ESSENTIAL WRITERS TIPS – Cut Adverbs

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Adverbs

To use or not to use adverbs is one big controversy in the writing world.  The rule is to use them sparingly if at all.

I loved using adverbs because they were convenient, but as I started understudy on how to write professionally it was challenging to learn how not to make the mistake of the constant use of adverbs.

I still get tempted to – by the force of habit – but with consistent practice, it gets better.

Why Cut Adverbs?

  • Adverbs are weak. Remember the show don’t tell rule.
  • They make writing sound lazy and amateurish.
  • Cutting adverbs makes you more imaginative as a writer. You expand your search for other descriptions for what you want to say.
  • Adverbs create redundant words.
  • They clutter your writing and makes it vague.
  • Adverbs interrupt the flow of action.

A good old plain ‘she said or he said’ is better than too many superfluous and dramatic adverbs.

For example,

‘Why the hell did you do say that!’ he said angrily

‘Get away from me right now!’ she yelled loudly

Would read better as:

‘Why the hell did you say that!’ he said.

‘Get way from me right now!’ she yelled.

Those adverbs are not necessary because their emotions are already expressed in their words. We already know that they are angry.

Sometimes less is more. Too many adverbs weaken a prose and subverting them creates more vivid writing.

There are instances where using adverb is necessary, such as writing suspense when the character’s action is paramount to the story.

For example: 

He lightly tiptoed to the door. What if the use of ‘light tiptoe’ is used to anticipate fear or the expectation of an action? This adverb is there to create apprehension in the reader – it serves a purpose being there and not a redundant word.

Cutting adverbs will help you find the balance between overwriting and a good show and tell writing.

Do you use adverbs? Please share in the comments. For Essential Writers’ Tips check this link.

Keep your writing in check use Grammarly


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Shooting Tricky City scenes – Photo Theme

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Adding people to your street shot

Taking street photos is a bit tricky because busy streets are hardly devoid of people going about their business. You need to shoot your images without getting into people’s personal space or being too intrusive.

Then again, people make photos more interesting so applying a little trick would allow you to add people in your images.

When we take photos of non-human subjects, the tendency is to look at our LCD screen to see the immediate result of our shots, however, when taking photos of people in the streets looking at your screen immediately after your shot is not what you should do.

Take the shots you need but don’t move the camera immediately away from your eye. Keep your camera focused on the background around them so that even when they glance in your direction,  it appears as though your focus is more engrossed in the background than on them.

Remember that people are leery of photographers. That’s why you need to be discreet and not in their face except where you have express consent to photograph them – you could always ask when you need a specific shot.

Another way to add people to your composition is to start by aiming your camera above, below or to their sides. Take a shot or two of an image next to them and at the last moment, you move the camera so that they added to the scene.

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Clouds

I couldn’t resist sneaking in two different images for the letter ‘C’ part of the photography theme challenge.

Taking photo shots of clouds is always a pleasure. Though clouds may seem pretty mundane because they are commonplace – up there in the sky where all you have to do is to look up and see them, their value is not diminished.

They have a lot of character. They are constantly changing in form and place and always fascinating to watch.

To join the photography theme challenge for practice, check this link and you can find other photo tips here.

 


Essential Writers Tips 4

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I write, therefore I am

Identify with the craft and think like a writer. A lot of beginner writers and even some who have crafted words for  some time are always reluctant to introduce themselves as a writer. 

This could be due to lack of confidence in their craft as well as the misconception that one is only permitted to claim the title of a writer when they have a Bestseller that has made New York Times list or when their article gets published on Huffington Post and the likes.

Part of growing as a professional writer is to take ownership and pride in your craft even if it’s not yet paying. Except you do, no one else will.

You are your biggest cheerleader and short of using the saying ‘fake it until you make it,’ accepting and putting yourself in that frame of thinking while you work towards your success boosts your confidence and broadens your scope of thinking in that aspect. It’s a mental attitude thing.

For more writers tips, you can check this link.

