Musings & More

Promoting Yourself As A Freelance Writer

By: Marlene Affeld

working-690680__180To succeed as a freelance writer, it is important to implement methods of self-promotion. Article writing, signatures, blogs, guest blog posts, and forum posts are an excellent way to get more leads and writing assignments.

Article Writing

Article writing presents a double challenge. It is not just enough to get published. You have written a well-crafted article; now you must find viewers to access and read your words. Writing interesting posts that grab the reader’s attention provides an opportunity for you to create a steady stream of income from your blog, offering another sound reason to engage in article marketing.

To increase your chances of attracting and keeping viewers, set up a blog on your favorite topic. Write about the things you enjoy and find most fascinating. There is nothing more boring than trying to turn out well-crafted prose on a subject that does not interest you. Writing multiple articles on the same topic provides the opportunity to link your articles to other relevant articles you have written on the topic. Always set up the link to open in new windows or tab, so visitors are not quick to leave your blog. It isn’t necessary to always write a long blog post. Write 50-to-100 word descriptions and entice visitors to click on the enclosed link to your original article.

Forum Posting

When your niche topic blog has at least ten articles linked, you are ready to find some forums that relate to your topic where you will be able to make posts with a post signature that includes your blog or website link. Get involved in the discussions, ask and answer questions. If you can provide an answer through one of your articles, you can include the link or suggest that the answer is available through the link in your bio or signature. Do not spam. Always make sure your links are relevant to the discussion.

Signatures

Set up a simple signature to attach to your e-mails that provide an abbreviated bio and a link to your blog.

Guest Posts

computer-1149148__180Find blogs in your niche that solicit guest posts. Be a welcome guest and always follows the rules of guest posting. Guest posting is an excellent way to expose your work to viewers that would have never otherwise seen your articles. Most blogs allow the author of the post to include one or two links to their website or blog.

Track Your Visitors

Remember to keep track of where your visitors come from to see where to best concentrate your efforts. The majority of reputable web host companies provide software for log analysis.

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Sage Travel Advice

By: Marlene Affeld

Always Travel With A Fully Charged Cell Phone

backpack-1149544__180Invest in a portable solar charger to ensure a charge should electrical power be unavailable. Make sure you have entered your ICE (In Case Of Emergency) numbers into your contacts and that they are clearly marked.

Clear you cache and browser history from your laptop, cellphone, and tablet prior to traveling to remove personal photos, data or information. Be sure to eliminate any phone contacts that could be stolen and then made targets of phishing or fraud scams.

Back up all your electronic devices and store information on the cloud before you set off on your trip. That way if your laptop or cellphone are stolen, you will still have access to all your valuable data.

When traveling internationally you may wish to set you phone to a constant state of “flight” mode to avoid roaming charges. However, it is important to have the phone on your person should communication beyond an e-mail become necessary. If you plan to travel within one country for an extended period, consider purchasing a local SIM card. Make sure to save the numbers and address of your hotel and your embassy to your mobile device.

Do not leave your electronic mobile devices unattended or stored in checked luggage. Cell phones and other GSM devices all have an internal removable SIM card. If stolen, someone can rack up unauthorized calls on your account.

When traveling to a foreign destination, it is unrealistic to have an expectation of privacy. A great many countries do not afford the same privacy protection for electronic communication as is available in the United States. Be aware that government or local entities may intercept your e-mails, phone conversations, and Internet browsing history.

Leave Contact Information With Others

UnknownMake a copy of your itinerary, important phone numbers, and passport and leave it with a family member or friend that can quickly access information for you if your documents are lost or stolen when traveling.

Always leave a copy of your travel itinerary with a responsible person you trust. Do not underestimate the importance of letting someone at home know how to reach you in an emergency. Be sure to leave the name, address and telephone number of your hotel, information about methods of transport and contact numbers as well as the names and contact information for anyone you plan to meet with on your journey. If a situation erupts, you will have someone in place acting on your behalf to assist or attempt to locate you.

Pay Attention To Travel Advisories

Be cautious. You are solely responsible for your travel decisions. Do the research to find out current cautions and concerns in the countries you plan to visit. Review local laws and cultures, entry and exit requirements, climate, and health concerns. Acquaint yourself with travel information and updates on current situations that may affect your safety, health or ability to leave the country in an emergency.

Learn A Few Phrases In The Local Language

Before visiting a country, be courteous and learn a few basic phrases of the language so that you can ask for directions, seek out a public restroom, and order food.

