Tag Archives: being a blogger

4 SHORT TIPS ON LONG CONTENT WRITING FOR ASPIRING WRITERS

At the risk of sounding absurd, I would like to share some fairly obvious pointers for aspiring young writers.

I had the opportunity to interact with a young writer recently and realized that things have changed considerably since I got out of writing school. Students don’t write as much they used to; they are spending a lot of their time on social media, What’s App and Instagram. With all of these being short content media, most of these young aspirants don’t really get into long content writing space. Yet, they aspire to become writers.

If you happen to belong to this club of millennials, here are a few tips that may help you get started on doing some serious writing. After all, you do need a portfolio to share if you are looking for a gig as a writer. So here goes:

  1. Read long content writing. It could be in the form of blogs, short stories, ebooks on kindle, or just plain old novels – the kind we read in the pre-internet era. Some of my favourite writers of all times, especially if you like to finish a story in one sitting include Edgar Allen Poe, Guy de Maupassant, Roald Dahl, Anton Chekov, to name but a few.In the blogosphere, I follow and thoroughly enjoy posts by:
    Anthony Wilson (http://anthonywilsonpoetry.com/lifesavingpoemsblog/);
    Stuart M. Perkins (https://storyshucker.wordpress.com/)
    Andrew toy (https://adoptingjames.wordpress.com/)
    Ian Brodie (http://www.ianbrodie.com/welcome)
  1. Analyse the work you read. A serious reader shared this tip with me early in my writing career. Just because you are reading some famous writers, it does not mean you need to accept everything they say without questioning it. As a writer, you need to look at what you are reading from different perspectives. If you find something of particular interest, read up more about the incidient, story, reference as shared by other thinkers and writers of the time. This will give you a more holistic view of what’s the incident was really all about. This is a great way to broaden your horizons and increase your understanding of the topics that you read.
  2. Read autobiographies of the authors that interest you. The stories of their lives will shed new light on their works as most authors draw on their own experiences however remote the references may seem.
  3. And last but not the least, WRITE long content. Set up a blog – you are pitching to be a writer, put up regular posts. Sure, ideas and creativity are the soul of contemporary writing, but writing is a skill, just like sketching or playing the piano.

You need to work on the skill and the ‘wordsmith’ing to be able to write smooth flowing content; especially if all you want to do is write a brilliant tweet or create a smart FB post that you are hoping will go viral.

Great copy and crafted headlines are usually the result of long hours of thinking, and crafting away at a few words that sound perfect when you get them right!

What are your tips for aspiring young writers to help them get started on their writing careers? Do share in the comments box below!

~ Bharti Athray

Advertisements

Remembering Leon Uris

One of my favourite authors, Leon Uris,  was born on August 3, 1924. Celebrated as an American novelist, known for his historical fiction and the deep research that went into his novels, his two bestselling books were Exodus (published in 1958) and Trinity (published in 1976). He has written several more, that make for riveting reading.

He was one of the writers I was greatly influenced by during my twenties, and read several of his books including QBVII, Milta Pass, Haj and Mila 18.

I have always been fascinated by the story of Israel and his works explored the history of the country, and the Nazi chapter of twentieth century history in great detail. I particularly remember learning from QBVII how each of us can be unreasonably cruel when we have the power. It also warned me against being too judgmental of others when I felt they had done something wrong, for it is difficult to really know how I would have behaved in a similar situation.

From the outside, each of us is a righteous being, but power, greed, lust can corrupt the human spirit, and his books are a revelation of how the most evolved of human beings being corrupted by these emotions.

It is writers like him and Ayn Rand who taught me a new way to look at life; they are the ones who inspire me to write. To pen my thoughts in the belief that one day, someone, somewhere will be touched by them.

Who is your favourite author? What have you learnt from his / her writings? Let me know!

~ Bharti Athray

What is the one thing that you stand for?

We have all heard this a million times over, yet when it comes to implementing the same, somewhere we fail.

In this post, I invite to you to give this question a think: what do you stand for?

I believe if you can find the answer to this question as it applies to the many levels you operate on, in your everyday life, you would be a more successful person than you are today.

The problem is, most of us are trying to be everything to everyone, even when every marketing guru tells us that it is a surefire route to failure. Yet that seemingly safe path is what we pursue.

Today, I invite you to take a few minutes and think out what you stand for in your many circles of influence. And also ask yourself whether that is how the world around sees you.

What do you stand for:

  1. In your family
  2. In your circle of friends
  3. Amongst your colleagues
  4. To your organization
  5. To your clients
  6. To your community
  7. To yourself

Take a close look at the many roles you play and do an honest analysis of whether your world knows what you stand for in each of your circles. At the risk of sounding contradictory, the fact remains that we are all different people in different spaces. But the effort here is to recognize your stance in a given circle and live in truth to that stance.

Build on your belief and let the people know. Make it your identity and let people reach out to you when it comes to specific issues, where your beliefs could provide the solution.

Explore, analyse, stand for who you really are.

I would love to hear from you and know what you stand for in the many areas of life. Leave your answers in the comment box below!

This post was inspired by an article by the famous marketing guru, Al Ries, titled ‘Is There a Marketing Lesson to Be Learned From Donald Trump? Here he shares names of the politicians who worked hard at being everything to the masses and were forgotten.

