Undervaluing the Writing Profession

While I am still writing subtopics in my outline, I thought I would mention the online writing world.  Writing has always been a noble profession.  It is a skill which needs to be continually developed and honed.  Not everyone has a good grasp of the English language (or their native language) and knows how to use it properly.  However, with the increased popularity of the Internet, there is also an increase in online writing gigs.

The Internet is a fantastic vehicle since it reaches a worldwide audience.  It allows would-be writers a wide audience to showcase one’s work. Every where you turn it seems there are promises of becoming a “published” online author.  Even though it may be true that by writing online, one becomes “published” – it comes at a detriment to the writing profession as a whole.

The writing profession, as we have traditionally known it, has become devalued.  There are numerous writing gigs offering less than $.01 per word for online writers. This is absolutely absurd! There are “research articles” required to be written that take anywhere from 3-5 hours to write.  Pay is $10-20.  And, writer wannabees are grabbing them.  In fact, there are waiting lines for assignments.  What gives?! (What gives is the fact that the online writing world is a global marketplace. U.S. citizens are competing with lower-income/paying nations like India).

As another example of the deterioration of the writing profession, I recently got online to a blog which was advertising for “professional, experienced” writers who had a command of the English language.  When I reviewed this blog, it contained nothing but misspellings, improper grammar, and improper usage of the English language.  In fact, the writing looked like it was written by someone who did not have English as their main language.  It was atrocious.

There are online freelancing sites which offer writers the chance to be “published”.  There is no pay, but the compensation is the “free advertising” of your writing skills.  Spare me. The people who own the sites are making money off of your writing, though. You can be assured of that.

In the U.S.A. “real world”, writers can earn between $.35 to $2 per word.  The actual amount depends upon the type of writing gig, amount of research, and location of payor (i.e. city, state).  Of course, there are other factors which come into play. Or, some publications prefer paying a flat fee.  For instance, some business journals pay a set fee of $50-100.  Some magazine articles pay $350, as another example.

Writing a simple article which does not require any research is a good way to get started publishing your work online.  This is simple creative writing, or the expression of an opinion. Even then, don’t settle for $.01 per word.  Don’t undervalue yourself or the writing profession.

Writing is a skill which one needs to be proud of.  It takes work and time to improve this skill.  Not everyone can do it (nor will do it). Do not undervalue it. Please.

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Organizational Stuff

Speaking of getting organized, what methods will I use to accomplish this? I have written blog posts, but what about when I am not online?

Let’s see…my options are: putting the times and tasks into my computer calendar or keeping a handwritten log .  Seeing that I’m from the “old school”, I’ll keep a handwritten log of everything.  That way nothing can get lost while the system crashes.  And, I doubt if anyone will steal my paper notebook. 🙂

Hey, isn’t the Blackberry an organizer? Hmmm…

Writing Tasks

With each goal one wants to accomplish, various tasks must be performed. Tasks are used to fulfill the goal. Organizational psychology emphasizes this fact. Plus, the ever-popular motivational and success authors/speakers have been telling us about this for awhile….

A great way to stay on track is to set aside a specific time each day to accomplish a task.  Seeing that yesterday came and went without me doing any writing on my book, I need to start doing this task. It will be known as ‘writing tasks’. OK…

So….each day I am home: 10a-11a will be used for updating my chapter outline.  If I am unavailable during this morning timeframe, I will use the afternoon hours from 2-3pm.  I will do this until my outline is done.

Isn’t this fascinating stuff? I need to start writing it down offline. 🙂

Why Blog?

Hi my favorite readers! Why am I blogging in addition to writing my book? Well, blogging serves a variety of purposes for me (and probably others). Here are some reasons I am blogging:

* it serves as a journal of my book writing project

* it is a popular way to get words into the public eye

* I find that by making public my writing experience, it is more motivating to work on my book writing project

* it keeps me accountable for my actions

*I can receive feedback from others, if anyone posts a comment

*blogging is just fun, plain fun

*my blog posts can be shared with other social media sites

*eventually, my blog posts about book writing can be used for another book (if all goes well..:) )

*blogging is a very inexpensive yet efficient way to communicate with others

*blogging has become one of the most popular writing tools on the Internet

* I can help others who want to write a book

*the “blogosphere” – as it is known as – is just going to keep increasing in importance worldwide; it’s nice to be a part of that.