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Make Money Blogging

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Income Streams from Blogging – Part 2

In part 1 we explored the possibilities of monetizing your blog through advertising, affiliate marketing and products. Let’s take a further look into other income streams that you could apply to your blog to make money from your blogging. Remember that this project starts first with launching a blog, creating useful content, gaining readership, then monetizing.

Remember that this project starts with launching a blog, creating useful content, gaining readership, then monetizing. If you’ve not yet launched a blog, here are 6 easy steps to set up your WordPress site.

Income through Services

Once you’ve built readership and trust, a common way for bloggers to make money from their blogs is to offer their services to their readers. These services could range from content writing to editing services, coaching to consulting, freelance services, designing, training and promoting.

In this instance, there’s no middle man like affiliate marketing. The direct business decision between the blogger and the client allows both of  them to arrive at a suitable fee.

Income through Events

From the onset, organizing events may not be possible for a new blogger, but as the blogs traffic grows and it becomes better known, the possibilities of organizing blogger/writer oriented events such as conferences, webinars, workshops, meet-ups, summits etc, offers great opportunity to make money as well as the chance for face time with other like-minded people. The upsides are many.

Recurring Income

Income could be derived from aspects such as special membership programs for premium content or for some form of service. A quick example is a platform that hosts writing competitions or reviews and needs paid membership in order to become part of such community.

Money from Offline Business 

Your income could also improve by using your blog as a promotional tool to build your credibility in your chosen niche. With time you become a recognized figure in that industry and this could lead to the approach of others who want you to give a speech to an audience for a fee, to coauthor a book, organize a program, be a brand ambassador and so much more.

Other Streams of Revenue

There are many little ways that a blogger could apply to earn some income. Some add PayPal donation buttons asking for support to their blogs  like the one that I have, collaboration with other bloggers one way or the other, and some popular bloggers eventually go on to sell their blogs as a brand, for a fantastic figure.

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Making money from blogging takes lots of patience and persistence. Diversifying your income streams through the various methods mentioned and more as well as your marketing approach would help get you on track to where you want to be as a blogger and reduces the risk of the painful process of slow income growth.

Just bear in mind that making money from blogging doesn’t just happen by sticking up a blog post and hoping that tons of visitors will come. You must be willing to put in the time that it takes to create quality and useful content, network and build relationships with others, experiment with as many methods as you can, till you find the effective mediums that work for you.

I hope that you find this article helpful on your journey to fulfilling your dreams of turning your blog into a money-maker. If you’ve tried any of these methods, it would be wonderful to learn from your experience.

I’ll keep sharing little tips and tutorials on how to make the best from your blog and it would be awesome if you could subscribe to The Art of Beautiful Expressions so that we can do this together.

How To Create A Smart Blog Business Plan.


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You may wonder how important a business plan is for your blog and I must confess that as a beginner I wondered the same thing and I learned this the hard way after dabbling around with my first blog. Having a business plan for your blog is not mandatory, but if you regard your blog – or plan to do so – as a way to earn income, to grow your platform, to showcase your creativity and create a brand, then your blog is your business and creating a blog business plan is essential.

Why you need that business plan.

  • To help you keep up your focus.
  • It will help you develop a short and long-term strategy that will help you gauge your progress.
  • Help you to carefully plan ways to make money from your blog in the best way that suits your brand.
  • Gives you a clearer picture on how you will promote your blog.
  • Helps you budget and guides you through future decisions for your blog as a business.
  • It helps to serve as an evidence to interested parties or investors who want to partner with you. Assuming that your blog grows popular over time and investors express interest in partnering with you, the decision to partner or not to partner with you could hinge on their assessment of your business acumen and a possible peep into your blog’s business plan. Such decisions are easier to make with documentation no matter how simple it is.

With this clarity on why you need a blog business plan, let’s go into the details of how to develop a simple, smart plan for your blog.

Thinking it through.

