How Can a Writer Not Like Other Writers?

Every once in a while I read something that was written extremely well, and think; "cool, that was quite good!" Then, I think; "wow, someday, I might become a writer." You see, today, I am the Anti-writer, writer and although I have written over 5 million words on almost every subject under the Sun, I still do not consider myself a writer.

In fact, I find most writers to be persnickety, arrogant, and linear in thought, while posturing up a storm of elitism? I guess that's been my observation in the US. So, now, I just cannot stand them and believe those who can't either teach or write. Indeed, I know I'll get some flak for this article, but it is the truth and how I feel about it. Many folks like to say; "Those that can't teach," and over the years as an entrepreneur, I'd really come to believe that.

Still, today, I guess I am both a writer and a teacher, and yet, have lots to talk about after doing all my life. I hope you are the same, because we need more professors and writers who've actually done something, accomplished something, and had a good bit of success doing things in their lives. The readers and students of our works deserve that in my opinion.

Interestingly enough, I hope you will be different and that you will do your writing from experience, not slinging together tricky phrases for which you know nothing about. If you will follow my lead, then good for you, I'll enjoy your writing, and I am sure it will be fun and interesting.

What Are the Criteria of a Technical Writer?

A technical writer is someone who has the onus on his shoulder to explain intricate as well as all sorts of technical aspects in lucid language to his readers, who might have technical background and who might be from a non-technical background. So striking the balance in terms of intelligibility between these two sects of audience is the biggest challenge that an aspiring writer faces in this field. So in order to deliver the most prolific piece of technical writing a technical writer has to be an embodiment of certain qualities as a writer. Let us take a look at what are those qualities that would help a technical writer produce the strongest pieces of technical communications.

To begin with, like all other forms of online writing such as ghost writing, content development etc, in technical writing too a writer has to have a strong language skill. The fact is that use of language is a chief criteria. Depending upon the nature of the clients a technical writer is supposed to change the tonality of his language. For example if the client is a part of the technical community then the technical writer is allowed to make elaborate use of technical jargons in the sentences he chooses. Whereas if the readership is part of a non-technical community then there is no point in using technical jargons. In this case the writer would have to make use of non technical language as much as possible.

The language should be clear enough to explain those technical things to the readership. Being a technical writer you must be in a clear understanding of the conventions pertaining to modern technical communications.

Technical writing is somewhat different as well as difficult sort of writing compared to other variations of online writing. This differentiation has been based upon the subject matter that is different technical services or product. So invariably this particular writing field always demands the writer to have a very strong background in academics.

To excel in the field of technical writing a good technical writer is to be supported with a profound teaching skill. As a matter of fact, when you are writing on a technical subject you are not merely producing a written material. You are going beyond that purpose. You are actually in a process of educating your readership in the application part of a certain process or product. The manual which is being produced by you would enable them to handle certain technical process with deft precision. So it is a very important asset on your part if you truly possess a teaching aptitude in yourself. It would help you explain intricate things in the most lucid form. This particular ability would ensure your growth as technical writer.

Last but not the least, while writing a piece of technical writing it has to be borne in the mind of a technical writer that the writing might be fused with detailed elaboration pertaining to a technical stuff. Yet the motto of the writing is to communicate with the audience and creating a rapport with them. So the tonality would be flexible. The writing should be far from obscurity. The simple tone would ensure credibility of the customer in the product.

Tips On Writing - Do Marketing and Art Go Together?

Can marketing and art coexist? Many artists and writers talk about how awful marketing and marketers are and how sad it was that artists had to rely on it and them. They are, at the very least, concerned that those who promote and market the product of creative artists gain the wealth and those who produce it are cast aside, etc.

I do understand that concern. I understand it both intellectually and viscerally. It is exactly the crux of why I started studying marketing. I control my "product", and make most of the money from it. My writing partner and I published our novel ourselves and marketed it to be a best seller.

Many artists don't have the inclination to take the reins like we have been able to (or even the realization that they can), which is why I continue to study marketing and why I support my friends when they are getting the word out about their own passion projects. If more artists would learn what some of the marketers like Pat O'Bryan, Armand Morin, Connie Ragen Green, etc. are teaching, more wonderful art would reach more people.

Far from being anathema to art, marketing is vital to art. There are obvious examples. Picasso was both a master artist and a master marketer. So were Martha Graham, George Gershwin, the Beatles and Leonard Bernstein. The list goes on and on. There are and were artists whose art became known despite an abhorrence of, or, at the very least, a disregard for marketing (Van Gogh comes to mind, and J. D. Salinger) but that seems an exception. How many have we never known because they didn't make us know them?

Many, if not most artists feel that marketing is somehow beneath them, somehow would cheapen the art itself. I understand this. I lived it for many years. But having no one but my file cabinet and my mother ever see my stories caused me to reexamine that whole notion. It dawned on me that building a better mousetrap (or at least writing a story about one) wasn't sufficient motivation for the world to beat a path to my door, no matter what Mr. Emerson said. The world had to know the mousetrap existed, first, then that I built or wrote about it, and finally where I lived. And it was my job to let it know all that.

Anything worth being known is worth letting people know about. The best (perhaps the only) way to do that is to market it, which, at it's basic core, means to bring it to market. Yes, an artist must spend his time and energy developing his art and his craft. He must also either find the time to develop his ability to market that art or find someone who will do it for him and share in the proceeds.

Teaching Article Writing - How to Create an Instructional Ebook For Aspiring Writers Part 1

If you want to teach aspiring writers how to create their own articles, you can reach a lot of people by writing and publishing an instructional ebook. These ebooks are easy to download and easy to transmit. In addition, your readers can read them over and over again and learn at their own pace.

Here's how you can create instructional electronic books for aspiring writers:

1. First, I suggest that interview those people who are most likely to get interested on your ebook. Talk to them on forums or better yet, invite them to attend some of your teleconferences. You will need to do this so you can easily figure what exact information and guidance they need so you can effectively help them write exceptional articles.

2. Develop an outline. It will be best if you create an outline or a blueprint for your ebook. Start by listing down your chapters and their titles. For example, you may want to talk about writing killer headlines on your first chapter, how to research topics on the next chapter, and so on and so forth. Once you're done listing down your chapters, the next thing to do is to list down specific information and instructions under each chapter. This will help in making sure that you'll be able to discuss each chapter thoroughly and that you can avoid redundancies anywhere on your book.

3. Write simply. If you think that your readers will respect you more if you use big, fancy words, think again. People simply hate it when they're having a hard time understanding what they're reading. So, write your book in a very easy to understand manner. Stick with common terms and offer examples and visuals when needed.

Why a Good Public Speaker Also Needs to Be a Great Writer

Many of the greatest public speakers of our time have also been amongst the greatest writers of our time. Winston Churchill -- he of the "we shall never surrender" speech -- was also a great writer. In fact, he won the Nobel Prize in Literature. The John F. Kennedy/Ted Sorensen combination earned the great speaker a Pulitzer Prize for profiles in courage.

It isn't a coincidence.

One of the techniques that I teach beginning writers is to always write as if they were speaking to a friend. To use their natural voice when writing. There is a reason for this.

In this article, I'm going to give you six reasons why a good public speaker also needs to be a great writer.

1. Both use their words as tools. It can be said, that a writer has only one real tool -- their words. But in fact, there are many tools that a writer uses -- her voice, his emotions, her imagination. However, in the end there is only one tool that the public sees. All the rest must be heard and felt in those words. A good public speaker also needs to use their words to drive the emotions of both themselves and their audience. Their voice, their emotions, their imagination are all part of the speech. But it's the words that the public hears.

2. Both need a love of words, communication and ideas. Both speaking in public and writing are difficult, energy draining pursuits. Those who practice enough to become good or great at it must be driven. And the drive that fuels that internal need is a love for ideas and communicating those ideas. Ultimately, the greatest expression of that love is a love of words and their use.

3. Both need to express passion with their words. We can express a great deal of our emotions with our voice -- the pitch, the pace, the inflection. But the words we use need to follow those emotions. They need to support the pitch, pace and inflection. You can't fly through your words when you're using two-penny scholars. Which words we use affect our ability to speak quickly. While others help us create a mood both contemplative and intellectually inquisitive.

4. Both need to move the audience with their words. It's not enough to simply appeal to the audience's emotions. You also need to appeal to their intellect. You need to convince them that the decisions they made emotionally were valid. In short, it's your words that will convince the audience, not your passion.

