Top Tips To Increase Your Productivity by Beth Ann Erickson

I have a great article today from Beth Ann Erickson of Filbert Publishing. I hope you find it useful.

Top Tips To Increase Your Productivity

By Beth Ann Erickson

Writing is an odd business. Imagine a career solely depending upon pouring your mental output out on paper.

Never mind.

If you’re reading this, you’re intimately familiar with how we writers thoroughly examine life and are compelled to whip out our pens to comment.

However, the time comes in every writer’s life when words don’t flow as easily as other times. It’s during these times that the following tips will become indispensable to triggering a free-flowing stream of ideas.

So without any further intro, here are the techniques I routinely use to get words flowing into my computer….

1.    Focus On Your Project

When I’m writing, my project is tumbling through my mind 24/7. Never leaves, constantly bubbling in the back of my mind.

When I’m shopping for groceries, I allow my characters to “whisper” in my ear. When I’m waiting at the doctor’s office, article ideas tumble through my mind. When I’m waiting in line, a client’s wrinkly lead for their sales letter will magically iron out.

Although writers often appear present and ready to participate in life, in reality I know I’m rarely completely “there” at any one occasion.

Like Walter Mitty, my imagination continually takes me places where I never expected.

And that’s fantastic… as it should be.

2.    Invest In Technology

I know. The Internet can eat up WAY too much time.

However, used properly, this vast web of information can become your best tool in cultivating a thriving writing career.

Where else can you find an answer to a thorny question in the blink of an eye?

It’s a wondrous technology that will allow you to instantly find the full contact information of an expert in any particular field within minutes.

It also has the potential to become the hugest time-sucker of your entire day.

Every writer needs a website. Every writer needs to gather information that will help them earn the kind of income they desire.

However, you don’t need to frequent every discussion group. Forget about reading every zine that flits into your in-box.

Learn to skim.

Glean the information you need, snag the resources that catch your eye, pass on the rest.

But remain connected to your community, even if your connection may seem slim at times. After all, part of becoming a successful writer is to… write. This is non-negotable.

3.    Create A Schedule

Many writers practice their craft first thing in the morning. They’re up at the crack of dawn, chomping at the bit, ready to pour their hearts onto the page.

I’m not like that. In fact, I find myself fortunate if I can get much of anything whatsoever finished first thing in the morning.

My prime writing time begins late morning and extends until around supper time.

Get anything on the page before 9:00AM, and I’m quite positive it would look like gibberish.

I rarely watch television, instead opting for my favorite activity… reading.

Ah, slip a good book my way and it’ll get devoured faster than a bag of Twizzlers. In fact, I just ordered four more books for my collection today. Found a new author I like and got ‘em all. (Don’t mention this latest purchase to my husband…. My bookshelves are already bursting at the seams.)

But here’s my point: Create a schedule that works for you. Don’t try to emulate my life. Don’t take advice that you’re not comfortable with. Make your schedule work for your lifestyle.

But do create a schedule. You’ll get far more work done.

4.    Jealously Guard Productive Time

Forget the kids. Chuck The Drudge Report.

If you’re “in the zone” keep typing. Don’t stop.

Close the door. Bark at anyone who speaks at you. Tell them to eat peanut butter sandwiches for supper.

Right now, your top priority is WRITING.

Those “zone” moments can sometimes flit in and out of the creative process so when one graces you with its presence, do everything you can to nurture its arrival. Keep writing. Let the words flow. Don’t edit. Make that little burst of muse comfortable so it will visit on a regular basis.

And when you hit your stride and experience that “zone” on a regular basis, then you are truly a blessed writer.

Now, I realize this list is hardly exhaustive. However, I’ve found these four tips to top my list of activities I do on a daily basis to make writing nearly effortless. And (I’m speaking from experience here), you really don’t want to write your way into a situation where every word you nail to paper feels like an unbearable chore.

