Tag Archives: links

Write This Way, Condensed: Top Writing and Editing Links for October 16, 2010

Wordle image representing Write Livelihood’s home page.

The Urban Muse: 5 Ways Facebook Can Boost Your Freelance Biz
Susan Johnston describes five ways that time on social media enhances her freelance writing business.

You Ask, I Answer: How Do I Know if My Writing Is Any Good?
Author Linda Formichelli, writing on her blog The Renegade Writer, advises a new nonfiction writer about how to determine if her writing is ready to publish or if it still needs work before “showtime.”

Modern Journalists Technology Toolkit To Cover Live Events
Editor and blogger Neerav Bhatt, writing on his site, Rambling Thoughts Blog, discusses (and shows photos of!) the multimedia equipment that journalists need to adequately cover media stories. (Hat tip to Teaching Online Journalism for the link!)

Mutating books, Evolving Authors
Scott Rosenberg, the author of Say Everything and Dreaming in Code, writes on his Wordyard blog about his attempts to stay current on the impact of e-reading devices and e-books on the print publishing industry.

My favorite quote:

“I don’t see the point in hand-wringing … I still plan to write long-form non-fiction and hope to earn at least some portion of my living doing it. So I’m going to do my damnedest to try to understand the changing publishing environment and figure out the smartest way for an author to navigate it. I’d rather adapt and evolve than gripe my way to extinction.”

Welcome Back Wordle… Plus 7 Other Free Word Cloud Generators!
Michael Gorman, writing on his 21st Century Educational Technology and Learning blog, discusses the pros and cons of a number of word cloud generators. Although he’s writing for teachers, the clouds could be used in a variety of ways by writers and editors — analyzing frequency of word usage, summarizing long passages by looking at keywords, taking a fresh approach to self-promotion by generating a word cloud from one’s resume, etc.

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Write This Way: Top Writing and Editing Links for January 12, 2010

Photo courtesy SXC.

Bloggers, like other writers, can make yearly resolutions, and one of mine related to my Write This Way link posts is to trim them down so readers can spend more time digesting and acting on the information I’ve linked to and less time reading.

In 2010, I’ll pick my top 2 links and comment on them each time we run Write This Way, and provide one additional bonus link for fun and edification. Be on the lookout for a new feature—Write This Way, Condensed—which will be a quick post of my favorite links of the moment, all presented “bonus link” style.

Let me know if you enjoy this new slimmer format, or if you see any writing or editing-related links you think need more exposure!


News orgs’ goal for 2010: Imagine tomorrow’s media world today

Gina Chen has written an insightful post on what news organizations should be doing this year on the Nieman Journalism Lab blog.

As she puts it,

“The legacy press — or the traditional media, or whatever we’re calling newspapers these days — has one main challenge for 2010, and it’s not finding a new business model. It has to do with vision. It has to do with being able to imagine a world that does not yet exist.”

This quest is more difficult than it first appears, but Chen notes that this is not the first time in history that a business entity has faced such a challenge related to figuring out how to make products that customers will find useful. IBM face a similar challenge in popularizing the concept of a personal, desktop-based computer, and the inventors of the microwave had to wait nearly a quarter century from the time the device was first offered in the late 1940s until it caught on in America’s kitchens.

In both cases, the businesses had to make a guess as to how future customers would want to interact with their products, and overcome resistance related to attachment (both by customer and manufacturer) to the current state of technology. According to Chen, journalists need to focus their attention on these areas, as well.

“The challenge for the news biz is to look ahead and imagine how people may want their news and information. It’s about format (online, by phone, through social media) and content (aggregated, local, tailored to their needs.) For local news operations, this mean “organizing a community’s information so the community can organize itself,” as Jeff Jarvis puts it.

“ …This doesn’t mean news organizations should be inventing technology. I think that’s probably out of the pervue of most journalists. What I’m talking about is envisioning a new way to use technology, in this case the Internet and the cell phone and likely other tools that others will invent. The new business doesn’t need to invent the tools — just figure out how to use them to best serve their readers.”

Chen’s post hones in on the primary issue that’s strangling the news business right now, particularly in print newspapers: lack of forward-facing customer focus. I’ve seen post after post about stop-gap measures such as government grants for investigative reporting and setting up nonprofit foundations, but this post does something that those do not—it assumes that news media organizations can still survive as business entities, and it provides the million-dollar (or more) question that they must answer in order to thrive: what do our readers want from us?

Forget E-Books: The Future of the Book Is Far More Interesting

This post is Number 8 in Adam Penenberg’s very interesting “Viral Loop” series on FastCompany.com. The author of 3 books, including one on the Viral Loop theme, he posits a provocative vision of how the printed book, and the book-reading experience, will evolve.

He argues that e-books do NOT represent the long-term future of reading matter.