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Getting Started As A Travel Writer

Are you one of those individuals who constantly thinks about yourlast grand adventure or is mentally planning their next “escape?”

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By: Marlene Affeld

Do you dream of becoming a travel writer, jaunting about internationally with a notebook, camera, and a laptop? Do you want to visit exotic ports-of-call and be paid for writing about your experiences? You may say that sounds like a fantasy from a storybook, exciting, intriguing, but too good to be true.

You can do it! Put the days of being tied to a cubicle behind you. More and more publications allow writers to telecommute, providing an opportunity to work wherever.

Don’t get me wrong! Travel writing requires effort and commitment. You will need to be flexible, self-motivated, deadline-driven, and willing to step outside your comfort zone at short notice.

Travel writing is hard work for low pay, and highly competitive unless you are good enough to stand “head-and-shoulders” above a pack of other eager journalists. A great many people do make a good living as travel writers. However, they are a small minority. Many are full-time travelers, part-time writers, working on travel assignments on the side. Like me, others are senior citizens, writing to supplement a pension or social security check.

Don’t decide to get into travel writing for the money. It just isn’t there. If you have a passion and love for travel and sharing your experiences with others, travel writing can be a significant second income and a lot of fun. Do it for the fun; not the money. If you don’t have “deep pockets,” be prepared to manage on a very limited budget – you will not earn much starting out and traveling when money is tight can take a bit of the fun out of the experience.

Prerequisites Of A Travel Writer

Do you have impeccable grammar? Is English your native language? Do you demonstrate fluency in another language? What experience, knowledge or skill set do you bring to the table? If you love to travel and travel regularly, you are already off to a good start.

Patience and perseverance are required. If not put off, and roving the world remains your goal, here are a few tips to help fund your journey through travel writing.

Write And Write Some More

Working as a travel writer, it’s your job is to ferret out intriguing destinations and tell a story in an engaging manner to pique the reader’s imagination; make them dream of traveling where you have gone. That’s heady stuff; another good reason to wake up in the morning put on the coffee pot and write.

You need to be writing constantly, not just for potential publication, but to hone and polish your word weaving skills. Write, then, write some more, always being sure that it is your original work. Use a grammar, spelling and plagiarism checker on each and every article. Get in the habit of reading your words out loud. You will find that you will discover errors or repetitive phrasing that your eye missed.

Write Your Passion

If you are not intrigued by the subject matter, it will be reflected in your writing. Who wants to research and write about something that bores you to tears? Write about your hobbies, children, your passion for organic gardening, or tips on training your puppy. It doesn’t matter what you write about, just make sure that it is something that your find engaging so your readers will too. Take the subjects that intrigue you and incorporate them into your travel writing.

Find a niche that appeals to your passion and become knowledge about the subject matter, then share your quest with readers.

Create Multiple Streams Of Income

Search out sites that will accept your submissions on a regular basis. The pay may not be the greatest, but if it’s a dependable source of revenue, don’t turn down the opportunity. Attempt to establish a relationship with several clients, so if one opportunity dries up, you will still have others that you can count on to accept your submissions for pay. As you improve your skills and build your writing portfolio, lower paying gigs are replaced with others that reflect the increased value of your work.

Here are a few sites that pay writers for submissions. Be sure to acquaint yourself with each website to familiarize yourself with their style and the type of articles they seek before submitting a pitch or query.

Create A Writer’s Portfolio

Create your own website to showcase your writing talents.

Apply For Online Writing Jobs

Matador Network

Matador accepts submissions. Authors are paid $40 upon publication. Visit their site for submission guidelines. Matador is a great place to showcase your talent.

Wanderlust

Wanderlust.co.uk advises, “We rarely publish narrative travel features on this site, but we do consider interesting blogs, inspirational round-ups, guides and advice pieces. Please ensure that you are familiar with the site, our style, and our audience. To suggest an idea, please email us at website@wanderlust.co.uk.”

Check out Travelicious.world – read other writer’s unique stories and submit your own.

