Searching for inspiration

There is a problem that I assume plagues more writers than just myself. The lack of things about which to write.

As a blogger I maintain multiple blogs online, or at least I attempt to, and it can be difficult at times to find the ideas on which to build a piece of writing for them all. Even the ones that have a defined topic can prove difficult at times to write anything simply because the ideas are not there for what could be written on that subject.

It is a problem for which I must find a solution if I am going to continue to call myself a writer of any kind, and so, with that in mind, I offer up my ideas for idea generation on any topic at any time and invite my readers to share their own methods in comments or link-backs.

Ideas on demand

Suppose you need to write a brief article on a set subject matter. Since I am a blogger we will go with a blog post. This post will need to certain criteria if you want it to be read, and that is the goal of writing blog posts, is to have them read. So, it must:

  • Be brief. The Internet is filled with short attention spans and with smaller internet ready devices comes a smaller attention span. People want to be told what they need to know as succinctly as possible. Anything over 500 words is too long, but be wary of having posts that look more like a Twitter post than a blog post.
  • Look around. Writers come up with ideas form a wide range of sources. Local newspapers might have items of interest to  wider audience, or might spark ideas for a article that would. Perhaps the headline of the local newspaper is about a shooting that occurred in a local neighborhood? Articles could be created that deal with the rise of violence in small towns, the need for a home security system even in rural areas,. the response time of police in some areas. Each of these will mean some level of research that might spark more ideas.
  • Research. No matter what idea you have selected, you need to do some level of research on it. Visit a search engine and run a search on the narrowest definition of your idea you can distill it down to. If you want to know more about birds in your area, try a search for "birds city state" For specific birds replace the 'birds' with the species that interests you. For example "Hummingbirds mycity mystate"
  • Ideas from nothing. It is all well and good to say grab and idea and research it, but I know all too well that sometimes, even when you have topics, you can fail at generating an ides. You need something to spark an idea when there is no spark and your kindling is wet driftwood. 
    • Start with a verb. Anything that comes to mind. The pen on your desk, a coffee mug, anything you can ask questions about and find answers to those questions.
    • Ask yourself:
      • What is that?
      • Where did it come from?
      • Why is it here?
      • What use does it serve?
      • How could it be made better?
      • Is there anything new and improved out that is worth telling people about?
    •  Once you have a question that you find interesting enough you want to know the answer to it, start researching to find the answer.
    • If you are interested, then odds someone else will be as well. Take your question and the answer you found for it and write an article that asks the question, then answers it. Add in some details about the item and maybe a prod to your reader to coax them to ask even more questions, just be certain you fully answer the question you posed that they read your article for
 By the time you have fully answered whatever question you asked, you should have a blog post worth of material, probably more than a blog post worth.

Are Writing Contests Good for Critiques?

There is a point in the writing process when we all want to know just what others think about our work, and like so many others, the writer turns to contests that judge writing and award accolades or prizes for the best of the entries. Is this actually a good way to get some feedback on your writing? I don't think so. Writing contests are about entering the best that you have to offer, so that you can win. It is nice, and I know of a few contests that will provide a professional critique for entrants, but as a general rule, the best way to hone your writing skills is to join a writing group and get group criticism on your story. Even if you can not make it to a group in your area, there are plenty of them online that you might choose from. Do a search for sites using "writing critique" as the keywords and you are going to find a long list of websites that provide peer-to-peer writing critiques, often in exchange for providing a set amount of your own critique service to fellow group members.


Do you use Wikipedia? Did you try to visit your favorite information sites today only to discover that some sites could be censored by SOPA?

The internet would be a bleak place if we tried to surf to sites only to be blocked from viewing them - because we are in America!

DO NOT let the government tell you what the Internet is. Educate yourself about SOPA and find out why so many sites like Google, Wikipedia, Reddit, Wordpress, Namecheap, Archive,org and many many others feel that SOPA is not the way to stop online piracy.

Chemical M&A Trends for 2011

Financial freedom is something that we all want. The ability to get the things we need without any concern that the cost will cause us financial hardship. As we age we think more and more of the future and what our individual investments will mean for our future financial security.

There are many ways one can seek to secure their own financial freedom, and in this day when everything around us relies on the advances of science chemical mergers and acquisitions is one area that might warrant more attention. Companies such as the Valence Group specialize in chemical investment banking and have made themselves experts in the specialized areas of chemical M&A advising.

Lower investments in the middle-market level, those that deal in values under $100 million, are showing a better stability in the uncertain economy than larger mergers and acquisitions. The future for chemical M&A is growing, however, and it is anticipated that 2011 has the potential to be strong.

