Category Archives: Interviews

Establish a blog and start writing!

So you want to break into writing? You are stuck somewhere? While you are still trying to juggle with your first words your neighbours are already way ahead of you. “Is there a magic formula?” You start asking yourself. “Why can’t I make it?” The hard facts are that you don’t become a writer overnight; some people end up writing although they didn’t want to; and still there are those who never become writers however they strive. You understand what I mean?

Well, don’t get complacent about it. Writing has never been so easy, so accessible, and so affordable. Numerous tools are available and we cannot deny the significant contribution of the electronic media to that effect. All we need is to get to know how we can make the best use of what is at hand. If we can learn from the experiences and the guidance of established writers and professionals in the domain, there’s no reason we can’t achieve our goals.

That is why I’d suggest you read about what a professional writer and editor has to say. “Establish a blog and start writing!” advises London-based travel writer, Caitlin Fitzsimmons. It gives “an immediate outlet and the opportunity to practise writing and get feedback from readers”.

Caitlin was interviewed by Kiwiwriter at Write to Travel blog. This interview addresses various pertinent issues about writing; and Caitlin is very firm on them. Like, for example, she doesn’t advocate “writing for free” as you’ll be “doing yourself and your profession a disservice”. And she advises you to “try to hang on to copyright”, which is quite akin to what I expressed in my previous post.

Anyone willing to get into writing, travel writing in particular, may find this interview useful. As she was interviewed for a travel writing blog, Caitlin talks extensively about travel writing, the future of travel writers and challenges of travel writing before giving us an insight of the wonderful island of Tasmania which is her favourite place.

Blogging and Earning Income Online – Interview with Skellie

You’ve just started blogging or you already are in the sphere, perhaps at a crossroad. A number of questions are haunting your mind. You want to write freelance but you can’t figure out whether it’s feasible. Or you might also be wondering whether you can earn some income online while blogging.

Well, your worries are legitimate. Don’t be shy about them. It’s a good sign when you start questioning yourself. The bottom line is there’s an answer to every question and we’ll try to find out together from the horse’s mouth. Who can best tell us than those who are already experienced and have earned some authority in the blogosphere?

In this interview I’ll talk to a renowned figure in the blogging world. Someone who has made a name for the passion she has for “creating web content on a wide variety of topics”. One who sticks to a fairly regular schedule. I’m referring to Skellie, author of Skelliewag and Anywired.

Skellie has written a number of authoritative articles and tutorials about blogging, and working and earning income online. She’s also a guest blogger for other no less reputable and professional blogs like Problogger, Freelance Switch and Daily Blog Tips. She has a unique voice and provides insightful and innovative ideas about blogging with the audience in mind. She is sharp, pertinent and has a sense of direction.

Are you ready? So let’s welcome our guest of the day.

Alfa King: Hello, welcome to Alfa King Memories. Thank you very much for having accepted to be interviewed despite your heavy schedule. Could you please introduce yourself and the services you offer?

Skellie: My name is Skellie and I run two blogs: Anywired (about working and earning an income online) and Skelliewag (a unique blog about blogging). I’m also a freelancer writer at several other blogs, which allows me to work entirely online.

Alfa King: Ok, but how do you manage with so much commitment, maintaining two blogs and writing for others? How do you reconcile quality with quantity?

Skellie: A lot of what is technically work for me feels like free time. I enjoy writing posts and doing blog related stuff, so I largely avoid the problem of procrastination. I make sure I know what I need to do each day and I do it in order of importance. It’s not GTD but it seems to work OK :-).

Alfa King: From what I’ve gathered reading your blog it’d seem you left your job to rely fully on online income. A courageous and calculated move, no doubt; because I’ve read about people saying “Oh, but that’s enough only for the utility bills”. Can anyone earn a living online?

Skellie: It’s not for everyone. You got to have daily and extended internet access, which is difficult for some. You’ve also got to be pretty comfortable with the internet and technology. Self-motivation is another essential characteristic, because there’s nobody standing over your shoulder to make sure that you’re doing work. If you have those three things, I think it’s entirely possible, but it seems to suit entrepreneurial types best.