~ Bharti Athray

Five things I learnt while running my own business

At the advertising agency where I work, I have been a partner for the last 8 years, which is like a pretty long time. During this period, I have gone through a transition from employee mindset to business owner’s mindset. I share these learnings for those of you in the creative space, working as freelancers, as independent creative agencies, and hope you will see the truth in these faster than I did. I had to lose a couple of really good clients, before I began to accept these as entrepreneurial truths.

  1. You never, ever argue with the client. The moment you argue with the client, you have lost her. If you want to get a point across, do so in a calm, composed and civilized manner. Never argue, no matter how friendly your equation is. Never forget, you are still a hired professional.
  2. When at the negotiating table, say nothing. Once you have made your offer, be silent. If the conversation continues, feel free to talk about the actual job and the deliverables, do not approach the numbers talk again. The other person gets the message that you are not willing to negotiate any further.
  3. A client typically hires you for what he thinks you know. Unless you have done some other kind of work for a common contact in his network, it gets a little difficult to upsell a client on your other services. Be ready to prove yourself in another space, when the opportunity (emergency) arises!
  4. Do the thinking for your client. Too often as creative people, we wait for the client to give us a brief and other comprehensive details on the job. In my experience, most of the time the client is really clueless about what he wants.
    He needs to see the draft creative to be able to say, “No, this is not what I was looking for, I want it like this.” I try to think out my clients’ needs as much as possible, so then all he really has to do is make minor corrections / tactical changes.
  5. Be ready to go back to the drawing board. While you are thinking for your client, there is a good chance that you haven’t really understood the client’s perspective on the communications piece. It happens even to experienced teams every once in a while. So after putting in a fortnight of hard work to come up with that brilliant creative, you have to be ready to start again if the client rejects the lot.

What have you learnt during your stint as a freelancer or a self employed creative? Do share your inputs below.

What gets me writing

There are a million reasons why I don’t have post up every day. Lack of ideas on what to write about is not one of them. My issues are usually quite technical: I write in my diary, I don’t get around to converting into the soft format, I didn’t make the time; you know, lots of the usual kind of stuff.

As you can imagine, the question I often ask myself is whether I have a problem with discipline or whether I am unable to organize the necessary technologies to achieve the one post a day target? Though I don’t have an answer to that yet, I do know I need to work to get more posts up. So how do I get myself to do what I want / need to do to have my posts up regularly? Here are a few tips that help me:

  • Avoid conversation when I am ready to write: I need to be in the zone to write. This is the zone where I have been thinking about something on a continued basis, and any conversation at this time will completely throw me off track.
  • Listen to classical Indian instrumental music: I love listening to instrumental flute pieces. So when I am ready, I plug into long sessions of flute and type away. You could experiment with different types of music till you find something that works for you!
  • Keep my diary and pen with me always, when I am not around a computer: When I have the urge to put my thoughts down, I do it there and then, if I don’t, I know I never will.
  • Stay with my topic: There are times when I get half way through writing out an article, and then lose steam. I leave the article unfinished and come back to it when I have a few more ideas on the topic. This also means I need to live with the topic at all times.
  • Get emotional: I need to feel about an issue very deeply to be able to write. This is something I have realized only recently. When I am busy, when I do not have the time to connect with myself, when I am just rushing around, I can’t write. I am almost numb. I guess those are times when I don’t allow myself to feel anything. To write, all I need is some emotion: extreme joy, happiness, sadness, anger, helplessness… anything but something. I look out for events, people, things that get me to feel.
  • I believe what I think matters: For me, writing is about validating myself, giving meaning to my existence. Writing lets me voice my thoughts, my opinions and lets me create my little dent in my corner of the world. Or should I say blogosphere.

There are always days when I don’t even want to look at a blank screen or paper, and others when I just can’t keep away. But for me, understanding what makes me write and why I write has been a step closer to doing what I love to do, on a more routine basis.

Have you discovered interesting stuff about your own writing habits? I would love to hear about them!

~ Bharti Athray

Image source: http://gigaverse.com/

Why you need to write. Everyday.

I want to say a big thank you to my fellow blogger : Drew Iaconis for inspiring me to write this article.

One of the tips he gives to bloggers who are starting out is to get a post up every single day for 90 days. According to him, and I have read this elsewhere too, when you get a post up every single day for a sustained period of time, you begin to show up on Google’s organic searches and that helps you get in front of new readers on a regular basis. I love this advise as a blogger, and I love it even more as a writer. As we know, practice gets us writing better!

quote-Jodi-Picoult-you-might-not-write-well-every-day-98065

But coming back to blogging, Drew says, after this 90 day period, it’s okay to slow down. I love this piece of advice as I have been trying to work on two blogs simultaneously and just doing really poorly on that front. I can’t even get one article up every alternate day as it still means writing every single day – but on alternate topics. So I was kind of letting it slip away. Then Drew gave me this piece of advise and I suddenly feel like I am on top of this blogging thing. So my plan is to work on this blog of mine for the first 90 days and then work on the other one.

I think it will help to stay focused and strong on this activity and enable me to build an interactive and supportive writing community.

If you want to know more about what Drew has to tell newbie bloggers, check him out at http://www.drewiaconis.com/blogging-tips-and-tricks/. Personally I find, he says a lot of stuff that makes sense, and if you are trying to get your blog on track: whether it is a personal passion project or a serious marketing thing you seek to do, you are sure to find stuff here that you can use.

~ Bharti Athray

Featured Image source: http://ohbalto.com/hoffman/