Writing on line is a piece of cake. That’s what I thought when I sat down to do my first article. I soon found out that it’s not easy. It can be frustrating. I have flashbacks of English composition class.
People actually read what I write. I get e-mails from people I haven’t seen for a long time. All this because I’m an author!
Finding a Topic
First, I had to find a topic that’s interesting. I started by making a list. Then I ran it by a few friends. Sometimes I started the article first. I keep a notebook nearby for ideas that come up.
Writing, Not Speaking
Once I actually started writing, I found that I am long winded. I write like I talk. After my first draft, I need to edit and cut. I find this the hardest part of the writing. Do the verbs agree? Does the sentence make sense? Shades of English comp.
I usually ask someone else to read my articles before I submit them. Most of my friends will be honest. They tell me what does not make sense or what they don’t understand. I find this especially important when I write my scientific articles for non-scientists.
Keeping to the Assignment
Sometimes assignments have specifications. It may be the length of the piece or the subject. It is important to hit the requirements if you want to be published. For me, the hardest is the word count. I love the feature on the computer that keeps count, so I know if I’m going to have to cut later or not.
Titles and Keywords
I have issues with titles that are catchy and still portray the essence of what I’m writing about. “Cute” titles don’t search well in this internet age.
Search words or “keywords” make me work hard. I know what the article is about, but picking a word or phrase for the computer to find is like finding a word in the dictionary when you don’t know how to spell it. The more I am on the internet, the more I understand how search engines think.
Submitting and Editors
I have had editors return articles for various reasons. If they needed changes, they were sensible ones. Rejection is always hard. I have tried to get used to it.
When I got my first virtual check, I was hooked. It really is worth the hard work. Stick with it. I hope you will have as much fun as I have had over the years.