Alfa King: What next, after Skelliewag and Anywired? Any books in the pipeline?

Skellie: I’d like to write an eBook or/and a self-published paperback to compliment Skelliewag, but that isn’t really ‘in’ the pipeline yet. It’s hovering around the entrance to the pipeline but has yet to put a foot in, so to speak ;-).

Alfa King: Every blogger aims somehow to gain popularity and authority. If you had to, what advice would you give to someone embracing the blogosphere?

Skellie: I think the most important bit of advice I can give in a single sentence is to define your target audience and focus on being as useful as possible to them. That’s a really useful guiding principle to have.

Alfa King: Thank you once again, Skellie. It was nice talking to you. I do hope that your experience and advice will serve as inspiration to would-be bloggers and anyone interested in blogging. I look forward to the pleasure of further collaboration with you in the future. Cheers.

Skellie: Thanks Alfa! It’s my pleasure.

There you are folks. I hope you make something out of it. If you have anything still flickering in your mind, please let me know. The comment box is there for you. Use it. Explode it.

Watch out the next item in the Interview series

Last year I promised to come up with an interview category where I’d talk to experts in various fields, writing and blogging in particular. I started the first interview with a famous international freelance writer and editor, Nick Daws. It was a great success with unprecedented number of hits.

This time I’ll be interviewing a popular and well-established blogger who’s been “creating web content on a wide variety of topics for more than seven years”. We’ll talk about blogging in general and earning income online.

So, watch out.

Check out Wakish Wonderz

Have you checked out Wakish Wonderz? It’s a really wonderful site with lots of step-by-step, nicely written and abundantly illustrated practical tips on a wide range of topics. From the realm of IT to writing good English and GP essays Wakish Wonderz brings you in the universe of science, technology, history, health, sports and entertainment with fun time jokes.

Wakish Wonderz is brought to you by Wakish, a professional in IT. He started timidly in February this year with hardly 2 to 3 posts. He exceptionally reached 10 in August to fall down again to 3. At that time, he had a faint idea about the blog world and the need or pleasure to write on the net. But his quest for knowledge and perfection has led him to what I’d call a professional blogger and webmaster.

Wakish has been steadily researching and constantly working on the web tools with a view to updating the design and layout to make it a really dynamic site. In this month alone he has written more than 40 posts! Well, that’s more than one post per day. On some days he posted even more than five articles. “I am never satisfied with where I am, I always aim higher; I want to be more than a niche-specific blogger; a pro-blogger with authority,” cherishes Wakish.

Wakish is always on the look out for new tips and latest tools in order to bring them to you in a simple, easy-to-read and non-technical language so that you have no problem understanding the complicated IT jargons.

Of course here I cannot list all the articles I enjoyed. But I’ll just mention a few posts which I found particularly interesting, in no particular order:

Pregnancy and exercise
Eating the right food for sexual enhancement
Writing the GP Essay – Write to convince!
Is a blog the platform you need?
Should you go with a flash-based website?
Submitting y our website to Search Engines
Did you know how diamonds are cut?
Did you know – Universe edition 1

Incidentally you might also check out the free downloads and free e-books section where you can find free tutorials/guidelines.

Wakish Wonderz welcomes discussion about writing on any topic. Get a FREE linkback from his PR4 blog by simply reviewing his blog now!

Check it out and have a nice time.

Motivated to write?

Writing is not like any other career. You need to love writing and be motivated to write consistently. You learn writing most of the time the hard way. This can never be over-stated.

Reading interviews of established and working writers, learning from their views and getting inspirations from their thoughts are what can get you motivated to write if you are thinking about writing as a career.

You remember some time back I interviewed an established writer, Nick Daws? If not, you can read about it here. Well, Nick has been interviewed again, this time by an American journalist A. Brewster Smythe for the Associated Content website.

