Monthly Archives: July 2010

Writing and managing your time

One of my favorite anecdotes about writing was when John Milton was writing Paradise Lost. He was interrupted by a salesman or a holy man , both were selling things one material and one salvation. Anyway, whethere a salesman or preacher was the unwanted knocker it had the same effect. Milton lost track of his writing and scrapped the first version of Paradise Lost. Now I do not whetner this is accurate or not but distractions will always derail one’s writing.

What are these distractions?

The obvious ones are the unwanted guest or visitor, He who comes knocking at the door.

Another could be a natural phenomenon. Lightning striking the tree. The neighbor singing the karaoke or videoke. Dogs howling, Cats screeching and humans … well shouting,

And of course there are more less obvious ones. A special group inhabiting the Internet – chatting, communicating and just playing games. Yes, it is enjoyable and yes it can lessen one’s stress but it can also distract you from writing.

E-Mails, At most and unless you are part of an email answering service or in sales you need not check your email every hour. Maybe three, twice or even once a day would be fine. Of course, depending on the amount of email you receive.

Social Media Networks and Sites

Social Media Networks are fun, helpful and addictive. Using Social Media Networks one can connect with one’s friends – both old and new. They can also be used to share photos, videos and audio files (MP3). Social Media Networks can also nbe used to promote one’s post, writing, project or business. And one can also use it to play a number of online games.

And this is probably why we who have been introduced and are more or less familiar with the Social Media Networks must go back and back to it.

Micro Blogging Sites

Probably the biggest success story in recent times. Microblogging sites like Twitter and Plurk has been able to get a whole lot of people to twit or plurk their thoughts, opinions and actions on line – in less than 120 or so words.

Blogs

Yes, A number of these are of use and not inherently counter productive but an over dependence or an over doing it can be counter-productive – giving one less time to write.

So what now?

A number of these things are useful and inherently not counter productive but when one spends too much time on them one will find one has no more time to write. Well, I guess everything should be in moderation.

Where do articles come from?

There is a poem that goes what are little girls made of and what are little boys made of. At least this is what I remember from a long time ago in my life when the word Internet had not yet become a word and Spam was a canned food. Anyway, I stumbled upon some old notes and dug a few scribblings up on where do articles come from ?

Personal Experience

You and I are the sum of all things that have directly or indirectly happened to us. Whether it happened a few seconds ago or whether it happened to our Grandfather when he was our age. These are interesting things and even more interesting when told skillfully.

Professional Experience

Different things happen to different people specially when one is in a different working environment. The tale of a movie star can be different from a heart surgeon but both are interesting and refreshing to reader. How the movie star tackled a role and how the surgeon interacted with a patient can be told. Heck! even a jobless man’s journey is a worthy tale to tell.

Observations taken: second-by-second; hour-ny-hour; day-to-day, week-by-week; month-by-month; and year-by-year.

Close your eyes. And concentrate on the sounds around you. I can hear the electric fan whirling like dervishes. The clock’s syncophated tic-toc. The carpenter hammering outside. And the train as passes the rail tracks. And then the drone of motorcycles passing by. Just to name a few.

What else if you were observing using your eyes?

Things that happen around you make good material.

Yes, there are a number of sources for an article or a post. The first three mentioned were up-close and personal. Something the observer had first-hand access to. The following are things that an observer can learn from or view from other sources – mostly second-hand but equally effective as basis for articles and posts.

Ideas from events in past,present and in the future
News from other blogs, media – both traditional and on-line

Ideas from books and periodicals

Information Gathering and Processing

One of the issues I have is that I am not a big time information gatherer, and I don’t really dive into the statistics and information I get. Some people I know can look at a table of information and draw some many useful business related conclusions from it that I sometimes sit their awestruck as they do it.

It is a skill that I am slowly learning as I dive deeper into working on projects where profit is a key goal. If you can’t find ways to collect the data you need, and analyze it in a way where you can create an actionable plan that will get you closer to whatever goals you might have, then you should also be finding ways to learn this very important, and highly profitable skill.

What are people searching for when they find your site? What do you want people to search for to find your site? What are people clicking on? What are they avoiding? What key factors go into building your traffic? When people leave your site, do they click on an external link?

Breaking down the patterns can allow you to manage your visitors in a more efficient way, bring on advertisers that are closer to what people visiting your site are looking for, or capture traffic that you otherwise would have missed.

We are fortunate in today’s web world that when you operate a site, you can get data pertaining to just about anything you might need, so don’t let that information go to waste. Lastly, don’t let the abundance of data stop you from reaching your goals. There are days where I try to get into data processing and analysis, and I just get overwhelmed, and end up wasting time. Don’t let this happen to you.

Are you good at understanding the psyche of your users? How did you acquire that skill, or was it natural? Let me know in the comments below.