5. Both need to understand cadence and its effects. Have you ever heard Dylan Thomas speak? His singsong lilt dancing in the hills and valleys (and pubs) of Swansea. That lilt -- that rhythm -- is reproduced in his poems -- not by his voice alone but in the words he chose. That rhythm is called cadence. And it's what hypnotizes your audience and provides interest. The rhythm of English is not easily heard, lost as it is in the mixing bowl of its past. A great writer instinctively hears it in the words. And understands its use and value. A good public speaker also must understand its use, why the words have a cadence and how to emphasize the rhythm and not fight it.

6. Both need to understand pace and its effects. Rhythm and cadence may be difficult to hear in English. But the pace of its words is easily seen. Short words are fast. Longer words extend the chronological allotment and the passages' duration. And pace or how fast the words are flowing has an effect on one's audience. Both must understand that affect in order to best use pace in its most effective way.

Teach Children to Read and Write by Thinking Out Loud

The word "metacognition" means to "think about your thinking." Teachers can use their own metacognition to model how they think when they read for meaning or compose a piece of writing. This strategy is called "thinking out loud" or "think alouds".

Thinking About Reading

Many children become experts at breaking the reading code and sounding out words. They read the words aloud and appear to be "reading", but in many cases they are not comprehending the text. Teachers can help students become aware of how good readers read by thinking out loud during reading lessons.

The first step is to choose a piece of text on your student's reading level. You want to select a piece of text that is one level above their independent reading levels which requires teacher support during reading instruction. This is called their "instructional reading level." Tell students you are going to read aloud the text while they read along silently in their minds. You can accomplish this by using a big book, placing text on a projection system, writing the text on large chart paper, or giving each student a copy of the text. Explain to students that as you read the text aloud, you will "stop and think out loud" about the text and its' meaning.

Begin by scanning the piece of text to determine what the text will be about. As a reader, you naturally make predictions about the text and ask relevant questions. As you are thinking out loud about your predictions and questions you will say something like this: "I think this story is going to be about...based on... I wonder if "fill in the blank" will happen... I'm going to read to find out." During reading stop and think out loud about your prediction. Confirm or adjust your prediction based on what happened in the story and make new predictions. The process of predicting and questioning continues throughout the story.

Thinking out loud about your reading helps students to understand that good readers make meaning with the text when they read. You can teach students different reading strategies and skills by using "think alouds" strategically during lessons.

Thinking About Writing

Composing a piece of writing in front of children helps young writers "see" how writers work through the writing process. Teachers who "think out loud" demonstrate to students how writers make their decisions.

If you are uncomfortable writing in front of your class, you can pre-plan your writing piece before your lesson. The important part of the process is to "show" your students how you think through your piece of writing. In the following writing example the "think aloud" is inside the parenthesis.

(I am going to write a piece about ice cream. I think I will call it "My Favorite Ice Cream".)

My Favorite Ice Cream

(I want to begin my piece with a "hook". A hook is an exciting first sentence that makes the reader want to continue reading.) My favorite ice cream is on my shirt. (This sentence should cause the reader to ask, "What happened?") And my pants. And my shoes. (Sometimes writers break the rules in order to make their writing sound just right. I decided to use sentence fragments and begin the fragments with the word "and" to give the writing a certain sound. Now I will read what I've written so far.)

Continue your piece of writing, stopping to "think out loud" about your writing decisions. Reread your piece every once in awhile. Think out loud about any revisions or editing you do during the writing process.

Your "think aloud" lessons should be short and focused. In order to keep your students engaged, keep your lessons at 10 to 15 minutes. Students can internalize the strategies you teach by conducting their own "think alouds" with partners. If you teach a lesson on visualization using a "think aloud", you can then ask students to read a short piece of text to a partner and "stop and think out loud" about the mental images they make in their minds during the reading process. Allow students to "try it" after you have demonstrated the process several times. Stop by and listen in on your student's thinking to assess whether or not they are grasping the strategy or skill you've taught.

Thinking out loud is a powerful way to teach children to read and write. You are helping your students make meaning while reading and think through the writing process by demonstrating your own thinking. This metacognitive strategy will help your children grow as readers and writers.

Teaching English As a Second Language

Bilingual education provides a host of benefits to adults. These benefits go far beyond language earning acquisition. In particular, most bilingual education programs foster community, leadership, confidence, and friendship while simultaneously teaching English. These traits are helpful to and often necessary for effective language learning. In his descriptive anthropology of unregistered immigrants, Chavez (1992) revealed that those groups of friends, family, and neighbors have a significant advantage in helping immigrants to establish a residence and gain employment. The author highlights the rate with which those who want to move north utilize these networks. It provides newcomers to the country with a social network, which is vital to language acquisition.

Chavez states, "when recent migrants join more established immigrants, they are provided with a place to stay and their host often helps them find work" (p. 136). Such networks offer momentous benefits to the migrant workers as well as those whose first language is not English. The programs fill in the demand for a family while simultaneously decreasing the foreboding sense of unknown, which oftentimes leads to despair and depression. Such feelings are relatively common when people are presented with a new environment in which to work, learn, and live. Many immigrants have no ties to their native land. Bilingual education methods can extend adult learners' circle of friends.

Many adults migrate with their children. With the will to live in a new country, comes the process of becoming acclimated to a new land. When children are involved, the acclimation process becomes even more vital. Bilingual education provides an opportunity to communicate in English as gain friendships. Bilingual or English as a Second Language education benefits adults because it is necessarily interactive. Teaching English as a Second Language allows teachers to have their adult students interact in class in many ways. By interacting, English as a Second Language students are also learning because the interaction is done in English.

Students Teaching other Students

Teaching and learning goes hand and hand, you cannot do one without the other. People who participate in community service value helping others. As a child, value does not mean anything; it is when they become an adult is when they can look back at their childhood and think about the nice things that they did to help another child. That is called value, once it is taught as a child then is it remembered as an adult. There are several ways when teaching English as a Second Language that students can be taught to help others. One way is by helping another student boost low self-esteem. For example, if a student is having a hard time with English, by helping, this encourages self-esteem in the person because it allows them be creative and expressive of words. In life this goes along way, seeing no color just a person. Another way adults can be taught to help others is by sharing. If a child is taught to share things with others or even their sibling, it is encouraged to always share and help with offering your wealth with others (Literacy Centers Help Immigrants; Lack of English Hinders Success of Newcomers, 2003).

Socialization is the process by which people learn about society's values, roles, rules and norms. People become socialized through life experiences and observation of a variety of people and situations through which they come in contact. Socialization is a process that begins at birth and occurs throughout a lifetime. During a person's early years, parents and close family members chiefly direct the socialization process; as an individual matures and makes decisions for him/her self, socialization is more self-directed.

The experiences of the socialization process have a significant influence on an individual's identity or self ("What Is the Socialization Process?"). Socialization and other learned behaviors are an example of nurture. Genetics and and the genes that an individual receives from their biological parents also plays a role in a person's identity, self and personality; this is an example of nature. This process can be altered and improved through education and teaching English as a Second Language programs.

Leaders are likely developed through a combination of nurture and nature. As with the age-old debate of which came first, the chicken or the egg, the importance of nature versus nurture in building leaders, or any other personality traits or behaviors, will not be solved with any certainty. Perhaps less important than determining which is more important-nature or nurture-is understanding the how these two determinants work together in the development of business leaders.

Leaders are not necessarily conferred as such due to their rank or status in a company. Certainly, the bottom line is that what the CEO says goes, but in the everyday minutia of a company's inner workings, there is likely a leader or leaders who ensure the job is done. Who are these people? Philosopher Lao Tzu explained leadership as: "When the best leader's job is done, the people say, "We did it ourselves!" To lead the people, walk behind them" ("Leadership-Nature or Nurture?"). In other words, a leader is someone who is able to motivate others, to inspire them, to help them see their own self-worth-not necessarily the person who barks out orders.

Learning the theories of leadership, seeing them in practice, being mentored by leaders-none of these assure that leadership skills will develop. Here is where nature may come into play, in that a person's basic personality may require much effort on the individual's part to metamorphose into those personality traits of a successful leader. Daniel Goleman, author of the book, Emotional Intelligence, asserts that the attributes of a successful leader can be placed into two broad categories: self-management skills and the ability to relate to others (Leadership Traits). Within each of these broad categories are specific abilities/skill sets that an individual who is a leader possesses.

Self-awareness or the ability to understand one's own motivations, ambitions, goal, strengths and weaknesses are essential before an individual can begin to understand others, another essential trait of leadership (Leadership Traits). Self-regulation is also an attribute that falls within Goleman's self-management skills. Leaders are no different from other human beings in that they experience impulses, fear, and even phobias. What an individual who is a leader does, however, that is different from many other people is that s/he does not act on those feelings, but is able to exert control over them (Leadership Traits).