With just these few (and incredibly easy) modifications to your schedule, your words will flow like water and your productivity will skyrocket. Guaranteed.
Beth Ann Erickson makes it easy to launch a successful freelance writing career. Grab free articles. Take free e-courses. Learn the secrets to writing irresistible queries. To turbo-charge your writing career, surf to


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Promote Your Books Through Article Writing

I have a wonderful guest post by the Book Marketing Maven, Dana Lynn Smith:

Easy Ways to Promote Your Book With Articles
by Dana Lynn Smith

An ongoing article marketing campaign is a terrific way to promote your book and yourself. Some of the benefits of article marketing for authors include:

•    Generating direct links to your website or book sales page through the resource box at the end of the article.
•    Establishing nonfiction authors as experts in their field and enhancing the author platform.
•    Contributing to search engine optimization by providing incoming links to your website.
Here are some ideas for leveraging content that you have already written:
•    Compile a list of the best articles from your blog and ezine, along with short excerpts from your book that could be used as articles.
•    Contact bloggers and ezine editors that cater to your target audiences and ask if they would like to use any of your articles as a guest post. When you send the requested article, include a low-resolution photo of yourself. If you use Word 2007, save your articles in Word 2003 format so that anyone can open the files.
•    Submit your articles to a leading article site such as Ezine Articles.  Plan to submit one article every week or two. Incoming links from the article directory sites are given low value by the search engines, due to abuse by spammers and scraper sites. But when a website or blog finds your article and reprints it on their site, you gain a link on a relevant site which can drive direct traffic to your own website, in addition to providing search engine optimization benefits.
•    Join a blog carnival. Blog carnivals are a collection of links pointing to blog posts on a particular topic, or topics of interest to a particular group of people.
•    Post articles on expert sites such as HubPages, Squidoo, eHow, and Google Knol. HubPages and eHow are probably the easiest to get started with.

Be sure to write a good "resource box" or bio to place at the end of your articles, which succinctly showcases you and your book and provides a link to your website and/or book sales page. Keep the resource box to about 50 words, and be sure to include your book title and website address. It's good to offer a free bonus to encourage click throughs to your site.

Don't post the exact same article on your own blog or website that you are posting elsewhere. I recommend posting an article first on your site, then creating a somewhat different version to post elsewhere. This will help avoid duplicate content penalties by search engines.

You can also research the submission requirements of print newsletters, trade publications and consumer magazines that cover your topic or cater to your target audiences, and submit queries or articles where appropriate. Try Wooden Horse Publishing for magazine research.
Resource: Just the FAQs: Articles is a 19-page ebook by MaAnna Stephenson that includes step-by-step instructions for posting on seven popular article directory sites, including

Dana Lynn Smith is a book marketing coach and author of the Savvy Book Marketer Guides. For more tips, follow @BookMarketer on Twitter, visit Dana's blog at, and get a copy of the Top Book Marketing Tips ebook when you sign up for her free newsletter at


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Article Reprinting Beef to Grind

I am always pleased when a blogger or business chooses to reprint my articles on their sites. It’s a win-win situation. The site gets fresh content, and I get visibility.

In the past I have come across sites that have used my articles (I should say plagiarized my articles) and didn’t include my byline. While this is problematic and unethical on the site owner’s part, it’s not as bad as what I encounter last week.

As a somewhat savvy writer and marketer, I have my name, site names, and some of my articles in Google Alert. If my name, or a site name, or an article title is published on the internet, Google Alert informs me. All writers should take advantage of this free service.

The other day, I received an alert listing a blogsite that is using my article, “Foods to Avoid with Multiple Sclerosis.” As I mentioned above, this is usually a positive thing.

When I am alerted a site is using my article, as a precaution, and to stop by and say “hi,” I usually visit the site. When I visited the site that posted my article, I got a shock.

The blog owner, or other party who is able to post to the site, edited my article. The site is in French (I think), but the articles are in English. My article resembled mine, but it now lacks clarity; it’s actually a mess. It was poorly edited and makes it look like I’m a VERY POOR WRITER.

I study and work hard to hone my craft, and while I know I have much more to learn, I am a pretty good nonfiction writer.

I left a comment on the site requesting the edited article be taken down and replaced with my own version. I explained that I would rather not have my name associated with their version.

As a freelance writer and ghostwriter, having my name attached to that article is damaging. I can honestly see that having a blogger steal my article is much better than having my name attached to a poorly written article.

I’m not quite sure why someone would take another author’s article, edit it, and leave the author’s by line attached. To me, this is worse than plagiarism – this is damaging my reputation as a writer.

