Master keywords, master money, find an online course and get more done

by simon on February 21, 2008

Be off with you…. today I’d like to send you elsewhere for enlightenment and instruction on the important issues of keywords, courses, money and time.

But before you go, my vote count over in the left hand column (‘My favourite writing style is…’) has been stuck on 248 all week and has finally got to 249. Once it’s over 250, I’ll do a round-up and start a new poll. So, if you haven’t voted yet, now’s your last chance.

Crack keywords
Brian Clark at Copyblogger has a series of posts on the importance of keyword research when creating online content.

Blogs are famous for ranking well in search engines thanks to their structure and frequently-updated content, but if you don’t use the words people are actually interested in and actively searching for, you’re missing a lot of traffic.

Keyword Research for Bloggers: A Comprehensive Guide is an enlightening and practical introduction to the subject, so if you have a blog, or have plans to blog, it’s well worth a read. (It’s long though, at nearly 8,000 words, so set some time aside.)

Get serious about finance
John Scalzi on his blog Whatever has some highly useful advice specifically for writers on the tricky subject of money. His post Unasked-For Advice to New Writers About Money includes such sage advice as “prepare to be broke”; “don’t quit your day job”; and “writing is a business. Act like it”.

Why am I offering this entirely unsolicited advice about money to new writers? Because it very often appears to me that regardless of how smart and clever and interesting and fun my fellow writers are on every other imaginable subject, when it comes to money — and specifically their own money — writers have as much sense as chimps on crack.

Be more productive
Lifehacker has a piece on how to get more done each day, which is aimed at just about anyone but which has advice relevant to anyone with a writing task to get done. The post on the Top 10 Smart and Lazy Ways to Save Your Workday inlcudes advice on how to avoid distractions, create motivating deadlines for yourself, and jump-start creativity.

Block out distractions and set a timer.
When your brain is frozen in a solid block of paralyzed procrastination around a task and you’re letting yourself get carried away by distractions like email and instant messenger, it’s time to take out the big guns. Turn off your email and IM client, grab a kitchen timer, set it for 10 minutes, and work until the beep. Then, take a break. Wash, rinse, and repeat. I swear by this technique, which got me through writing 400 pages of the Lifehacker book when all I wanted to do was crawl under the bed and hide.

Take an online course

There are links to 50 online writing courses listed at

Whether you want to learn how to write for business or just brush up on grammar, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for. We’ve compiled more than 50 of these classes, and they’re open for anyone to take.

Do you find these useful, or not? Please let me know.

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