Goleman's third attribute within the self-management area is that of motivation. A leader is a self-driven individual, not requiring prompting from others to take action. A motivated individual can lead by example and work to provide an atmosphere where motivation can thrive, but no one person can make another person be motivated (Leadership Traits).

In author Goleman's second broad category of traits of a successful leader, that of the ability to relate to others, he asserts that empathy, social skills, and what is termed as active listening are the attributes (Leadership Traits). Empathy is the ability to see a situation through another person's eyes. An empathetic person can more easily relate to a wide variety of people in any occupation because of their ability to walk in the other person's shoes, so to speak. Empathy is not to be confused with sympathy-one generates understand while the other pities.

Social skills, for Goleman, are the culmination of all the other traits in this category (Leadership Traits). These necessary social skills are "the ability to build rapport with other and get them to work together towards a common goal" (Leadership Traits). Active listening is a learned or acquired skill. It goes beyond merely hearing what the other person is saying. It requires concentration on the part of the listener, taking care not only to hear the message of the speaker but to note nonverbal clues too. An active listener does not try to finish sentences for the speaker or to be so busy thinking about the response the listener wants to make to the speaker when s/he is done talking.

An active listener will give cues to the speaker such as a nod of the head or occasional "I understand" as the speaker talks. This provides feedback to the speaker and reassures them the listener is indeed paying attention. When the speaker has finished talking, the active listener will paraphrase back to the speaker what the listener has understood the message to be. This reinforces to the speaker that the message has in fact been heard and gives the speaker the opportunity to clear up any misunderstandings the listener may have had. In looking back over Goleman's set of traits of a successful leader, it is easy to see that nurture-or learning-is what is required for each trait rather than a certain genetic code or predisposition. These traits do not differentiate between male and female, or ethnicity or age.

In yet another perspective on what constitutes the attributes of a successful leader, author Napoleon Hill, the first Dale Carnegie of our time, had a list of eleven traits that he felt a successful leader possessed and embodied:

Unwavering courage: Despite fears to the contrary a leader will exhibit courage in the face of adversity by using his self-knowledge and all tools of understanding both the business and related factors.

Teaching English as a Second Language - Self-control

A keen sense of justice: In order to be respected, a leader needs to maintain a sense of fairness and utilize it in his dealings with others. Definiteness of decision: A leader makes a decision based on experience and knowledge. Once a decision has been made, a leader moves forward with it. The habit of doing more than paid for: This follows closely with Goleman's trait of motivation. A leader does not wait for someone else to tell him what needs to be done; a leader looks for things to be done and does them.

The leader must understand everything about his position, responsibilities and duties. Willingness to assume full responsibility: The successful leader will understand that a shortcoming or mistake by one of his/her followers is a reflection on the leader him/herself. Because of this understanding, the successful leader will take full responsibility for the actions/inactions of his followers. Think Harry Truman and his famous, "The buck stops here." Cooperation: Eliciting cooperation among his followers can only be done if the leader exhibits his own spirit of cooperation.

As noted with Goleman's list of traits, Napoleon Hill's list also sets out traits and attributes that must be learned. People are not born with these traits. Rather, they develop them over their life span. In nearly every list of traits and attributes of successful leaders, whether they be in business, government, or social areas, the traits described are those things which must be learned. There is no DNA for empathy, for cooperation, for active listening.

In considering the importance of nature versus nurture in the development of a leader, it can be noted that the level of intelligence and the basic personality with which an individual is born hold direct bearing on that individual's ability to be a leader, but anyone of average intelligence can learn what traits and thought patterns a leader should have. Of the traits discussed by Goleman and Hill, motivation is perhaps the trait that is most closely tied to nature in that some individuals possess a more basic driven nature than others do, but that does not rule out that other individuals through determination and perseverance cannot develop that trait as well.

Socialization and English learning strategies for Teaching English as a Second Language Programs

The peer reviewer gains various benefits by reviewing his or her peer's assignment. It has often been stated that people learn the most when they teach a subject, and while the reviewer is certainly not the teacher, there are several commonalities that are personally beneficial. For example, by reviewing another's paper, it is necessary to think critically and determine what the author does well in addition to what the author can improve upon. Some of the effective strategies that the writer uses can be incorporated into the reviewer's own work (ESL Adults Check out Wealth of Information at Library, 2007).

Far from plagiarism, the process would be subtle and mostly unconscious. Several writers, Stephen King, to name but one, has said that during his early years writing, his style fluctuated based on whom he was reading. Eventually, as he became an expert writer, he developed his own writing style. By critically assessing another's work and providing constructive feedback, the reviewer has the opportunity to think about issues and writing strategies that may be useful in his or her own writing. Furthermore, it allows the reviewer to think like his audience or to keep his audience or reader in mind while writing (Ernst-Slavit, Moore, & Maloney, 2002).

Drawbacks to Peer Reviewing

One of the possible drawbacks is that the person who is being reviewed may not be comfortable being assessed by another person. Nevertheless, such feedback is important to improvement. Another possible drawback is that unless the reviewer reads the assignment critically, he or she may wind up internalizing some of the person's errors.

Teaching English as a Second Language - Other Methods of Peer Review

There are several methods to review a peer's paper. For example, the peer could do proofreading and editing. If he or she sees any errors, they can be fixed and noted. Then, the person whose paper it was originally, can communicate back and let the reviewer know which parts they thought were improvements and why as well as which parts the person thought was okay or needed fixing but a different fix. This dialog will make sure that errors are not repeated or internalized. MS Word also has a feature for editing and proofreading, which would offer additional educational value since the reviewer would learn how to use this feature. Other methods for Peer Review include rewriting a passage so the original author can read a different way of writing the paper and possible add this new way into his or her writing arsenal. For example, some people use questions. Others have shorter sentence styles or longer styles. Yet others make use of transitions.

Teaching English as a Second Language - Community

Community work gives an added security to helping others such as knowing they are a good person inside which boost lifelong self-esteem. Community service also helps a child realize to learn to appreciate the things they possess. Learning to appreciate things in life gives a better understanding of value. Kids as well as adults have to know that life is not about receiving. In the younger years if a child is repetitiously getting things they will automatically think it is always okay. Instead, there should be lesson learned for things a child acquires. Valuable lessons learned such as giving the child an allowance for taking the trash out or rewarding them when they do something without an adult asking them to do it. In doing this, it allows that child to know that work is the only way to acquire certain things. Also once a child gets an allowance let them spend it how they choose but also teach them that once the allowance is gone they have to work for it again. This will teach them to spend wisely and value the money without wasting it. For children, everything is a valuable lesson.

Community Service effectively molds leaders in life when adults give kids options in taking action. Children are like adults when it comes to making decisions. They have to be given choices and the outcome that comes from the choice they made. Giving kids that opportunity grants them the knowledge to distinguish basic right from wrong. In teaching this, their communication skills are crucial. The child learns to make effective and substantial judgments. This is what it takes to be a leader in life.

To be a leader in life means to take charge of certain situations. A leader in life means to be an effective listener, have an unbiased take on all things. A leader means to stand for all that is good and fight for what is true in heart. A leader is a front-runner. The fulfillment of becoming a leader grants confidence, loyalty and power. When teaching English as a Second Language, confidence helps the teachers and students feel as thought they can accomplish anything.

How To Make A Living As A Writer - Or, Advice Your Mother Wouldn't Give You!

Recently I went to a seminar entitled, "Is is possible to make a living as a writer?" It was all fascinating stuff - and I've paraphrased the best advice I picked up in the article below.

The four full time writers who stepped up to the podium agreed on one thing - writing for a living is about making ends meet. They also agreed, in varying degrees, with the seemingly reckless advice given below.

Here's a light hearted look at the nine main attributes a writer must develop if he or she wants to make a go of it full time.

1. Don't do it for the money.

All full time writers agree on this. If you write expecting to make heaps with your next MS, it never seems to work out. It's only the work that is sincere that ever impresses. Do it for the love of writing.

Of course, it's ironic that, when you're full time, you ARE actually doing it for the money - but you just have to develop the attitude that your integrity is more important than your bank balance - at least in the short term!

2. Don't have a back up plan

An artist friend of mine once said, "I decided to ignore my parents advice and not give myself anything to fall back on - because I knew if I did that, I would." Wise words? Maybe not but exactly how many years have you wasted not doing what you wanted because it was easier to work in a lab or get an office job?

Even in my own case until three years ago, far too many!

