advantage.

If you are publishing with Helium and/or Associated Content, link to your work. Helium also has a valuable referral reward system which pays you 5% of the earnings of anyone you refer. Use the social network's search facilities to look for amateur writers, communicate with them and refer them. It's very effective and easy to do.

There are many such networks all with unique opportunities to take advantage of. I joined an online dating community and went to the trouble of answering 500 questions. Why? Because it made me a featured user and gets my journal entries displayed on the homepage. Links are possible on journal pages and with 3-10,000 users online at any time it's great exposure.

The site which is really capturing my interest at the moment is Yuwie. A relatively new social network, it actually PAYS its users to utilise the site. It is totally free and is essentially the same as any other network but it gives back a portion of advertising revenue to reward its members. It is based on page views. Every time you view a profile, even your own, or add content or send a message it counts. Whenever someone views your profile or pics it also counts. This is exactly what you would do with Facebook only this one allows you to earn while your doing it.

Yuwie also pay you for referrals up to 10% and through 10 levels. I have been playing around with it and although it's a little heavy on the ads, I can see no other catch. Apart from the fact they pay you there is no significant difference to the other networks. It has approaching 500,000 members and is growing rapidly. I watched the membership grow by 2000 today. I strongly urge anyone to take advantage.

You can use the link below to check it out. As always, comments and suggestions are welcome.

ClickThru HotSpot!

, , ,

Saturday, 19 January 2008

Marketing Your Work

Don't just let it sit there! Yes, it will earn but it could perform so much better. Use every tool you can think and get it out there. Digg it, stumble it, reddit, blog it, make it visible. Tell your family, tell your friends and tell your colleagues.

I'm going to make some suggestions and I would appreciate it if anyone else can contribute their own ideas. I'm also assuming that you will all be publishing on both Helium and Associated Content as some tips work better with one than the other.

Communities such as digg are an excellent way to promote your work. You cannot, however, just put it out there and hope for the best. Your work will attract little if any attention. Take time to formulate relationships. Support those that you hope will support yourself. Whenever possible, don't just digg someone for the sake of it. Visit their sites, contribute and comment. Make your support stand out from the crowd. It's a lot of work but will pay dividends.

It is important to note that visitors from digg do not produce a residual income therefore direct them to your articles at AC rather than Helium as AC payments are based solely on page views. Alternatively, set up a blog and divert them there and encourage them to click through to Helium articles.

Yahoo answers is another very useful but limited tool. You will get a penny per view at Helium for visitors originating there. It is important that they actually view before answering so pique the interest but don't give too much away. For my 'definition of cheating' article I posed the simple question, 'Is she cheating?' For the description I added, "please look at this and tell me what you think" plus a link to the article. Sit back and watch the meter tick. I say it is limited because if you send too many links you will get an error message. Restrict it to once or twice a day and answer a few questions as you go.

I shall be discussing social networking sites in tomorrows post. I hope you find this useful, please leave comments and add your own ideas for the benefit of others.
, , , , ,

Friday, 18 January 2008

Understanding Royalty Payments

You have written a few articles, published on Helium, or AC, or both. Now it's time to sit back and watch the cash roll in, right? WRONG!

Both Helium and AC will produce an income on articles written even if you do nothing. You may even receive an upfront payment in some cases. High quality writers can do particularly well when producing work for publishers in Helium's Marketplace or contests. But, how do you generate income from royalties on other pieces?

Royalty payments are paid on every item not sold outright and will generate an income for life. The individual payments are small but the principle has huge potential. Obviously, the more work published you have, the greater the possible income. However, it is important not to compromise quality for quantity as poorly written work will not earn well, if at all.

In order to maximise earnings it is important to understand how royalties are generated. At Associated Content, payments are based on page views at a set rate, usually at the miserly rate of $0.0015. Helium pays better but the system is more complex.

Royalties from Helium are dependant on how well an article rates within its group and how popular the group is that your article is in. Subjects such as finance tend to pay better because of the advertisers these pages draw. Creative writing items are likely to do less well for the same reason.

When an article is accessed directly, a large part of the income goes to the author and a portion shared to other writers within the group with the highest rated articles receiving the biggest slice.

So, quantity, quality and popularity all play a part. Therefore, you should aim to produce high quality work in popular topics and build a good size portfolio over time. To be really successful however, you should not just allow them to sit there. To maximise income you must promote your work yourself and drive traffic to them.

It is also important to note that with Helium, where the traffic comes from is also a significant factor. I shall go into this and how to go about driving traffic to your articles in tomorrows post.

, , , ,

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Where To Publish

There are many sites on the web where writers may publish their work. The two best known of these are Helium and Associated Content. Both pay royalties and in some cases upfront payments are available.

I much prefer Helium and it is here that I would recommend starting. Income is generated on a pay per view basis and is related topic and how well an article rates. The customer service is excellent and supportive its members.

There has never been a better time to start with helium as they are currently running a promotion whereby qualified writers are given an upfront payment for all articles in addition to royalty payments.

In addition to this, there are publishers featured on site requesting specific titles, often for quite lucrative sums. Many writers have also been offered regular work by publishers browsing the site.

Associated Content also sometimes make upfront payments available, however royalties are paid at a rate of only $0.0015. The author retains copyright with Helium and the same applies at AC, providing you submit as non-exclusive. I would recommend publishing at Helium first and then adding your work to AC at a later date.

Use the links below to visit the sites:

Join Associated Content
, , , , ,

Sunday, 13 January 2008

When You Love Two People At Once

Published my latest article today on Helium and I have to admit I'm not at all happy with it. However, it has been ranked 2nd in a group of 38 which I find pleasantly surprising. I am publishing it here in full and would welcome comments.