In this interview they examine and discuss issues like the influence of the “new media” on the “print media”, the challenges facing newspapers, and whether a degree is needed for a writing career.

Nick seems to share my thought on the controversy about academic degree which I discussed in one of my previous posts. “Many of the world’s best writers have been self-taught or followed non-academic paths”, he says.

Nick also tells about how he began to write correspondence courses.

You can access Nick’s interview from here.

INTERVIEW with freelance writer, editor and coach, Nick Daws

Here you are folks, the first of my series of interviews which I announced earlier. Our guest today is a prominent figure in the field of freelance writing and editing. He’s published a lot of articles, training materials and written no less than 50 books including popular e-books. He’s also been tutor and examiner for a renowned institution, The Writers Bureau in UK. He is none other than Nick Daws. So without much ado, let’s welcome our guest.

Alfa King: Thank you Nick for having accepted to be interviewed for my blog readers and the world; and welcome to Alfa King Memories. Could you please introduce yourself and the services you offer?

Nick Daws: Certainly! My name is Nick Daws, and I’m a professional freelance writer and editor. I live in England, in the county of Staffordshire, with my partner Jayne, who teaches computing at two local colleges.

As a working freelance writer, I’m happy to turn my hand to most writing jobs. So far I’ve written over 50 full-length books, and innumerable published articles. I also write training materials, e-books, correspondence courses, advertisements, website copy, and more. I am also an award-winning short story writer.

Apart from my own writing, I have a particular interest in helping new writers. For some years I was a tutor and external examiner for The Writers Bureau, the UK’s leading correspondence college for writers. I’ve also written several self-study courses for writers for the electronic publishing house WCCL.

Alfa King: Ok, can you tell us how you got started as a writer?

Nick Daws: As far as I can remember, I have always been interested in writing. But I suppose if you twist my arm, I remember when I was about eight or nine co-writing a ‘novel’ in an exercise book with my then-best friend, Timothy Nesbitt (where is he now, I wonder?!). Even at that age I got a kick out of doing this, and my teacher must have been impressed as well, as she let us work on the book when we should have been doing other things instead. Maybe that was the point when I first saw the attractions of being a writer…

But if you mean how did I become a full-time freelance writer, that arose from a situation that occurred in my last ‘ordinary’ job, when I was working for a small national charity. The top job in the organisation became vacant, and despite some misgivings I was persuaded to apply. I didn’t get the job, but the woman who did made it very clear that she saw no place for a rival in the office. I would have been OK working with her, but she did everything she could to undermine me. From being an enjoyable job, it became a test of endurance, and it reached a point where I’d simply had enough. So I decided to take the plunge, hand in my notice, and become a full-time writer.

As it happened, that woman probably did me a big favour, as without that incentive I don’t know I would ever have been brave enough to take the leap. It took a while to establish myself as a freelance – I certainly wasn’t an overnight success – but now I think it’s the best thing I ever did.

Alfa King: In which category of writers would you classify yourself?

Nick Daws: I see myself as a working professional freelance writer – a hired pen, if you will. I’ll turn my hand to almost any writing project if there’s a suitable fee on offer! In practice this means I write mostly non-fiction, but I do very much enjoy fiction writing as well.

Alfa King: You have written countless number of articles, but also courses and books about the craft of writing. Which article, courses and/or book/s would you recommend in particular to an aspiring writer?

Nick Daws: As I mentioned earlier, I’ve written two courses for writers for the electronic publishing house WCCL. These courses are crammed with hints, tips and advice based on my twenty-odd years as a professional freelance writer. I’d recommend either of them to an aspiring writer, or both, depending on your writing interests.

Alfa King: So let’s take them one by one, if you don’t mind

Nick Daws: OK, the first course, Write Any Book in Under 28 Days, is aimed at anyone who would like to write a book in the shortest possible time. It features my unique five-step method for outlining and ‘blueprinting’ a book, which many hundreds of my students have used to help write their first book. But it also includes advice on other areas such as generating ideas, coming up with a title, editing your work, publishing and self-publishing, and so on. Write Any Book in Under 28 Days covers both fiction and non-fiction book writing.