I know it goes against sanity and everything our friends and family say but it's uncanny how many actors, artists and writers make it because they never believed they could do anything else.

3. Learn to like living poor - at least in the short term

Another cruel fact - even in our modern, technological age, society does not approve of nor reward struggling artists - even though their willingness to 'go without' for the sake of their art should be applauded rather than ridiculed.

The simple truth is, if you chuck in your job and decide to write full time, unless you're very lucky, you're going to run out of cash pretty soon. Good motivation to write? Sure but you might be wise to downshift your lifestyle first, to make that money go further!

4. Learn how to manage the people around you

Struggling authors often complain that, though they themselves can come to terms with the hard times before the windfall, the people around them can't. Friends and family never tire of trying to get you to 'see sense' and get that job at the call center just to tide you over!

They just don't get that in your world, that's not a valid - or sane - option. But don't waste your time arguing with them - just smile sweetly, nod reassuringly and tell them you understand their concerns. Then go back to your writing as soon as you can!

5. Read as much as you can

Read anything and everything. Study other people's writing. Work out what's good and bad. 'Borrow' what works for you and reject what doesn't. Never plagiarize but do try to be aware of how others have achieved the ends - and learn from it.

6. Don't restrict your options

One of my main tenets was confirmed by the author of 26 published novels recently. He said that good writers try all kinds of mediums and styles. Then, when one sticks - that is, makes money - they keep doing it.

Try not to get hung up on just being a novelist or a journalist or a children's writer. Try them all. Hey, it's a great way to improve but also, who knows where it might lead?

7. Get a mentor

I've never met a professional writer who didn't agree with this one. You can learn so much, so quickly, just by hooking up - even for a short time - with someone who's 'been there and done that.'

Of course there are all the technical things about writing that you need to know but having a mentor is about more than that - it's about gaining insight into the mind of a professional that teaches you so much about attitude, mindset and self discipline - the unspoken things that define you as a writer.

8. Keep learning

When it comes to writing you can never know too much and you can never hear good advice enough times. Keep buying books and courses about writing, self help and motivation. Keep your mind focussed on growth, change and constant self improvement - in your writing and your personal life. It all helps.

And finally, the old chestnut:

9. Never, ever, ever, ever give up.

Perseverance is as much a curse as a gift. Perseverance can wreck you life in the short term while you pursue your dreams against seeming adversity, even hostility sometimes but - it's also sometimes the only way to make people and the industry sit up and realize you're serious!

And know this - I've known many professional writers who make it that aren't even as - how can I put this tactfully - aren't quite as talented as some amateurs but... who get there because they saw it as their absolute RIGHT to be there! And good on them too, is what I say.

But there's really only one piece of advice you need to succeed. And that is to:

Keep writing!

Motivating Your Reader and Yourself - Understanding Maslow

Who the hey is Maslow and why should every writer care?

Abraham Maslow was born in 1908 in Brooklyn, New York to Jewish immigrants from Russia. He began his studies in law at the City College of New York.

Fortunately, for the world he didn't continue his studies in law. Instead he moved to Wisconsin and the study of psychology. A BA followed in 1930, an MA in 1931 and a PhD in 1934. A year later he joined E.L. Thorndike at Columbia where he studied human sexuality.

But none of that really matters - other than the study of psychology and that he seems to have graduated one year earlier than normal for each of his post-graduate degrees!

What does matter is that in 1949 he published the behavior model which bears his name - Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.

Maslow experiments led him to describe a hierarchy of five needs:

1. Physiological

2. Safety and security

3. Belonging

4. Esteem

And

5. Self Actualization.

At the bottom of the hierarchy was physiological. These are needs that the body itself requires in order to survive. For example, air to breathe, water to drink, food for energy, and sleep for restoration amongst others.

Safety and security were next. In essence both physiological and safety are focused on survival. Physiological focused on those necessary for physical survival. Safety focused on those necessary for survival within a society. For example, safety and security includes security of employment, physical safety, safety of one's family, health and security of property.

The need to belong was next. These are needs associated with being a member of society. It includes such things as love, friendship and familial love. It also includes such things as membership, and acceptance.

The need for respect or esteem is next. These are the needs associate with doing a good job. For example, self-confidence is an esteem need, the respect of others is an esteem issue, the respect for yourself is another.

Finally, the need for self actualization or growth is the last need.

The other part to the model is the concept of a hierarchy. Basically, Maslow found that you need to satisfy the lower needs before you can satisfy the upper needs.

So why should a writer care?

Basically, Maslow provided a model of how to motivate others. If someone is starving there is no point to trying to sell them a course on networking. Or a course on getting what you want from life.

And writers have two stubborn groups to motivate.

The first is the reader. The writer must motivate the reader. They must solve a problem. Or help the reader to overcome or avoid their fears.

The second is the writer themselves. Yes, the writer needs to motivate him or herself. The writer needs to convince themselves to write.

There are many ways to motivate. What Maslow does is teach us when and how to motivate. For example, if you know that a person is sick there is no point to trying to motivate themselves and others to be a great lover.

How To Make A Living As A Writer - Or, Advice Your Mother Wouldn't Give You!

Recently I went to a seminar entitled, "Is is possible to make a living as a writer?" It was all fascinating stuff - and I've paraphrased the best advice I picked up in the article below.

The four full time writers who stepped up to the podium agreed on one thing - writing for a living is about making ends meet. They also agreed, in varying degrees, with the seemingly reckless advice given below.

Here's a light hearted look at the nine main attributes a writer must develop if he or she wants to make a go of it full time.

1. Don't do it for the money.

All full time writers agree on this. If you write expecting to make heaps with your next MS, it never seems to work out. It's only the work that is sincere that ever impresses. Do it for the love of writing.

Of course, it's ironic that, when you're full time, you ARE actually doing it for the money - but you just have to develop the attitude that your integrity is more important than your bank balance - at least in the short term!

2. Don't have a back up plan

An artist friend of mine once said, "I decided to ignore my parents advice and not give myself anything to fall back on - because I knew if I did that, I would." Wise words? Maybe not but exactly how many years have you wasted not doing what you wanted because it was easier to work in a lab or get an office job?

Even in my own case until three years ago, far too many!

I know it goes against sanity and everything our friends and family say but it's uncanny how many actors, artists and writers make it because they never believed they could do anything else.

3. Learn to like living poor - at least in the short term

Another cruel fact - even in our modern, technological age, society does not approve of nor reward struggling artists - even though their willingness to 'go without' for the sake of their art should be applauded rather than ridiculed.

The simple truth is, if you chuck in your job and decide to write full time, unless you're very lucky, you're going to run out of cash pretty soon. Good motivation to write? Sure but you might be wise to downshift your lifestyle first, to make that money go further!

4. Learn how to manage the people around you

Struggling authors often complain that, though they themselves can come to terms with the hard times before the windfall, the people around them can't. Friends and family never tire of trying to get you to 'see sense' and get that job at the call center just to tide you over!

They just don't get that in your world, that's not a valid - or sane - option. But don't waste your time arguing with them - just smile sweetly, nod reassuringly and tell them you understand their concerns. Then go back to your writing as soon as you can!

5. Read as much as you can

Read anything and everything. Study other people's writing. Work out what's good and bad. 'Borrow' what works for you and reject what doesn't. Never plagiarize but do try to be aware of how others have achieved the ends - and learn from it.

6. Don't restrict your options

One of my main tenets was confirmed by the author of 26 published novels recently. He said that good writers try all kinds of mediums and styles. Then, when one sticks - that is, makes money - they keep doing it.

Try not to get hung up on just being a novelist or a journalist or a children's writer. Try them all. Hey, it's a great way to improve but also, who knows where it might lead?

7. Get a mentor

I've never met a professional writer who didn't agree with this one. You can learn so much, so quickly, just by hooking up - even for a short time - with someone who's 'been there and done that.'

Of course there are all the technical things about writing that you need to know but having a mentor is about more than that - it's about gaining insight into the mind of a professional that teaches you so much about attitude, mindset and self discipline - the unspoken things that define you as a writer.

8. Keep learning

When it comes to writing you can never know too much and you can never hear good advice enough times. Keep buying books and courses about writing, self help and motivation. Keep your mind focussed on growth, change and constant self improvement - in your writing and your personal life. It all helps.

And finally, the old chestnut:

9. Never, ever, ever, ever give up.

Perseverance is as much a curse as a gift. Perseverance can wreck you life in the short term while you pursue your dreams against seeming adversity, even hostility sometimes but - it's also sometimes the only way to make people and the industry sit up and realize you're serious!