If a potential client goolge’s my name and finds that article, I’ll lose a client.

I’m just hoping that the blog owner understands my dilemma and takes down the article.

Have any of you had experiences such as this? If you have, how did you handle it?

My original article is at:

In trying to find out if I had any recourse, I came upon a site called Reputation Defender. I contacted them, but they only provide favorable content for their clients. I had to laugh because that’s what I do for my clients.

Adding to this post, on Saturday, October 16th, I received another Google Alert. My name is now being used on another site that is blatantly using my name to sell products. At the end of the post, it has a list of links to my articles, but they all lead back to a different page on that site using my name again. It's crazy!!!

What on earth is going on?

And, Yahoo has my email targeted as a spam account. I'm now wondering if this is all connected.

Just color me angry and frustrated.



Marketing with Video - Amazing Young Guitarist

Today, my post is a little different. I happened upon a YouTube video of an amazing little boy guitarist. While watching it, I noticed a music instructor was promoting his business with a bit of content at the bottom of the video.

In marketing, one of the best ways to sell a product or service is to SHOW what it can do for you. Well, this music instructor had the right idea in using  one of his students (I'm assuming) to demonstrate how a child could learn to play the guitar.

Granted, not all children or adults have the same capabilities or talents, but this is an excellent marketing tool. And, note that just listening to the audio wouldn't have the same affect. It's the video of this little boy with amazing talent that makes you want to run to the instructor's home and get lessons for you or your child.

So, without further ado, here is one outstanding little guitar player:

Sungha plays 'C*ome Toge*ther' arranged by Michael Chapdelaine

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I love listening to the guitar, violin, and cello.



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Striving to Be a Better Writer by Writing More

Do you write everyday? Do you spend a great deal of time each week writing? If you answered yes to these questions, you should have noticed an improvement in your writing, and possibly an improvement in the speed at which you are able to write. But, that’s not all; you will also find it easier to think of topics to write about.

This is especially true if you do article marketing, or ghostwrite articles for other writers, blogs, or businesses. The more articles you write, the better you’ll get at it. The more writing of any type you do, the better you’ll get, just like the adage, ‘practice makes perfect.’

But, what does it mean to get better at writing?


One aspect of writing improvement is the ability to create a well structured article or story. It should begin with an interesting or hooking introduction. The beginning lets the reader know what the piece will be about. And, it should move smoothly into the middle. You might think of the beginning as the appetizer to a meal.

The middle is the content substance. You let the reader know what the story will be about in the beginning, the middle follows through and embellishes on the topic. The middle is the meat and potatoes of the story or article, and it should move smoothly into the ending, or conclusion.

The ending wraps things up. It should wrap up any loose ends and tie the piece up into a nice package. It needs to leave the reader satisfied. You can think of the ending as the dessert.

The more you write, the easier it becomes to create content that is well structured and smooth.


Another aspect writers strive for in their writing is clarity. Along with a well structure piece, you need it to be clear, easily understood. It needs to have focus.

Think of your story as having a road map. You need to get from point A to point C (beginning, middle, and end) with as little deviation as possible. Your reader is following you down the road and you don’t want to lose him. I

f you give your reader any reason to pause or divert his attention from the main point of your story, you’ll lose him. People have a short attention span today; they want the information as quickly as possible with as little effort as possible.

If your topic is about health, don’t go off on a tangent about today’s political climate, unless it’s in regard to the stress it adds to your everyday life, and thus the harmful effects it has on your health.

The more you write, the easier it becomes to create content that is focused and lean.

Wrapping it Up

There are a number of writers who give themselves daily writing quotas. Some may choose thirty minutes a day, others 500 to 1000 words per day. There are also those writers who feel too pressured having to fulfill a daily writing quota, so they choose to create weekly quotas.

One problem writers face is time. Even if you work from home, by the time you read and respond to your emails, keep up with your blogs, do your social networking, and keep up your family and household duties, the day can just slip away. It might be helpful to a create weekly writing plan or schedule and do your best to stick to it.

If you’re a writer it’s important to write regularly, if not every day, as often as you can. As with any craft, the more you practice or work at it, the better you’ll get.


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