Writing for the Marketplace: How to Keep It Fresh
Freshly picked oranges are an easy sell. Juicy, colorful, firm and appealing — and they last a while. You can squeeze them, peel them and eat them immediately, or chill them for later. You can even add other fruits or combine them with other foods. What’s difficult about selling oranges is picking them off the higher branches.
Selling oranges is not at all like selling your words.
Here are some strategies for getting those words on paper, and one of the best ways to assure that each harvest will be a good one.
Don’t Chase the Easy
Give up the delusion that being a wordsmith for hire should be easy. It’s work like any other honest endeavor. Becoming a good blog writer, churning out meaningful, sensible copy on a daily basis, is work with a capital W. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Because it is hard work, strive to get enough sleep, to exercise your mind and body in beneficial ways, and to stay healthy. Those words need the proper “soil” to develop into the quirky, irreverent, plucky, snarky, pithy, true, inspiring, informative and pertinent fruits that readers expect.
Find your own Rhythm. Dance to It.
Make outlines if that works for you. Sit down in front of the computer only when a deadline looms if that is more your style. But, be honest about what really works for you. Your grade doesn’t depend on conforming to someone else’s idea of “effective writing habits.” Neither does your pay scale. Yes, we have all moved beyond that!
Become Yoda. There is no Try. There is only Do.
Instead of agonizing over what it is you must do, sit down and write. Begin writing, and the rest will come. Rewrite; move those paragraphs around. Strike out words. Erase whole sentences. Start and restart. Crumple that virtual page as many times as you need to. But. Start. Writing. Before you know it, the entire piece will be finished. It may not be an award-winning post, but chances are someone else will find it interesting, juicy, colorful, appealing and worth a read.
Enough’s Enough. Know When to Quit!
The three-phase method of teaching does not work for writers. It is not usually necessary to “tell them what you’re going to say; to say it, and then to tell them what you’ve said.” Simply tell the story. Tell it in the best, most succinct and most engaging way you can. Back it up with facts if you need to. Add some descriptive personality if you want to. Focus on the message, not on the package, and present it tied together with a simple bow, not wrapped in layers of distracting paper and ribbon.
Keep at It!
Established trees produce more fruit. Each succeeding harvest seems a little easier. Selling words may be exactly like selling oranges, after all.
With a desktop and a mind equally cluttered with unrelated snippets of information, Adrienne C relishes her freelancing life as a writer of content and a teller of tales. When not writing, you’ll likely find her reading other people’s blogs and historical fiction, or indulging her gypsy spirit.