Alfa King: What about the other course?

Nick Daws: My other course for WCCL is Quick Cash Writing. This was written to complement my book-writing course. It covers a huge range of shorter writing projects, and is aimed at anyone who wants to start earning money from writing as soon as possible. It starts with the quickest, easiest writing projects, such as readers’ letters and fillers, and goes on to discuss such areas as article writing, writing short stories, greeting card writing, and so on. Quick Cash Writing even discusses selling ideas for TV series and movies.

Alfa King: Anything else?

Nick Daws: You can read about both of these courses on my homepage at www.nickdaws.co.uk . There are also details here of my latest course, How to Win Contests, although this is aimed mainly at UK readers.

Alfa King: Now let’s come to a more practical aspect. If you had to give advice to a new writer/beginner, what would you tell them?

Nick Daws: First, practise your writing skills every chance you get. It’s only by practising – and getting constructive feedback on your writing – that you will improve. One thing any online writer today can do is start a blog, perhaps using a free service such as Blogger at www.blogger.com . A blog gives you the opportunity to write about anything you like, and is great for practising your writing skills, even if you aren’t immediately making any money from it.

Alfa King: Like I am doing?

Nick Daws: Absolutely. Second, you should read regularly and widely, not just ‘classic’ books but those that are being published today as well. Reading will help you to learn which techniques work well and which don’t. Reading modern books is also essential market research, to see what books are being published – and bought – right now. Read for enjoyment, but also read critically. Look at what works well in the book and what doesn’t, and consider how you might incorporate the lessons learned from this in your own work.

Alfa King: Is that all?

Nick Daws: Just one other thing, but it’s perhaps the most important of all: be persistent. If you want to write, don’t let anything divert you from achieving your goal. If your work is rejected – as it almost certainly will be at first – don’t take this personally, but vow to learn from it and do better next time. There’s a quote I love to pass on to my students: ‘Consider the postage stamp. Its usefulness consists in the ability to stick to one thing until it gets there.’ As an aspiring writer you need to be like that stamp, sticking to your goal through thick or thin, until at last you reach your desired destination.

Alfa King: Do you have anything else to add that you believe would be of interest to writers?

Nick Daws: Could I conclude by mentioning a couple of other websites which I hope your readers may like to visit?

Alfa King: Sure, go ahead, please…

Nick Daws: First of all, there’s my blog at www.mywritingblog.com . This is where I post my latest thoughts on the world of writing, and I also include news, product reviews, market information, and so on. You can subscribe to my blog if you like and get my posts sent to you automatically by email as soon as I make them.

Alfa King: And then?

Nick Daws: And second, I have a forum at www.mywriterscircle.com . This is a message board open to writers across the world. I run it in association with my publishers, WCCL, and it’s free for anyone to join. Forum members can post extracts of their work to get feedback on it from other members, and also post any questions they may have about writing and publishing. There is also a section called Writers Wanted, where new markets and opportunities for writers are regularly posted. It’s a friendly place, and new members are always assured of a warm welcome!

Alfa King: Thank you once again, Nick. It was nice talking to you. I do hope that your experience and advice will serve as inspiration to would-be writers and anyone interested in writing. I look forward to the pleasure of further collaboration with you in the future. Cheers.

Coming out soon!

I’ll be coming up with an interview category, where we’ll talk to experts. And as blogging is about writing, we’ll favour interview with
writers in particular. But this doesn’t mean that other experts will be left out. Far from it. We’ll find out as we progress. Any expert is welcome.

I’m also interested to know how beginners are faring, how bloggers are doing, and also about those who’ve just been published, or won competitions, etc. This site, if you remember, aims at honing one’s writing; so keep in touch.

The first interview will be released very soon. It will be with a famous international freelance writer and editor. We’ll talk to him lengthily about how he got into writing, how he succeeded in getting published, and how would-be writers can benefit from online resources to improve their writing skills.

So, watch out!