Poetry. Writerly Advice. Memoir. Literary Analysis. Book Reviews. Serious Journalism.
Writing clear prose is imperative to a successful career in any writing field. As journalists, we must write clear, concise sentences that convey information quickly. Even if you are writing a human interest piece and are painting a picture for the reader, that picture better get painted quick. My favorite book to use when finishing a piece for a paper is Fiske's To the Point: A Dictionary of Concise Writing.
Only two people out of ten will read beyond the title of your piece, no matter where they are reading it. That is a terrible odd. Help your work get read by using these tips to clean up your writing:
Using ambiguous pronouns can lead to confusion and draw the reader away from your main points. Consider the following sentences:
Passive Voice Constructions
This type of construction often leads to wordy and awkward sentences. Consider the following paragraph:
It is said that passive voice constructions are used too often by authors. As a result, wordy and awkward sentences may be created in an essay. These types of sentences are frequently made when imprecise language and terms are used by a writer. The audience may be confused when it is not made clear what the point of a sentence is. Mistakes in grammar can also be made. When these are made, interest in the paper may be lessened. Although many strong ideas may be contained in the paper, the audience’s interest is affected by the way that these ideas are presented. However, passive voice constructions and grammatical errors can be eliminated when time for proofreading is taken.
Passive voice constructions are easy to recognize because most of them follow a pattern:
“to be” verb + _____ed + preposition
“to be” verb Preposition
For example: The report was prepared by a researcher.
Rewrite the sentence as, "The researcher prepared the report." It sounds clearer and as a rule, aim for Subject-Verb coordination in your sentences.
“To Be” Verbs: is, am, are, was, were, has, have, had, be, being, and been
Common Prepositions in Passive Voice Constructions: in, with, and by
These are just a few tips to keep in mind when writing. I will deliver more writing tips next week.
If you had sat me down six years ago, I surely wouldn’t have told you that I am a poet. I am a poet some days. I would have told you that I am passionate about nutrition, mental health and writing. Those are the things I love most. I love studies of things. God do I love statistics.
Six years ago, you would have found me knee-deep in pre-med, not pregnant and not thinking about anything but prereqs. But I found that my passion for nutrition would land me in an office talking about diabetes…no thank you. I can’t stand talking to people who don’t actually want to change their lives. So I studied nutrition and health on my own. I began studying writing and literature. I met professors who were awed that I’d never thought about writing “for real” …mostly because I believe that writers, especially poets cannot and should not live in academia. Academia kills the creative spirits because academia is a place for research and “ah-ha” moments. I was involved in academia to discover, analyze and contribute…not to write poetry. Or anything else in the creative writing field for that matter.
Twitter isn’t the only option, and for some authors, it isn’t the platform for them. If you find that Twitter isn’t the appropriate venue to build an online presence, you should look into the following options:
Pinterest is HUGE. It is quickly becoming one of the most popular search engines in the world. In 2015, Pinterest released that it had 100,000,000 monthly active members in September. That’s one-hundred MILLION, with a big ‘M’.
Imagine if you only reached 1% of those users, you would still have face time with 1,000,000 users. Pinterest is still behind Facebook and Twitter in the number of users, but it is continually growing. Instead of being a straightforward social network, like Facebook and Twitter, where users access the content shared by friends, Pinterest prides itself on being both a social network and a portal to discover new ideas/products. Pinterest is ideal for super visual writers and writers who are operating a blog that offers advice, tutorials, and other great things via their websites/blogs.
Users search for ideas and can “pin” them or save them to a board for later. Each board is focused on an idea, for example: food, clothes, writing, or to be read. Each pin is a picture along with a description that links to an external website. Pinterest is the second best at sending users to new websites, behind Facebook. Meaning it is an amazing platform to advertise writers as people and their books.
Create a profile on pinterest. Don’t make a profile for your books, make one using a professional picture, your name, and that reflects your interests as well. Creating one for books can make it difficult when if you write others down the road. Boards can be created for books.
In the “About You” section create a background that makes you a real person to readers, describing who you are along with your interests. Links can be added that go to a website, a Facebook account, and a Twitter account. This allows users to find and follow other social media accounts. Writing an interesting “About You”, creates the potential of attracting users who are not your typical followers.