Albert Einstein, of all people, said, "If you can drive safely while kissing a beautiful girl, you are not giving the kiss the attention it deserves." The same can be said of love.

Of course, there are different forms of love but assuming we are discussing the romantic variety, is it possible to love two people at the same time? There are, obviously, some practical issues such as jealousy, which would make the likelihood of succeeding in maintaining such relationships, improbable. Aside from the impracticality, however, is it possible to feel the emotion of love for two different people concurrently?

Perhaps we should look at the origin of these feelings. If someone truly loves another, surely there is no need or benefit or even any will, to look for solace beyond the relationship. This is the special bond with another person with whom we are able and willing to share everything. Love, true love, consumes our soul. Developing feelings for another suggests an absence of a crucial component in the relationship.

Most commonly, where such a condition exists, the faltering element is sex related. Issues of this kind would not necessarily mean that love is not apparent between the couple but could possibly be grounds for either to feel the need to seek fulfillment elsewhere.

Open relationships, whereby one partner or both, participate in relations with others, are nearly always for additional sexual options and love only exists between the core couple. The only alternative to this is to enter into an arrangement without the knowledge of the other partner. This precludes love.

Love cannot exist without trust and intimacy. Having an affair or even harboring secret emotional ties to another, is not conducive to either. Romantic love is such a deep and concentrated emotion and as Einstein suggests, to not give it your devoted attention is to do it a disservice.

, , , , ,

Friday, 11 January 2008

Some Tips For Writing For The Web

Writing and publishing for the web requires different criteria to other platforms.

Points to note:

1. A web reader is more likely to scan an article rather than read it more thoroughly as they would with a magazine or newspaper article. Use shorter than average paragraphs of no more than two or three sentences. This will aid in maintaining concentration.

2. Try to incorporate 'buzz words' in an opening as this will increase the likelihood of your article featuring in search results. However, do not compromise quality in doing so.

3. White space is beautiful. An article that pleases the eye is more likely to please the mind.

4. Do not be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone. Research and write articles that will attract an audience.

5. Seek feedback and take heed. Listen, learn and improve.

6. We all make mistakes. Use spellcheck.

7. The last sentence is almost as important as the first. A killer ending can give reason to forgive a whole multitude of preceding sins.

, , ,

Love At First Sight, Fact Or Fiction?

Love at first sight is, unfortunately, a myth. Love is far too complex an emotion to be decided with the eyes alone. Under any other circumstances, it would be considered socially unacceptable to make a judgment of another person based on what amounts to a brief glimpse of physical appearance........

This is the opening paragraph of my latest article, written today. It has been published and early indications are that it should perform well. I would welcome any and all feedback, follow the link below.

Any other writers/publishers are also welcome to post/link their work here and invite critique.
, , , ,

Wednesday, 9 January 2008


I thought I would post my latest article here in full. I'm rather proud of it as it has achieved a first place ranking. Feedback would be welcome.

Alcoholism and alcohol abuse are two very different things.

The definition of an alcoholic is someone who has a physical dependency to alcohol. Alcohol is always, by necessity, present in the bloodstream. Much the same as a smoker's need for nicotine, it is an addiction.

Alcoholics are rarely, if ever, sober. Alcohol is the first thing on their minds when they wake and having a nightcap is likely to be the last thing they do before retiring to bed in the evening. Drink rules their lives, they are a slave to it.

Alcohol abuse is another thing altogether. It is not necessary to have addiction to be a substance abuser. These people are not physically dependent on alcohol and often go days, weeks or even months without drinking.

The latest buzz term for alcohol abuse is 'binge drinking'. Binge drinkers are, most commonly, in their teens or twenties. They are usually known to go out once or twice a week on weekends and consume extraordinary and potentially lethal quantities of alcohol.

One of the most interesting and significant differentials between alcoholics and alcohol abusers is the social perception of them. Alcoholics are usually stigmatized; universally frowned upon and sneered at. Conversely, alcohol abusers are often encouraged, praised and sometimes even worshiped by their peers.

It is alcohol abusers, however, that fill the emergency rooms each weekend. It is estimated that 70-80% of all those treated during this period are alcohol abusers, or are in some way related to alcohol abuse.

Both alcoholism and alcohol abuse have serious health implications and can result in irreparable liver damage. Perhaps the most important difference between them, however, is this one: sooner or later alcohol abuse COULD potentially prove fatal whereas eventually, alcoholism WILL result in death.

, , , ,

Tuesday, 8 January 2008


I wrote an article about what constitutes cheating within a relationship and I was pleased with it. I submitted it for publication and waited to see how it would be rated amongst other articles within a group of similar work.

A couple of days passed and its rating gradually settled into 22nd place of 127 articles in total. I know that's not bad but most of what I have submitted so far seems to have been better received and I was fond of this one.

I decided to look at it again. I concluded that I was happy with the content but that it was perhaps a little lazily written. So, I spent some time polishing it until I was satisfied, re-submitted it and asked specifically for some feedback.

I received some appraisal from a well established writer who was of the impression that the piece was of high calibre and even called it 'profound'. You can imagine my disappointment then to discover that the new improved version had risen to a lofty 21st place!

I would appreciate any and all feedback on this article, follow the link below:

Monday, 7 January 2008


Calling all writers, would-be writers and wannabes! How To Write For The Web is intended to be a place where any and all writers can come to share ideas, learn, promote and get critique.

This is the place to express your creative abilities and opinions. All contributors are welcome. Feel free to post your work and invite constructive criticism and leave comments and suggestions for others.

Links are most definitely welcome providing that they are for your own articles or work likely to be of specific interest to other members of the community.

Anyone looking to get started in writing/publishing may leave their details and if they wish, I will contact them directly.