After 2008 and 2009 the market wavered, with buyers returning in 2010 to secure small and mid-sized investments in chemical mergers and acquisitions in what could be a reemergence of the market and a hoped for renewed stability in the economy.

It is not anticipated for the chemical M&A markets to reach per-recession levels in 2011, but there is definite hope for some marked improvement in the markets this year. One slow down in the market right now is in uncertainty of those who have market shares on rather or not they want to sell in this still low market, but even with the investors holding on for better times it seems like the chemicals M&A markets are going to be seeing a steady improvement in active trading in 2011 and beyond.

What does it take for writing to pay the bills?

While every writer dreams of the day their writing will pay all of their bills, most writers live paycheck to paycheck and search for that next writing piece that might put them ahead enough to make ends meet completely.

So, how do you know when the writing is paying the bills? You calculate what your average monthly bills are for three months in a row, then subtract that from how much you have made from your writing in the same time span. If your writing income minus your bills leaves you in positive numbers, then you are starting to do good. If you have a significant amount more from writing than you are paying in bills one of two things may have happened: you might be doing really good, or you might have forgot a bill (you remembered the mortgage payment, right? Cost of food?)

Ideally you want your writing to consecutively pay the bills month after month with some left over for one to three years before you start to think about quitting your day job to write full time. And then you should have enough set aside to live at your current standard of living for at least one to three years after you have quit your day  job just in case your writing hits a hard bottom after you start doing it full-time.

So, what does it take? Hard work, and a little-- no, a lot of luck combined with good planning for when is the right time to test your wings. It is always better to glide down slowly than to fall, and with luck you will take off and fly.

Nothing is new anymore

It seems like everything you can think up, someone has already considered it somewhere in some way. Today I had thought that I had come up with a wonderfully unique creation for a character that would be unique to the world I had created it for. I even drew up what it would look like and gave it a name that seemed logical.

It was apparently very logical because a search online showed the name in use for the same creation I had dreamed up. I had never heard of any such creatures before, but they were so easy to imagine that it turned out I was not the first to imagine them.

Very frustrating when that happens. What seems like a wonderfully great idea is dashed almost to pieces because it is discovered to not be as new and unique as it had seemed when it was borne out of a conversation. Makes me wonder if there really are any new ideas out there after all.

World View, or Local view? Which is better in SEO?

In the world of online marketing we really do need to think of it as being targeted at the world. Sometimes, however, we want to narrow the focus from a world view to a more localized view of things. This can be the case when we need to target a specific region for a local business, or we want to expand an already global reach to cover a more focused area that has gone, for some reason, under served.

When we attempt to focus on a smaller region, we want to be sure that our online marketing efforts will be targeted to the specific location we want our site or products to be focused. For example, if we are looking to market things in the middle East, then we will want to be sure that the Middle Eastern search engine marketing firm we select for the task understands the search trends and needs of the people in that area.

Every region has its own specific needs and trends, and having someone that knows what those are is vital to the success of any campaign. If you are trying to run a pay per click campaign, known as PPC, then you want to make sure that you have a firm that understands middle eastern ppc management to get the most for your spending.

If your campaign is not using the best possible search terms for the area in which you are targeting, then you are losing time, money and potential customers. That is why it is vital to know the strengths and weaknesses of any firm you work with, rather you need a middle eastern search engine optimization firm or someone that specializes in the marketing of gizmos to single housewives. Use the right company for your marketing needs and your PPC or SEO campaigns will show far more return on your investments.

Uncharted: The Fourth Labyrinth - Mainstream Fanfiction

I am reading a book that I picked up from Amazon- Uncharted: The Fourth Labyrinth by Christopher Golden. This is an official novel for the adventure game by Naughty Dog that features treasure hunter Nathan Drake in adventures to find lost treasures.

I have to admit that I am often a little uneasy about getting books that are based on games or TV shows, since it seems less like a book and more like authorized fan fiction to me. I am enough of an addict of the Uncharted games, and far enough behind in my reading, that I am willing to give the book a chance though. I'm not yet far enough into it to make a decision on if it is a good book or not, but so far it has not left me feeling I MUST keep reading it. I am easily setting my Kindle down and doing other things, which I do not think I should be able to do if it were a really great story - so, it has a balance right now in the early parts of the story of still holding enough of my interest that I keep going back to it, but not so absorbing that can not set it aside when I need to do something else.