And know this - I've known many professional writers who make it that aren't even as - how can I put this tactfully - aren't quite as talented as some amateurs but... who get there because they saw it as their absolute RIGHT to be there! And good on them too, is what I say.

But there's really only one piece of advice you need to succeed. And that is to:

Keep writing!

Publication Credits - How to Build Up Your Bio (Super Fast) For Your Cover and Query Letters

Many new creative writers are often frustrated when they don't have any publication credits in the biographical section of their cover and query letters. "How will literary agents and editors at magazines and journals ever take me seriously if I don't have any publishing credentials?" writers ask. Many writers feel there is a catch-22 situation in publishing: writers must be published to get published. So how can you break the cycle?

First and foremost, writers who are serious about publishing must develop good writing techniques and an effective, habitual submission strategy. There is no substitute for true publishing credentials: seeing your byline in a reputable print magazine or literary journal is valuable not only to your morale, but to your reputation. But if you're in a pinch and you'd like to pad your writing bio while you're waiting for the acceptance letters to start coming in, here are some techniques you might use.

Join a national, reputable writing organization. By joining a professional organization of writers in your genre, you are demonstrating that you are worthy of being among those writers and that you are serious about your writing. You are creating associations between yourself and that professional, established, reputable group. If you are writing romance novels, join Romance Writers of America. If you write literary work, consider the Association of Writing Programs. You will need to spend some money on the registration fees for these organizations, but it will be worth it if you can indicate that you are a member in good standing within specific writing groups. You'll get to include their name on your query or cover letter; you'll get access to great resources and a network of writers who may be willing to help you; and you'll demonstrate your own professionalism. The credentials in your bio will show that even though you have few (if any) publication credits now, it's only a matter of time.

Join a small, local organization. If you can't muster up enough money to join a professional writing organization, you can often join a smaller local organization for free. If you can note on your cover or query letter, "I am part of a writer's group that meets every month," you'll show that you're resourceful and devoted. To find a local writing group or organization, visit your local library and ask around. Or you can find them by looking into social networking sites. Just take the necessary precautions to stay safe. The professional bio in your cover letter will look more writerly and your writing technique is bound to improve with your new commitment to critique and discussions of craft.

Volunteer. Writers and readers love people who volunteer with literary advocacy groups, and literary agents and editors are no exception. When you volunteer for a literacy organization, you look good because you're doing good. Not only might you discover that your publishing credentials look better when you volunteer your time, but you may also learn that you enjoy sharing your passion for all things writing. It's a win-win situation for all parties involved.

Take classes. Research local schools or find local writers who teach classes. Studious writers are perceived as serious writers. Plus, being able to write that you "studied at the University of ABC" or that you "worked with award-winning novelist Joe Anybody" does a lot for your credibility. If you can't get to a school, check out online classes available through your local colleges or other national writing schools.

Go to a writing conference. If your time and finances allow it, go to a writing conference. Not only will you be able to learn and network with literary agents, editors, and writers, you'll also be able to note your attendance in your bio. If a literary agent or editor recognizes the name of the conference (perhaps he or she attended the conference in the past), it may work in your favor.

These are just a few ways you can quickly build the credits in the bio of your cover or query letter. You may not have stellar publishing credentials--maybe you haven't published anything at all--but by demonstrating that you are committed to your work and your craft, you prove that you are reputable, dependable, and devoted. Just remember, when it comes to your commitment to publishing, strong submissions and publications are the BEST way to prove your skill! Good luck.

*Writer's Relief (established 1994) is an author's submission service specializing in targeting (and preparing) submissions to reputable agents and editors. We help writers find the best-suited agents and editors for their writing.

Teaching Article Writing - Everything an Aspiring Writer Need to Know Part 3

1. Know your audience. This is one of the keys to produce targeted content. Take time to mingle with the people that you're writing for and get as much information about them as possible. Know what kinds of topics they find interesting, the language that they're using, the elements that can target their emotional hot buttons, etc. Doing this is actually like doing yourself a big favor. Through this, you will not need to guess as to what kind of information you need to include in your articles to make your readers happy.

2. Stick with facts. Although you can easily publish articles that contain unverified information online, it's still a must to make sure that you stick with facts. You see, reputation can be everything in the field of internet marketing. If you have a bad one, there is no way that you can get your target audience to trust you. You don't want that to happen, do you?

3. Be original. What they say is true; originality is the only thing that can help you get farther in the field of article writing. So, don't even think about copying other's work or their writing style. Create your own and be different so you can easily stand out from the crowd.

4. Ensure that your articles are flawless. Whether you like it or not, your readers will gauge your expertise based on the articles that you write. As you want to impress them all the way, ensure that your articles are perfect or at least close to it. They must not contain any type of errors particularly those that can annoy your audience. They must all make sense and they must speak volumes about your in-depth knowledge in your field.

Teaching Writing That's Fun to Read

"I'm going to tell you about..." Seeing this phrase at the beginning of a paragraph/essay/research paper is, to me, the equivalent of fingernails on a chalkboard. I'm also not a real big fan of the "first, next, then, last" system much past third grade. Writing, even expository writing, doesn't have to be boring.

Of course, the first thing a writer needs to keep in mind is the audience that the work is intended for. For example, if your high school senior is writing an essay for a college application, he probably doesn't want to open with a joke... But with that in mind, teaching your child the following tips when teaching writing will not only make the writing more interesting, but the quality of his writing will be improved.

Hook your audience.

The reason movies or television shows open with an exciting or suspenseful scene is to get your attention and keep it. A good hook will draw your readers in so that they want to keep reading. A hook can consist of a number of things: a quotation, a question, an exclamation, reveal something startling, or provide a description. The goal is to get your reader into your second paragraph.

Use transitions.

There are several words and phrases that your writer can use to get from paragraph to paragraph. However, I implore you to teach your child how to use these transitions correctly. I once made the mistake of simply giving a 6th grade class a handout containing transition words. I got pages and pages full of paragraphs that started with "In addition..." The transition word or phrase used should be relevant. I suggest keeping a handout or printout of transitional words and phrases as a permanent component of your child's writing folder. A quick Google search with the terms "writing transition" will give you plenty of options to choose from so that you can print out a list that is suitable for your child's age level.

Proofread.

There's nothing more distracting than trying to read something full of grammatical errors. I've had students write the most wonderful, creative stories, but the quality of the story is lost in the run-on sentences, the misspelled words, and the random capital letters. You'll probably find that your child is not overly receptive to your asking for these errors to be addressed, but it is an important part of the writing process. A technique I like to use is to give the child a familiar piece of work (a fairy tale, poem, etc.) and fill it full of errors. It is uncomfortable to read and the student often sees the value in writing with correct grammar. It doesn't make them any happier about having to correct the errors, but at least they know why they are doing it.

Smiley-Face Tricks

This is a set of writing tricks complied by a teacher from Texas (Mary Ellen Ledbetter). Using these tips in your writing adds life and depth to your writing. Some of these tips include using hyphenated modifiers (adjectives), using figurative language, and using parallel groups of words. (I just did that, did you catch it?) Again, you can do a Google search for "Smiley Face Tricks" to find many, many copies of Ms. Ledbetter's tips.

My final tip is going to go here, in my concluding paragraph. Can you guess what my final tip is? End your writing. Even if your story has a cliffhanger, it should have an ending. Wrap things up. (There are tips for full-circle endings in the Smiley Face Tricks). Summarize and let your reader know that you are done imparting information or telling your story. In summary, teaching your child to utilize some of these tricks when writing will make their writing more interesting, more informative, and more likely to hold a reader's interest.

Getting the Word Out Through the Media - Utilizing Free Print, Radio and TV to Promote Your Book

Getting your book written and into print is only the beginning. Next you've got to get the word out so it can reach the hands of those who need to read it. One of the least expensive way to get the word out about your book is through the media.

The initial type of free media we will discuss is print media. This could be newspapers, newsletters or magazines. There are a few different ways of getting coverage in these types of publications.

o Interviews: An author in the local vicinity is always a great human interest story for a newspaper. Also, some magazines do feature articles where they may interview an author regarding their story and/or book.

o Articles: You may write a specific article based on the message of your book, or create an article by utilizing an excerpt from your book.

o Book reviews: Many newspapers and magazines regularly review books.

When approaching newspapers, attempt to tie into a national holiday or current event to give them a reason to act now. If that is not a possibility, then just let them know that you are a local author and knew they would be interested in an interview from the human interest angle.