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Botswana Beckons

By: Marlene Affeld

As an adventure travel writer, I facilitate my journeys working as a house sitter or property manager in lovely locations around the world. To date, my caretaking assignments have included managing a hunting lodge in Montana, a bed and breakfast inn on the Island of Kauai, a condo in Buenos Aires, a pastoral farm in Michigan, a mountain cabin in Canada, and a remote jungle property in the shadow of the volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii.

giraffe-620538_960_720I recently discovered an incredible opportunity, a three month assignment as a caretaker/property manager for a remote estate located within 25-miles (40-km) of Maun, Botswana. Although my life’s journey has included time in Africa, I have never visited Botswana. I want this job!

south-africa-163052_960_720Research reveals an amazing country of spectacular beauty, gracious welcoming residents, an abundance of wildlife, diverse recreational opportunities, and a pleasing climate: the perfect writer’s retreat. What a fantasy! Why not make it a reality?

The position requires a couple. I am fortunate. A long-time friend with stellar skills, extensive employee management experience, and an unquenchable desire to pursue the next “grand adventure” stands committed to being the other half of a fabulous team. Confident I and my partner have all the experience and qualifications required for the assignment and the position advertised aligns with our expertise and interests, I am going to apply: decision made.

800px-Botswana_MapA Bit About Botswana

A former British protectorate, Botswana is a landlocked country within Southern Africa. Bordered by Zambia to the north, Zimbabwe to the northeast, Namibia to the West, and South Africa to the South, Botswana gained independence in 1966.

UnknownOctober 20, 2014, the Washington Post noted, “ Botswana has a reputation for political stability, democracy, sound economic management and good governance.”

In another a report published August 5, 2016, BBC News reports, “Botswana, one of Africa’s most stable countries, is the continent’s longest continuous multi-party democracy. It is relatively free of corruption and has a good human rights record. Sparsely populated, Botswana protects some of Africa’s largest areas of wilderness. Safari-based tourism – tightly controlled and often upmarket – is an important source of income. Botswana is the world’s largest producer of diamonds and the trade has transformed it into a middle-income nation.”

south-africa-163059_960_720For more than a century, Botswana acted as a mecca for big game hunters from all over the world. Two major regions were of note when hunting in Botswana; the Kalahari Desert designated the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, and the Okavango Delta; known as “The Last Eden”.

Although, one of the largest inland deltas on the planet, rather than following a relentless course to the sea, the Okavango flows to the Kalahari Desert and simply disappears.

nature-reserve-375609__180The Okavango Delta

The unique habitat in the Maun region of Botswana is characterized by alternating wet and dry areas that vary with the season, providing a home to an uncountable number of species of game animals including massive herds of Cape buffalo, thousands of elephants, lion, wildebeest, giraffe, leopard, hippos, zebra, cheetah, and crocodiles. The local terrain is open and unfenced.

imagesOkavangodelta.com notes, “The 1000th site to be inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2014, the Okavango Delta is an important wildlife area protected by both the Moremi Game Reserve, on its eastern edge, and the numerous wildlife concessions within Ngamiland.”

Aerial view of Okavango Delta's permanent floodplains, Botswana
Aerial view of Okavango Delta’s permanent floodplains, Botswana

OkavangoDelta.com advises, “Although the very nature of the Okavango Delta makes self drive safaris difficult, these still offer an excellent way for the independently minded traveller to see the delta. Camping is available not only within the Moremi Game Reserve, but also on some of the surrounding concessions. Traditional delta boating activities are available for those who wish to venture deeper into the delta.”

Unknown-2Big game hunting is banned in Botswana for several species. I would look forward to the prospect of a photographic safari  as well as the wildlife viewing opportunities of the estate.

Weather And More

SafariBookings.com advises, “The Okavango Delta, Moremi and Chobe are Botswana’s most popular parks. The best time to visit them is from May to September, during the dry season and winter, resulting in more moderate temperatures. In addition, the Okavango is flooded from June to October.”

africa-1465641_960_720If plans proceed as hoped, my partner and I will be in residence from May 1 to August 1, 2018; the ideal time. I am excited.

An “Out Of Africa” Experience

Our proposed destination, overlooking the Okavango Delta, is a spacious 3-bedroom thatched home, surrounded by landscaped tropical gardens, a banana plantation and a lemon grove. The view from the main house veranda is of a large lagoon surrounded by mango groves. There is a separate guesthouse and a houseboat with a cabin.

Unknown-3The client provides an estate manager, housekeeper, and a gardener. The responsibilities of my partner and I would be to manage the staff and provide security for the estate. The estate owner advises there are no animals apart from the wild ones.

african-lion-951779_960_720The position advertised is an amazing “Out of Africa” experience. My partner and I will take great pride and pleasure in maintaining the very high maintenance and security standards established by the estate owner. If blessed with this “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity, the owner’s can rest confident, knowing we will meticulously care for and guard the estate as if it were our own.