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It's Easier Said Than Done…

I am still working on my book’s outline. It seems as soon as I start a chapter heading, all kinds of items pop up as subheadings. I keep listing the items, and have more headings to write.  Bullet points work well for me when listing subtopics.  I like bullet points – nice and succinct.

Yesterday, I completed one chapter, for the most part.  I will go back and add more items

Plus, I’m looking over information that I previously wrote in Word.  This needs inputted into Open Office. It’ll get done, just takes some time.

It’s easy to talk about outlines, harder to actually do them.  🙂

Open Office Writer vs Microsoft Word software

This is a no contest answer. Open Office has it hands down, in my opinion. Having used Microsoft Word for years, I was skeptical when I learned about Open Office, part of Mozilla’s open source software programs. My skepticism was due only to my ignorance.

Why is Open Office software so much better? Well…

* The price is right. CD’s of the program can be purchased online for under $10. These CD’s are copied by others (probably directly from the openoffice.org website) and sold at a profit. Or, I have seen the entire software package sold in office supply stores for $50 (don’t buy it). FREE – the entire open source office software package can be downloaded from their website at no cost. With a broadband connection, download time is around 2 hours. With dial-up, it is more like 6 hours. Go to www.openoffice.org for more info. No, I’m not a reseller or making any money from suggesting them to you.

* How much does Microsoft charge for its Office Suite software? $100+? Save yourself the money…

* Open Office Writer is part of the Mozilla Open Source software package. The package also includes: spreadsheet (similar to Microsoft Excel), database (like Microsoft Access) , calc (haven’t used), draw (develop logos, flow charts, etc.), impress (similar to PowerPoint = perhaps), and math programs included.

* Open Office, in my findings, isn’t as susceptible to corruption, viruses, and other problems as Microsoft products are.

*Open Office is very easy to use and understand.

* Open Office is the way to go. Mozilla (developer of Open Office) and Firefox (Mozilla’s browser) are open source software and meant to help everyone have equal access to software. They offer so much more than what’s mentioned in my blog posting. This blog posting is not doing them the justice they deserve, I am sure of that.

Check them out!

Specific Goals

Part of the process of goal setting is to choose specific dates for accomplishing these goals. This serves different purposes, the main one to keep me on track. For my book writing project, I will follow these guidelines:

So, each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I will post to my blog.

On Tuesday and Thursday I will input chapters into my Open Office writer. I will continue to do this until the entire process is done.

Each Monday I will update my book outline. I will also add additional suheadings as needed.

Every day I will do at least one-two hours of writing on my book project. I need to determine a daily word count.

Writing Goals

Maybe this step belongs as #1, I’m not sure. I know that setting goals beforehand, makes the project easier to complete. Goals also provide motivation (at least they’re supposed to), and will keep me on track.

My main goal for this book writing project is to take a daily step toward completing it.  I will break this writing process down into smaller, manageable steps. That’s the overall goal. So….

* Post at least every other day to blog. In process.

* Sit down and determine what subject area I will write about. Done

* Determine type of book to write. Done

* Develop outline containing chapter titles (main topics). Done

* Develop subchapters, type all I can remember about these areas. In process.

* Transfer Word documents from one computer to another. In process.

* Establish rough draft due date. To be done.

* Write goals into word program, Open Office. In process.

Chapter Titles

Having thought of my topic areas (chapter titles), I’ll put them as Roman numerals on my outline.   At this point, I’m not worrying about the order of events. I’m just thinking about different main areas that are important to me.

This step is mainly to get me thinking about the overall picture of my book project.   Once I get these main topics out of the way, all the sub-info will hopefully fall into place. I’ll just keep jotting away.

Book Outline

The next step for me, I feel, is to develop a book outline. Some writers don’t like outlines, some do. I happen to believe, and know, I accomplish much more when I have an outline to follow. Plus, that fact was pounded into my head during my years of education. So….

An outline needs to be developed. They are time-consuming, but will provide me with guidance throughout my book writing project.

The heading is not that important right now. The heading is basically the book title. I haven’t decided on that yet now. That will come later. There is no hurry to determine that upfront.

First, I will need to sit down and think about chapter headings/titles. What major areas do I want to write about in my book?

Second, once I am thinking about chapter headings/topics there is bound to be areas that fall under those headings. These are known as subtopics. Cool….I like subtopics….

Let the outline begin….

P.S. What’s nice about outlines is the fact they can be updated as the writing process begins.