A few years ago we wanted to get the larger newspaper in the Seattle area to cover a writing class my pastor's wife was teaching to some homeschoolers. We made a point to pitch it to the editor as a great story to go along with the national "I Love to Write Day" on November 15. This was just what we needed to get the paper's attention. They came out almost immediately to do an article which later turned into an additional full page article when the journalist was intrigued with Carla's ministry and came out to interview her during a Bible Study and writers critique group.

If you approach a magazine, find one that targets your ideal audience and request their "theme list" for the upcoming year. Keep in mind that many magazines and take home papers work 6-9 months out, and not all of them make their editorial schedule available. But if they do, and you can target your article or excerpt to something they already have on their editorial list, your chances of getting accepted are, of course, much greater. Also, don't send an article or excerpt from your book on parenting to "Biblical Archaeology" or "World" magazine. Make sure the magazine you send an article or excerpt to is geared towards the same audience as your message and that they consistently print articles or excerpts similar to yours.

And remember to query the editor in advance to see if they would be interested in your article. Oftentimes if a magazine accepts your article there will be payment to you as the author. When an article excerpted from my book was used as a "One Woman's Story" in Today's Christian Woman, I opted to waive the payment if they would put the ordering information in my byline at the end of the article. I would rather give the reader the opportunity to order a copy right then than make $500-800 on the article...and buying an ad in that magazine to run concurrently with my article would have cost much more than that, so I felt the trade off was a good deal, and it generated quite a few sales.

When contacting a newspaper or magazine about doing a book review, find out who handles the book reviews and contact them directly. Find out their submission requirements, as some want a "bound galley", some want an "unbound galley", some want the published book, and some don't care one way or another. Be sure to let them know that you can provide them with a digital image of the cover if they need it for the review, and include your press kit so they have some background information on you when they do the book review.

Expanding on different ways to get free media, the next aspect we will take a look at is utilizing electronic media in the form of radio interviews.

I prefer radio interviews, not only because they are much easier to book than TV, but there are way more radio stations with the talk radio format where interviewing authors is the norm. Also you don't have to travel anywhere to make the interview happen. In fact, you can do an hour long interview and be speaking to a listening audience of tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, and even millions of people...in your robe and slippers in the privacy of your own home!

Most of the time the radio station will call you on their dime, but occasionally they will require that you call in on a non-toll-free number.

Radio interviews can be anywhere from 5 minutes to 120 minutes, and if appropriate, may even take live calls for you to respond to. You will need to be fully prepared to articulately communicate your message either way, with short sound byte answers for the shorter interview and more detailed answers if time permits. If you do have call ins, make sure you take notes as they speak, and write down the callers name so you can be more personal with your answer.

And don't be afraid to get the interview back on topic if the host asks you a question that is irrelevant or begins a rabbit trail that will end up off topic. If the host asks you a question that you don't know the answer to, it's OK to say, "I don't know about that, but what I do know is....." and move the interview back to your topic.

You'll want to make sure that you let the host know that you have a toll free number for callers to use to order your book (that is, if you do have one!) and ask if it will be OK for you to give it out once or twice during the show. Don't get too aggressive about promoting your book or the host may get offended and cut the interview short. An interview is not intended to be one big advertisement for your book, but an informational segment intended to encourage and equip the listening audience and at the same time, it will naturally be a promotional piece about the message of your book. You want to give the listeners lots of good information, but leave enough out so that they have a reason to buy your book. Instead of giving ALL the information when asked, give some of it and then say "I go into much more detail in chapter four of my book."

If your book is available online, make sure you mention that as an alternate way for listeners to order a copy...and be sure, from the start of your interview, to speak clearly and project a little more than you feel that you need to. Your voice needs to carry over all those airwaves and there needs to be enough inflection to keep the audience listening....if you're too monotone, you'll lose them right off the bat.

In order to keep the door open for future interviews, always, always send a thank you card to the host. This business is all about relationships and if you can become a resource to many of the hosts who interview you, it will pay off in the long run.

Now let's take a moment to cover TV as the last type of free electronic media we'll mention in this article.

While TV is a lot more demanding, and requires travel time and expenses, it is not the greatest way to get free media, but it certainly has its place.

When my first book, Consumed by Success: Reaching the Top and Finding God Wasn't There, came out in 1995 I was doing quite a bit of traveling to speak at Christian Writers Conferences all across the country. At that time we did not have an in-house publicist so I was using a freelance publicist to book all my radio and TV. I gave her the list of all the speaking engagements I had scheduled for the year and had her book as many TV interviews as she could at each stop I would be making, scheduling them for the day before or sometimes even during the conference when I knew I wouldn't be needed. That way I didn't incur the added expense of traveling to get the free media, since I was already in town for the conference.

One of the first (live not taped) TV interviews I did was with Dr. Karen Hayter, with Family Net out of Fort Worth, TX.

"You're the first author I've interviewed in a long time who not only wrote your own book but read it as well!" Karen exclaimed after we finished. This was amazing to me, but it still holds true today. Many of the big time authors don't even write their own books (they have ghostwriters) and they often don't even take the time to read them before an interview...which leads me to my first piece of advice regarding TV interviews:

1) Re-read your book before going on a TV interview. Since the camera is on you, it will catch any hesitancy or "deer in the headlights" look you may display if a question comes that you're not ready for! It's not like radio where no one can see the look on your face.

2) Make sure you provide the producer/host with your list of suggested questions ahead of time so you are both on the same page.

3) Give the producer the ordering information on your book. If you have an 800 # to give out for easy ordering, make sure you do that before the show starts so they have it and can refer to it.

4) Stay away from wearing black, white, stripes, plaids, hounds-tooth, or other patterns like that.

5) Apply makeup a little heavier than usual, since the lights will wash you out and you'll need the extra color. (most shows have a make up artist who can do this for you, but some don't).

6) Arrive early, well rested, prepared and at peace. Go with the attitude of a servant, not a celebrity.

Make it a point to offer yourself as a resource or on-call expert to the media in your area. Make that first interview turn into a long-lasting, mutually beneficial relationship that will, in turn, give your message the exposure it deserves.

The French and Indian War Was Fought in the 1750s and Other "Useless" Facts

"When are we ever going to use this in our real lives?" is a question many students are known to ask their teachers when trying to memorize a certain fact or understand a particular concept. While it's true that many students will not use the Pythagorean theorem in their careers, and while it's unlikely that they are frequently going to be asked to recite the preamble to the Constitution in their adult lives, there are underlying skills and concepts involved in mastering these skills that will serve students well long after they graduate, even if they don't realize that at the time.

High school aged students may not think that committing names, dates and facts to memory, as they are often asked to do in history classes, is not a valuable use of their time. And while it's true that knowing exactly when the Great Depression began and ended won't necessarily help someone understand the causes and effects of this difficult period of American history, understanding where the Great Depression fits in the overall narrative of the American story is important.

Likewise, it hardly matters which novels students read in high school (though no American should graduate high school without reading To Kill a Mockingbird), but the act of reading literature, of deciphering subtext, of recalling particular details and making connections between fictional worlds and real events. For example, when students read Arthur Miller's The Crucible, they should concurrently learn about the McCarthy era, the blacklist and the House for Un-American Activities. The art of a time period is frequently inspired by the events that occurring during the artist's life. Musicians, painters and writers were frequently displeased with what was happening socially and politically, and would use their art to reflect their frustrations.

Not every work of literature is a direct response to a social or political event, but every one is a product of the time it was created (even if the work itself has achieved "timeless" status). Someone born with the exact same DNA as Jane Austen would not be able to write Pride and Prejudice in the twenty-first century because she would not be constantly bombarded with the fact that the only way for a woman to achieve independence is to marry a wealthy man. The limited options available to women was very clear to the single Jane during her lifetime, and she appears to have vented her frustrations in her most famous novel, but an intelligent, talented woman living in the present day would have a lot more opportunities to distinguish herself without a husband (in most countries, at least). Every novel can be a little history lesson for a careful reader.

It's unlikely that explaining these things to a fifteen-year-old will make him or her any less reluctant to study The French and Indian War or read The Iliad, but the knowledge that these activities actually do teach students skills they will use in their real lives should provide teachers with some degree of comfort.

Motivating Your Reader and Yourself - Understanding Maslow

Who the hey is Maslow and why should every writer care?

Abraham Maslow was born in 1908 in Brooklyn, New York to Jewish immigrants from Russia. He began his studies in law at the City College of New York.

Fortunately, for the world he didn't continue his studies in law. Instead he moved to Wisconsin and the study of psychology. A BA followed in 1930, an MA in 1931 and a PhD in 1934. A year later he joined E.L. Thorndike at Columbia where he studied human sexuality.