Don’t forget to turn off the “search privacy” feature. To reach this feature, go to “account settings” and under “account basics” click “on” under search privacy. This allows Google to find your profile when users are searching for you or ideas related to you.
Make sure that you download the Pinterest Browser Button, so that you can pin new content from your website, blog, or even amazon. This makes it easy to create links to your own website for your followers to see.
Make Your Website or Blog Pinterest Friendly
There are several factors that can make a blog Pinterest friendly. First, you want to include pictures for all of your blog posts. Pinterest focuses on images. Every pin has an image and the better your image, the more people that will be attracted to your posts.
Create Your Boards and Start Following Others
Start a few boards based off of your interests, some easy ones are: food, diy, and animals. You might even start a board dedicated to a TV show, book series, or fandom that you are obsessed with. If you are writing a fictitious book, maybe create a couple of boards dedicated to ideas or concepts in your books. These are fun for readers to stumble upon .
Don’t forget to follow other pinners who have the same interests as you: writing, reading, food. This brings pins into your feed, so you don’t have to always search for them and helps you gain new followers.
Pin posts from your blog/website or from where you order your book on Amazon, along with content that you like. The more you pin, the more followers you will get. Just remember to be consistent and do not flood them with a lot of content at once. Happy pinning!
Like Pinterest, this is perfect for authors who want to engage with readers in an intimate and photographic way. I believe that travel and food writers have the upper hand on Instagram, but any writer can make it work for them.
For poets or fiction writers, and Instagram account can be a great way to share your ideas, your writing space, or just give readers and inside look at your life. In the same breath, it doesn’t have to be about your personal life; you can build a professional Instagram profile as a poet or fiction writer…maybe you post images of readings, or the books you’re reading at the moment, or about a topic that really fascinates you. You will definitely generate buzz and conversation this way.
Widgets are available to integrate into your website, which will make it easier for your readers to follow you on Instagram. Remember, connectivity that is seamless and simple is the key.
While I don’t have a ton of experience with Google+, many of our writers thrive on the platform. Google+ allows for hangouts, which are virtual conference calls…that means that you can hold a virtual reading and send out invitations.
Writers can hold personal Q+As with a select group of journalists, bloggers, and fans to generate buzz. And the best part is that the hangouts can be recorded, so you can post them to your website or upload them onto YouTube.
Whether or not you choose to utilize Google+, you should sign up for Google Authorship, a Google service that helps you connect all of your writing into a portfolio. How can this help you? Well, it helps readers see everything you’ve written, and I know that an old book that nobody read is more likely to get purchased by a reader who has read your newest work.
Amazon Author Central
Every single author needs to sign up for an Amazon Author Central account. This profile requires minimal effort and maintenance. Simply sign up and find your books on Amazon. Then your author profile on Amazon.com will show readers everything that you have written.
And the best part about the service is the fact that you can generate an RSS feed from your blog to your Amazon Author account. Once you provide the link, Amazon automatically updates your account to show your latest post. You don’t have to do anything after that. Yay!
I could say that I write because I have no other options, but that would be a lie. I could easily find myself in a nutritional research lab or studying maternal-fetal medicine. Or, law school…since that is what most English degree folks tend to step into because of the lack of jobs available to "English majors". I survive to write. I write poetry because there is no other way to explain my perception of the world. I write short stories about psychological disorders because there is no other way to cope with my own disorders. I write journalism for newspapers because I refuse to sit down when everybody else has given in to social and cultural follies. In every instance of my crooked life, I have avoided claiming my writerly ways, until several years ago when I decided that not writing was a far worse fate than investing in a career that made money…and made me miserable. I write because that is how I express and contribute to society. I don't write to awe people; rather, I write to connect with others. To demonstrate that we are living, breathing folks with something to share…and everybody's perception of the world is valuable to our progression as a people. Recently, I came across the idea that my writing doesn't make me happy. Most people claim their careers, or hobbies make them happy, but writing doesn't make me happy. It sets me straight. My mind is full of neuroticisms, compulsions, addictions, repressed memories, and I write to bleed my body of the toxins created from negotiating those facets. In my life, I have experienced suicides, infant deaths, sexual assaults, injustices, infertility, cancer, drug addictions, and the impact of single parenting concerning myself and those around me. Writing is my therapist. I can talk to it – see the flaws. I use my writing to heal and to address issues in my life and on a universal stage.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.