With high hopes the estate owner will respond favorably to our application, I will keep you updated as this amazing adventure proceeds. Please wish me luck!

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Avoiding Jet Lag Blues

UnknownIf you want to feel less stress on your next long trip, quit grumbling. Once we hand the agent our boarding pass and board the flight, we can do nothing to obtain more comfortable seating, reduce the length of the trip, eliminate turbulence, delays, or lost luggage. What we can do, however, is take care of our body so that we minimize the effect of the flight.

A speedy recovery from a plane flight is dependent on the way we approach the flight itself and the steps we take to restore our energy and “decompress” after we reach our destination.

With a bit of planning, you will not experience jet lag, or if you do feel somewhat drained after flying, you will recover quickly. If ignored, the effects of jet lag can hang on for days, and it may take your body’s internal clock considerable time to reset so you once again feel normal.

Slow Down

Give yourself plenty of time to get to the airport, and then to the gate. Allow for delays at check-in and security. If you are running late and racing for the gate, you begin your trip stressed, rather than relaxed. Do yourself a favor by scheduling your time to allow a few minutes to unwind and compose yourself before boarding.

Hydrate

Unknown-1The cabin of an aircraft is an especially dry environment, and dehydration contributes to jet lag. Increase your fluid intake for 24-to-48 hours before your flight and drink lots of water during the flight. To make sure you have access to plenty of liquids during flight, pick up a couple of bottles of water or juice after you clear security. It is illegal to take liquids through security checkpoints, but you can purchase what you need to stay well hydrated during the flight from vendors along the concourse. Try to avoid excessive caffeine by avoiding coffee, tea and sodas. These products have a diuretic effect, which accelerates dehydration. Avoid alcohol for the same reason. Who wants to arrive with a hangover?

Continue drinking lots of water once you land to replenish body fluids lost in the dry atmosphere of the flight. The longer the flight, the more dehydrated you are likely to be.

Move About In-Flight

Always obey the seat belt signs and it is a good idea to stay buckled up when seated, however, when it is safe to be up and move about the cabin, do so. Try to stretch, walk a bit, bend and flex your muscles to get the circulation moving in your legs and feet. If you have a change of planes or a stopover during your flight, take advantage of the time to walk and stretch your legs or do some exercise in place. A bit of exercise will help offset stiff muscles and aching joints, which can extend your recovery time from the effects of the flight.

Keep Your Mind Occupied

Watch the inflight movie, read a good book, take a nap, sip a glass of wine while reading the in-flight magazine or visit with your seatmate. The point is to keep your mind occupied. Boredom makes whatever the length of the flight, seem like an eternity. If your brain is engaged, time flies.

Wear Comfortable Clothing

Avoid wearing restrictive clothing. You will want to be able to move freely, appear fashionable and appropriately dressed for the culture and climate of your destination, while feeling comfortable in your garments. Wear well fitting, comfortable, flat soles shoes. You may have to run to catch a flight and remember feet swell when flying. If swollen feet are an issue, consider packing a pair or two of compression socks in your carry-on.

Be Aware Of Your Arrival Time

If you are traveling to a different time zone, beware of your departure and arrival time. If you are scheduled to arrive at your destination late in the day, try to avoid sleeping on the plane so that you are tired when you arrive and ready for a night’s rest. If you are catching the “red eye” or a night flight, and arriving early in the AM, attempt to sleep on the plane so you will arrive rested and refreshed.

Do not take over-the-counter or prescription sleeping pills except on the advice of your healthcare provider. If you do take medication, take with plenty of water and make sure to take it at a time that allows enough time for the medication to wear off for you to be alert at landing. You do not want to arrive at your destination with a medication-induced headache or fighting the “mind-numbing” effects of sleep medication.

If you arrive in the morning, indulge in caffeine and avoid taking a nap in the afternoon. Caffeinated sodas, tea or coffee, will keep you going until evening when you can then go to bed at your normal sleep time. Reversely, avoid caffeine-containing beverages if you arrive in the evening hours so it will not disrupt your typical sleep pattern.

Sleep Suggestions

Unknown-2Set the thermostat to slightly cooler than normal, crawl under the covers and allow time for 8-to-10 hours of sleep on the night of your arrival. Use a sleep mask to block out light. Use earplugs if needed to depress noise, and attempt to go to bed and to get up at the same time your would at home. Use an alarm clock or leave a wake-up call if you are concerned you will oversleep.