But none of that really matters - other than the study of psychology and that he seems to have graduated one year earlier than normal for each of his post-graduate degrees!

What does matter is that in 1949 he published the behavior model which bears his name - Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.

Maslow experiments led him to describe a hierarchy of five needs:

1. Physiological

2. Safety and security

3. Belonging

4. Esteem

And

5. Self Actualization.

At the bottom of the hierarchy was physiological. These are needs that the body itself requires in order to survive. For example, air to breathe, water to drink, food for energy, and sleep for restoration amongst others.

Safety and security were next. In essence both physiological and safety are focused on survival. Physiological focused on those necessary for physical survival. Safety focused on those necessary for survival within a society. For example, safety and security includes security of employment, physical safety, safety of one's family, health and security of property.

The need to belong was next. These are needs associated with being a member of society. It includes such things as love, friendship and familial love. It also includes such things as membership, and acceptance.

The need for respect or esteem is next. These are the needs associate with doing a good job. For example, self-confidence is an esteem need, the respect of others is an esteem issue, the respect for yourself is another.

Finally, the need for self actualization or growth is the last need.

The other part to the model is the concept of a hierarchy. Basically, Maslow found that you need to satisfy the lower needs before you can satisfy the upper needs.

So why should a writer care?

Basically, Maslow provided a model of how to motivate others. If someone is starving there is no point to trying to sell them a course on networking. Or a course on getting what you want from life.

And writers have two stubborn groups to motivate.

The first is the reader. The writer must motivate the reader. They must solve a problem. Or help the reader to overcome or avoid their fears.

The second is the writer themselves. Yes, the writer needs to motivate him or herself. The writer needs to convince themselves to write.

There are many ways to motivate. What Maslow does is teach us when and how to motivate. For example, if you know that a person is sick there is no point to trying to motivate themselves and others to be a great lover.

5 Tips for Overcoming Writer's Block

Writer's block can be a serious issue, especially for those of us who "live by the pen." I have a rather arbitrary definition of writer's block with which readers may or may not agree. Writer's block is not what happened to me during college the night before a term paper was due and I sat blankly staring at a computer screen having just come back from the college library with an armful of books and a few scholarly articles I had managed to copy as the librarian was locking up for the night. That was simply lack of planning. You cannot wait for inspiration to hit when the seeds of the idea have not even been sewn. After those hard lessons of college, I learned an ounce of prevention was worth about 8 hours of sleep. As a non-fiction writer, writer's block is also not what those major fiction authors must feel when the Amazonian-like rivers of their creative juices suddenly stop flowing two hundred pages into their latest novel. It probably feels like being struck blind or deaf. I really wouldn't know because I don't work on that grand a scale.

My craft consists of writing fact-intensive, repetitious pieces of non-fiction for a very small audience of jaded readers who probably read 30 or 40 similar works each day. The challenge is to make my work stand out and motivate the reader, and for me, writer's block is a blase feeling I get when I look at my subject matter, and I cannot imbue it with that special something that makes it come off the page and take on a life of its own. I cannot motivate the reader because I have no feel for the subject and I do not feel motivated, or I feel the opposite, negative feelings for the subject that I must work through to make it shine. That is the nature of writer's block for me, trying to write a respectable piece even though I have no feel for the subject or am completely uninspired by the subject.

When writer's block hits, these tricks of the trade help me through the rough spots, and let me produce work even when my Muses are not with me. I hope these suggestions can help you overcome your writer's block or at least help you to produce some writing despite the lack of inspiration.

1. Keep writing. Even though you may be critical of the words that may be flowing from your fingertips, it is better to still get your thoughts down on your piece and then edit it or rewrite it. Many successful writers work by the "rewriting" method and polish a piece after many rewrites. If you have one or two uninspired writing sessions, it should not matter if you are continually working on the piece. Moments of inspiration will probably hit frequently enough over time that an off day will not affect the quality of the final piece.

2. Stop writing. Do something else. Take a break. Get some coffee. Play a little solitaire on the computer. Sometimes working non-stop on a writing project forces you into a grove you do not want to be in. You may want to change your physical space for a while to move your mind out of the mental rut it may be in. Coming back to a piece after a little break may be all it takes to help you keep your inspiration flowing and keep your perspective fresh. Personally, I carry a voice recorder around with me a lot, so if I have left a piece and am at lunch, if some new ideas occur, I will simply dictate them into the recorder and try to integrate them when I get back to work.

3. Recycle. If you were particularly eloquent in another piece and you happen to be working on a somewhat similar piece, why not borrow some phraseology or turns of phrase from the first one. Facts are always different, but the writer's style is often reflected in her figures of speech or other gems that may entertain the reader along the way.

4. Read. Read in your subject or industry area or out of it. If you read in your industry, current events may prompt you to write an expose or follow up piece for a significant happening. Reading out of your area/industry may help you change perspective and approach your writing with a new point of view. It may also give your brain a break (much like number 3 above) and let you clear your "mental palette" so that you can come back to a piece refreshed.

5. Collaborate. This is not having someone write your piece for you. It is more about talking and creating a dialogue and maybe a dialectic. You probably forgot how you learned to write, but a common approach to teaching new writers is to do "pre-writing" activities, such as talking about the topic and brainstorming as a class before the individual is asked to work on their writing. By talking to someone, similar to a pre-writing exercise, you can get the ideas flowing again through dialogue. Possibly your colleague is ignorant of the subject and by educating her you are rethinking your ideas and are getting a feel for your audience who may not know much about the subject either. Also, colleagues often have criticisms and creative suggestions for a piece, and responding to the critique should help you focus and improve the writing.

I hope the above suggestions help you work through writer's block.

A Writer's Style - What's Yours?

Every writer has their own style and tendencies. That's why when you read certain authors' works, you can identify that you are reading that author. Some are more conversational in nature, and some are more formal. Some use lots of description and some leave that to the reader. This is true for all types of writing, including fiction, non-fiction, and technical writing, too. The more narrow the field or genre, the less individual the author's style will be, but there will be one. Knowing your own style will help you to be a better writer and more adaptable to a variety of writing situations.

If we look only at the genre of fiction, this concept is easy to see. For instance, you may not be an expert on his work, but if I mention Charles Dickens, you probably have some idea of his writing style - very descriptive, formal language, etc. On the other hand, if I mention Mark Twain, you are probably aware of a more informal, casual, conversational style of writing, and full of anecdotal stories. Both are well-read, but each has a style of his own. For Mark Twain to have written a novel in the style of Charles Dickens would not have suited him. Mr. Twain had to be attentive at all times to the conversations around him since he liked to write that way, while Mr. Dickens had to pay special attention to the visual details in life in order to convey them in words.

If we move into the non-fiction genre, writing styles become more varied, but the mechanics of writing play more of an impact. How sentences are constructed is noticed more. For instance, some authors in this field love to tell stories of their own life, and others leave the stories out in favor of the facts. Some writers love long, heavily punctuated sentences, while others write in short prose. There are all sorts of facets in which the style can emerge, but one thing remains true. Whatever the style is of the writer, he or she must be careful to use that style with careful attention to the way it is seen or experienced, just as did Mr. Dickens and Mr. Twain.

An example from my own writing is that I love commas. I find that most writers either over-use commas or under-use them. I fall into the former category. Because I love commas, I have to be careful for run-on sentences or ideas that get lost in my sentence constructions. If I try to put too much detail in my sentences, and continue the thought with multiple phrases, but offset them with commas, as I have done in this sentence, then there is a chance that the reader may have to reread my sentence in order to understand what I am saying. My style results in areas to which I need to pay extra attention. That was never as clear to me as when I began working with my editor on an upcoming book of mine. Commas were duly discussed!

You may or may not be aware of your own personal style in writing, but I suggest you try to find out. Seek out others who will read your work and ask them to notice patterns. Once you have a feel for the patterns in your writing, pay more attention to how other authors and writers use those things, whether content, grammar, mechanics, or other elements of style. Then, perfect your style by using it as skillfully as did Mr. Twain and Mr. Dickens, with repetition and extra attention.

Make Money As a Writer: 12 Ways to Build Your Freelance Writing Business

The good news for writers is that today there are more ways than ever to build a freelance writing business. In fact, here are 12 ways to get started. You don't need to try all 12 of these ideas at once. Pick and choose the one or two that sound interesting to you and relate to the type of writing you LIKE to do.

1. Write for Businesses - Many small businesses need writers but they can't afford to hire them as regular employees so they use freelancers. If you offer writing services for businesses, start marketing your services to local businesses on a regular basis.