“It’s the end of the book as we know it … It won’t be replaced by the e-book, which is, at best, a stopgap measure. Sure, a bevy of companies are releasing e-book readers … but technology marches on through predictable patterns of development, with the initial form of a new technology mirroring what came before, until innovation and consumer demand drive it far beyond initial incremental improvements. We are on the verge of re-imagining the book and transforming it something far beyond mere words.”

Penenberg argues the reading experience of the future will be one that, like our online (and increasingly, our mobile) experience, is rich and multi-faceted.

“For the non-fiction author therein lie possibilities to create the proverbial last word on a subject, a one-stop shop for all the information surrounding a particular subject matter. Imagine a biography of Wiley Post, the one-eyed pilot from the 1930s who was the first to fly around the world. It would not only offer the entire text of a book but newsreel footage from his era, coverage of his most famous flights, radio interviews, schematics of his plane, interactive maps of his journeys, interviews with aviation historians and pilots of today, a virtual tour of his cockpit and description of every gauge and dial, short profiles of other flyers of his time, photos, hyperlinked endnotes and index, links to other resources on the subject.

“Social media could be woven into the fabric of the experience–discussion threads and wikis where readers share information, photos, video, and add their own content to Post’s story, which would tie them more closely to the book. There’s also the potential for additional revenue streams: You could buy MP3s of popular songs from the 1930s, clothes that were the hot thing back then, model airplanes, other printed books, DVDs, journals, and memorabilia.”

Novelists won’t be left out of the cyber-cornucopia, either, he says. Imagine video games where readers alter the storylines as they see fit, or digital “rainstorms” of words, images and audio to reinforce metaphors for the reader.

The specifics of his prophecy are “out there,” to be sure, but not by much. I’m in agreement with Penenberg that “all writers should be optimistic” because “where there’s chaos, there’s opportunity.” Much like the previous link, the author’s willingness to focus on a literary world that doesn’t exist yet, and play with product ideas that would meet reader/audience needs in a new way, is exciting and has set my mind to imagining rich-media extensions of the book proposal ideas I’m currently incubating.

Bonus Link!

8 Must-Have Traits of Tomorrow’s Journalist

Vadim Lavrusik defines 8 roles that 2010-era journalists need to be ready to fulfill–including entrepreneur, programmer, curator, blogger, community builder, multimedia storyteller and more.

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Write This Way: Writing and Editing Links for August 10, 2008

Another month has begun, and it’s time for another edition of my hyperlink-love-fest! This time, we cover how to overcome freelance feast or famine, a new definition of “enterprise” stories in the online newspaper world, and some helpful links for aspiring writers of creative nonfiction.

First, Bob over at The Writing Journey has written a sensible and interesting post about “The SIMPLE Way to Avoid The Freelance Feast or Famine Cycle”. SIMPLE is Bob’s acronym for Save-Invest-Market-Plan-Live-Experience, and he offers sage advice to newbie freelancers that I wish that I had had when I started over 25 years ago. I was young then (14!), and the financial advice, had it stuck would have definitely helped me get my career off on the right foot!

I particularly like a passage from his advice under “Plan”:

“Dreams require goals, goals require strategies, strategies require tactics, and tactics require individual actions. Many freelance writers can’t get past the tasks of today to establish the goals of tomorrow, so when the lean times hit they’re totally unprepared. Plan your writing business to maximize growth opportunities and to be ready for the lean times.”

If you didn’t read any other part of Bob’s entry, following this tidbit would be enough to set you apart from 90 to 95 percent of all freelancers!

Next, the editor in me loves a recent post by Howard Owens on writers taking ownership of their stories. He takes the concept of “enterprise stories” (stories that reporters originate and advocate for within a publication they work for) and expands it. The theme of his blog is covering trends within the world of online newspapers, and this post is a very good introduction for any writer who publishes online on what he or she needs to do to make sure his or her story finds the audience it is capable of reaching.

Three points he lists in this post are particularly useful and insightful. The last one really highlights the conversational/learning aspect of Web 2.0 writing.

· “When the story is published, you socially bookmark the story as appropriate; you send the link to bloggers you know who might be interested; you e-mail the link to sources or readers you know would be interested.

· After the story is published, you follow and participate as appropriate in the online conversation, either via comments on the story or on other sites (blogs and forums).

· You take everything you’ve learned and repurpose the story for print.”

Finally, for those readers interested in learning more about the creative nonfiction genre, the MFA Blog had a great post and discussion a few days ago about the best MFA writing programs for creative nonfiction writers. I liked both the consideration in the post of which programs have the best “creative community” and which programs have low-residency (low-res) requirements. If you’re seriously considering getting an MFA in creative nonfiction writing, this blog post is a great place to begin your research.

Also, if you’re new to the world of creative nonfiction, or just want to learn more, check out Brevity, an online journal of creative nonfiction writing. It’s published by the Creative Nonfiction Foundation, a 501 c 3 nonprofit formed in 1994 to further this emerging genre. CNF’s site is also packed with interesting news about workshops, publications and influential books in the field.

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