Get Some Exercise

The morning after your arrival, incorporate some time for exercise into your morning. Go to the gym, swim in the pool or take a short walk; anything to get you up and moving. Get out in the sunshine, if possible. Lights, sounds and activity will assist in resetting your internal clock. Remember to drink plenty of water or sports drinks to replenish electrolytes.

Arrange A Helpful Schedule

Try to schedule meetings or events at your travel destination based on the time zone from which you depart. As an example, if you live on the West Coast and have to schedule an appointment in an East coast time zone, set the meeting for 1PM or 10AM in your home time zone. That way you will be focused and alert; able to do your best. This is step is especially helpful if you are taking a brief trip with a rapid turn around time.

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Freelance Writers Needed

By: Marlene Affeld

Have you lost your job or just need a bit of extra money to supplement your income? One of the most productive routes is getting paid for writing online content. “Content is the lifeblood of the Internet.” “Content Is King.”

images-4I know, you have heard that all before, but it is true! Freelance writers are in high demand. This trend indicates that the demand will continue for the foreseeable future.

Write about that with which you are familiar. Write for pleasure; without pressure. Pick any subject, share your knowledge and experience with the world and reap the rewards.

Although magazines, newspapers, and other print communications require writers, the competitions are stiffer and work more demanding.

The majority of online editors demand past publishing experience, impeccable grammar, attention to detail and a commitment to meeting deadline. For writer’s just getting started, the quality of online writing does not necessarily have to meet the rigid expectations of print publications. However, remember that your words are a reflection of you and always do your best.

Due to the ever-increasing demand for fresh content on the Internet, a person does not have to be a published perfectionist to make a living online. Webmasters, advertising agencies, and individual clients seek quality writers who can fluidly express the customer’s message using research of the topic and a polished vocabulary. As a writer, it’s your job to research the subject matter and craft an informative and thought provoking article.

There are countless opportunities to generate income writing online content. Opportunities are broken down into two categories: writing for others or writing for yourself.

Writing for yourself may include creating a blog focused on your favorite music, weight loss goals or travels. Find your niche. You will glean income from sales products via affiliate marketing) or through advertising revenue generated by Goggle Adsense or similar online advertising programs.

Have you considered writing an informational e-book and selling your words for a profit? Many new writers find this to be a good source of revenue. However, dependent on the topic and how aggressively your e-book moves, it may take time before you earn a significant income from your word weaving effort.

The quickest way to earn a decent income as a freelance writer is creating engaging copy for others. Website owners rely on freelance writers to provide fresh marketing copy, press releases, product reviews, and blog contributions. The list of potential online employment opportunities is endless.

As you review potential assignments from various employers, you will find that each has a different writing guideline, business policies, and compensation plans. Many sites pay upfront for articles upon acceptance. Others pay upon publication.

In the freelance marketplace, freelance writer pay rate is dependent on the word count, research required and the subject matter of the article.

Clients of freelance writers have diverse policies, style guidelines and compensation plans. Many sites pay an up-front fee upon publication. Pay rate is dependent on the subject and word count. Other websites share the revenue from advertising displayed with your published articles. Some sites pay both.

Check out this handy research and writing tool. You will love it. It is a great way to research thousands of pages to gather information for creating new articles. 

Words Of Worth

If you have a strong command of the English language and are motivated to make money from the comfort of your home, there are a diverse number of websites that pay for submissions. If you live in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, or Australia, work for Words of Worth. The standards are high. Words Of Worth is an excellent place to show off your talents. A writing sample is required.

Writers Domain

Writers Domain, an online marking company, hires writers and editors to produce high-quality content on a wide range of subjects. Work at home writers in the United States, Canada, France and Australia and are encouraged to apply. Follow the guidelines on the website to submit a writing sample.

Rank Pay

Rank Pay Rank Pay advises that if you are a gifted writer with a flair for creative, upbeat copy that can deliver content within defined deadlines, they would like to review your submissions. Writing work is done remotely, and samples are required. Rank Pay pay writers $100 for a 1500 word article that meets their criteria. Go to the website and be sure to follow designated guidelines.