2. Write for Local Print Publications - Most local publications won't pay a great deal. Still, if you can write for a few of these on a regular basis, you can earn some regular monthly or even weekly income this way. It's also a good way to acquire some publication credits and gain experience working with a variety of editors.

3. Write for National Magazines - Once you've written for local publications, move up to the glossy, better paying, national publications. You only need to find 3 or 4 of these to write for on a regular basis to make a good income.

4. Promote other companies' products and services - This is known as affiliate marketing and it's a great way to boost your freelance income. Affiliate programs are available for all kinds of products and services through sites like commissionjunction.com, ClickBank.com, selfhelphub.com and shareasale.com, among others.

5. Create a membership site and charge a monthly fee for members - An example of this is the Children's Writers' Coaching Club, which I started several years ago. Since I'm a children's author and a former children's writing instructor, having a coaching club for children's authors is a great fit for me.

6. Create and market your own information products - What are you an expert about? Create an eBook or an e-course about this and market it online. For example, one of my information products is a 52-week e-course for people who want to write better nonfiction. It's called How to Write Better, More Powerful, More Engaging Nonfiction. What kind of e-course could you create based on your own interests and expertise?

7. Write and self-publish your own books - If you self-publish, you'll need to have a system in place for selling your books. But many writers make a nice income from their own line of books.

8. Charge for advertising space - Develop a blog or website aimed at a target niche market, then once this site gets lots of traffic, charge for advertising space there.

9. Write books on assignment for various publishers - Many publishers look for writers who will write books for them. These publishers will give you a list of titles they need books about. You will usually need to write an outline or proposal following the publisher's guidelines before you get a contract to write the book.

10. Teach writing workshops - Once you become widely published, create workshops so you help other writers become published, too. Your workshops can be held in person or online.

11. Get on the speaker circuit - Speak at writer's conferences or other professional events and get paid to do so.

12. Create teleclasses and charge for them - You don't even have to teach these teleclasses yourself. You can hire other people (experts) to teach them for you and pay them a fee or a percentage of what you earn each time someone registers for a teleclass.

Max Beckmann - The German Expressionist Painter, Printmaker, Drafter, Sculptor, and Writer

Born into a German middle class family on February 12, 1884, at Leipzig, Saxony, Max Beckmann was one of the most influential 'Expressionist' artists to come out of the early twentieth century Europe. This multi-talented personality was a painter, printmaker, drafter, sculptor, and writer. His father, a grain merchant, died when Max was only ten. Braving family opposition and a set, smug career path, the artist chose painting as his calling at the age of only fifteen.

In 1900, Max Beckmann joined the Grossherzogliche Sächsische Kunstschule (Weimar). The academy not only nurtured his talent, but also created the basic groundwork for his later 'Expressionist' works. This was also a turning point in his life, as he met his future wife, Minna Tube, here. He married her in 1906, and she bore their only child, Peter.

Painting continuously and discovering his own language through a brisk use of thick, bold lines, and a profusion of stark images, Max Beckmann was already on his way to becoming an accomplished painter. He moved to Berlin and became a part of Berlin Secession, a 'Modernist' art movement in Europe. Max's works shared space with renowned painters, such as Max Liebermann and Slevogt. His paintings, mostly self-portraits, carried with them the traces of the long gone era of 'Impressionist' glory. By 1910, he was such a successful artist that he was elected to the executive board of the Secession. This was an honor for an artist as young as Max, but was also a salute to the weight he carried in the rarefied art circles of German art. Soon however, he resigned, bored with the staid and artistically frustrating life of the board, preferring to go back to his beloved prints and canvas.

Beckmann's pre war canvasses became bigger and mythical. This was a period of artistic growth, cut short by the World War - I. While serving as a medical volunteer in the army, the war took a heavy toll on the sensitive painter and he suffered a nervous breakdown. He was discharged to Frankfurt in 1915 to rest and recover. Perhaps mortified and affected by the horrors of the wars he saw, Beckmann's paintings, when he started afresh in 1917, spoke of the shattering of the mythical, lyrical compositions. They took on a very sophisticated, albeit, harsh look. His colors choices became more intense and he veered closely towards the 'Cubist' school. Often his objects were distorted into sharp, angular shapes that took on an idiomatic life. Considered as one of the most 'modern' of European painters, Max Beckmann was also hailed as the father of a new school, which grew out of the old Expressionist tongue, the school of 'New Objectivity.' Since 1925, the artist started teaching at the Stadel School of Art, Frankfurt. He received the Honorary Empire Prize for German Art and the Gold Medal of the City of Dusseldorf in 1927.

Max's works saw the worse in 1933, when Hitler, the hater of 'Modern Art,' labeled him as a "degenerate" artist, while also taking away his job at the art school. State repression forced his works out of circulation. In 1937, more than 500 of his works were defiled. It was the time of abject poverty, as Beckmann moved to a self-imposed exile in Amsterdam for ten years. Nazis thwarted his attempt to flee to the US, while he continued through his tedious and often a dangerous phase of painting. The efforts at his humiliation continued. The Nazis tried to draft a sixty-year-old Beckmann into the army in 1944. His anguish and anger poured out on the canvas, giving rise to a series of the most powerful Max Beckmann paintings ever unleashed. Soon after the war, he moved to the US and taught at several art schools of the University of Washington, St. Louis, and the Brooklyn Museum. He died peacefully on December 28, 1950. He left behind a rich legacy of works like the "Triptych" series, which not only are brilliant, but also defy any sort of categorization, the true mark of an artist!

Teaching Degrees - Supplying The Demand

With the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act, which requires that every public school teacher in the US have a bachelor's degree, America began to suffer from a severe classroom teacher shortage. Professionals in other areas of education--administration, library science, guidance counseling, and physical education coaches--are also in great demand.

Those interested in pursing teaching degrees can qualify as early education, elementary or middle school teachers with elementary education teaching degrees. In order to teach high school, you will need a bachelor's degree in the subject which you would most enjoy teaching, and a teaching certificate in secondary education. Those who are interested in teaching children with special needs can get teaching degrees in special education.

From Teaching To Administrating

Teachers who accumulate enough classroom experience may eventually advance to becoming principals or school superintendents. And with enough administrative experience, someone who began with a classroom teaching degree might eventually become involved in his or her state's educating department. Many of those with teaching degrees have gone on to become writers of textbooks in their favorite subjects.

After getting their bachelor's degrees by completing four years of undergraduate courses, a year of education courses, and doing student teaching, those pursuing teaching careers need to take certification exams in the states where they wish to teach. Some states, however, now offer "alternative route" teaching certification, which may allow those who did not take any post-graduate teaching courses in teaching to qualify for certification based on having their having bachelor's degrees and appropriate life experience.

The Educational Fast Track

Many US institutions of higher learning, in order to accommodate the tremendous need for teachers, have begun allowing those with bachelor's degrees in other areas to get fast-tracked on the way to state teaching certification. These programs also help those who want to leave careers in other fields for teaching to qualify for teaching degrees by providing them with direct teaching experience.

With the explosion in the number of Internet users, online teaching degrees are now more common than ever. Many prominent universities now offer accredited teaching degree programs online, and it is possible to get either a Master's Degree in teaching or in education, with emphasis on a variety of specialties, including Distance Learning--online education.

Undergraduate degrees available online, for those who already have teaching degrees and would like to become proficient in more areas, include degrees in English, psychology, political science, computer sciences, math, and more.

Teaching Article Writing - What it Takes to Become an Article Writing Coach

Teaching aspiring writers to write their very own articles is such a rewarding job. This allows you to bring positive difference to their lives while you make good money in the process.

Here's what you need to become an effective article writing coach:

1. High level writing skills. Obviously, it's a must that you have great writing skills otherwise, nobody will take you seriously. You must understand the elements that you need to use in writing an article. You must have what it takes to write content that is not only informative and useful but entertaining and engaging as well.

2. Great teaching skills. Teaching can be one of the most complicated and challenging tasks as it requires classroom management techniques, in-depth knowledge of the subject matter, enthusiasm, a love of learning, a caring attitude, curriculum and standards, and most of all, the desire to make a difference to the lives of your students.

3. In-depth knowledge about the learning needs of your students. As a coach, it's very important that you know and fully understand the needs and demands of your participants as this is the first step in addressing these. I suggest that you conduct one-on-one interviews and verify their skill level before you coach them. The more you understand their weaknesses, the higher your chances of making your coaching programs focused and targeted to their needs.

4. A truck load of patience. Know how to extend your patience an extra mile as you'll surely encounter students that are slow learners or those who are out there to challenge you.