Uncharted: The Fourth Labyrinth
 The story follows Nathan Drake as he goes to help an old friend, Victor "Sully" Sullivan, after one of Sully's friends is murdered. The trail leads to Egypt and Greece in search of three labyrinths that lead them to clues about a fourth lost labyrinth that holds within it the key to unmatched treasure.

Preparing to face 2012

It is time to make those New Year resolutions once again, and what better place for a writer to start than with resolutions about writing? I am no different from anyone in that I make resolutions that I have high hopes for and then slowly each of them starts to flicker and fall to the back of the list of priorities until I forget about them entirely.

This year I have two simple resolutions. One, to live a healthier and fuller life in 2012 than I have lived in many years before it. And two, to make my work as a writer start paying the bills as it had done before the economic crash and my own series of life upheavals in 2008 and afterward.

Streamling my winter coat wardrobe

Guest post written by Hannah Vincent

I've collected so many winter coats over the years for different occasions. It's so large that I'm running out of room for them in my hall closet, so I want to make sure that I'm actually holding onto just the coats that I wear on a regular basis. I have a couple of different coats for different functions and I want some coats that work for multiple things.
As you can probably guess, I really love buying winter coats because once you bundle up, that's almost the only thing that people can notice about your clothing. Well, I looked online with my Clear Internet Seattle to see if I could find a really cute, tailored coat that will also keep me extremely warm.
I have some really unattractive but warm coats that I would prefer to get rid of, so I did some online winter coat buying to find a coat for all cold purposes. I did track down a really cute tailored coat that has a thin but very warm winter lining in it that's removable. That's basically exactly what I was looking for. So I was able to get rid of three of my coats from my closet and donate them to charity.

Writing Resolutions

So, if I am not going to make any resolutions that this is the year I will be published, what will I make as a resolution?

I will post something to at least one of my blogs every day throughout 2012.

I will spend at least half an hour discussing stories with my co-writers a few days a week.

I will work on at least one good article a month for two to three of my websites.

Not the most grand of resolutions, but ones that I am hoping I will be able to keep to longer than my diet resolution.

What resolutions do you have for writing in 2012?

No more "getting published this year" resolutions

With the new year fast approaching, it is time to start thinking about resolutions. One that I have had on my agenda for the past --- I don't know how many years, is that this will be the year I am published. "This" of course changes for the current year. While I might not yet have a novel under my belt, or even a article or twenty in magazines, I consider myself a successful writer because my mom considered me to be one.

My writing helped pay the bills when things got tight for us, and today it is still helping to pay the bills - for three different houses as of the time I am writing this. So, yes, while I might not be an author in the sense of having a novel to show off, I am a successful writer in the most important of senses: my writing makes a difference. It keeps people fed and warm and able to go from one month to the next. What more could a writer ask of their writing?

I don't need a resolution that I will be published this year, because my writing has already been a success in all the ways that are important to me. My mom and dad saw it as a success and I am able to use the money I make writing to help those I love when they need it the most.

The Internet , The Law and Writers

Today it is almost vital for a business to have some kind of e-commerce aspect to it, and that is just as true for writers. Rather you have chosen to share just a few short stories via download from your website, or you are publishing all of your novels online, you need to know a little about the online world of e-commerce law and what technology and the law mean to you.

One of the places that a writer is most likely to encounter issues with technology law is in the case of creating literature that accompanies software or other technology. Such instances would likely be covered by a non-disclosure agreement, which is intended to protect the hard work of a person when they share their information with someone else and there is concern that the work might be shared with third parties.

Another aspect that writers are far too familiar with is copyright infringement. In today's world, where information can be world wide at the click of a mouse, it is important to know something about international technology law especially as it pertains to your particular markets for writing.

While the Berne Convention offers copyright protection in most countries, it is still vital for a writer to understand exactly what that means and when it is not enough. If in doubt, and you fear you might have an issue with your intellectual property being adequately protected, then you should consult a lawyer that is well versed in copyright law and intellectual property protection.

Nothing can protect your work one hundred percent, at least nothing short of locking it up in a safe and never letting anyone see it until the day you burn it. If you want to share your creative efforts with the world, then there is the chance that you are going to find that someone else has decided they want to try to use your created content for their own purposes, most likely monetary gains of their own. When that happens you will need to know that you have all of the necessary protections to safeguard your intellectual property.

It is important to note that you do not need to rush out and get a copyright for every blog post you make, or every article you write, not even for every novel you write. You simply should familiarize yourself with the laws so that if you do come across a situation where you need something other than the instant copyright afforded by the Berne convention, you know what you need and why you need it.