Wine Enthusiast Magazine

Editors at Wine Enthusiast Magazine advise, “Wine Enthusiast Magazine welcomes proposals from freelance writers on subjects that pertain to wine, fine food, and travel. You may also pitch story ideas for Wine Enthusiast Online. Subject matter for the magazine and the website includes global wine region news, particularly controversies and innovations; short profiles and QA; creative food and drink recipes; cool merchandise related to wine, food or travel; etc. Payment: $750-$2,500 for assigned articles; $750-$2,000 for unsolicited articles; and 50 cents per word for website articles.

Wine Frog

Wine Frog is looking for wine experts who work in the field and know how to tell a good story. If you think you have a good idea, send a pitch. Pieces on the site are typically 600-to-1200 words. Pay is based on quality and determined before publication.

Wise Bread

If you have a flair for writing snappy commentary about frugal living or personal finance, Wise Bread is a fine site to showcase your writing talents. Apply as a staff writer or guest blogger.

Writers Weekly

If you have experiences and tips for making a living by writing, Writers Weekly purchases well-crafted articles all year long. Visit the site and review the guidelines.

Our Homes

OurHomes.ca pays $.25 per word for home improvement articles. Visit the site and review previous articles and style before submitting your article.

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Merits Of Freelance Writing

images-1By: Marlene Affeld

Freelance writing offers an ideal method to supplement your income or a full-time vocation that allows you to work from home in your pajamas.

Set your schedule and work anywhere around the world with an Internet Connection. However, to do so, you have to find writing assignments. Let the worldwide web know you are available by showcasing your talents with a personal blog or writer’s website.

Select A Reputable Web Host

You may have heard it before, but choosing the right web host for your a writing site is crucial in establishing a viable online presence. Select a reputable web host that offers sufficient disk space and bandwidth to host all the text, images, video and data that you have on your site, both now and in the future. It is imperative that you have a well-designed site that functions smoothly hosted by a dependable web host that can offer high uptime.

Look for a host that offers, “live” 24/7 technical support and customer service. Glitches happen. The real issue is how quickly the problem is resolved. If your site is down, visitors can’t find you. It pays to read the reviews and to select a web host that offers dependable service as well as online tools to help you manage your site and analyze traffic. Your site it a reflection of your professionalism. You want it to be clean, crisp and uncluttered, easy to navigate and a glowing reflection of your writing abilities and quality services.

Avoid free web hosting sites. Your site will be bombarded with advertisements you can’t control. These busy ads distract from the professionalism of your site. Read the reviews. There are several reputable web-hosting companies that offer dependable service for a low-cost monthly fee. Scrutinize the hosting agreement carefully to avoid hidden fees or to avoid paying for e-commerce tools and services you do not need. Look for a host that offers a plan that allows you to add additional space or services as your traffic increases and your site develops.

An A+ Effort

Remember the adage, “Content Is King” when writing articles and posts for your blog or website. Craft titles that grab the readers attention followed by relevant, interesting, grammatically correct, and error free content the offers a new insight or perspective that will entice readers to become followers. Throw in a bit of wit or humor to establish your personal style. This is your change to “shine”. Content must be original and never published elsewhere. Never, never, never use spun or scraped copy, thrown together irresponsibly. Never hide text or links in images. Less than your best effort reduces authority and credibility.

Use SEO Tactics

Use your primary keyword in your title and gently sprinkle your keywords throughout your content. Always include a category related to your submission and tags that relate to your unique content before publishing. Make sure that every article you write has a bio link or other acceptable method of communication.

Post At Regular Intervals

Google and the other major search engines compete to offer users the latest updates on the search term they are looking for. If you post at regularly scheduled times, the web crawlers will recognize the pattern and will automatically increase the traffic to your site. Try to post as frequently as possible so that your site is always fresh and up-to-date. When visitors see that your last post was 17 months ago, they assume the content is stale and move on.

Submit Guest Posts

Search for websites and blogs that are seeking fresh content from guest bloggers. Carefully follow the Web master’s submission guides. There are many sites that require content to improve their PR rankings and happily pay for content. A link is included to your site in your author bio. Some sites offer a residual income through revenue sharing while others pay per post.

Use Social Media To Promote Your Content

Social media sites are designed to share intriguing and thought provoking content with friends, family and co-workers. Promote your articles on Twitter, Facebook and a host of other social networks.

Build Backlinks

Building backlinks is one of the most efficient ways to increase traffic to your site.

Submit To Article Directories

Initiate a web search to find reputable article directories in your niche market that rank high on the search engines. When sites with a high PR post your story, which includes the bio link to your site, you will soon see an impressive increase in traffic.