There are certain thoughts that you should have on your mind as you create your plan such as:

  • The platform (hosted or self-hosted) that you want your blog on – WordPress, Blogger, TypePad, Others.
  • If you are self-hosting, consider how to get your domain name, how to buy hosting service, customizing and designing your blog and consider what the annual fees of maintaining your blog will be.
  • What are your three main goals for blogging? Identify them and use them as your focal point.
  • What will your blog subject focus be?
  • Who is your target audience and what are the possible solutions that you plan to offer to them?
  • When a reader visits your blog, what are the calls for action that you want them to take – Subscribe, buy, share etc ?
  • How will you encourage them to take such action?
  • Search and study your competition. What is it that they are doing that you can learn from and possibly improve on.
  • How often will you update your blog? Think of your first ten blog posts, develop the content and come up with a list of focus keywords for your blog.
  • What are the strategies that you will use to increase your blogs’ SEO? Do you plan to run periodic promotions for your blog?
  • How will you measure your success? Think of the methods that you could use – Google Analytics, Email and RSS subscription, comments, and feedbacks.

Little Reminders.

Remember that your plan shouldn’t be as thick as a book to be efficient. Your plan could be a one pager.

Remember to keep it simple and to avoid vague phrases which are difficult to understand.

8 steps guide to writing a one-page blog business plan.

  • Executive Summary

Keep your blog’s executive summary brief, practical and inspiring. It explains what your blog is about in a general sense to anyone reading it and should contain a summary of why your blog exists, your blog strategies and where you see your blog going in future. You can also include a brief biography of your blogs management and it’s ownership status. Here you can introduce the face/s behind the blog, their competencies, and responsibilities.

  • Your Blogs Objectives

In this section for your blog goals, you state clearly the idea behind your blogs existence, it’s short and long-term goals, your growth strategy, who your target audience is and what your blog culture will be. What style or tone would you be writing in – formal or approachable. List three or more goals for your blog in phases of three months, six months and one year. Your goals have to be clear, practical and measurable.

  • Your Offerings and Monetization Strategy

What strategy do you intend to use to make money from your blog? In this section of your plan, list how you plan to monetize your blog through the various available mediums like affiliate & partnership programs, advertisements, membership, and subscriptions, sponsored posts, product sales, services or reviews that you offer. Will you sell your product on Amazon.com or Etsy shop? Will you offer courses? Write out a sales strategy for items that you plan to sell on your blog.

  • Your Blog Opportunity and Potentials

Analyze your blog’s intended niche. Is it a big or small one? How broad is the niche? What is its growth potentials? In this case, you might want to study some leading blogs in your targeted niche. What can you learn from them? What benefits do you think you can bring into your blog that your readers will gain from? These are vital questions that you need to resolve even before launching your blog.

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  • Your Marketing Plan and Social Promotion Strategy

In this section, you have to give serious thought on how to market your blog. How will you attract your target audience to your blog? Do you plan to publicize your blog through free or paid campaign? What tactics will you use for effective results? What are your competitors doing in this aspect? A plethora of information exists our there to help you learn how to use social media effectively for your business. Develop a plan to learn and work out how to use one or two platforms at a time and keep expanding your scope. Create a scheduled plan for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Email, Guest posting, offline marketing and others. Also, consider how to track your social media influence and blogs growth using tracking software such as Google Analytics.

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  • Continued Growth Plan

For sustainable growth of your blog business, your role as a blogger is to continually develop yourself on how to become a better blogger. Set some goals for continued acquisition of knowledge like attending conferences, workshops or seminars that are relevant to your blogging niche. Taking relevant classes or training that will help you hone your skills. Keep up with the trend by subscribing to magazines with the right information.

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  • Your Blogs Financial Projections

This section should consist a summary of your blogs’ expense and expected financial forecast. Work out the things that you would need to start-up your blog such as hosting fees, site theme and development, promotional fees, internet cost etc and create your startup budget. It is essential to create a spreadsheet or a table for tabulating income from your blogs revenue streams. Each month take a record of your monthly income from each source and as time goes on, you are able to recognize the things that don’t work for you and able to take a business decision on them.