Create A Mailing List

Develop an opt-in e-mail list of your favorite clients and fans. As long as they have opted-in to receive mail from you, a friendly note is an excellent way to present your latest content and receive additional writing assignments.

Comment

Comment on high-ranking blogs and websites relative to your niche market. Ask thought-provoking questions and stir up some controversy. Request feedback. Respond to comments and start a dialogue. Popular posts receive high traffic and lots of comments. Your comment containing a link to your blog or website will generate additional traffic.

Advertise

Placing ads for your writing services in online free classified directories is another way to generate new writing assignments. Make the ad short and to the point, with a link back to your site. Update your bio frequently to improve your site’s rankings with search engines.

Network

Print up an attractive business card promoting your writing services. Be sure to include an e-mail address and the title of your blog and website along with your name, phone number and any other pertinent contact information. Include a link to your writing site. Network with friends and family. During these lean economic times, be willing to barter or trade. Look for opportunities to offer to write or edit reviews or advertising copy for local businesses in exchange for goods and services. Perhaps your favorite restaurants need their menus revamped, or the folks at the gym could use a new brochure. There are writing opportunities everywhere. Use your imagination. Be creative. That’s what writing is all about.

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An Attitude Adjustment

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By: Marlene Affeld

Attitude is either a positive or negative response to people, ideas, life events or almost anything that impacts your daily life. When you have a positive attitude, life flows smoothly, when you focus on the negative, you receive more of the same.

Do you embrace life and live in an “Attitude of Gratitude” or do you waste a good portion of your day feeling sorry for yourself and counting and recounting your troubles like beads on a rosary?

Stop a moment, grab a pen and paper and write down a list of all the things you have to be grateful for today. Start with the little things like gratitude for the vision that allows you to read these words. As you count your blessings, the list grows longer and longer.

Are you grateful for all your life experiences: good and bad? One of the most difficult spiritual lessons to accept is that everything that occurs in our life happens for a reason. There are no accidents. We create our reality. If you dislike what you have created, begin again. Life is a continuous process of renewal and rebirth. There are lessons learned from every situation. While we can’t always control what happens to us, we can always control our response.

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Affirmations For My Soul’s Journey

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By: Marlene Affeld

Affirmations help us maintain focus, belief and clarity: empowering us with hope and faith that motivates effective action to bring about the positive changes we seek in our daily lives. Affirmations, like all thought, are a form of prayer.

I have the ability to change anything in my life I choose to change.

I speak with confidence and conviction.

I live in “an attitude of gratitude, expressing my heartfelt appreciation and praise for others earnestly and often.

I am congruent and totally committed to my goals; seeing them as already accomplished.

I only seek that of which I can be a loving custodian.

I honor, respect, appreciate, value, mend and maintain whatever or whomever comes into my life.

I respect and love myself: flaws and all. I hold myself, and others in high esteem.

I see myself as the person I want to be: courageous, decisive, healthy, truthful, loyal, fair, prosperous and wise.

My vitality, energy and health increase daily.
I slumber in peace and awake in joy living life with a sense of eager anticipation: knowing the best is yet to come.

I live a life of design rather than reaction. Divine life flows through every cell of my body as I acknowledge that everything in the Universe is sacred.

 

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The Perils Of Procrastination

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By: Marlene Affeld

I frequently find insight, inspiration, magic, and motivation in the words of others. Today, while musing about procrastination and the plethora of chores I must accomplish before the day is over, I found words of merit in a Chinese proverb.

“This one makes a net, this one stands and wishes. Would you like to make a bet which one gets the fishes?”

Do you shelve till tomorrow that which you should do today? I am often guilty of deferring action until a later time when it would be in my interest to “do it” now. However, I avoid work, wishing a task or problem would just “go away.” It seldom does! Avoidance frequently just makes the situation much worse.

We all put off mundane chores when something more important demands our focused energy. A hectic life requires that we prioritize, applying the adage of “first things first”. Prioritizing is not procrastination.

Procrastination is “behavior characterized by needless deferment of action or involvement until a later time or delaying making a decision when such a delay is counterproductive to our best interests”.

A recently published survey reports, “Twenty percent of Americans identify themselves as chronic procrastinators. For this segment of the population, procrastination is a lifestyle, albeit a counterproductive one. They fail to pay their bills on time, they miss appointments and frustrate their friends with their tardiness. They file their income taxes late and leave their Christmas shopping until the last minute. They avoid making decisions. A procrastinator’s maladaptive behavior causes anxiety and stress and often threatens their very lives when they delay seeking medical treatment.”

Individuals indulging in procrastination have a tendency to underperform in almost areas of their lives: professionally, family relationships and health. Struggling with it, repeatedly promising themselves that next time will be different, they vow not to dally and delay; a promise rarely kept.

Procrastination is worrisome when it impedes normal function. We need to address the problem of procrastination by evaluating the consequences of our delaying tactics. Have you lost a job, damaged a friendship, missed a financial opportunity, or damaged your health by “putting off until tomorrow what you should have done today?”

A lot of people use procrastination as a way of coping with the anxiety associated with either starting or finishing a task or action. Granted, we all procrastinate to varying degrees. We tell ourselves, it’s is okay to put off a chore or obligation that is too unpleasant, painful or stressful; we are busy, “too much to do in too little time”. Procrastinators tend to lie to themselves. We manufacture complex excuses, avoiding the unpleasant, difficult, or tedious. We will do it later.

“Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task”. ~ William James

Procrastinators are optimistic about their ability to manage an obligation, keep an appointment or turn work in on deadline: reassuring themselves and others, “don’t worry; everything is under control; I will get it done”.

Therefore, applying this kind of thinking, there is no need to start) As an example, a procrastinator may have a report to prepare for work that is due in six weeks. It will only take a few days, so no need to start today. Procrastinators, wrongly lulled into a false sense of security, allow time to slip away.

At some date, they cross an imaginary marker and realize they are not in control. There just isn’t enough time to do the job they avoided.

At that point, they address the problem, but they are making progress only because they haven’t any other choice. Backs against the wall with no alternative, they get to work.

Progress is made, but freedom lost. Procrastinators rush during the final hours to complete an assignment, telling themselves and anyone else that will listen, they function best “when they are behind the eight ball”. Procrastinators justify the delay, explaining they enjoy the euphoric rush of a pressured deadline. What nonsense!

Procrastinators never learn if they could have done an enhanced job if they had only taken the time needed to finish the task correctly. The report presentation may have been acceptable, but was it their best effort? Because of the delaying tactics, procrastinators will never know.

Procrastination creates confusing mixed feelings: a minor pride of accomplishment, scorn for the employer who doesn’t recognize a sub-standard performance, and an underlying sense of shame and guilt for not doing their very best.

No matter what the scenario, the result is reinforcement. The procrastinator is frequently rewarded positively for poor behavior. “Look – I got the assignment done, no one knows I didn’t give it my best effort.” Consequently, counterproductive, time-sapping patterns are repeated over and over again.

images-3Procrastination extracts a high cost from others as well as oneself. Procrastinators shift the burden of responsibility onto family, friends, and co-workers who quickly become resentful. Research studies report, “Procrastination destroys teamwork and erodes cooperation in the workplace and personal relationships. Procrastination has a high potential for painful consequences leading to feelings of inadequacy, guilt, self-doubt and depression.”

Procrastinators present a greater level of alcohol consumption and excessive use of prescription and illegal drugs. This behavior manifests in generalized problems of self-regulation. The effect of avoidance coping modality underlies procrastination, leading to disengagement and substance abuse.

Procrastination Sabotages Success

Procrastinators experience difficulty seeking therapy, or finding an understanding source of support, due to the stigma and misunderstanding surrounding extreme forms of procrastination. The problem is often mischaracterized simply as a lack of willpower, ambition or just plain laziness.

Research on the physiological roots or cause of procrastination targets the role of the prefrontal cortex area of the human brain. This region of the brain is responsible for brain functions such as attention, creativity, and impulse control; acting as a filter, decreasing distracting stimuli from other areas of the brain.

Low activity or injury to this area of the brain may reduce a person’s ability to filter distracting stimuli, ultimately resulting in a loss of attention, reduced organizational skills, and increased procrastination. This is similar to the prefrontal lobe’s integral role in attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) where under-activation is the common problem.

Recognizing and acknowledging that we do in fact procrastinate and realizing how, and to what degree, it impacts our everyday life, is the first step in reducing its power.

Procrastinators can change their behavior. Keep working on it. You may still procrastinate, but as you consciously decide not to delay you will experience more freedom from stress and gain personal self-satisfaction.

Old habits are hard to break. When you succeed, take the time to savor the victory. Remember how good it feels to act decisively. It will be a helpful boost next time you feel in need of a bit of encouragement.

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