  • Your Exit Plan

Every good thing does come to an end and inasmuch as the last thought on your mind when you are launching your blog is how to kill your blog, the reality is that at some point, you may decide to call it quits, therefore, having an exit plan is simply financial intelligence. Would you sell your blog business or transfer it? What options would you consider?

Quick Tip

Read your blogs business plan at least once a month. It helps to keep you focused on your goals.

You can download a blank business plan template here for your use.

Well done for sticking through with it.  It’s your dream, so, have fun with it! Write your vision down and give it a go with gusto. Every business runs with an idea, and when you treat your blog as your business you place it in a place for success. Do you have a business plan yet or are you blogging without a business plan? Do let us know in the comments.

 

 

11 Reasons and Benefits of Blogging.

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Blogging is immensely satisfying and you don’t need not be a professional writer to start a blog. There are various niche types of blog out there and the process of blogging offers valuable benefits that range from business values to professional as well as personal benefits.

Blogging is something that I would recommend any day to someone and below are some of the reasons why I think you should start blogging

  • Blogging inculcates discipline.

Depending on your frequency of publishing blog posts, maybe once, twice a week or daily, it requires discipline and patience which are important skills to settle down to write consistently. This helps you to appreciate your time and to learn that some of the best things we receive in life most times arrive as delayed gratification and the art of writing cum blogging falls into such category.

  • Blogging teaches you introspection.

Starting a blog causes you to look inwards consistently. It helps the person to crystallise the things that are important and even rethinking their lifestyle, their approach to work and what they want to do with their lives.

  • Blogging attracts an audience.

There are billions of people who use the internet these days and blogging is a method of reaching out and attracting an audience who would find value from your blog.

  • Blogging gives you a voice.

Each of us has a story and something to say even if we consider our oratory and writing skills as mediocre, our blog gives us a platform that’s free from censoring to empty our thoughts and possibly find other like-minded audience.

  • Blogging helps you to build authority.

Blogs are becoming the new call cards for any serious professional out there. Your blog posts that add value to for your readers enhances your profile and even projects your reputation as an authority in that area.

  • Blogging opens up doors of engaging and interacting with others.

Part of the beauty of blogging is that you get to interact with a lot of people who you may not have been opportune to know and chances are that your blog could turn such traffic into customers who would be more receptive towards you if they read and received worthwhile value from your blog posts. Some even get to become friends over time.

  • It helps you to organize your thoughts.

The process of blogging forces you to learn those things that you didn’t know, how to articulate the things that you do know and make them more presentable. The act of articulating these things leads you to research, internalize and become more familiar with your topic of interest.

  • Acquisition of knowledge and honing your creative skills.

Consistent blogging about your topics of interest encourages you to keep abreast with developments in your direction of interest as well as helping you hone the latent skills that you already have. The cliché practice makes perfect is true enough and the better you get at what you do, the more you stand out from the crowd.

  • It offers a platform to tell your story.

You don’t have to wait for a publisher, journalist or any publication before you can tell your story. You are your own media house and it’s up to you to decide how you want the story written and when. The journey of blogging and telling your story might even open doors to getting noticed and clinching a publishing deal if that’s your interest.

  • Brings you certain validation and ability.

Your blog serves as a form of resume that could be viewed to see your style of writing and blogging about a topic that you are passionate or well versed in, can show your reading network, future employer, a publisher how knowledgeable and skilled in your craft.

  • Generating residual income.

If your blog receives a lot of traffic, this could be an opportunity to monetize your blog as an extra stream of income which will be tremendously beneficial for the blogger. It could serve as payment for the time put into blogging as well as to support your blog.

We are living in interesting times where a lot gets done online these days and you can benefit from the virtual trend through blogging.

So, what’s your thought? To blog or not to blog?

Build your best blog without all the guesswork. Grow your community. Improve your visibility. Earn from your creativity.

Do you dream of earning income from your blog?